Issa Rae Used a $3 Eye Shadow for Her 2021 Emmys Look

close up of issa rae on the red carpet at the 2021 emmysGetty Images

There isn't much about the Emmy Awards that feels relatable. Do you have designers clamoring to loan you a dress, and world-class makeup artists at your beck and call? (For us: No, and sadly, no.) Make a tearful speech in front of a room (or a tent, due to this year's pandemic precautions) filled with celebrities? (Again, nope.) But there is one thrilling way, at least when it comes to beauty, for stars come down to Earth — with affordable drugstore beauty products. On Sunday night, Issa Rae did just that.

The actor, writer, director, and creator of Insecure (which missed the 2021 Emmys eligibility period by a hair) and executive producer/co-star of Black Lady Sketch Show (for which she's nominated for two awards) showed up on the red carpet with a face full of E.L.F. cosmetics as applied by makeup artist Joanna Simkin. 

"The beautiful custom Aliétte [gown] felt like a nod to the '70s, Studio 54, and disco glam," said Simkin in a release. "I was instantly inspired to do a sparkly purple eyeshadow and fluttery lashes to accentuate Issa’s gorgeous features while playing up a bold statement eye."

Issa Rae drinking a mimosa while she gets ready for the 2021 emmysInstagram / Issa Rae

Every single item in Rae's lavender look, including both skin care and makeup, sells for $15 for less — especially impressive when it comes to her lavender eye shadow, which looks like a million bucks. The bold effect comes courtesy of Simkin's handiwork, E.L.F.'s $3 Bite Size Shadow palette in Açaí You, and a coating of $5 E.L.F. Liquid Metallic Eyeshadow across the entire lid. 

Simkin applied the darkest of the four shades in the palette on the outer corners of the eye, then brought them into the crease for a smoked out effect. To keep the look bright, she added the creamy shimmer shade in the center of the lids. 

She finished the bold eye with two "generous" coats of the Best of Beauty winning Big Mood Mega Volume & Lifting Mascara, and Wow Brow Gel to fill in the brows.

Another way Rae is relatable, aside from the affordable makeup bag? She couldn't wait to debut her full look, and posted a teaser from the glam chair — mimosa in hand.

issa rae pulls down one side of her bottom lip to show off a silver grill at the 2021 emmysGetty Images

Once on the red carpet, Rae revealed another key part of her look: a silver grill across her bottom teeth. The tiny bit of shine complemented her full-on glitzy dress from Aliétte perfectly.

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