Michelle Obama's Makeup Artist Reveals Details About Her Inauguration Look

Jan 23, 2021
02:00 A.M.
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Michelle Obama's makeup artist, Carl Ray, spills the beans on how they created a smoking look, working with only the top half of her face.


The inauguration was filled to the brim with iconic looks. The coats came through, the monochromatic ensembles, the breakout fashionistas, but standing on the pinnacle of style, was none other than Michelle Obama herself.

Dressed from top to bottom in a plum ensemble by LA-based Sergio Hudson, Obama had one of the most memorable looks of Inaugurations Day, radiating grace, power, and unadulterated style.

The Look

 (Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


Carl Ray, Obama’s makeup artist, thought about the look for a while before the day came, and a while, is precisely how long it will live in our heads.

The former First Lady Of The United States (FLOTUS), Michelle Obama’s longtime makeup artist, went for a “smokeshow” as he captioned a picture he later posted on Instagram.

(Photo by JONATHAN ERNST / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN ERNST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by JONATHAN ERNST / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN ERNST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Ray tells “Elle” that he focused specifically on the eye area because she’d be wearing a mask. He knew he had to make the eyes and lashes the “star” of the “show.”


The Inspiration For The Look

(Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)

Ray told "The Cut" that he knew that this would be a "huge moment for women." With that he wanted to create a statement look that celebrated the occasion.

“I wanted her to have a powerful beauty look that was classy, bold, and confident; but all of that would also need to be achieved through the top half of her face only.”

Ray told The Cut.

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)


Products Used For The Look


Ray told "Marie Claire" that Obama didn't need much prep before the look because she "already has amazing skin" that's well taken care of.

In an interview with “The Cut,” Ray names the products used to execute the look, including Fenty Beauty Match Stix, Iconic London’s liquid gold helped catch the light, and Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Gel for the bows.

Ray blended out shades from the Viseart 01 Neutral Mattes eyeshadow palette for the smokey eye for the eyes. He applied Pat McGrath Eye Shadow in Divine Mink to the center of the lid and lined eyes, top, and bottom.

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