Rihanna's Makeup Artist Talks Beauty Trends, the Super Bowl Halftime Show Look and the Products That Are Always in Her Bag

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priscilla ono rihanna makeup artist interview
Courtesy of Secret/Dasha Burobina

When you have the opportunity to interview a major celebrity makeup artist who is behind some of Rihanna’s most iconic looks over the years, it’s only right to ask them about everything. Meet Priscilla Ono, the global makeup artist for Fenty Beauty and Secret ambassador, who first fell in love with beauty because of the women in her life. “Growing up in LA, I watched my tías put on their brown lip liner with lighter lipstick and burn their black eyeliner pencils before applying some on their waterline for an extreme eyeliner look,” says Ono. “[Their techniques] inspired me to be the makeup artist I am today.” 

You can see this influence in all of the looks she’s created on her impressive rolodex of clients who include Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Bella and Gigi Hadid and one Ms. Robyn Fenty. Since 2017, Ono has been curating looks for the star and whipping up ideas for the Fenty Beauty brand. And this past February, Ono became the key makeup artist for the Super Bowl Halftime show. 

When asked about the inspiration for the look in the weeks leading up to the show, the Los Angeles native was mysterious. “I definitely want to do something very iconic. You’re going to see a lot of things that I’ve been inspired by growing up in LA and my Mexican background. [The Super Bowl Halftime show] is legendary, so I want to make sure the makeup aligns with it. It has to be classic and something we can look back at any point in time,” she says. Fast forward to now and we can all agree that the stunning look (featuring the singer’s signature Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Foundation and vibrant red Velvet Liquid Lipstick) was indeed legendary. 

priscilla ono rihanna makeup artist interview
Gregory Shamus/Staff/Getty Images

To offset Rihanna’s bold red lip, Ono framed her eyes with a glimmering dash of white along her lashline. “I’ve really been into white eyeshadow these past couple of months and I feel like it’s going to be a big trend this year. It’s something I saw a lot growing up. It was always white frosted eyeshadow with black eyeliner,” she tells us. “I actually wore a similar look on TikTok recently for a video where I wasn’t even talking about my makeup and everyone was asking about the eyeshadow.”

As for other trends we should be looking out for this year, Ono has her money on contrasting lip liner. “I feel like dark lip liner always comes back. It’s beautiful and empowering and it makes your lips look really good. Some people call it the ‘90s nude or brown lip liner trend, but we all know it came from Latinx and Black culture and we love to see it,” she says. 

Before our conversation with Ono ended, we had to ask one last (and arguably the most important) question: What does the celebrity makeup artist keep in her beauty bag? Lucky for us, the LA native was more than happy to share the top three items she always has on hand. Spoiler alert: One product had a starring role during the Halftime show. 

Remember that iconic moment when Rihanna took a quick touch-up break in the middle of her halftime performance? She was using this exact powder. It promises to blur the appearance of pores, absorb excess shine and refresh your look for all-day wear. It’s also a favorite of Ono’s. “Blotting powders are essential. You never want to add more makeup on top of [an existing] look,” says Ono. “This one is my go-to because it has no color in it. It's perfect for touch ups because, again, you're not putting more makeup on the skin. We all get oily throughout the day, and this powder takes away any [excess] shine.”

This rich balm locks in moisture and softens your lips for a juicier pout. The hydrating formula features shea and mango seed butter, which give it a creamy application and a smooth finish. “Everyone’s lips are really dry right now, especially because we're just getting out of the winter months. Lip balm is so essential during this time. My clients are always asking for lip balm and this one is definitely a good option to keep in your bag,” says Ono. 

Apart from the makeup in her bag, Ono never leaves the house without her number one hygiene product: this deodorant from Secret. “It always has to be in my personal kit. I'm obsessed with the new white peach and argan scent. Sometimes when I'm doing makeup, my clients will ask me what perfume I’m wearing because it smells so good,’” says Ono. The antiperspirant formula promises 48-hour protection against sweat and odor to keep you smelling fresh throughout the day and the dry spray application means no chalky marks on your clothes. 

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...