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Reggie Wells, a celebrity makeup artist from Baltimore, was Oprah Winfrey’s makeup artist for three decades. (Courtesy of Reggie Wells)

Wells also did makeup work for former first lady Michelle Obama and actress Halle Berry, but he was equally comfortable transforming the faces of senior members of a retirement community in Park Heights

Reggie Wells loved to recall how he would “beat the face” of celebrities — a positive slang term among makeup artists that meant applying makeup flawlessly to their skin.

And he beat the faces of the best, including Beyoncé, Halle Berry and former first lady Michelle Obama. Oh yeah, and he was also Oprah’s longtime personal makeup artist for 30 years.

Wells’ makeup work took him to South Africa, Australia and the Middle East, but the Baltimore native was equally comfortable transforming the faces of senior members of a retirement community in Park Heights. Wells died Monday after a long illness. He was 76.

The third oldest of seven children, Wells was the son of John Henry Wells, a bus driver, and Ada Wells, who worked as a nurse. He grew up in Baltimore County.

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A graduate of Baltimore City College and MICA, Wells became an art teacher in Baltimore in the mid-1970s before moving to New York City, where he pursued his dream of becoming a makeup artist. There, he mastered his craft by working at makeup counters before catching the eye of a fashion editor and eventually working with Glamour, Life and Harper’s Bazaar magazines. But it was at Essence magazine where he did makeup for models and celebrities on more than 100 covers. That work resulted in his work with Winfrey and other major Black female entertainers.

In 1995, he won the Daytime Emmy Award for

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