Makeup Artist Beau Nelson is our Fall Artist in Residence

Welcome back to Artist in Residence, our series that brings the industry's most innovative makeup artists to Rose Inc for creativity and inspiration. Each season, you'll discover an original tutorial series — and the story behind it — created by an artist we love.

Makeup artist Beau Nelson, who counts famous faces such as Nicole Richie and Kristen Stewart as regular clients, became enamored with makeup and fashion when he was an actor in theater at a young age. "I just started buying magazines and educating myself about fashion," says Nelson, who was quickly drawn to the makeup looks within the glossy pages. 

From there, it was off to the beauty races. In true aspiring makeup artist fashion, he devoured the book Making Faces by the late Kevyn Aucoin, stocked his makeup kit, and practiced doing makeup on anyone who'd let him, which led to landing his first paying gig as a makeup artist at 15 years old. 

What makes Nelson a true power player in the beauty industry, though, is his multitude of talents. Nelson is also a photographer and works with brands on product development, both roles that inform his work as a makeup artist. His understanding of photography allows him to augment his makeup looks to appear the most flattering no matter the lighting situation, he says. 

As for where he gathers inspiration, Nelson points to his celebrity clients — what they're wearing, and their unique attitudes."I try to take a facet of who they are and then bring it forward," he says. In other words, his expertise lies not only in creating stunning makeup looks, but also in helping his clients cultivate confidence from the inside out. For these reasons and more, Rose Inc is delighted to feature Nelson as this month’s Artist in Residency as both photographer and makeup artist.

Look 1: The Everyday Gilded Eye

By Beau Nelson

"I just patted it on with my finger so that it had that sort of lived-in look..."

Look 2: The Monochromatic Plum

By Beau Nelson


Nelson was inspired by his love for cream blush for his second installment. "I really am such a big fan," he says. "I would say, I'm using a cream blush 95 percent of the time, not a powder.” For this shoot, he was drawn to Rose Inc's Cream Blush in Azalea, and made it the star of the show. He paired it with a plum-colored eyeshadow, which he deems a shade that acts like a neutral and is universally flattering. "It literally works on every eye color," he says.

“ can create a lot of depth and density just using one product, your fingers and a brush.”


Although this look has a high-end feel, the application is pretty simple, which aligns with Nelson's style. "I don't believe in complicated applications," he says. "Especially with products like these that can be anywhere from transparent to full coverage, you can create a lot of depth and density just using one product, your fingers, and a brush. No reason to get complicated."

For skincare and a complexion base, Nelson followed the same protocol as he did with his previous look. Next came the star of the show: Rose Inc's Azalea blush. Nelson opted for this warm red tone in this instance, but notes you could use this technique using any blush shade of your choosing, including a softer pink for a more subtle effect. 

Start by stamping the blush on using a makeup applicator (Nelson used one by his brand, Leia), concentrating the color high on the cheekbones (versus the traditional blush placement on the apples of the cheeks). Next, he used a Rose Inc blush brush to “soften it a little bit and pull it up, then towards the temples," he says.

Nelson then applied the shadow from the Duet Eyeshadow in Satin Plum on the eyelids using the larger brush side of the Number 8 Eyeshadow Brush, and used the smaller end of the shadow brush to sweep the shadow along the bottom lashline. 

With this look, blending is key, so be sure to diffuse the eye color into the blush and around the rest of the eye. "It's really important just to take the time to blend things together because this look is very, for lack of a better word, blendy," he says. "It's kind of painterly in a way."  

The lashes came to life with a couple of coats of Lash Lift Serum Mascara andNelson groomed the brows with Brow Renew Gel in the shade 02.

Finally, Nelson used the same Azalea cream blush as a lip color to tie everything together. To apply it, he hydrated the lips with lip balm first and then lightly pressed the lip color on using his fingers, resulting in a stained look.

Look 3: The Elevated Punk

By Beau Nelson


Nelson is known for his signature feline-esque eye looks. So for this installment of his Artist in Residence, he re-created the effect using Rose Inc eyeshadows. Although the look is bold, "it's very versatile," he says. "It's really more about how you wear it, with what attitude. This could be kind of elegant, or it could be kind of punk." Case in point: He envisions this smoky eye worn with denim, leather or vintage — or paired with a column dress and swept-back hair for a dressy affair.

“This could be kind of elegant, or it could be kind of punk."


For this take, Nelson followed the same skin prep and complexion protocol as with his previous looks, but on the cheeks, he used a fluffy face brush to apply the Cream Bronzer in Parrot Cay on the forehead, the cheekbones, the jawline, a touch on the nose, and down the neck for a realistic-looking bronze effect. To up the glow factor, he also applied the Cream Highlighter in Prismatic on the tops of the cheekbones and on the cupid's bow. 

On the eyes, Nelson first blended the olive-green shade from the Duet Eyeshadow in Satin Olive both into the socket of the eye and slightly above it, too, creating a shape that travels from the inner corner of the eye and swoops slightly upwards, creating a soft triangle at the end of the eye that comes down and connects to the lower lash line. 

The key to creating the unique shape that goes up and out, he says, is using the bottom lash line as your guide. Outline the shape with the shadow and then pull that up from the bottom and fill in the rest of the shape. "The bottom can dictate how the angle of the eye shadow should go," he says. Next he added a wash of the bronze-hued gold shade all over the eyelid. 

So as not to detract from the eyeshadow, the brows are brushed up with Brow Renew in the shade 02. Nelson also slightly filled in sparse areas with a brow pencil, still keeping them looking very natural. Then he finished the eyes with Ultra-Black Lash Lift Serum Mascara and black eyeliner inside the rim of the eye. 

Nelson used only clear balm on the lips. "Sometimes I like that sort of brokenness to a look, where you have a statement eye, and that's it," he explains.

Makeup and photography by Beau Nelson
Hair by Richard Benn III

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