Every time Issa Rae does anything publicly, the whole internet seemingly takes notice — such is the power of her beauty and wit. It wasn’t too long ago that everyone was fawning over her beautiful wedding pictures, in which she looked like the most effortlessly elegant bride ever. Now she’s given us yet another look to obsess over, this time walking down a different kind of aisle. The Insecure actor walked the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards red carpet in a sexy Aliette silver mesh gown, with her now signature braided updo, and an electric purple eyeshadow look that delivers an edgy yet sophisticated finish.
While a beat like this is surely the result of a highly skilled glam squad, Issa Rae’s Emmys beauty look is surprisingly easy and affordable to recreate — just ask her makeup artist. The mastermind behind Rae’s ‘70s disco-inspired makeup, celebrity makeup artist Joanna Simkin, shared with TZR that she used all e.l.f. products to execute the look — including a $7 mascara that went viral on TikTok.
You’re probably thinking, Wait, I have e.l.f beauty products in my stash of makeup. Well, listen up because TZR scored the step-by-step tutorial to achieving Rae’s vibrant makeup look.
“The beautiful custom Aliette gown felt like a nod to the ‘70s, Studio 54, and disco glam,” Simkin tells TZR in an email. “I was instantly inspired to do a sparkly purple eyeshadow and fluttery lashes to accentuate Issa’s gorgeous features while playing up a bold statement eye”.
Before getting to the purple shadow, Simkin began with a little skin care because good makeup starts with a great complexion. Starting off with clean, hydrated skin, Simkin cleansed with the e.l.f Cleansing Balm, and followed up with the Holy Hydration! Face Cream With SPF 30, and Holy Hydration! Eye Cream to hydrate and brighten the under eye area.
She then primed the skin with the e.l.f. Poreless Putty Primer (the brand’s best-selling product) which helps makeup grip on to the skin for long-lasting coverage.
Surprisingly Rae’s glowing complexion wasn’t thanks to a full coverage foundation but rather e.l.f.’s Camo CC Cream which also has SPF 30 (her face was strapped with sun protection!). For an airbrushed finish Simkin applied the CC cream with the Complexion Duo Brush.
Rae’s face was contoured with e.l.f’s Putty Bronzer, adding dimension to her already striking bone structure and her under-eye area was brightened using the Flawless Brightening Concealer Pen. To add some warmth to this face, Simkin went in with the e.l.f Putty Blush in the shade Tahiti.
Now for the pièce de résistance, the purple eyeshadow. To create the power look, Simkin applied the e.l.f Liquid Metallic Eyeshadow in SuperNova over the entire eyelid. She then used the Bite Size Eyeshadow Palette in Acai You to add more color and add a smoky effect. On the outer corners, she applied the darker purple shade then lightly brought it into the crease. She applied a creamy shimmer shade on the center of the eyelids, to add a light-catching twinkle. Finally, highlighter went in the inner corner of the eyes using the Bite Size Eyeshadow Palette in Rose Water.
No full makeup look is complete without full fluttering lashes, glossy lips, and perfectly shaped brows. To add length and volume to the lashes Simkin turned to e.l.f’s newest product, the Big Mood Mascara. “I love the hourglass brush because it creates bold voluminous lashes that separates the lash hairs,” says Simkin.
To fill in Rae’s brows she used the Wow Brow Gel and finished off the whole look with a dab of e.l.f.’s Lip Plumping Gloss in Mauve Lady to add a subtle warm color.
And voilà! The most impressive part of Rae’s entire beauty look just might be how affordable it is — she stepped out looking like a million bucks but the entire process only cost $96. That alone makes her a winner.
Shop the star’s look below.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.