Painting the face of a Kardashian is pretty much like reaching career nirvana for a makeup artist. Kim, Khloé and Kylie are constantly in the spotlight, enjoy playing with loads of cosmetics and always look flawless. For Rob Scheppy, one of the main masters who primps reality TV's royal family nearly every day, the job is de rigueur—an accomplishment that is especially impressive considering he claims Kim didn't like her makeup the first time he did it.
We recently asked our readers what questions they had for the Scheppy, and they not surprisingly responded in spades. Below find all his answers, as well as the inside scoop on how he got involved with the Kardashians, his wild relationship with the fun-loving Khloé and, of course, what beauty products he uses on Kim.
How did you begin doing celebrity makeup?
My first big client was Victoria's Secret. I did the fashion shows for them. I was working at the Victoria's Secret fashion show in Miami in 2008. There was an overwhelming amount of celebrity guests there. The weather was really bad; people couldn’t fly in and apparently a lot of makeup artists couldn’t make it. The person running the VS show said, “You know, we have so many celebrity guests coming and we really hope we can find makeup artists for them.” And I said, “I’ll do it!” So I did. There were a bunch of celebrities on the list that I knew, like Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Kristin Cavallari. The woman in charge told me to pick the people I wanted to do before she passed the list around, and those are the girls I picked. From there, I think that people began to recognize my work.
When I was just starting out, I wasn't making any money. I just wanted to work every day. I treated everyone like a million-dollar client. That's what you have to do. And with a little bit of luck, the right people liked what I did.
So did you join the Kardashian team after you worked with Kim and Kourtney that day, or did it still take some time after that?
The first time I did Kim's makeup, she didn’t really like it. I gave her a red lip with black liner. It was more of a Hollywood look, and at the time what she was doing was lots of smoky eyes and pale lips. She was like, “Oh, this wasn't what I expected.” So I toned it down. And the next day she called me again. She said, “I want you to do my makeup.” And I was like, “I thought you hated what I did!” She said, “Actually, the press said I looked like a movie star.” So she grew to like my makeup after she got compliments on it.
There are three or four of us that now work consistently with her and the entire family. Their family is so big, so you can’t do everybody every day. We go into a rotation based on scheduling. But sometimes Khloé will call me for one day, and then Kim will call me for the same day. That's when I have to choose based on who booked me first.
Sounds like some sibling rivalry!
It’s all in fun, though. We all love each other. We're like family.
We have to know, are Kim's eyelashes real?
Since I’ve been doing her makeup, she’s always had really beautiful natural lashes. In the celebrity world when you’re being photographed and filmed, you just want to enhance your most beautiful features. So for a photo or red carpet or special occasion, that's when she needs just a little help. For that, I usually use individual falsies with her or a lash strip so her lashes look fuller.
Do you apply individual lashes before or after you apply eye makeup?
I always apply them last after all the makeup. If I want the lashes to look natural, I'll put mascara on her real lashes and then add individuals. And if I really want to dramatize the look, then I add mascara after I apply them, as well. I only use black mascara, either Lancôme Hypnôse Custom Volume Mascara or Lancôme Hypnôse Star Show-Stopping Volume Mascara. Hypnôse Star is my favorite. When I run out, I cry.
The Kardashians are known to wear a lot of makeup, but it never looks heavy. How do you get their makeup to look so flawless?
They love makeup, and that’s why I love working with them. For me, lighting is important. I like to do makeup in the daylight, and I usually have eight or nine lights everywhere. I don’t like for there to be any shadows. I like to see the face really well. Also, I think people use powder too much. I think powder is what makes your face look cakey. So use less powder.
Kim's face especially always looks so perfectly contoured. What products do you use for contouring and shading the face?
This is what I do. I take a foundation that matches the natural skin color and then I get a matte foundation in a shade or two darker. I apply the natural color onto the the face first, and then I contour with the darker shade just around the face, like under the cheekbones, under the jawline, around the temples and around the tip of the nose. Then I blend it in with a foundation brush or a sponge, like the BeautyBlender.
How do you prevent that contour along the jawline from being visible without looking like a foundation mark?
I always begin applying foundation in the center of the face and blend out. Hopefully by the time you get to your jawline you aren’t using as much foundation. And you have to make sure you blend your natural-colored foundation down your neck! You should be fine if you're using a foundation brush. I use the Tom Ford Foundation Brush.
Which blush do you tend to use on top of the contouring with Kim?
