Cardi B is undeniably one of the boldest, most vibrant personalities in music today. From her chart-topping hits to her unapologetic attitude, everything Cardi does is larger than life. Her makeup looks are no exception. Cardi regularly stuns fans with show-stopping beauty looks featuring dramatic eyeshadow, contouring for the gods, and the ultimate glam.
The mastermind behind Cardi’s iconic beauty style is her longtime makeup artist Erika La Pearl. La Pearl has been with Cardi since her early start, helping develop and perfect her signature glam squad goals aesthetic. Together, Cardi and La Pearl have created some of the most unforgettable celebrity makeup looks in recent history.
Fans obsess over recreating Cardi’s audacious beauty style. If you’ve ever wondered how you can get her strip club ready, red carpet glam, or music video slayage, learning her makeup artist’s tips and tricks is key. After years of experience working intimately with Cardi, La Pearl has developed a set of go-to beauty rules for executing next-level impact.
Here are the top beauty rules to take away from Cardi B’s makeup artist Erika La Pearl:
1. Prime and hydrate the skin first
La Pearl says one of the most crucial steps to getting Cardi’s flawless complexion is priming and hydrating the skin. Her favorite primer for giving skin a silky smooth finish is Make Up For Ever’s Step 1 Skin Equalizer Primer. She massages this into Cardi’s face before makeup to fill any fine lines, conceal pores, and create the perfect canvas.
When it comes to hydration, La Pearl reaches for moisturizers that give skin a dewy glow rather than a greasy look. She loves drenching Cardi’s face in hydrating serums and essences packed with hyaluronic acid. The Docolor Macro Vintage BioEssence is one of Cardi’s faves for a boost of radiance and vitality.
It’s essential not to skip this skin prep step, especially if you want foundation and complexion products to look airbrushed. Priming and hydrating is the secret to Cardi’s Insta-filter worthy complexion in real life.
2. Use a full coverage foundation
Cardi B is no wallflower. Her personality is big and bold, so naturally her makeup needs foundation that can keep up. La Pearl always uses a super full coverage foundation to give Cardi flawless coverage without ever looking cakey. Her holy grail is Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Wand. The wand applicator makes blending easy for a second skin look.
La Pearl warns that with full coverage bases, a little goes a long way. She dotingly applies the foundation in strategic areas where Cardi needs more coverage like under the eyes, over blemishes, and any discoloration. Then she buffs and blends it outward in thin layers so it appears seamless. The result is full coverage that still looks like naturally radiant skin.
3. Contour like your life depends on it
There’s no such thing as contouring lightly when it comes to Cardi B’s makeup routine. La Pearl relies on contouring to chisel Cardi’s facial structure to the gods. She enhances her naturally gorgeous bone structure by applying strategically placed bronzer and highlighter.
Cream contour products are La Pearl’s preference for blending seamlessly into the skin. She uses shades like Fenty Beauty’s Amber to add depth along the hollows of Cardi’s cheekbones. Then she expertly buffs the contour shade into the hairline and jaw as well for a lifted look.
La Pearl also carves out Cardi’s nose using a cooler-toned contour powder. She warns not to go overboard, as you still want the contour to look natural. The key is blending, blending, blending until there are no obvious streaks or lines. Fans go crazy trying to mimic Cardi’s flawlessly chiseled bone structure that’s really all thanks to La Pearl’s contour mastery.
4. Highlight, highlight, highlight
When Cardi B says she “like dollars, diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” her highlighter game perfectly matches that energy. La Pearl is devoted to strobed goddess skin using only the most blinding highlighters. She accentuates all of Cardi’s gorgeous facial features by strategically sweeping on luminizer.
For that wet glow look, La Pearl uses cream and liquid highlighters applied with a damp makeup sponge. Her ride or die is Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish Highlighter + Balm Duo. The buttery bombed balm imparts the most sensational sheen. After letting it set, La Pearl often intensifies the highlight by layering powder highlighter like Fenty Beauty’s Fire Crystal on top. It takes makeup layers to reach that ultimate strobe!
The finishing touch is spritzing with setting spray for an allover glow. Mario Badescu’s Glow Facial Spray is a staple in Cardi’s glam routine to lock in luminosity. Use your highlighters generously like La Pearl to get Cardi-level gleam.
5. Play with bold, dramatic eyeshadow looks
Cardi B’s eyeshadow looks are just as bold and daring as the rapper herself. La Pearl constantly experiments with bright colors, graphic shapes, and unexpected combinations when it comes to her eye makeup. She’ll mix mattes with shimmers, neons with neutrals, and glitters with creams for boundless creativity.
Some of Cardi’s most iconic makeup looks feature ultra-pigmented shadows swept across the lids and upwards toward the brows. La Pearl uses those vivid blocks of color as the base for cut creases, halo eyes, graphic liner shapes, and precision inner corner highlights.
The key is using highly pigmented, buildable eyeshadow formulas that layer well. La Pearl is a huge fan of Pat McGrath and Sugarpill for their intensely saturated shades. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors that you wouldn’t expect for exciting new effects. Take it from La Pearl and go bold or go home!
6. Complete the look with a statement lip
Since she stepped on the scene, Cardi B’s lips have been legendary. She even named her first studio album “Invasion of Privacy” after her privacy was invaded during a liposuction procedure. With her famous pout, a bold lip is the essential finishing touch to Cardi’s makeup looks.
La Pearl lines Cardi’s lips perfectly using lip liners two to three shades deeper than the lipstick. Then she uses lipsticks and glosses in everything from bright red to mocha nude to berry blue-red. Matte, satin, and mega-shine finishes all make appearances. La Pearl ensures the lips remain the focal point with balanced, more neutral eye looks.
Some of her top lip product picks are Fenty Beauty’s Stunna Lip Paint, NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment, and MAC’s retro matte formula. She keeps lipsticks flawlessly applied with regular touch-ups. Embrace brave colors and have fun with your statement lip à la Cardi B.
Additional Tips from La Pearl:
Beyond her signature steps and rules, Cardi B’s makeup artist Erika La Pearl has even more wisdom to drop:
- Don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside the box. Some of their best looks have been happy accidents.
- Invest in quality makeup tools like beauty blenders and precision brushes. High-end tools make application easier.
- Take your time and really blend. Rushing through application leads to unevenness. Always smooth edges thoroughly.
- Set makeup with powder and setting spray for increased longevity. La Pearl relies on Ben Nye’s Neutral Set to keep Cardi’s makeup sweat and transfer-proof.
- Makeup should enhance your natural beauty, not conceal it. Work with your features instead of against them.
- Stay inspired! La Pearl is constantly finding new ideas on Instagram and Pinterest to influence her next iconic beat on Cardi.
- Have fun with the entire glam process! Play your favorite music and get into the zone. Good energy translates into better beauty looks.
Recreating Cardi B’s makeup magic requires fearlessness, creativity, and top-tier skills. By studying her genius MUA Erika La Pearl’s techniques and rules, you can break into your own world of audacious beauty. Experiment with products until you find your perfect full coverage complexion, blinding highlight, sculpted contours, eyeshadow artistry, and punchy lip.
The ultimate tip from Cardi and her glam squad is to exude confidence no matter what makeup look you wear. When you feel beautiful and powerful, it radiates from within for an instantly captivating beauty presence. Own your look as fiercely as Cardi B and let your inner queen shine.