Zendaya Coleman knows makeup. She knows it so well, in fact, that she does her own for every event—red carpets included. “Being in the industry, I watched so many people doing my makeup, I was like, hey, I can do this,” she told us while loading up her shopping basket at the brand-new Sephora at The Grove in L.A. “And then on top of that, then I was like wait, I can do it even better.”
Her frankness was endearing, and there’s a confidence about her well beyond her 19 years—an age when most girls might still be wary to try a new lip color. Zendaya, on the other hand, has risen to icon status among her legions of fans, thanks in part to her bold beauty choices (see her head-turning dreadlocks at this year’s Oscars). As if to prove the star’s budding beauty-icon status, a young fan briefly interrupted our interview and asked for a photo. Zendaya gave her a hug and pointed out how they were wearing similar hairstyles, and the young girl smiled so wide it was clear the comparison had made her day. And isn’t that what beauty icons do?
From brows to beauty philosophies, keep scrolling for Zendaya’s beauty secrets!
It’s amazing that you do your own makeup. How did that come to be?
Zendaya: Honestly, I just kind of learned, and it was a process. There were a lot of times people would do my makeup and it would be awful, and I would be orange. Nothing matched. So then you learn how to do your own makeup. I watched a lot of YouTube videos when I was little and taught myself.
You’re a beauty chameleon. Can you talk about how you find inspiration for your many different looks?
Zendaya: In general, it comes to whatever I’m wearing that day, whatever seems to pop into my head. A lot of times, it’s past inspirations. Bianca Jagger was one inspiration; Cher was a huge inspiration for my VMAs look a few years ago. Everything just repeats itself.
Do you have a beauty philosophy?
Zendaya: I would say my beauty philosophy is that there are no rules. If you’re asking for the answers, they don’t exist. Beauty has no definition, and if you do create a definition for yourself as you grow older, it’s ever-changing. It’ll be very different from when you’re my age and you’re 18 years old to when you’re 22 and when you’re 30. Take your time.
You’re clearly quite skilled at doing your own makeup. Any favorite tips? Your eyeliner is on point.
Zendaya: Honestly, I feel like I’ve just lost that sensitivity. Some people put on their eyeliner and their eyes twitch. When I do my eyeliner, I leave my eyes open; I feel like my nerves have just been shut down or whatever. I use a pen liner—I love those. For my type of eye shape, I have to do thin lines; thick lines close my eyes off a little bit. I just feel like it looks better on my eyes. For some people, a dramatic line and smoky is better. You just have to play with it and decide what cat-eye is for you.
You always have a good nude lip. What’s your secret?
Zendaya: Thank you! I like to mix colors. If there’s one good nude that I like, I put a dab of pink or coral or something else, too. Then it’s like it’s nude but also something else. A brick color is always cool, too.
What’s your beauty tip for masking tiredness?
Zendaya: Shimmer. I love shimmery stuff. That’s my secret. Once I do all this makeup and I put shimmery powder on, it’s like, Oh my gosh—your skin is so fresh and glowy! Nope. It’s actually just shimmer powder.
Ed. Note: Zendaya filled her shopping basket with Urban Decay’s Naked Illuminating Shimmer Powder for Face & Body, $30, FYI.
Last question—your brows. They are fabulous. What’s your secret?
Zendaya: For a long time, I did not let anyone touch my eyebrows, because I had a bad experience. But then I found someone who understands me. Kelly Baker is the only one I let touch my eyebrows. I let her pluck and wax, but she’s the only one.
Next up, find out why we predict Zendaya is the next hair icon in the making!