The Man Behind Lizzo's Makeup Looks on Her Surprising Aftershow Beauty Ritual
When I try to imagine what it would be like working with Lizzo, I picture a lot of laughing and fulfilling girl talk that would leave me feeling completely energized and ready to conquer the world. As it turns out, according to her go-to makeup artist Alexx Mayo, I'm not that far off.
Mayo and Lizzo have been working together for about three years now, and the opportunity that set it all in motion kind of popped up out of the blue. "[Lizzo was] planning on shooting a couple of music videos and the makeup artist who was working with her at the time wasn't available for both videos," he told POPSUGAR. "My friend who was her assistant at the time called me up and asked me if I was available, and it just so happened that it turned out to be for the music video for 'Water Me,' which was super exciting." Mayo had heard a few of her songs but he really didn't know much about what she stood for and the "whole story," as he puts it.
"When I met her, we instantly had this connection," said Mayo. "I instantly felt like we've known each other for so long. We immediately were laughing and she understood all my references within the first 10 minutes — that's always a good sign."
That was in 2017 — before Lizzo was plunged into the spotlight with "Truth Hurts" on the Billboard Hot 100 list in 2019. "It just feels really rewarding to be able to contribute to her music and her brand," said Mayo. "And I think that I feel very grateful and very fortunate to have been on this journey with her."
Keep reading to hear what it's like having the dream job of being Lizzo's makeup artist and learn all about Mayo's insider beauty tips.
On Lizzo's Signature Beauty Look
When you think of what Lizzo is best known for in terms of her beauty looks, it's hard to pin-point just one thing — she really likes to mix it up. One day, she's rocking a bold neon eyeliner look and the next, she has on a sultry brown and gold smoky eye. The constant: Mayo is usually behind the creation.
"We are very big about playing on mood," said Mayo. "Sometimes we're feeling very energized or loud or colorful and bright. And sometimes, we have days where we're feeling emotional. I feel like that really reflects in the makeup."
But no matter what the mood of the makeup is that day, Mayo's favorite thing to play up on Lizzo might surprise you; it isn't her eyes, or her lips — it's actually her cheeks. "This is a feature that doesn't get enough attention," said Mayo. "She has these beautiful cherub cheeks that I love playing with." That usually entails contouring her cheeks and applying some purple blush.
His Secret Weapon For Ultra-Pigmented Eyeshadow
No matter what type of eyeshadow look he's creating, Mayo has one product that he relies on every time to really make the look pop. "I get asked all the time, 'How do you get eyeshadows to be so vibrant or to be so saturated?' and I would not be able to do that without an eyeshadow primer," said Mayo. "And specifically, the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($24) is my secret weapon."
His Favorite Lizzo Makeup Look to Date
To say that Mayo has a lot of material to choose from when it comes to selecting a favorite makeup look is a big understatement. With ample red carpet moments, viral music videos, and photo shoots to choose from, picking one is asking a lot.
"I feel like it changes so often," said Mayo. "I think a big moment that I'm super proud of and almost a pinch-me moment was the Rolling Stone cover and shooting that with David LaChapelle. Having his photos of Rolling Stone in my bedroom as a teenager and actually working with him and seeing the makeup being captured the way that I envisioned it, I think that was this surreal moment."
His Hack For Faking a Complexion as Radiant and Glowing as Lizzo's
We can all agree that Lizzo has flawless, glowy skin, right? Right. Mayo has a hack for achieving this at home. "I'm really big on skin care," said Mayo. "I love Sunday Riley and their facial oils, are something that I love to mix into my foundations to give them more luminosity and more hydration." Try it with the Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil ($40).
The Surprising Ritual He and Lizzo Share
Speaking of skin care, you might be surprised to learn that Mayo's job as Lizzo's makeup artist goes past just applying her makeup before a show or red carpet event. "On tour, after every show, a part of the beauty process is taking the makeup off and ensuring that the skin is hydrated and cleansed and ready for the next day," said Mayo. "So we have these little mini facials after every show to take everything off."
This mini facial that Lizzo and Mayo do starts with a double cleanse with the Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil ($43). "It's great, because on dry skin, you literally just massage it in and you can go over the eyes and it breaks down everything," said Mayo. "Then when you activate it with water, it turns into this milky consistency and it really takes everything off."
His Tip For Thriving Right Now at Home
With the global pandemic happening right now, Mayo and Lizzo's work together has been put on a temporary pause but he's using this time to work on his craft and stay inspired, as he encourages everyone else to do, too.
"We went from really traveling the world for nine months, almost nonstop and really just being on the go, to have that come to a halt and really sit still," said Mayo. "That was a really big change for me initially, but it has really allowed me to just reflect. I've been using this time to stay inspired, so I'm revisiting photography books that I'd loved, doing a little makeup on myself, just keeping the juices flowing. Everything will change soon and we will create again, soon."