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12 Self-Care Essentials Priscilla Ono Swears By

Welcome to Take the Edge Off, a series that breaks down the beauty and self-care routines of influencers, CEOs, experts, and celebrities. Find out how they unwind and decompress, while taking a closer look at the holy grail essentials they’re currently raving about.

From stars like Bella Hadid, Paris Hilton, Normani, and Fenty Skin and Beauty founder Rihanna, professional makeup artist Priscilla Ono has transformed the faces of a number of your favorite celebrities. In addition to lending her glam skills behind the scenes for red-carpet events and photo shoots, Ono also shares her expert techniques with beauty enthusiasts as Fenty Beauty’s global makeup artist. Working closely with Rihanna since 2017 has helped Ono develop a broader business sense, which extends to her highly popular (and currently sold out) namesake makeup course.

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“Rihanna teaches me a lot,” she tells “We were doing a makeup look—it was actually one of the first looks I ever did on her when the brand launched. We were in New York for a big event; that’s when she wore that yellow Oscar de la Renta skirt with the train.” She continues that it was Rih who took the look to the next level. “To match the outfit, she wanted to do this all-over look with one of our highlighters, Trophy Wife, which is a bright gold,” Ono explains. “I started doing her eye makeup with a smaller brush, and she reaches for this big face brush, dips it in the highlighter, and swipes it all over her lids. I was mortified, but it ended up looking really beautiful on her eyes. And it was so monumental for me to see that with our first look together, because it set a precedent that I can just go for it when it comes to her—I don’t ever have to hold back.”

take the edge off priscilla ono

Rihanna in NYC during the 2017 launch of Fenty Beauty.

Kevin MazurGetty Images

Ahead of her work with Rihanna and culmination of more than 15 years of industry experience, Ono says the art of makeup was always something she was interested in while growing up. “I’ve always loved makeup; just watching how my tías, my mom, my abuelita would do their makeup. I’m from L.A., so it’s always real Chicana—the darker lip liner and brows—it was a whole moment for me growing up watching that. And then, it evolved into watching music videos and TRL. Watching all the makeup looks on TV really inspired me, and it was something that I always knew I wanted to do.”

Ono was first introduced to Rihanna on the set of her “S&M” music video after being hired to do the makeup for her background dancers. “She came up to me and was like, ‘Oh, my God, you’re so cool, I love your hair and makeup! Want to be in this music video with me?’ So I’m actually in the ‘S&M’ video with Rihanna,” Ono recalls. “And then, cut to a few years later when she was starting her makeup line and asked me if I wanted to be the global makeup artist for the brand. It’s all a domino effect: You show up and do your best, then everything else just kind of, like, falls into place.”

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Here, catches up with the celebrity artist as she gives a breakdown of the key beauty essentials she always keeps in her kit—including a certain favorite bodycare staple—her go-to scented candles, and the underrated importance of following your own lead.

What are you reading these days?

Right now, I’m reading one of the Twilight books, but it’s the one where Edward tells his version of the story—Midnight Sun. I love Twilight, I have to admit. Back in the day, I would watch all the movies and read all the books.


Midnight Sun

Stephenie Meyer

What are some of your go-to bath and/or shower products?

I’m pretty much obsessed with really beautiful scents and things that smell really nice. We’re leaving this virtual world and being reintroduced to more in-person settings. That’s why I’m kind of obsessed with this partnership I have with Secret. I always wear their Wild Rose Weightless Deodorant Spray straight out of the shower, and while I’m doing a client’s makeup, they ask me what I’m wearing, even when I forget to put on perfume. That’s why I always have my Secret in my set bag, because you’ll be surprised how many people ask you for deodorant on set.


Dry Spray Antiperspirant Deodorant in Wild Rose

What beauty or self-care products do you use on a regular basis to help combat Zoom fatigue?

I think it starts from the inside out—drinking a lot of water, doing all the good stuff for your body, because it shows. It’s also all about taking care of your skin; even just doing the basics like washing your face, moisturizing it, applying sunblock—that’s what’s going to take you far. Of course, the extra steps like using serums, oils, all of that is like the cherry on top.

Do you have a favorite hand sanitizer, soap, and/or cream right now?

My favorite hand sanitizer is by Jao—it smells like lavender, and a lot of makeup artists use it, it’s so amazing. I even use it to clean my palettes and spray it on the handles of makeup brushes. I also like using BYREDO’s tulip-scented hand soap. I know it sounds bougie, but it’s so clean and fresh. And for hand lotion, I’m really into the Fenty Skin Hydra’Reset Intensive Recovery Hand Mask, it’s really nice.

Do you ever light a candle or stick of incense to decompress? If so, what are some of your favorites?

I’m obsessed with candles and incense, I literally light them every day. I love Diptyque’s Tuberose, Baies, and Rose scents, and I also really love Santal 33 by Le Labo. But with Diptyque, I recently discovered that they make a little diffuser for your car, so I have the Baies one in mine right now. And for incense, I like Oribe’s, and if you’ve smelled their products you know the hairspray smells amazing, and these are essentially the same scent, which I think is cool.

What was the last beauty product you put on today?

My Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in the shade Fu$$y. I actually put a little bit of a matte pink lip stain on underneath, just to stain my lips pink. And then, I put the gloss on top, which I’ve been doing a lot lately.

Fenty Beauty

Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer

Fenty Beauty


Are you into bold makeup, no makeup, or no-makeup makeup right now, and why?

Right now, I’m really into bold makeup; I go through my phases. In 2020, when the pandemic started and we were in quarantine, I was really into no-makeup makeup—feathered eyebrows, really clean skin—which is a classic go-to, forever. But I think for spring, everyone is really into bright colors and pastels. I’ve been seeing it in fashion and have been really inspired to correlate that into makeup.

What’s the last fitness class you streamed or attended in person?

I feel like during 2020, I was doing a lot of indulging, and now it’s like, we’re back to work and walking through airports, so I need my stamina up. Lately, I’ve been my treadmill and just YouTubing weight-training exercises—so it’s not a particular class. I’m really trying to ease into it.

What’s one piece of self-care advice you’d recommend to our readers?

Be kind to yourself and don’t always follow trends—do what makes you feel good. Do something that’s customized for you, because not everybody is the same. So for me, it’s always, like, be kind to yourself and do what makes you feel good.

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