Ray of Light

Celebrity makeup artist Carl Ray (Mrs. Obama has him on speed dial), shares his tips for putting your best face forward this fall.

By Katie Bianco

For 18 months, our best accessory has been a ring light. But, as we start to make our way back into the real world, we have questions: What makeup should I wear for IRL interactions? Can I go back to wearing lipstick? Is there a way to make that Zoom filter work off-camera?

As we collectively tackle our beauty anxiety, we called in an expert. Carl Ray knows how to make your face fabulous. He’s the-makeup artist to Michelle Obama, standing just off camera for her many appearances on screen like her new kids show debut Waffles + Mochi on Netflix and moments when she broke the internet with her beat (inauguration).   He’s also turned his brush on the likes of Anna Wintour, Meryl Streep and Natalie Portman, to name a few.–

Here, he shares his skincare and beauty tips so you can pop even with a mask on.


“To me, skin is in and that’s really where it begins. You should treat it gently. Exfoliation is pretty key to get rid of and slough the skin so you can get down to your new skin. Your makeup applies well and lasts longer and your skin will be luminous.

You can manually or chemically exfoliate, but you don’t want to overdo, either. It depends on the skin, but exfoliation should happen one to two times a week.”


“[With mask wearing], makeup trends are still focused on eyes. Fun eyes, bold eyes, neon eyes. Go for a bold looking eye right now. Whether it’s an eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara, chartreuse, lavender, electric blues are all popular right now. I’m also seeing a lot of kitten eyeliner, which is a more understated version of the cat eye.”


“Blush is really in. Pat McGrath just came out with a whole line of blushes. And whatever Pat does, she’s always on trend…she really sets the trends.”


“I think you should wear an SPF everyday and mascara. Lip stains are always great. They stay without budging or smudging, plus it’s pretty and classic. Try a BB cream or CC cream. It’s quick and easy and you get all the components in one product.”


“Less is more [for makeup]. I love blotting papers. Instead of adding and caking, I prefer a blotting paper [to keep things fresh]. Use a finishing spray to keep things in place longer.”

More Stories


This month, we’re excited to share what and who inspires us, and to continue building on the journey we were once on, with new twists and turns.

  • Oct.2021

Paris, Unwrapped

Elisabeth Holder Raberin, a seventh generation owner of Ladurée, is currently masquerading as a New Yorker, but her heart remains in Paris.

  • Oct.2021

Fashion Forward

The Impact Fund for African Creatives (IFFAC), an investment initiative focused on the continent, will be unveiled during Paris Fashion Week.

  • Oct.2021

In the News

From Ryan Chetiyawardana’s boundary-pushing pursuit of delicious cocktails to Wolfgang Puck’s critiques on ice cream, catch up on these clips.

  • Oct.2021