Go Inside Taraji P. Henson's Emmys Getting-Glam Routine!

The Empire star invites us inside her big-night prep

Photo: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Taraji P. Henson isn’t afraid to go bold on the red carpet (just check out her most dramatic beauty moments here). So when she arrived to the 2016 Emmy Awards in a show-stopping custom canary yellow Vera Wang gown, she — of course — had equally stunning makeup to go with it. Check out our exclusive behind-the-scenes look at Henson’s busy day of getting glam with makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff.

For Sunday’s awards show, Sheriff supplied Henson a “soft, smoldering goddess” makeup look to go with her low-key curls. (The actress later swapped her look for a blunt bob-and-bangs combo mid-show!)

The makeup had to be kept warm to complement the Empire star’s showstopping Vera Wang dress, says Sheriff. “Yellow is such a vibrant color, so you don’t want compete with it,” she tells PeopleStyle. “It’s best to do earthy, rich colors and focus on radiant, glowing skin, especially with darker skin tones — it looks much more chic.”

Sheriff says the final look was decided on hours before the show, as the details surrounding the custom Vera Wang gown were kept under lock and key. “My first time seeing the dress was today,” says Sheriff. “Vera Wang’s team was amazing, and Jason Bolden (Taraji’s stylist) kept this look very top secret, so no leaks would get out.”

Ashunta Sheriff

But before a makeup brush was applied, Sheriff squeezed in a mini-spa session for Henson using a few Kate Somerville products, including the Goat Milk De-Puffing Eye Balm to de-puff the eyes, the DermalQuench Liquid Lift to hydrate the skin and the Quench Oil-Free Serum to plump and radiate skin from within.

“Taraji is amazing with her skincare regimen, and she stays hydrated, eats well, so there isn’t much needed in terms of additional prepping,” Sheriff tells PeopleStyle. “I just tell her to make sure she hydrates leading up to a big event. We love the Quench serum for giving skin that glow-from-within look.”

Ashunta Sheriff

After a light layer of foundation, the makeup pro applied her own Perfect Blend Stick by Ashunta Sheriff in Tan to give the star’s skin an even, slightly contoured appearance. But to amp up the glow factor, Sheriff brushed on Henson’s own M.A.C Cosmetics x Taraji Highlight The Truth powder highlighter onto the star’s cheekbones for a radiant finish. (We want to get our hands on it too — but the collection sold out so fast, not even Henson’s mom could snag a palette!)

RELATED VIDEO: Modern Family‘s Sarah Hyland Admires Taraji P. Henson’s Emmys Red Carpet Look

Ashunta Sheriff

As for Henson’s eyes, Sheriff created a “soft rose glow effect,” lightly dusting the M.A.C Cosmetics x Taraji Highlight The Truth powder highlighter onto the actress’s lids by tapping it on with her finger, and then adding the coppery shade of the M.A.C Cosmetics x Taraji Glow bronzer to the corner of the star’s eyes for an extra pop.

RELATED PHOTOS: The Most Gorgeous Gowns of the Night!

Sheriff sketched a tight, precise line onto Henson’s upper lash line using M.A.C’s Penultimate Eye Liner and added major volume with several coats of Haute and Naughty To Black Lash Mascara.

Ashunta Sheriff

Sheriff finished off the look by lining Henson’s lips with M.A.C Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Cork and then filled it in with a “nutty nude” lipstick hue from M.A.C (Strip Me Down).

So, what did Henson think of the final look? She loved it, says Sheriff. “She was very pleased because she’s a less is more kind of girl,” the pro tells PeopleStyle. “Her [Empire] character Cookie wears heavy makeup, and Taraji is a natural beauty who loves a nice, healthy glow.”

What do you think of Taraji’s bold beauty look for the Emmys? Share below!

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