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Get the Look With Queen Latifah's Star Makeup Artist Sam Fine

Mega movie and singing star Queen Latifah took to the stage to host the 35th annual People’s Choice Awards ceremony broadcasted live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. When preparing for her red-carpet and up close camera moments, the Queen turns to legendary makeup artist Sam Fine. The beauty guru knows how to get a woman gorgeous and has perfected the craft of cosmetic artistry. Just ask Iman, Tyra Banks, Jennifer Hudson or Vanessa Williams, all stars that come knocking at Sam’s door when they need that flawless finish. ESSENCE.com had the privilege of getting an inside look at Sam’s makeup magic tricks as he works his wonders on the cover girl.

ESSENCE.COM: What it is like working with Queen Latifah and how would you describe her approach to red-carpet beauty?

SAM FINE: She is a classic. Her risk taking comes from something small like a manicure. She has a thing she does where, she wears one crazy-colored nail. Last night she did clear polish and did one half of her nail burgundy. Her risk comes in small ways.

 When you’re on the red carpet you want to feel secure and leave less to chance. Lashes, smokey eye, etc. are classic statements. We’ll play a little with color like we did last night but it’s never something like, Wow, where is she going today? Last night we made the Queen’s lips the risky statement. 

ESSENCE.COM: How did you choose the color palate scheme for Queen Latifah’s lips, eyes and cheeks for the People’s Choice Awards?

FINE: I chose the color based on what she was wearing. She had a purple dress and a green dress. The key is to complement, not match! Pull in subtle shades of the color that contrast or complement the shade you are wearing. It’s NOT about matching.


ESSENCE.COM: What specific cosmetic products did you use to create Queen Latifah’s look? Please give some tips on how to use them.

FINE: The eyes were very important in this look. I used an eggplant shade to complement her dress on the crease of the eye and underneath the eye.

Eggplant shades are easier to wear than lilac and are closer to brown/mahogany tones. Try CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 4-Kit in Ice Princess, $4.66, ulta.com.







Lashes are so important. I don’t know anyone who can hit the red carpet without them. Mascara helps fuse the lashes with your own lashes. I used CoverGirl VolumeExact Mascara in Very Black, $6.36, ulta.com.


For Queen’s cheeks, I started by dusting on bronzer (CoverGirl Queen Collection Natural Hue Minerals Bronzer in Brown Bronze, $6.36, ulta.com). She already had a tan from the holidays so the bronzer helped to keep the golden glow golden. I followed that by layering on a rosy blush.





For the purple dress, I used a mauve yet neutral lip gloss to help make her lips really stand out against her skin. (Try CoverGirl Wetslicks AmazeMint in Pink Positive, $4.92, ulta.com). 







Then when she switched to the green dress, we used a cranberry shade (CoverGirl Queen Collection Vibrant Hue Color Lipstick in Cherrylicious, $4.66,  ulta.com), to really make the lips bold, glamorous and sexy.




ESSENCE.COM: How long did it take you to prepare Queen Latifah’s makeup? Describe the mood in her dressing room? 

FINE: Queen is a ball of fun. We bring our iPods and it is always like every woman’s trip to the beauty salon. Last night was our first job of the year together after the holidays so it was all chatting and catching up with fun stories. In terms of time, I’m a perfectionist, she knows that, as is her hairdresser, so we do a double team, which can be challenging, but it allows me a little more time to perfect what I’m doing. I can do a look from an hour to hour and a half. When you’re layering blush/bronzer and concealer/powers, you want a seamless finish so you spend the time perfecting, not applying.


ESSENCE.COM: What type of foundation and concealer did you use on the Queen?

FINE: CoverGirl Queen Collection Natural Hue Minerals Pressed Powder in Brown Bronze 1,  $7.79, walgreens.com; and Natural Hue Minerals Bronzer in Brown Bronze, $7.79, walgreens.com.


ESSENCE.COM: In tough economic times many women are cutting back on expensive department store products. What cosmetic products should a woman never skimp on?

FINE: You can buy mass brands at drugstores that have great return policies and are easy on the wallet. Don’t be shy; take the stuff that doesn’t work back. I think it’s really about getting more bang for your buck instead of skipping something. Look for products that are combined (bronzer/blush) or kits to double your experience.

ESSENCE.COM: Can you give a few tips for applying makeup during the cold winter months?

FINE: Warm up your makeup! Use a blow dryer to heat your foundation. It will go on easier and smoother and it won’t drag across the skin or sink into creases. Eyeliners are another product that get really cold. Make sure to store them in a warmer place. This goes for mascara as well so it won’t tug at your lashes and clump. Use a warm towel to the skin. Try sticking it in the microwave for a few minutes. It will open up the pores and prepare the skin.

ESSENCE.COM: In terms of beauty, who would you pick as the breakout star of 09?

FINE: We haven’t seen the best of what Jennifer Hudson has to give. I think as far as music goes, she has only hit the tip of the iceberg and 09 will be her year for music.


ESSENCE.COM: What are your forecasts for the top makeup trends in 09?

FINE: I never talk about trends because makeup is a personality – there are risk takers and then there are classics. One thing that never goes out of style is beautiful skin. Learning how to use bronzers and blush properly to bring out your natural beauty if extremely important.

Color is always going to be a big thing. We are seeing richer jewel tones on the runway but you have to translate it your own way – maybe it’s lip or eye, it depends on your personality.

ESSENCE.COM: Are there any cosmetic launches you’re anxiously waiting for in 09?

FINE: I am launching an Instructional DVD in April 2009, which will be sold at SamFine.com. It offers women an exclusive in-depth look at how to apply makeup to women of color. I’m so excited for everyone to see it! CoverGirl LashBlast Luxe is going to be great, which comes out in February.

ESSENCE.COM: Do you have a beauty resolution for 2009? if so please describe.

FINE: To play more and to stop taking makeup so seriously. I am always so concerned. Last night I worried that Queen’s lip was too much and that the purple was too matchy-matchy with her gown. I have clients I have worked with for over a decade and if I’m ever going to have some fun, now is the time.