Allure

Few contemporary stars switch up their looks more dramatically or with more regularity than Cardi B, who, in her very brief time in the limelight, has given us more transformations than we can count. Thankfully, we don’t have to, since Allure got Cardi’s makeup artist Erika La’Pearl to give us a retrospective rundown of many of the rapper’s already iconic looks—as well as behind-the-inspiration tips on how each was created.

The best tea from La’Pearl? How to save face on the fly. Take Cardi’s matte lip for the Met Gala, for which La’Pearl improvised, using setting powder to mattify a glossy finish. Or her flawless face for her Jimmy Fallon appearance, which was accomplished even after La’Pearl’s standby ring light broke. And that turquoise eye that popped against Cardi’s all-white-everything Coachella performance? A last-minute game change when La’Pearl’s go-to nude shade went missing.

If it sounds like a series of happy accidents, it is; but it’s also the true test of a pro to be able to improvise and come up with an even better solution than planned. Because inevitably, accidents happen—but the limelight waits for no one.

But Cardi’s makeup artist isn’t the only one giving up her beauty secrets; Allure also puts Rihanna’s and Beyoncé’s makeup artists in the hot seat to revisit some of their best looks.

Granted, it helps to be working with a celebrity canvas (and budget), but it’s always a worthwhile reminder that when it comes to creating camera-ready celebrity moments, it takes a village.