The Kardashians came up with their own makeup line called Khroma, and the eye shadow palettes have little blushes in them. They did a really good job with the colors. They have a peach and pink one that are especially nice. I tend to mix those two, or use one or the other. And then on top of that I’ll do a shimmery highlight. My other favorite blushes are Tom Ford Cheek Color in Frantic Pink, MAC Powder Blush in Pink Swoon and Kevyn Aucoin Pure Powder Glow Blush in Dolline. Benefit Coralista is another one I love and all the NARS blushes are great. I use the Tom Ford Cheek Brush to apply blushes. I like it because it's soft and super thick so you can really get in there and apply blush all over the cheek.
Kim is obviously known for her smoky eyes and I know you’ve been such a key part in giving her that look. How do you create her smoky eyes?
I actually don’t think I’ve done the smoky eye on her for forever. She normally wears a liner and crease contour every day. That’s it.
What liner and crease contour do you tend to use for her?
I usually use the Dior Style Liner, NARS Eyeliner Stylo or MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack. It just depends on my mood. For contouring her crease, I use any kind of taupey-grayish color or an ashy brown.
Is there any type of makeup or look that Kim is apprehensive about trying?
I would say too much color on her lips. She likes nudes and peaches. But once you get her out of the neutral tones, she’s tends to say, “Oh, that’s too bright.”
That's interesting. It seems that Kourtney, on the other hand, loves bright lip colors.
Yeah, Kourtney is all for it. Any bright orange or bright red and she’s happy.
Do you have a favorite bold lip color that you use on Kourtney?
Moving on to Khloé. She seems so fun! What's the best laugh you've shared with her?
I’ve worked with Khloé the most in the last year. I moved with her to Dallas and I work with her a lot during filming for Keeping Up With the Kardashians. We just have a really great friendship and rapport with each other. And we fake fight—like we will cuss each other out. Sometimes someone will overhear us and won't be in on our relationship, and we just get the biggest laugh out of it. I'll be like, "Eff you!" And people will think we're so mean to each other. But we really love each other and we get along really great.
You travel all around the world with these girls. What’s the coolest place you've visited with them?
I just went to Kuwait and Bali with Kim this past June. I didn’t really know what to expect, I mean besides what I had seen on TV. I wasn’t sure if I had to dress a certain way or do things in a certain way. But everyone was so warm and welcoming. I asked people to educate me on their culture and what their traditional garments meant, because a lot of them dress so differently than us. They were very great about making me understand all the reasonings behind everything. And a lot of them are really into fashion and makeup. Every girl came up to me and asked me about makeup. When you are in New York, the girls only talk to you about makeup for three minutes. They're like, "Yeah, I just put on my lip gloss and then I’m done." But over there, they are really embracing it. That was great to see.
What are the top three products you can’t live without when you're at a shoot or event?
For sure mascara and an eyelash curler. For concealer, I like Clé de Peau Correcteur Visage Concealer. And then I would say a good lip gloss. I have a huge collection of lip glosses. I've got all the Maybelline lip glosses. I've got all the Revlon lip glosses. But there is a Dior one that I'm loving. It is its Addict Lip Polish. I love the brush on it. The brush rolls as you apply it. It’s got a spinning tip so you never have to double dip the wand to get enough product out. You can get your whole lip with one application. YSL Golden Gloss is great for every day, too.
What are your tips for making makeup last longer?
Throw away products by the expired date. Another trick is to use a setting spray after you apply all your makeup, especially any time you apply powder to your face. I like the MAC Fix + spray or Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix. The spray gives you the natural look that your skin would have and it'll make your makeup last all throughout the day. It will also help to refresh the look.
I also think using primer and good moisturizers that absorb well is important. Eye shadow primers especially work well to keep on shadow. The eye shadow primer I love is Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer. Hourglass has a great face primer called Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 that I use before foundation.
How do you fill in brows so they look natural?
I usually use a pencil. I like one eyebrow pencil that has no name on it that I get from a drugstore in L.A. The other ones I use are MAC Eye Brows in Lingering and Shu Uemura Hard Formula in Stone Gray for blondes. Also, Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow uses this gel that’s really good and it stays.
Other than a Kardashian, who would be your dream celebrity with which to work?
For years my dream was to work with Mariah Carey and I got to work with her this year a few times. We really hit it off and I love her. For the future I might want to work with maybe Gwen Stefani or Katy Perry.
It sounds like you want to continue to work with people who like to experiment with makeup.
I like people who try to have fun with makeup. I want a girl who wants lashes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do Jennifer Aniston if I have to!
Photo: Courtesy of Rob Scheppy