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2020 Soul Train Awards - Presented By BET - Show

Source: Leon Bennett/STA 2020 / Getty

This past Sunday we watched the stars get dolled up for the Soul Train Music Awards. Among them all was R&B crooner Ella Mai. The soulful singer wore a black pinstriped suit with a matching top hat. Makeup artist and beauty expert Emily Cheng gives us the low down on the inspiration behind her glam look and what she used to execute it.

What kind of beauty look were you going for?

“Glammed, androgynous and sophisticated. We kept the lines clean and definition sharp to go with the rest of the look. I wanted the lips to stand out as this look came with a hat that shadows the upper half of her face. However, I still defined the eyes so they would stand out but kept it clean. No color, just contour and black eyeliner.”

How did you prep her skin?

“I cleansed her face with refreshing towels. I applied Shiseido’s Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask for about 10 minutes then took a hot towel to do a quick steam so the serum from the mask would penetrate further. At this step, I took notice of any dry patches and gently scrubbed with the towel. I find (dry patches) usually in-between the eyebrows, around the nose and mouth. I massaged the remainder of the serum into the skin. Once that is absorbed I massaged in the serum, moisturizer and eye cream. I take my time to do this so that everything is well absorbed and the skin feels smooth. Lastly, I blot the t-zone with tissue.”

Ella Mai Makeup for soul train awards

Source: Emily Cheng / Emily Cheng

How did you execute her face?

“I started by applying Shiseido Synchroskin Self-Refreshing Foundation in Oak 330 all over and then using 330 I create depth around the edges of the face like the hairline/forehead and jawline. Ella’s skin is pretty flawless so I used just a dab of Shiseido Synchroskin Self-Refreshing Concealer 302 right under the eyes and blended out edges with 203. To finish the base I lightly set the t-zone with Shiseido Synchroskin Synchro Skin Invisible Silk Loose Powder Matte.

I slightly contour with Shiseido InnerGLow Cheek Powder in Cocoa Dusk and Berry Dawn on the apple of the cheeks. Lastly I tapped Shiseido Aura Dew Solar on the inner corner of the eye, the cheekbones, bridge of the nose and cupids bow for highlight and further dimension.”

Ella Mai Makeup for soul train awards

Source: Emily Cheng / Emily Cheng

“For the eyes, I worked on creating elongated depth by using the Shiseido Kajal InkArtist in Tea House. I traced out the contour/shape and very lightly blended it out. With concealer I sharpened and cleaned up the contour so that the shape and depth really pops. Then I created a wing on the outer corner of the eye blending inward with Shiseido MicroLiner Ink in Black. Next, taking the same liner I filled in the bottom waterline, upper and bottom lashline. I did a couple of layers to get a very intense black. Finished the eye with Shiseido Imperial Lash Mascara Ink Waterproof top and bottom. Doing three coats to get a very lashy look.

I muted her lip line with the lightest touch of 302 concealer. Then going in with Shiseido LipLiner InkDuo Prime and Line in Espresso to sculpt the shape. I took a brush and blended the lip line inward, leaving a slight fade as the color goes into the center.”


Source: Emily Cheng / Emily Cheng

This detailed tutorial gives you everything you’ll need to execute Ella Mai’s flawless Soul Train Awards look. What do you think? Are you feelin’ this makeup beat?


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LET’S MAKEUP: Get The Scoop On Ella Mai’s Flawless Soul Train Awards Beauty Look  was originally published on