Celeb make-up artist Sheika Daley’s magnificence necessities

James Harris/CNN Underscored

Sure, mega celebrities like Zendaya, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Keke Palmer and Taraji P. Henson are true beauties, but when they want to be red-carpet or magazine-cover ready, they all turn to celebrity makeup artist Sheika Daley. Often crisscrossing the globe to work with her A-list clients, Daley got her chops as a protégé of Pat McGrath, and today, even multi-billion-dollar beauty brands are lining up to work with her.

The secret to her success? Well, for one, it’s that 24/7 work ethic. Daley’s malleability and, of course, talent also played a key role in landing her where she is today. “I’m always adjusting and always cultivating for one particular moment in time,” Daley tells CNN Underscored. “For instance, when I’m working with Zendaya on a Lancôme shoot, the look is natural — we want to make it look like she has nothing on in order to emphasize the quality in the products. But then, when I’m working with Nicki Minaj and we’re doing a music video, she’ll want to look like a totally over-the-top character. The job depends on the client and what their needs and wants are for that particular day.”

As Lancôme’s global international artist, Daley exclusively uses the brand’s products and is tasked with doing the shoot makeup for all ambassadors — the likes of whom include Julia Roberts, Penélope Cruz, Lupito Nyong’o and, of course, Zendaya — in addition to traveling the world to educate the brand’s national artists about new products. What she values the most, however, is her newfound seat at the table.

“It’s not lost on me that I’m working with one of the biggest makeup brands in the world,” she says. “I’m sitting here having a conversation with the president of the company, and she’s really listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth and taking the information that I’ve given her, and it’s trickling down the chain of command. I’m seeing real results happen within weeks.”

Below, Daley shares the beauty products she can’t live without, including the ionic facial steamer she uses and her go-to makeup sponges.

How does Daley like to start her day? With a good steam session, that’s how. “A steamer is just really great for your face,” she says. “It pulls out all the impurities and cleans your pores, and your skin is just softer and so hydrated afterwards.” Also great for reducing breakouts and increasing circulation in your skin, this at-home steamer has more than 3,500 Amazon reviews — 80% of which are 5 stars. 

Beautyblenders are essential,” Daley says. “My favorite ones are the little mini black ones because they really get into tight spaces — like the little corners underneath the eyes where you’re placing concealer. The mini ones are just so great for detailing.” Packed with precision tips, rounded sides and a flat bottoms, the Mini Pro sponges work with creams, liquids and powders to deliver an edgeless, streak-free facade.

“Everyone should have one of these,” Daley says. “If your lashes get a little clumpy from mascara, you comb this through them to clean them up, but afterwards the volume is still there.” Designed to fit right around the lash line, the comb’s gold-plated teeth separate each individual lash, while simultaneously removing excess mascara.

Describing Elora Lane as “my baby,” Daley launched her business in 2017 and has slowly grown her company’s product offerings. “All the lashes are custom-made, and they’re all designed by myself,” she says. “We have about 28 styles of vegan synthetic lashes that range from super bold to super natural. The only lashes you’ve ever seen on any of my clients have been Elora Lane.” The EL-20 style is great for an everyday look, adding volume and depth in a natural way.

How should you be applying those Elora lashes? With Duo, of course! “Duo is a great partner brand that works really well with all of our lashes,” she says. “I’ve been using [it] forever, and it’s just the best lash glue out there.” Boasting more than 29,000 5-star reviews, the hypoallergenic glue is a cult favorite because it’s easy to apply, fast drying and virtually invisible. 

When it comes to a moisturizer, Daley is devoted to Lancôme. “I’m an Absolue girl. I’ve been using this whole line for a very long time and each product is incredible,” she says. “I use this moisturizer every day — alongside the eye cream and the lip balm. I’m addicted to it all!” Formulated with rose extracts, squalane and coconut oil, the moisturizer “smells insanely good,” according to Daley, and has a thick, ultra-hydrating texture.

Daley turns to this facial massager as a tool to get her skin ultra moisturized. “I like a lot of serum — a lot more than normal — and I use that as a base for this massager,” she says. “The TheraFace PRO helps plump the skin, and it helps build up collagen underneath the layers of the skin too. It’s just like a little facial exercise that strengthens the muscles that you don’t normally use, thus combating lines.” A hero product if there ever was one, the TheraFace Pro delivers percussive massages, has a built-in microcurrent ring made to firm and tighten skin, and comes with LED lights that help reduce wrinkles and acne.

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