I LIVE for the award season after-parties! I really do. Especially at the Oscars, the red carpet bit has become a mostly pleasant but boring parade of Marchesa and peachy makeup and chignons—all totally acceptable, of course, but a bit lacking in terms of beauty entertainment, right? I'm much more drawn to the casualness of the after-party hair and makeup—not that every bit of prep work didn't also go into achieving it. (It's an art, I tell you. Don't you panic every time you get an invitation that says "cocktail chic" or "smart casual" or some other equally vague term that requires extensive Googling?)
It's no wonder that good stylists are in such high demand in Hollywood. The task at hand: not making the celeb look too formal, like she actually was an Oscars ceremony guest (that would be trying too hard), but nonetheless incredible enough to be photographed right alongside them, as if she could have been there too. Except her hair and makeup get to be waaaay more fun. Yay.com!
So we saw the best, we saw the worst—now, are you ready for more beauty parsing? Here are the attendees, in no particular order (although you will notice that they get progressively worse). PLUS! Two extra-special bonus photos at the end that will make your day. I promise.
BEST CHOP: Vanessa Hudgens
Thank GAWD the V-Hudge finally lost those long and tacky extensions. Now, the only thing we need to work on is toning down the makeup (it's not bad, but there's always so much of it).
BEST COLOURFUL EYE: Eva Mendes
Look. At. Her. I love this woman. And I SO appreciate what she does for us to keep things exciting, such as that pop of periwinkle blue along the upper lash line. Would've still looked amazing with a plain brown smokey and her go-to pink lips... but this takes it to a whole new level.
HOW GWYNETH WISHES SHE LOOKED: Charlize Theron
Charlize has been keeping a low profile lately, but DAMN. When she brings it, she really brings it. She totally aces the golden girl look—all honey hair and illuminated skin and barely-there makeup—and probably made Gwyneth (who did something similar) totally jellis. Don't get me wrong, I thought G still looked good, but I simply cannot get over how well-preserved Charlize is, considering she's only three years younger. Goopy's skin looks a decade older.
BEST MODERN '60s: Emma Stone
After a short mourning period, I'm finally coming around to Emma as a blonde... and while I'm not loving how her bangs were cut (too wispy and short), I do otherwise enjoy her hair texture here. Love that lower-lid liner thing she does too—so gorgeous!
BEST MATCHY-MATCHY EYELINER: Lea Michele
And speaking of eyeliner... hooray! Lea is listening to us, she's really listening. Because she's doing seksi instead of sweet, and it works so much better for her. I totally dig how her eyeliner echoes the navy dress, and the glossy pony gets full marks.
BEST QUIRKY BEAUTY: Zooey Deschanel
I lurrrrve Zoey; always have, always will. Maybe it's because I have grandma tendencies myself, but I think her girly, vintagey thing is such a breath of fresh air on the red carpet. This is go-to Zoey hair and makeup here, with an extra emphasis on the lashes.
MOST DRAMATIC:Nicole Richie
What Sharon Stone couldn't pull off, Nicole Richie nails. I'm talking about emphasizing your eyes and lips at the same time (a tricky beauty move and usually not advisable). Here it works because of the simple hair and dress—plus, the cold hard truth is that it's just a lot easier to wear on younger skin. Sorry Sharon.
BEST SIDESWEPT 'DO: Liv Tyler
Liv doesn't even need to DO anything to be gorgeous, she just IS. Her makeup is simple but flawless and all she needed to dress things up was to pull all her hair to one side.
MOST GLOWY: Kate Beckinsale
Is Kate looking radiant or what? I'm totally mesmerized here. Whoever did this makeup needs a gold star, because the bronzer and blush and subtle eye makeup are all expertly applied. Glad she ditched the blonde hair, too—brown is so much kinder to her skin tone.
BEST FAUX BOB: Taylor Swift
I love a good faux bob, and the T-Swizzle's is looking excellent here. (Here's a good how-to, by the way.) And yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking re: the waves and the lipstick and the lashes/liner combo... but you know how she is, guys. Let's at least be thankful we got something new with The Hair!
