Inside Kelly Clarkson's Grammys Glam Session
Kelly Clarkson's makeup artist shares behind-the-scenes details of the making of the nominee's Grammy beauty look
Kelly Clarkson may be fangirling over Meryl Streep (TBH who wouldn’t), but we’re fangirling over the singer’s grand entrance at the 2018 Grammy Awards. The nominee, 35, stepped on the carpet in a gold embellished Christian Siriano gown and carried a white rose in support of the Time’s Up movement. She complemented the look with ethereal hair and makeup, and we’ve got all the details on how her dreamy beauty moment came together from her pro, Ashley Donovan.
Fun fact: Clarkson and Donovan have been working together for 15 years! “I’ve been doing her makeup since we were teenagers! We grew up together in Texas. I used to help her get ready for her shifts as a comedy club cocktail waitress before she auditioned for American Idol.”
And Donovan is thankful for their partnership. “I’m so grateful to have Kelly’s trust in me as an artist, and for her allowing me creative freedom with her looks. She’s always down for anything.”
For tonight’s look, “I imagined Kelly as a queen on the carpet,” says Donovan, who was inspired by her custom Christian Siriano gown. “I envisioned a softly smoked metallic eye and high blush placement as a nod to the flushed cheeks of the women in renaissance paintings.”
Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Grammys coverage to get the latest news on music’s big night.
The pair’s skin prep started the evening before the big event. “I had Kelly use Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask and Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil.” Then, minutes before her makeup application, “She applied Tata Harper’s Reparative Moisturizer and Restorative Eye Créme. Her skin was glowing!”
Next, Donovan moved on to her eyes so as not to “worry about shadow fallout on the skin.” After applying a touch of foundation and powder on her eyelids, she a swept “Enigma” from makeup icon Pat McGrath’s Mothership IV Decadence palette.
“Pat is the queen of opulent finishes and intense pigments. She’s been an inspiration of mine since the beginning of my career.”
Donovan then lined the top and bottom of Clarkson’s lids with the Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner in Brownie. “I kept it close to the lash line and only applied to the outer two-thirds of the eye to keep an open look.”
She softened and smoked out the liner with a small dense smudge brush, extending slightly past the outer corner of the eye for a winged effect. “Next, I highlighted the inner corner of her eye with “Sterling,” another shade from the Decadence palette.
To finish the eye, she applied “a few Ardell knot-free individual lashes to the outer third of the lash line, and then applied a few coats of Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara.”
Then, Donovan pulled out another big time beauty line, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. “I primed her skin with the Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer using a foundation brush. That is also my secret to cleaning up any eyeshadow that may have fallen onto the skin while doing eyes. After, I mixed Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 190 and 210 and buffed into Kelly’s skin with the brand’s Full Bodied Foundation brush.”
She continues: “This foundation is my new obsession. It diffuses the skin like a dream and has great staying power.” Ours, too, Kelly. Ours, too.
Donovan brightened under Clarkson’s eyes using a small amount of Marc Jacobs Beauty Remedy Concealer Pen in Rendezvous. “This is so lightweight, but has great coverage and reflects light beautifully.”
For a subtle contour, Donovan “blended Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinsticks in a mix of Amber and Mocha into the cheekbones and jawline. For a pop of cheek color, I applied Marc Jacobs Beauty Air Blush Soft Glow Duo in Flesh and Fantasy high on the cheekbones and into the temples like a goddess.”
With a modern lip look in mind, the pro picked Pat McGrath Labs LuxeTrance Lipstick in Donatella. “Then I gently lined them with Marc Jacobs Beauty Poutliner in Nudeist. I opted for a nude lip to keep the focus on her eyes and cheeks.”
She finished by dusting “a bit of Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Powder to Kelly’s t-zone to prevent unwanted shine.”
Donovan says Clarkson’s glam squad (herself, stylist Candice Lambert and hairstylist Robert Ramos) “work together like a well-oiled machine. We inspire each other and always strive to make sure Kelly’s look is balanced.”
And the trio didn’t disappoint: “Kelly felt beautiful in her look. She is always so complimentary of her entire glam team. She jokingly says we have magic wands and Harry Potter skills.”
CBS is broadcasting the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET.