The 15 Most Inspiring Beauty Looks of 2014 Awards Season

And what to take from them for your own routine.
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Michelle Villett
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And what to take from them for your own routine.

Another awards season has come to a close—but before we kiss it goodbye, let's revisit the most memorable beauty moments one more time. Over the last two months, there were some mega-inspiring hair and makeup looks that would totally work off the red carpet (and even without a fancy gown). I've narrowed my favourites down to 15—because it was too hard to make it 10—so have a read, and then I want to hear who inspired YOU this season!

1. Margot Robbie at the Critics' Choice Awards

Margot Robbie, Critics' Choice Awards, 2014

The look: Side-parted hair with volume at the front, a baby cat eye and nude, matte lips.

The lesson: I'd love for you to try this '80s-ish flipped-to-the-side thing with the front of your hair, if you haven't already. Even if you do nothing else (like not even the loose, textured waves that Margot has), that voluminous swoop feels like a reinvention. Also think about the subtlest flick with your eyeliner in a grey instead of black. I like Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner in 15 Iridescent Anthracite (gunmetal grey). For something similar to Margot's matte mouth, try NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Belle de Jour (light nude beige).

2. Lupita Nyong'o at the SAG Awards

Lupita Nyong'o, SAG Awards, 2014

The look: Colour-blocked blue, purple and grey shadows with bright pink lips.

The lesson: I don't expect many of us will be replicating Lupita's look here exactly... but what I get from this is the inspiration to be more playful with colour. If you currently tend to stick in your comfort zone of neutrals, maybe the first step is just to do a colourful eyeliner in your lower waterlines—like the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Abyss (bright metallic blue shimmer with blue micro-sparkle). If you're feeling a little bolder, you could experiment with colour on the eyes and lips. The YSL Glossy Stain (in maybe 17 Encre Rose) would be a great choice for a soft pink stain. (The shades Lupita is actually wearing are Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eyeshadow in Fascination and Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in Passion.)

3. Jessica Alba at the People's Choice Awards

Jessica Alba, People's Choice Awards, 2014

The look: Centre-parted straight hair tucked behind both ears, with matte pink lips.

The lesson: Here's another new-ish way to update straight hair that we've been seeing on various celebs lately. Giving it a sharp middle part and wearing it back behind the ears and shoulders gives it a bit of formality, without the stuffiness of an updo. Another important trend that Jessica's wearing is this shade of pink—which used to be SO hard to find, but now is everywhere—and the matte texture. It's Lancôme Rouge in Love Lipcolor in Fall in Rose (I think blotted down to get rid of the shine). Find out how to get the rest of her makeup look here.

4. Emilia Clarke at the SAG Awards

Emilia Clarke, SAG Awards, 2014

The look: A soft side bun with flushed cheeks and raspberry-pink lips.

The lesson: Going for a romantic beauty look isn't ever the most trendy thing, but it's often the most beautiful way to play it. Here, Emilia is absolutely radiant with relatively simple makeup: strong brows with soft pink on the lips (try Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Romance) and cheeks (try Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush). Also don't forget about the side bun—they're as appropriate as ever.

5. Sarah Hyland at the Golden Globe Awards

Sarah Hyland, Golden Globes Awards, 2014

The look: A braided crown with bold brows.

The lesson: Braids are still big, so try incorporating one into your hairstyle, whether it's braiding yourself a headband like Sarah Hyland here, just a piece to tuck behind one ear, or any other style... I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to braids, so you can grab more ideas there. Another element I love are the bold brows. As you know, my favourite brow-builder is Benefit's Gimme Brow—even if you're fair, consider going for the deepest shade to really play them up. I've been drawing loads of inspiration from Suki Waterhouse's blonde hair/dark brows combo lately, too.

6. Kerry Washington at the Academy Awards

Kerry Washington, Academy Awards 2014 (3)

The look: Deep berry lips with half-up wavy hair.

The lesson: Kerry's choice of lipstick here, a rich, deep berry red, was an unexpected shade for her and maybe for you, too. I thought it was surprisingly gorgeous, especially with a darker skin tone. The one she's wearing is Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Lipstick in #609 Plum, topped with Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Rich Raisin. For a similar look at the drugstore, try Wet n Wild Silk Finish Lipstick in Cinnamon. (For the rest of Kerry's makeup, see here.)

