Bustle Exclusive

Etienne Ortega Is The MUA Behind Lana Del Rey’s Dreamy Contoured Lips

And he’s launching a new makeup brand.

Etienne Ortega, a celebrity-loved makeup artist who's known for his lip contouring techniques, now h...
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Behind the industry’s top musicians is a team of expert glam artists who painstakingly craft culture-shifting beauty looks from scratch. A makeup artist’s canvas is their client’s skin, with the most prestigious red carpets and cover shoots acting as a portfolio. These artists’ unique application techniques often become their recognizable signatures.

Etienne Ortega is one such makeup guru. He claims the likes of Christina Aguilera, Lana Del Rey, Kris Jenner, and Demi Lovato as loyal clientele. His M.O.? Full-beat glamour, with a focus on dreamy, contoured lips.

He recently broke the internet when he glammed Del Rey for her viral Skims campaign, even naming one of his lip liners “Cinammon Girl” after the star. Ortega has also been Aguilera’s right-hand man throughout her highly-publicized Las Vegas residency.

Courtesy of SKIMS

As of March 27, Ortega is formally launching his own brand — aptly named Ortega — complete with every essential needed for a perfectly plump pout (read: lip gloss, oil, liner, and a range of pigmented crayons). Below, Ortega talks all about his eponymous brand, how his Mexican heritage inspired the products, and how to nail his signature lip contouring technique.

How did your hometown inspire the creation process of your brand?

Family has always been my anchor, grounding me in every chapter in my life. It's a journey that extends beyond personal success — it's about creating opportunities not just for myself, but for my loved ones, too. Having my sister on board, working alongside me, adds an extra layer of fulfillment.

Where else did you draw inspiration from?

I took a lot of inspiration from my amazing clientele, who have served as my artistic muses — both in my early career and now, as it continues to shape and inspire my work.

Why did you choose to launch lip products first?

I think my favorite and most well-known look has always been the lip. It’s what I get complimented on the most, and my Instagram comment section is usually flooded with people asking for the routine. I’m so excited to share it with the world.

Courtesy of Etienne Ortega

Can you break down your lip contouring technique step by step?

It begins with ensuring the lips are well-hydrated and cared for, using products like our Blu Nectar Lip Oil. Next, I define the lips using the Soft-Contour Lip Liner, starting at the center of the cupid's bow and creating a heart shape.

I then underline the bottom lip, before connecting the dots from the cupid's bow to the corners of the lips — both top and bottom. Once the outline is complete, I fill in the lips with the Agave Glow Color Stick. Finally, to add dimension, I finish with a gloss or shine product like our Liquid Icon Hyper Gloss.

What’s your favorite celeb look you've ever created?

My favorite celebrity beauty look thus far would be the Galore cover featuring Christina [Aguilera]. It was an incredibly special moment for me. Drawing inspiration from Marilyn Monroe, I crafted a makeup look that was simultaneously simple, current, and timeless.

It felt like a full-circle moment to have Christina there alongside me. What made it even more memorable was the fact that the cover was released on my birthday.

Courtesy of Etienne Ortega

What's next for the brand?

As we embark on this journey as a start-up beauty brand, our primary hope [is] for its success — not just for personal gain, but to ensure the ability to continue creating and innovating. Every product we create is fueled by the desire to contribute positively to our community and to leave a lasting impact on the industry we love.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.