Groomer and makeup artist Lola Okanlawon shares the MVPs she used on Usher ahead of his Super Bowl 2024 halftime performance
Usher’s 2024 Super Bowl halftime performance at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Feb. 11 had us so caught up in our feelings.
From the moment he appeared on stage, the star — who performed several hits in a matter of minutes — shined. And we’re not just talking about the bling on his Dolce & Gabbana and Off-White ‘fits.
The star’s skin was also radiant, and Lola Okanlawon, the music icon’s groomer and makeup artist, spoke exclusively to PEOPLE about their game day preparations.
The pro has worked with Usher “for approximately three years” beginning right before the start of the award-winning artists’ first Las Vegas residency. Okanlawon calls getting to collaborate on his Super Bowl look, “an exhilarating experience.”
Of getting the call for the once in a lifetime opportunity (well, trice, if you’re Usher), Okanlawon says she “was overjoyed and felt incredibly fortunate! Being a part of his most significant career milestone not only validated me but also showcased his unwavering trust in my artistic abilities and expertise, which means the world to me!”
We, like Usher, have no doubt that Okanlawon — who’s an expert in makeup artistry and grooming, and who pays meticulous attention to her clients and the environment(s) they’re performing in — knows her stuff.
“For male grooming, the essential elements are color correction and well-prepared skin,” Okanlawon explains. “These factors enable me to craft a refined and self-assured appearance for Usher, allowing him to excel in his profession and adapt effortlessly whether he's performing or making an appearance. Throughout this process, I ensure that his look remains authentic to the beloved image we all recognize and admire.”
That being said, when it comes to Usher, she has an amazing canvas to start with.
The pro describes him as a “dream client” in every sense of the term. As you might expect, she shares, “His skin is incredibly smooth, flawless and in excellent condition. It's evident that he maintains it with utmost care!”
To create Usher’s game-day look, the duo started prep at noon and used Danucera products.
“I started with the sculpting stone to help with lymphatic drainage, followed by Danucera's Cerabalm to cleanse the skin,” Okanlawon says. The pro calls the cleansing balm her “MVP product” because “it doesn't strip the skin of moisture, it leaves it clean and refreshed. [It was also the product they reached for post-performance to effectively remove products and sweat post-performance and start his skin off on the right note for the remainder of the night.
After cleansing, “I prepped his under eye area with Iconic Eye Cream followed by cooling patches. Afterwards I used D22 Tonic around the exterior part of the face to tone and promote smooth and glowy skin. Lastly, I used Cream Supreme to moisturize because I love how supple it makes the skin feel before I primer the skin for complexion.”
The Danessa Myricks Beauty Yummy Skin Blurring Balm Powder was next applied “for a flawless complexion due to its natural matte finish and ability to absorb sweat and oil,” Okanlawon says. She completed the look with Caudalie’s cult-classic Beauty Elixir, which the pro describes as “a gentle and soothing mist” to “help him unwind before stepping onto the stage” as well as La Mer’s makeup artist-loved Lip Balm.
Okanlawon also prepped Usher’s skin from the neck down for his much buzzed about shirtless moment using Kiehls Creme de Corps “to keep the skin glowing and hydrated” as well as a light layer of the Danucera Cerabalm to enhance his glow under the spotlights.
As the pro got her megastar client ready, she says, he in turn “filled the room with timeless classics, radiating positivity and fully embracing the present moment. Usher brings such a great energy to our work! It's one of the things I truly admire about him.”
Okanlawon was not only fortunate to prep Usher’s skin but also to take in the performance from the sidelines. “I was watching the show from the 50-yard line and the quick change area. Her one-word review: “amazing!”
She adds, “He is one of the best performers of my generation.”
Post miraculous performance, Usher was back in Okanlawon’s chair for some TLC. After cleansing with Cerabalm, the pro “applied a soothing hot towel, a hydrating serum, and Cream Supreme, a very nourishing moisturizer. These steps help to rejuvenate and hydrate his skin, ensuring it stays in optimal condition,” she says.
Of their work together, Okanlawon shares, “Usher is not only kind and easy to work with, but also possesses extensive knowledge on various subjects. I truly appreciate our ability to introduce each other to new products for his skincare routine, and he engages in delightful conversations!”
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And while his new song might be called “Good Good,” what he accomplished on that stage was nothing short of great.
“In just 15 minutes, he showcased 30 years of talent...wow! Very few artists possess such an extensive catalog and can deliver a performance of this caliber after so many years,” Okanlawon says.
“Usher's execution was flawless, evoking nostalgia and excitement. I am incredibly proud and grateful to have been a part of this iconic moment. He truly deserves all the recognition and praise!”
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