If you’ve been part of our community for a little while, you probably know Denika Bedrossian. The Los Angeles native has been a makeup artist for 20 years now, and has worked not only with bareMinerals, but some of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood — including our very own Clean Beauty Ambassador, Hailey Bieber, who Denika works with on campaigns and red carpets alike (not to mention Hailey’s wedding day!).
You may also know Denika for her signature look, which features intricate winged eyeliner and bold red lipstick. While Denika channels Old Hollywood in her personal style, she loves experimenting with all sorts of makeup looks, both on herself and on clients.
Clean beauty has also been an important part of Denika’s professional journey, which is why working with bareMinerals was such a natural fit. We recently chatted (virtually) with Denika about her love of clean ingredients, her relationship with Hailey and how she’s gotten to this point in her career.
You have a background in art. How did that evolve into a career in beauty?
My sister and I used to paint every day after school. We both loved it. After a while, the canvas wasn’t as appealing to me. I was curious how color and texture worked on a face — I was fascinated by the curves and dips of each unique face. I practiced on friends in high school, worked in an Aveda salon on weekends and the day I turned 18, I interviewed for a position at the MAC counter.
Do you have any beauty “mottos” or guiding thoughts?
Less is more, but more is fun. Makeup is a tool to enhance and create. Everyone has their own version of beauty and that’s the best part.
You and Hailey work together a lot — what’s your favorite part of the relationship?
Working with Hailey has truly been such a blessing. She is such a beautiful person inside and out. Her family is wonderful, her values have always been so important to her and she is just a very special human. We met in 2015 and have been working together ever since. We have shared so many incredible memories together, her wedding being the most special of all.
What is your favorite look you’ve done for Hailey?
Probably her look for the Met Ball 2019. She looked like an angel in Alexander Wang. We created such an ethereal and perfect look to pair with her pink dress. I still look at those pictures and swoon.
You have such an impressive body of work. Can you share some of the professional memories that stand out as career-defining?
I have been so fortunate in my career to work with some incredibly kind and talented artists. I feel blessed every day and wouldn’t change it for the world. Some stand-out moments would include the Met Ball with Hailey Bieber, Halsey and Kelly Osbourne. As a makeup artist, that’s the big glam ball we all dream of every year. The first time working with the lovely Lady Gaga was another proud moment. Knowing such major artists love and respect you and your work is the most gratifying thing. I also spent six years as Miley Cyrus’s personal makeup artist. We toured and traveled the world. That’s an experience I will never forget.
What three beauty products could you not live without?
Hmmmm…can it be three makeup bags full of products? But really, sunblock, moisturizer and mascara are my top three to keep my skin safe and hydrated. Anything else is a bonus.
Can you tell us a bit about why you chose to work with bareMinerals?
bareMinerals has been the epitome of clean makeup and skin care since I could remember. They have the most lovely products that don’t affect skin in any negative way. They build skincare into each product and that is the best way to maintain healthy skin. Not too many brands think about the big picture of skin. It’s not always about immediate payoff and that’s what I love about all bare products. They are a kind and unique brand, and I am blessed to work with them.
As a makeup artist, what does clean beauty mean to you?
To me, clean beauty means healthy beauty. I don’t want to use a product that is going to clog my pores and in turn create breakouts. I have vitiligo, an autoimmune skin disease that causes loss of pigment. So for me, I only want to use products that will keep my skin smooth, tight and clean. Against my patches, the last thing I want is bad texture. I don’t want waxes or pore cloggers in anything I put on my face — or my clients’.
Speaking of clean beauty, what are your top 3 bareMinerals products and why?
My top 3 bare products are for sure the SKINLONGEVITY Long Life Herb Serum, STRENGTH & LENGTH Serum-Infused Mascara and Brow Gel and lastly, COMPLEXION RESCUE Hydrating Foundation Stick SPF 25. The entire SKINLONGEVITY Collection works so well on my skin type — the serum provides the perfect base to my foundation. The STRENGTH & LENGTH Collection has promoted some serious lash and brow growth for me, and the COMPLEXION RESCUE Foundation works as a foundation and concealer, so it makes my routine much easier.
That was 4, but we’ll give you a pass! What do you do to relax after a long, stressful day?
As a mom, my days don’t end till my daughter goes to sleep. After that I’m usually cleaning, doing laundry, getting lunch ready for school and then getting my kit organized for work. So, relaxing only happens when she stays at grandma’s house, haha.
Usually a glass of wine, my phone and silence is all I need for an hour.
Can you share an easy, universal beauty tip that you truly feel is a game changer?
Place a mirror flat down on your counter to apply eyeliner and mascara. Your eye will maintain a steadiness that most can’t get by staring straight into the mirror.
What is your biggest beauty regret?
I’m not sure I have a beauty regret. I’ve played with so many looks on myself, but don’t regret any. It’s just helped me find the things that I like the most on myself.
Tell us about your personal skincare routine.
I’m very diligent when it comes to skincare. I NEVER sleep with makeup on. I cleanse really well, apply toner, serum and a great moisturizer. For evening, I use eye cream and a heavier cream on my face, neck and hands for a deeper moisture. I also use lip balm throughout the day and drink a lot of water!
We love your signature look (especially that winged eye). Can you tell us how it became to define your look?
When I was younger, liquid eyeliner intimated me so much. I refused to try it. But some very helpful makeup artist friends kept pushing me to try it and as soon as I found the technique that worked for me, I was sold for life. My eye shape works well with a big wing and I love nothing more. It’s such a classic yet sexy way to showcase your eyes and it allows you to play with color on your lips and cheeks. It became my signature about 16 years ago and I have never looked back.
You also love rocking a gorgeous red lip. Any tips for keeping it looking perfect?
Well, a red lip is just beauty to me. It’s so classic, emulates the old Hollywood stars and automatically gives a polished look. I love a matte red — it stays on, doesn’t bleed and I don’t need to think about it all day. A clean face, a groomed brow, a bit of mascara and a bold red lip create a look that’s fitting for any all events. It’s classic and clean.
I like to line and fill my lips in with my lip pencil prior to applying the lipstick, as it helps keep it locked in place. Also, applying a light powder with a small brush just around the lip helps keep the products in place.
Who are your beauty inspirations?
I’d say Old Hollywood is my biggest inspiration — the perfect hair, the perfect face and the perfect clothes. So classy and flattering. I love to watch old movies and see some of the greats like Greta Garbo, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn … the list goes on.
What is your favorite decade for beauty and why?
My favorite decades are the 50’s and 60’s. I love how feminine the women were and how dapper the men dressed.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to follow in your footsteps?
My advice would be to never give up and don’t let anything bring you down because there is a reason you are sharing your craft. Be confident that you belong there. Take a job at a makeup counter to gain experience, build your kit and challenge yourself. It’s the best experience and education you can find.
If you are feeling like you need a little beauty inspiration, where do you turn?
I like to look at beauty blogs, earth pictures and color pairing pages, as well as touch fabrics and watch old films. It depends on what inspiration I’m looking for.
What’s a fun fact that not many know about you?
I was a swimmer throughout high school and swam butterfly.
What motivates you to work as hard as you do?
My motivation is my daughter. I want her to look back at my career and be proud of me; to learn how to be a strong, hard-working woman.
What’s your current favorite Instagram account to follow?
What’s a good way to start your day on a positive note?
I love waking up, having a proper stretch and getting my morning cuddles from my daughter. Nothing better.