By now, we all know no-makeup makeup looks have been trending for a long time– especially during fashion month. After all, the designers want the clothes to stand out, right? But, amidst all of the minimalism are people like makeup artist, Alexandria Richardson. The Chicago-born artist posted a TikTok that went viral this past August all about embracing the full beat. “If I’m gonna put it on, I’m gonna put it on,” Richardson tells ESSENCE.
The 24-year-old learned about the art of a full beat from her mother– who, while Richardson was growing up, could be found rocking eyeshadow compacts and foundation from the beauty supply store. “This made me think you were always supposed to put on a full face,” she says. “That was embedded in my mind. I’ve always done it and I’m going to continue to do it.”
These days, Richardson takes inspiration from the rarely revisited makeup era— from 2010 to 2016 — with each new look she creates. For her, full-coverage makeup is simply an accessory. “I feel like people always assume that when you wear makeup, you don’t like yourself or that you need to show more of yourself,” she says. “I feel like [my natural beauty] is still shining through, even with all of what I have on,” she continues. “It’s like an extension of my personality.”
Below, the makeup artist talks about why full beats should be more embraced in the beauty industry, makeup application tips, favorite products, and more.
ESSENCE: How would you define “full beat” makeup?
Alexandria Richardson: I think it’s like painting. You need to wear a primer, you need to wear foundation, there’s concealer, and even creme contour is an option. But in general, I think a full beat should include bronzer, highlighter, three different powders, blush, eyeshadow, lip liner, lip gloss, lipstick, and eyelashes.
What inspires your looks?
Richardson: It depends on where I’m going. For example, I’m in a few fashion shows right now, so when I go to those rehearsals, I try to kind of keep it like this, [a natural beat], before the show. For the after parties, my main go-to is graphic eyeliner. I also like to play a lot off of my eyebrows as well. When they’re super thick, I like to brush them out or I like to have blonde eyebrows, but the eyes are always really important.
How do you feel about minimal looks?
Richardson: There’s nothing wrong with minimal looks. I feel like when I posted that TikTok, people were insinuating that I was saying that you’re supposed to hate yourself. I never said that and then I also said that you don’t have to look like me. It’s just emphasizing the point that why are you only putting on that little amount? Sometimes I feel like, what’s the point?
The no-makeup makeup is fine in general. I do that when I’m going on castings for modeling, but I am putting on a foundation that is gonna cover my dark marks. I’m a Black woman, you know? I just kind of feel like it’s ok for certain things, but if I’m going out, if I’m going to the club, if I’m going to work, I’m getting fully dressed, if that makes sense.
What is your top makeup application tip?
Richardson: Usually when we do our nose contour, we just blend the concealer on the sides of our nose. I cover my whole nose with foundation and I don’t put a lot of cream contour on my nose. I feel like powder is enough and I bring the highlight within the two. So, really, it’s a science. I also like putting blush on my nose and a shimmery, pink highlighter on top of the blush. It maintains the rosiness but it still highlights the tip of your nose.
How does your makeup change from season to season?
Richardson: So right now it’s fall but in Chicago it’s hot. When it’s warm out, I’m a lot more matte. I go lighter on the foundation.
Do you have any looks you prefer for the fall?
Richardson: I prefer wing liner and full coverage eyeshadow. I like to apply the concealer, add some powder on the lid and do a really harsh wing with big lashes or little ones. I’ve really been into the little lash lately. Something about that really eats with a full beat to me. But I always wear the same kind of lip. But, I’ve been trying to switch it up with berry colored lip liners.