This past Wednesday was, undoubtedly, a high point in political history (we're still reveling in joy and relief), but we'd be remiss not to point out the high notes that Inauguration Day hit in the beauty and fashion categories, too. Lady Gaga wore a custom Schiaparelli Haute Couture outfit, Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman wore a double-breasted Prada Natté Toile Coat in the dreamiest shade of yellow, and Vice President Kamala Harris's Christopher John Rogers coat and dress have inspired us to wear purple (and only purple) for the rest of the year. Oh, and we most definitely can't forget former First Lady Michelle Obama, whose signature curls, divine smoky eye, and monochromatic maroon banked a permanent spot in our Saved folder. What's more, Obama's stunning Inauguration Day beauty look is super achievable, mask friendly, and finished off with one of our favorite mascaras of all time—Glossier's Lash Slick ($16). Surprised? We're not.
If you've been following me and my fellow beauty editor Courtney Higgs here on Who What Wear, you already know Glossier's famed mascara is our absolute favorite wand to ever hit the market. (The definition! The length! That flutter!) So when Obama's longtime makeup artist Carl Ray shared his step-by-step process with Elle on Thursday, our obsession was further validated by the fact that Lash Slick played a starring role in Obama's head-turning eye look. Pairing the mascara with a lush set of falsies (by Lilly Lashes, if you're curious), neutral shadow, and chocolate-hued shimmer, Ray created a beautiful eye-centric makeup look that just goes to show face masks need not put a cramp in our beauty style.
Keep scrolling—below, we're sharing Ray's complete Inauguration Day product breakdown so you can re-create Obama's mesmerizing look at home.
Michelle Obama's Inauguration Day Makeup Breakdown
Even though Ray didn't reveal the specific brand of foundation that he used on the former First Lady (apparently it's a secret!), he did use Nars's ultra-famous Radiant Creamy Concealer along with Fenty Beauty's Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick to create a flawless base.
Since the majority of Obama's face was safely covered with a mask, the focus of her makeup, not surprisingly, was spotlighted on her eyes.
"I knew that, since her whole face wouldn’t be visible, the eyes and lashes would be the star of this particular look!" Ray confirms.
"I wanted an impactful smoky eye for the event," Ray continues. "I was going for a dramatic glam eye that would really play well to the camera." To start, he opted for Viseart's 01 Neutral Matte Eyeshadow Palette, which "blends and builds effortlessly."
Next came eyeliner—two different kinds to be precise! The first was Pat McGrath Labs' PermaGel Eyeliner Pencil in Xtreme Black, followed by Fenty Beauty's beloved Flyliner Longwear Liquid Liner. Ray added the latter on top of the former to create a deeper, more dramatic look along the lash line. (This also creates the illusion of even more lash density!) "Flyliner is a true inky black that stays put all day and night," he tells Elle.
"They add definition to your eyes and enhance them to draw attention to your best features by simply adding length and color to your lashes, and again, for TV, we really need to make things a little more dramatic so her eyes shine," Ray adds in conclusion.