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Behind Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2 Makeup With Pat McGrath

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Photo: Courtesy of Charlotte Rutherford.

“Working with Nicki on such an amazing album has been an absolute dream come true,” legendary Makeup Artist, Pat McGrath tells ESSENCE. “Our sessions, filled with vibrant discussions about her album’s creative direction for makeup, were nothing short of inspiring and iconic.” Having had major collaborations with Nicki Minaj in the past– like for the Met Gala and New York Times magazine– the 2 icons reconnected for her latest album Pink Friday 2.

Referencing detailed briefs, fashion show archives, star-studded events, and editorial shoots, McGrath’s direction was as full circle as the album itself. “Ronald Watkins, a talented makeup artist working with Nicki, turned my concepts into reality, using PAT McGRATH LABS’ products to achieve each distinctive look.” They created over 6 beauty moments, with the makeup all harmonized to the rosy glow of Minaj’s iconic Pink Friday 2 mood. 

Below, McGrath breaks down the juicy details of the first Pink Friday 2 makeup look Nicki Minaj revealed.

Skin prep

“For Nicki’s skin, Ronald and I focused on creating a beautiful base using my Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection System, which gives the skin a radiant skin finish,” McGrath says. She uses products like the Divine Skin: Rose 001 The Essence and the Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation and Setting Powder to give the perfect canvas, which is “the same magical combination that I use for all of the runway and magazine work.” To call forth Minaj’s natural glow, McGrath powdered on the highlighters and blushes from her Divine Glow and Divine Blush ranges. 

The rosy glow

“I created over 6 unique looks, but this was the first one Nicki revealed,” McGrath says. The Barb posted the first look on Instagram a few months ago to tease her now released album. In a Rabanne two-piece dripping in crystals, she showcased a beauty moment which “evokes high glamor with a hint of daring.” Her makeup features the PAT McGRATH LABS Divine Blush + Bronze + Glow Trio in the Supernova Siren palette, which McGrath says sculpts and adds a radiant warmth to her complexion with the ‘Burnished Honey’ and ‘Midnight Orchid’ shades.

“Making sure her complexion radiated a gorgeous, rosy glow was central,” she says, with Minaj’s cheeks powdered with either the Skin Fetish: Divine Blush or Divine Blush: Legendary Glow Color Balm. “For a soft glow, we applied the balm to the cheeks, blending with fingertips for a subtle sheen,” McGrath details. Then, “for deeper vibrancy, we added multiple layers of the balm, using a brush or sponge to intensify the hue.” “And for that sculpted, lifted look,” she adds, “the Divine Blush, which is a powder formula, was swept from cheekbones to temples, adding a touch to the nose for a natural radiance.”

Eyes are the gateway to the soul. But for Pat McGrath, it is a gateway to Nicki Minaj’s “Gag City”. “We used the MTHRSHP Bijoux Brilliance palette for her mesmerizing eye makeup, with the shade ‘AMBER AURA’ as a base, ‘STAR GARNET’ for a metallic magenta accent, and ‘MIDNIGHT CHERRY’ to add depth along the creases,” McGrath says. “Her major wings were created using the Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner, while Dark Star Mascara was applied to add further drama to false lashes.” 

Pale pink lips

As for her lips, they were “lined with the Permagel Ultra Lip Pencil in [the shade] ‘Done Undone,’” she says. She finished the look with MatteTrance Lipstick in the shade Femmebot. With this combination, McGrath achieved a “gorgeous pale pink lip that harmonizes beautifully with the all-pink set.” 

The special ChromaLuxe touch

“My new ChromaLuxe Artistry Pigments also make an appearance in the Pink Friday 2 visuals,” she says. The limited-edition formula is an iconic statement creating a fantasy of creamy textures and foiled metallic finishes to the lids, lips or cheekbones. For Nicki, “we used the Chromaluxe Artistry Pigments to add mesmerizing sparkle and dimension to the many eye looks we dreamed up for the project.” 



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