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Ariel Tejada on becoming a celebrity MUA, and his first Morphe collaboration

The likelihood that you’ve saved, pinned, double-tapped or screenshot the work of celebrity makeup artist Ariel Tejada is high. A true beauty powerhouse that catapulted to fame as the result of an ongoing and quite literally beautiful relationship with the Kardashian-Jenners, the trendsetter is making his beauty secrets accessible to all in a new brush collaboration with makeup super-brand, Morphe. Naturally, we had to get the details.

At just 26 years old, Tejada’s swift rise to fame as a world-leading makeup artist can be deduced to his passion for—and connection to—the craft.

“Growing up, I was bullied at school and beauty became my outlet to be creatively free and distract myself from everything,” says Tejada of his beauty beginnings. He turned to the artists and ‘gurus’ on YouTube for inspiration. “That was my way of getting out of a funk after coming home and dealing with a long day at school. I never felt like I was a part of anything, but beauty made me feel like I was a part of something.”

“I've always been into anything related to beauty, whether it was in drawing, or finding beauty in music. I've always found the pretty in everything, so that was an easy transition for me,” Tejada reflects. “When I was a junior in high school, I picked up a brush and did my cousin's makeup for the first time. It was the most incredible feeling to make someone feel special and confident.” “I was so mediocre in comparison to now,” he laughs, “but after that, I got such a boost of confidence.”

The artist has proved that anything is possible—and after relentlessly direct-messaging celebrities asking to do their makeup. Now, he’s responsible Shay Mitchell, Rosalia and Desi Perkins’ most iconic looks.

“My big break was through Instagram—I would just post and DM everyone. It was not even a full year into me doing makeup.”

Scroll through Tejada, Jenner, and Kardashian West’s feeds, and following years of collaboration, it’s evident there’s more than a traditional client exchange. “I make it a point to have a very close relationship with my clients, because I'm not just giving them a service, but I'm also there to lift some weight off their shoulders. It’s important to have that personal connection with someone you're spending hours with.”

His favourite look? Jenner’s warm, smoky Met Gala 2016 look—which marked her first appearance at the Gala (in an entirely embellished Balmain number). “Not because it's the best makeup look I ever did, but it was the base of the Makeup by Ariel signature that was established. From there, it set the tone for what my glam was going to be for the years to come.”

“My makeup style has a lot to do with anything ’90s. It’s those ‘Naomi Campbell on the Versace runway’ vibes. When clients book me, they know that’s what they’re going to get: a defined, brown-y lip liner, a beautiful, crisp wing, and a soft cut crease.”

Less is more according to Tejada, whose skill is defined by his precision in application, rather than layer upon layer of makeup—a collaboration with MORPHE felt second nature.

I believe that brushes are the foundation and fundamentals of makeup; to have the right application, you need the right tools. What better brand to collaborate with than Morphe? When I think of brushes, I think of Morphe.

His go-to brush from the collection is the A24 Foundation Brush, designed to give your foundation a diffused, airbrushed look. "It never leaves my kit.” A close second is the A58 Cream Contour Brush. “This brush is a favourite because I don’t like harsh lines, and this brush allows me to create a very soft but precise contour application.”

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