It must be tiring to be Taraji P. Henson. Seriously, the woman so regularly kills it on the red carpet, we’re ready to nickname her Buffy the Couture Slayer. At last night’s Academy Awards, she certainly lived up to the moniker, putting her own slightly gothic spin on the goddess-inspired trend that threatened to take over the red carpet.
Wearing a sleek bob styled by Tymothe Wallace and a Vera Wang couture gown chosen by stylist Jason Bolden (who also dressed Ava DuVernay this Oscar weekend), the actress showed off her famously toned body with yards of chiffon, sheer paneling and an up-to-there slit, flashing us a gleaming length of leg throughout the evening’s festivities.
And because we never tire of an epic slay here at The Glow Up, when we heard that Henson’s longtime makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff was dishing on the star’s look last night, we naturally wanted the goods. I mean ... who wouldn’t?
Fun fact: As both a model and, later, a first-time Grammy nominee, I was blessed to have my face polished to perfection by Ashunta Sheriff. I can personally attest that she is a master of her craft, and a makeup maven who makes contouring a breeze with the first-ever dual-ended foundation stick from her collection, Ashunta Sheriff Beauty. She’s also generous enough to share her expertise: Time spent in her chair is as educational as it is beautifying!
On that note, here’s our favorite secret to how Sheriff created Henson’s Oscar slay: Several components can be found right in your local drusgtore aisle. For instance, like Issa Rae’s Golden Globes makeup artist, Joanna Simkin, Sheriff looked no further than a reliable household name to make sure Henson’s skin took center stage last night. As she shared with The Glow Up:
1. “Because Taraji’s dress was Grecian and flowy and showed lots of skin, I wanted to make sure she was glowing and moisturized from head to toe! I used Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Lotion, made with deep healing moisturizers and Vaseline jelly; it was the perfect choice to show off her healthy, luminous skin.
2. “To start off her makeup, I used Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer. Then Perfect Blend by Ashunta Sheriff, a dual-ended foundation and concealer that helps you get even in one step. Perfect Blend is the first dual-ended foundation and helps to tone down redness. The formula feels lightweight and wears like a second skin, giving you medium to buildable coverage. I used the shade medium for a natural soft coverage.
3. “For Taraji’s already amazing cheekbones, I used my fingertips for a softening effect to highlight, using Danessa Myricks Enlight Illuminator powder in Confidence. Its super-pigmented shimmer is my favorite. I contoured using Cozette S145 Perfect Contour brush and Cozette Infinite Contour Palette to sculpt cheekbones.
4. “For the eyes, I used Kiss Beauty Blowout Lashes in Pixie. These lashes are perfect for sexy and soft looks; plus, Kiss makes affordable lashes that are comparable to high-end brands. I placed lashes close to Taraji’s lash line, then created a thin line using Kiss Waterproof Wonders precision-point eye liner to create definition. I always marry faux lashes and real lashes with Kiss Mascara in Black.
5. “Lastly, I finished the look off with lip liner in MAC Cork and filled in her lips as well, for longevity—layering ensures the color lasts longer. To finish the lip, I applied the Lip Bar Liquid Matte Creme in Savage and Drama Queen.”
Ashunta Sheriff and Taraji P. Henson are clearly a match made in makeup heaven—after all, what better color to use on Henson than “Drama Queen”? Henson certainly brought the drama last night, and with a slay game this consistent, we’re not sure which we’re more excited about: the Oscar-nominated actress’s next film, or her next appearance on the red carpet!