Alexa Chung’s makeup artist reveals how to get her signature

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Natalie Salmon




Irish makeup artist Ciara O’Shea has worked with Alexa Chung since 2016, and explains “Alexa’s everyday signature look is either a winged eye or a statement lip. I love to do something slightly different within that realm, either a play on texture or shape or colour.” We of course have admired Alexa’s effortless makeup since the early days of her career. 

Whether it’s kicking off her wellies at Glastonbury or attending the Met Gala, it’s clear that the queen of cool has that effortless makeup look down pat. And it looks like the style icon generally knows what she wants well in advance when it comes to her beauty look. “Alexa is not a style icon for no reason, so she will generally have a great mood board and an idea of what look she would like to create. I then add my spin to it and we get it work,” says Ciara. Below Ciara breaks down exactly how she achieves Alexa Chung’s signature makeup look: 

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THE SKIN

For Alexas skin prep I use a combination of my favourite products and tools to polish her skin. I use beautiful textures and results driven brands to achieve a great base. She has no pores and doesn’t seem to age so it is a child’s playground for me.

Often I use Buly 1803 True Ionized Cleansing Water 1 to rid the skin of any residue from the day,  then Venn, Age-Reversing All-In-One Concentrate as it gives the skin so much hydration. Then to finish I will go in with Augustine Bader, The Cream on top. This decadently drenches the skin but never leaves it with an oily residue. 

If she’s been working extra hard I often start with a mask from 111Skin. At the moment I am loving their Sub Zero De-Puffing Energy Mask. It’s an easy sheet mask which is great for when you are in hotels or tight on space and time. I find this one helps reduce any inflammation or heat on the skin that may be causing it to puff up during this extreme weather. 

I then go over the skin with Jillian Dempseys Gold Beauty Bar. It is a vibrating gold T bar and it really gives the skin a workout. It aids further drainage and give the face a really sculpted finish. Lastly I use my Solawave LED wand to plump and give brightness and vitality to the face. 

Alexa and I are both big fans of the brand DeMamiel (and their incredible facials) so I use their oils on the pulse points before we really get into things. I find they help centre everyone in the room and provide some peace of mind before the application starts (I use these oils on everyone, I even offer them to people sitting beside me on planes, they are sensational.) 

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THE BASE

I never use foundation on her because she simply doesn’t need it, her skin is excellent. Therefore I just use a concealer like La Mer The Concealer. I like how it’s the perfect mix of matte and creamy. I place this around the nose, centre of the chin and under the eyes. 

THE EYES

I add a little brow definition to the ends and top line of the eyebrow with Glossier’s Brow Flick. I love how natural it is but how much precision you can get with it. Then I go to work on the eye. At the moment I am loving her in a matte pastel on the eye, pairing it with either a dark striking liquid liner or a soft smudgy kohl pencil. I love shopping at MAC Cosmetics or Illamasqua for this. I like how you can just get individual colours you are in the mood for and you don’t have to commit to a full palette. 

I use MAC prep and prime 24hr eye base first, then I lay down my shadow using a slightly thicker eyeshadow brush. I love Untitled No.1‘s handmade brushes, especially the Multi Use Brush I will place a number of thin layers of shadow down until I have the desired opacity, I then go in with Kat Von D’s lash liner and tattoo liner (obsessed with these, they have incredible pigment and hold.) 

I finish with a few layers of Clarins Supra Lift and Curl Mascara. I like this mascara because it gives drama to the lash, never flakes, and really does lift and curl. If the look feels unfinished, I will go in with Hourglass’ Waterproof Gel Eyeliner Pencil on the inside of the eye and a root of the lower lash, I smoke it out using a small shadow brush. This makes it friendly but sultry. 

Ciara O’Shea has worked with Alexa since 2016

THE CHEEKS

I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Blush palette on the cheeks and they give you three colour options so you can create beautiful colours and sculpt in the most harmonious way. I will use pops of Westman Atelier highlight on the cheeks, Cupid’s bow, maybe arch of the brow (feeling that 1990s nostalgia.) 

THE LIPS

For lips I will normally use a Gucci Lipstick (excellent pigment and shade range) and an Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Liner (such a good texture and again, excellent shade edit.) I might finish with a gloss from VB Beauty, if anyone knows a good gloss it’s Victoria Beckham

Alexa Chung loves Gucci’s lipstick range

THE FINAL TOUCHES

In terms of special techniques I generally powder down any shine with Charlotte Tilbury’s Genius Magic Powder. I like how it sets the makeup and holds it in place without looking like powder. I then give a healthy spritz of DeMamiels Dewy Facial Mist to make sure the skin sings for the camera. For longevity I repeat this step between 2 – 4 times depending on the weather and how the skin is behaving.

To finish I make sure the body looks as good as the face by applying my own product Proshine By Cdm on any skin showing, layering it to achieve the level of shine I want. For instance if I’ve made the face nice and dewy and glowy it makes sense that the body would look the same way. Harmony.

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