Britney Spears — who was honored with the Millennium Award at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday — took to the stage at the T-Mobile Arena to perform a high-energy medley of her greatest hits, wooing the crowd with throwback tunes from “Womanizer” to “Toxic.” Billboard chatted with the pop diva’s makeup artist Melanie Inglessias (who has worked with the superstar for five years) about creating Britney’s sexy look. “Britney is involved in the process and also trusting of her teams — it’s collaborative,” says Inglessias. But one thing the makeup artist has learned for sure? “She does love a smoky eye!”
?What were you thinking about when creating the red carpet and performance look for Britney?
Because Britney had a couple of outfit changes, I needed something that would look amazing across the board. I wanted healthy, gorgeous skin with luminosity and sexy smoky eyes in earth tones, and a nude but defined lip to finish the look. Glowing and sexy was the goal. The focus and the intensity were on her gorgeously captivating eyes.
How did you achieve the look?
I started with skin. I always want skin to look like skin. These products allow me to create coverage while letting the skin breathe and look natural. I used Tom Ford Illuminating Primer, EX1 Cosmetics Foundation Invisiwear, EX1 Cosmetics Concealer Delete, EX1 Cosmetics Invisiwear Compact Powder P300, Benefit Cosmetics The POREfressional mattifying gel, and EX1 Cosmetics Blusher in Peach.
How do you make sure the makeup will last throughout the night?
I am mindful on what I use to prepare her skin prior to makeup. I don’t over-moisturize or use products with oil in them. I use a great primer as a base to help ensure the makeup stays put and I stay away from slippery, glossy textures, sticking instead to matte and long lasting formulas. An oil-free foundation is a must and so is waterproof mascara.
And what about the eyes and lips?
We went for really sexy smoky eyes in brown and gold. To create more intensity, I lined the inside of her water line with a very black kohl pencil. The trick to this smoky eye is a lot of blending for a flawless finish. I used Laura Mercier Caviar Pencil in Cocoa, Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color in Naked Bronze, Tom Ford Eye Color Duo in Ripe Plum, Stila kajal eyeliner in Onyx, and Giorgio Armani Mascara Eyes To Kill. Lastly, I used Troy Surrat Moderniste Lip Pencil in Tender Basier and YSL Rouge Pur Couture #10.
What’s the thinking behind the look?
You have to keep in mind that for the performance, it’s a big stage and there are a lot of things going on. I always push the makeup a little stronger than I would if she wasn’t performing. It’s still very beautiful and the skin can look very natural, but everything has to be a little exaggerated. A good sharp brow is a must and to accentuate the highlighted parts of her face so the light goes to it and creates luminosity.
Any other favorite products right now?
The Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color in Naked Bronze and Golden Beach — can’t live without these! It’s so easy to achieve a lovely bronzed smoky eye. The colors are flattering on most women and the cream/shadow combo is fantastic!