Lana Del Rey’s Makeup Artist Etienne Ortega Unveils Beauty Brand

When developing a new brand, beauty founders often seek out experienced advisers they can call for advice. For celebrity makeup artist Etienne Ortega, that includes Kris Jenner.

“If we don’t have an answer for something, it’s an easy phone call, like, ‘Hey, Kris, what should I do about this?’” said Ortega in an interview with The Business of Beauty ahead of the reveal of his namesake beauty brand on Mar. 27. He first met Jenner 10 years ago through her daughter Kim Kardashian, who hired him for her own glam sessions after discovering him on Instagram. “I’m very lucky to have those kinds of mentors in my life.”

Ortega counts Jenner among his numerous celebrity clients, along with Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Lana Del Rey, who have raised his profile over the course of a 17-year beauty career. This week, he is capitalising on his success as an A-list makeup artist with his new brand, Ortega, debuting exclusively on its e-commerce site. The label joins a growing list of makeup brands founded by the celebrity artists such as Mario Dedivanovic’s Makeup by Mario, Fara Homidi’s Fara Homidi Beauty and Katie Jane Hughes’ KJH.Brand.

Ranging from $16 to $22, prices are meant to be on the lower end of prestige makeup to cover the cost of ingredients, which include agave sourced from his birthplace of Jalisco, Mexico.

The full lineup of Ortega's lip products.
The full lineup of Ortega’s lip products. (Ortega)

“It’s still under the high-end prices, but also not a $3 lip liner. … I strongly believe in the formulas and the payoff,” said Ortega.

The brand’s launch lineup includes a Blu Nectar Lip Oil, Soft-Contour Lip Liner, Agave Glow Color Stick, Liquid Icon Hyper Gloss and Striptease Makeup Remover wipes. Products have already been making appearances on Ortega’s celebrity clients long before the brand was made available to the public.

Among these is the Cinnamon Girl lip liner shade, which Ortega named after a Del Rey song and has been used frequently for the singer’s signature looks. Since he began working with Del Rey for a 2019 Rolling Stone cover, he’s become especially known as the creative mind behind her vintage glamour makeup looks.

“[My clients have] been super helpful and supportive of me — of what I’m doing. Especially someone like Kris — her daughters have their own brands,” he said. He consulted with Jenner on business strategies such as whether to bring on a co-founder.

He enlisted Miami-based investor Eric Kaufman, who invested half the funds needed to start the brand and serves as the line’s chief executive; Ortega will be focused on product development as the brand’s creative director.

Ortega is readying the brand for its next launch; he is planning to debut tinted balms this year, and is hoping the success of the brand will lead him to a national retailer like Target.

“In five years, I hope that we’re in stores worldwide. I would love to target Latin America. I’d love to have one of my girls be the face of the brand,” he said.

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