Lana Del Rey’s Makeup Artist Shares His Favorite Tips and Tricks

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If you don't know Etienne Ortega by name, chances are high that you've drooled over a makeup look he's created. Ortega is a celebrity makeup artist known for touching the faces of superstars like Christina Aguilera, Demi Lovato, Mariah Carey, Kris Jenner, and Lana Del Rey — just to name a few.

He's the man behind Lana Del Rey's Coachella makeup that everyone is still talking about, and he's also the founder of his eponymous makeup brand that launched earlier this year. Ortega has a lot going on, but he took the time to sit down and chat about the inspiration behind his newest venture, as well as to spill the tea on the tips he uses daily on his most famous clients. Keep scrolling to read more.

Ortega has been in the beauty business for 17 years, so why launch a beauty brand now, you ask? In 2021, he was diagnosed with stage two cancer, and he underwent two surgeries, as well as chemotherapy. This was all while building his line and continuing to work with his celebrity clients. "Going through cancer made me open my eyes to so many things," he tells PS. "Life is so short, and I think everyone should do what they want and follow their dreams. I only have one life to live. I want to make the most out of it."

Once he fully recovered, he decided there was no better time to make his dream of launching a makeup brand a reality. "It's always been in the back of my head to have a brand, but 10 years earlier wasn't the right time. Now, I feel I've hit different milestones. I've gone through a lot of things in my personal life."

His first collection launched in March 2024 and includes five products: the Blu Nectar Lip Oil ($21), the Agave Glow Color Stick ($22), the Liquid Icon Hyper Gloss ($18), the Soft Contour Lip Liner ($16) and the Striptease Makeup Remover ($12).

The line is (for now) centered around lip products, which, for Ortega, just makes sense. "Lips have always been my favorite," Ortega says. "You could wear a little makeup: a little foundation, a little eye makeup, but if you always have a lip — it's like an empowerment product."

Ortega's sacred heart lip technique recently went viral on social media, and it's a method he uses on his celebrity clientele frequently. He says it's all about drawing very defined, precise lips that are also symmetrical. "You could do it with your natural line, [but] I always like to overdraw the top of it for a more poutier lip," he says. "Playing with the combos and the dimension between doing a really dark liner with a really light center and then a gloss is kind of my obsession."

While he does have plans to expand his brand, he's a little preoccupied with his celebrity clients at the moment. Ortega is responsible for keeping some of the most famous faces in the industry look snatched all night long, and that includes through long concerts in every climate.

His biggest tip for flawless makeup? "It always starts with prep," he says. "I always encourage my clients to drink a lot of water the day before a big event or the day of the event." From there, if you want your makeup to last, Ortega says it's important to remove all the oils from your face before going in with moisturizer and other skin-care products. He also always preps the skin with the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water ($83). Next, he goes in with a primer. "I haven't always been a big fan of primers," he says, admitting that he's since changed his ways and now likes to use them for the T-zone area.

He also implores you not to be afraid of using a ton powder. "A lot of my coworkers or colleagues that have watched me work [are] always like, 'Wow, I didn't realize that you used this much powder,'" he says, noting that it's the only way to ensure the makeup won't melt and run while they're on stage for two-plus hours. "A lot of people like to just dust on powder, but it won't work."

Ortega even uses a bit of powder on the lips, which is his biggest tip for getting your products to stay in place all night. He suggests prepping them with lip oil while you do your base makeup. "Once your lip oil has set in, wipe it off with a wipe," he says. "Make sure you have nothing, no oils, no residue, or anything. Then do a little pat with your powder puff to remove the moisture, and then do your lip liner and your lipstick," he says. "It's a game-changer."

He used this hack while doing Del Rey's makeup at Coachella. There were no touch-ups and by the end of the set, she was still beautiful."

Ortega's favorite powder just so happens to be a cult classic: the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($47), which he says he prefers to apply with a puff versus a brush.

All of this said you may be shocked to learn that Ortega isn't a fan of baking. "I don't like to bake anymore because I think it adds texture to pores and fine lines," he says. If you're concerned about making your under-eye makeup last, he also has a fix for that.

He says that hydrating the under-eye area is key, so he starts with a rich product like the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Eye Base ($64). "It's a lot of hydration without oil," he says. "When you start to do a lot of oil, that's what makes your makeup break up and crease. If you want a really bright under-eye, instead of baking, use a concealer one shade lighter than the one you're used to using." Then, finish it off with some setting powder. It will give you the brightness you typically get from baking.

Because Ortega works with so many different celebrities, he says it's hard to nail down a favorite type of look to do. "I just love makeup and the whole process," he says. "The confidence that every client gets after we're done with glam — that's what I seek. That's what I love about any look. Giving them that excitement, that confidence for them to go about their day."

Renee Rodriguez is a staff writer and social producer for PS. She writes across all verticals, but her main areas of expertise focus on fashion and beauty content with an emphasis on reviews and editor experiments. She also produces social content for PS's TikTok and Instagram accounts.