A sign of an icon is that they can be identified by just a few of their beauty features. Here's an easy one: Platinum blonde hair. Bright red lipstick. A mole. Obviously, Marilyn Monroe. Here's another one: Long, high ponytail. Winged, cat-eye liner. Overdrawn matte lipstick. Duh, it's Ariana Grande.
Working as a makeup artist for a woman like Grande, who has such an identifiable signature look, might seem easy — she basically wears the same makeup uniform every day. But according to Ash K Holm, who has been working closely with Grande this year, it's a lot of pressure to add the right tiny twists to her signature look.
Grande's go-to looks include "everything from bronzed chiseled cheeks, sun-kissed highlighted skin, matte lips, winged liner, and wispy lashes," according to Holm, but she finds ways to freshen it up. She tells us she is always "working on ways to play off of her staple look using different products, colours, and techniques."
The makeup pro, who's also worked with Kim Kardashian West and Khloé Kardashian, was actually able to get super creative recently for the music videos accompanying Grande's new album Sweetener. For "God Is A Woman," the makeup look features pastel, Georgia O'Keeffe-inspired paint, and Holm was able to create super-glossy, reflective skin for "The Light Is Coming" video.
"Honestly when you're working with an icon, you show up, figure out the vision, and execute," Holm says. "You don't have time to prepare or even think, you just execute. Sometimes you have to get creative, and that's why my kit weighs 500 pounds."
Probably the most iconic part of Grande's look — besides that ponytail — is that winged, cat-eye liner, and Holm has some insight into what she's been using on Grande recently.
As for how she gets such a perfect wing every time, Holm has some tips: "Use an angled eyeliner brush to extend the wing, and make sure the wing is angled upward towards the tail end of your eyebrows to lift the eyes up."
Though Holm can't reveal Grande's favourite products, she can tell us some of her own, which we'd guess end up on Grande's face from time to time, including Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Sheet Mask, Bioré Baking Soda Cleansing Micellar Water, Bliss Ex-glow-sion Moisturizer, Diorskin Forever Perfect Foundation, Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer, Smashbox Bronze Lights Bronzer, Supergoop Invincible Setting Powder, CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops, Revlon Volumazing Mascara, and Wet n Wild Natural Finish Setting Spray.
With Grande's album Sweetener set to debut on Friday 16th August, Holm assured us that Grande's look will continue to change ever so slightly, while still staying true to Grande's vision of herself. "I think we are always in the process of evolving and trying new things," Holm says.