BEST LOW BUN: Dianna Agron
Even though the colour's a bit brassy, I love the texture and that this looks like she DIY'd it—that's the way it should be. Makeup is acceptable (although we've definitely seen it before). I'm taking away points for the smug expression (as a commenter pointed out, she does kind of have a beeyotch face sometimes).
BEST CALIFORNIA CASUAL: Cameron Diaz
Is it too casual? Maybe. But I think she still looks pretty decent—love the loose blowout, ruffled dress and low-key makeup. Wish she would've elevated it with a bright lip, like she wore here. Like Gwyneth, her skin isn't holding up terrifically, but at least she's not mucking it up with injections (that I can tell).
POOR MAN'S NATALIE PORTMAN: Malin Akerman
Even though it's blonde, not brown, the idea behind the hair is the same as Natalie Portman's: it's got the brushed-out curls that I love, and it's pinned behind one side. But I'd love to see Malin with a bit less root action (or maybe some lowlights to tone down the ends). Oh, and she's got lipstick on her teeth. It happens!
WORST BANGS: Rashida Jones
Rashida's such a pretty girl, but I really wish she'd grow out her bangs a little—why the heck are they so short and twee? Also, I think this is too much makeup for her. We'll keep that lip, but less on the eyes, please.
MOST OVER-BRONZED: Jessica Szohr
I don't know if it's just the lighting with this photograph, but Jess is looking really sooper dooper tanned here. Too much so, even for California, in February.
PASTIEST SKIN: Claire Danes
And now the opposite problem. I hate to pick on Claire again after her slicked-back hair disaster, because this was definitely MUCH better. But it still wasn't her best look. She's got great skin, but it's a little shiny and waxy and pasty-looking against her blonde hair and that white dress.
BEGGING FOR AN UPDO: Amanda Seyfried
I don't know what is going on with this outfit, but all I know is that the cleavage, ruffles and lace bustier don't need long hair added to the mix as well.
MOST DISAPPOINTING: Naomi Watts
I have a soft spot for Naomi, because we have the same hair type and I know we both struggle with the whole layers conundrum. But this is not good. A poor (and dated) execution of the half-up, half-down thing. Stick-straight is a much better look for her.
MOST CONTRIVED UPDO: Anna Paquin
I think this hair is too complicated for an after-party. If she'd just pulled it back simply, like Diana Agron, it would've been much improved. Also? I'm starting to think the gappy teeth have got to go. (As a friend recently pointed out, they're only cute until you're maybe 20, 25 at most. Unless you're Lauren Hutton, they don't age well.)
WORST LASHES: Kim Kardashian
I didn't think it was possible, but Kim Kardashian has gone even heavier on the lashes. Notice how many are on the lower lash line, folks. That's GOT to be uncomfortable. And yes, once again, we have the OD on eye-area concealer.
WORST BROWS: Hayden Panettiere
And brows are just the start of it, really. (They're too pointy at the arch.) What else? The false lashes are way too long and fake-looking (even Kim's are a better shape); the hair is way too tight and gelled; and I could do with a softer finish on the lip.
But if you thought that was bad... you might want to sit down now. Ready for the final two?
MOST MASK-LIKE: Tori Spelling
This is why I don't believe Tori and Dean are a real couple. They can't be! I don't know what Tori is hiding under that mask, but there's no reason anyone—ever—should wear this much foundation, eyeliner, blush and lipstick. We also have a bit of an Eagle situation going on. I know it's cruel, but I just HAVE to magnify this for you:
And finally... as my parting gift to you, I'm leaving you with this little self-esteem booster. Who said models always looked perfect?
WORST NECKLINE IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND: Heidi Klum
How this happened, I am not sure. (And no, I don't think Heidi got a bad sunburn—I believe it's the reflection of the 100,000 mirrors she's wearing on her upper body.)
And that wraps up our 2011 Oscars coverage!
Which after-party looks have you fallen in love with?
How do you think Dean felt about Tori's makeup?
Doesn't a bad Heidi Klum pic make your day?