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Jussie Smollett's Grooming Tips on Empire

Jussie Smollett's Grooming Tips on Empire

Jussie Smollett Grooming Routine
Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Empire's lead makeup artist Karen Lynn Accattato has groomed everyone from Smollett to POTUS

Sure, Jussie Smollett doesn't need a lot of help to look cute, but as Jamal Lyons on Fox's hit show Empire, the actor has no room for error, and that's partly thanks to the series' resident makeup artist, Karen Lynn Accattato.

As the "token white girl" (her words, not ours) in a mostly black crew, Accattato had to earn the cast's trust. "The first day, Terrence Howard was sitting in my chair," she remembers, "and he looked over at the department head and said 'You're gonna let this white girl do my makeup?' so I replied 'If I'm good enough for Barack Obama, I think I can handle you!' That sold my deal with everybody."

A Chicago resident, Accattato was indeed in charge of the President's grooming and makeup when he ran for Senate and during the 2008 election, and although she says she doesn't like to name-drop, "Barack" is her weapon of choice to break down stereotypes. Here, Accattato talks us through her prepping process with Empire's breakout star, Jussie Smollett.


"The most important thing is skincare, because with HD cameras, if the skin isn't right, nothing is going to look right," Accattato says. "Wash your face with Dove Men+Care Face Wash Sensitive (5 fl. oz., $6), good if you have oily skin, or a tendency to break out. I apply it and put a hot-steamed towel over the face wash, and use circular motions to really lift up the dirt and bacteria. You need clean skin to prevent blemishes and shine."


"A lot of guys use the wrong shaving cream and end up with drier skin," Accattato notes. "A hydrating cream, like Dove Men+Care Pro-Moisture Shave Cream Sensitive (5 fl. oz., $6.49), will prevent redness and tugging. As a finishing step, apply a moisturizer such as the new Dove Men+Care Ultra Hydrating Cream (1.69 fl. oz., $7.49), which helps regenerate the skin, and has a matte finish. I even use it on women."


"It drives me crazy that a lot of guys don't take care of their eyebrows," she says. "I like the brows to look naturals: I just clean up the bridge of the nose with tweezers. Sometimes the eyebrows look messy because they get too long. Brush them up, take scissors, and cut off the extra length over the arch of the brow. Then brush them down, and repeat."


"I useCollyre Bleu eye drops to really make the eyes really pop on camera," Accattato says. "If Jussie comes in looking tired, I put a touch of MAC Studio Concealer and Correct Palette ($40) that give you several colors to cover up blemishes and razor burn. The mistake that most people make with concealer is to use only one color, which makes it look obvious. Those pro palettes allow you to mix several shades to blend in with your skin tone."


"Add a touch a lip balm. My favorite it Burt's Beeswax in a tin (0.3 oz, $3.30)," Accattato says. "I find that lipbalm sticks tend to coat your lips with wax, but won't replenish hydration. If you don't have chapstick on hand, use your regular moisturizer."


"To prevent shine, I use Mehron Touch-Up Anti-Shine Gel (0.5 fl. oz., $10,99). It blocks the oil from seeping through and deflects the light from bouncing off the skin. If you can't get it, use a no-color blot powder (try MAC or Dermalogica) to knock down the high lights and smooth out the skin's texture. Using a scrub with natural pumice exfoliant, such as Dove Men+Care Face Scrub Deep Clean (5 fl. oz., $4.99) once or twice a week will also improve the texture of your skin in the long run."

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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