7. Emma Watson at the Golden Globe Awards

Emma Watson, Golden Globes Awards, 2014

The look: Defined lashes with a matte pink mouth (and perfect skin!).

The lesson: So, I think you have to be born with skin like this. But the other takeaways—the lashes and the lips—all of us can copy. First let's talk lips. Not only is the texture great, but notice how they intentionally clash (pink) with the red dress? That's so much more interesting than matching them up. Do it! (In case you're wondering, Emma's lipstick is a mix of Chanel Rouge Allure Intense Longwear Lip Colours in Exaltée and Coromandel, blotted.) The other thing I love about this is how defined her lashes are—and in general, how her makeup artist, Kate Lee, managed to give her eyes definition without ANY obvious lines of makeup. Genius! See here for the rest of Emma's makeup look.

8. Rashida Jones at the Golden Globe Awards

Rashida Jones, Golden Globes Awards, 2014

The look: A top knot with bangs, freckles and wine-coloured lipstick.

The lesson: How adorbs is this hairstyle? The top knot really had its moment circa 2010, 2011, but I don't think I'm ready to retire it—I find this piled-high bun with bangs quite darling for a go-anywhere hair idea. The lipstick is along the same lines as Kerry's, only a bit more sheer; this is L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Lip Liner in Red/Wine and Cargo Essential Lipstick in Bordeaux. And note the freckles. If you don't have 'em, why not draw them in with something like MAC Lip Pencil in Cork? It's a makeup artist trick to help your foundation look more natural, and gets you bonus cute points. (See here for the rest of the products Rashida is wearing.)

9. Allison Williams at the People's Choice Awards

Allison Williams, People's Choice Awards, 2014

The look: Side-swept long bangs with a low ponytail, navy liner and clear lip gloss.

The lesson: This is another standout hairstyle for me (and an easy one to replicate at home). Allison's pony is at the nape of her neck, but what makes it interesting is the deep side part and big, straight piece left out at the front, pushed to one side. I also love the simplicity of her makeup, especially the clear lip gloss and hint of indigo—via Lancôme Long Wear Calligraphy Gel Eye Liner in Indigo Darling—around the eyes. Here's the rest of what Allison is wearing.

10. Olivia Wilde at the Academy Awards

Olivia Wilde, Academy Awards 2014

The look: Black winged liner with matte pink lips.

The lesson: Next time (as long as you're not headed to the office), try going bolder with your cat's eye for some nighttime drama. While I loved Margot Robbie's tiny liner wings, it's also hugely satisfying to see how Olivia wore hers, in a thick, black, sweeping flick accented by a barely-there stripe of white. And again we have a matte pink mouth (this is Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Complex blended with Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink Cognito). The rest of the products Olivia is wearing are right here.

11. Emma Roberts at the Golden Globe Awards

Emma Roberts, Golden Globes Awards, 2014

The look: Nude lips with soft smoky eyes and super-sleek hair.

The lesson: If you saw this post, then you already know that nude lips are a big trend right now—and I think Emma presents a great way to wear them. The paleness of a nude mouth  can make you feel a bit naked, so it's a great idea to pair them with defined (but not overly strong) eyes. Emma's are all soft taupe, with lots of lashes and liner rimming the waterlines. Her hair parted to one side and tightly pulled into a ponytail makes this even more dressed-up. (Emma's lipstick is Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Fresh Papaya; see here for the rest of her makeup.)

12. Amber Heard at the Golden Globe Awards

Amber Heard, Golden Globes Awards, 2014

The look: Brown smoky eyes with pinky-brown lips.

The lesson: Maybe we don't need to be so scared of brown makeup. You know it's making a bit of a comeback—and if it can look as good as Amber's, then I'm getting on board. We've seen this colour palette on the eyes before, but what makes it different is that she kept the lipstick and blush in the same colour family, for a tone-on-tone look that is really quite modern. Her tawny lippie is Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Creme Lipstick in Whisper, and you can find out what the rest of her makeup is here.

13. Léa Seydoux at the BAFTA Awards

Lea Seydoux, BAFTA Awards 2014

The look: Navy smoky eyes with bold pink blush.

The lesson: Doing a smoky eye in navy isn't exactly revolutionary, but I would still like to encourage you to copy Léa's look here, because hers is quite exquisite as far as navy smoky eyes go. Not only is the colour a bit non-traditional, but so is the placement. Instead of the usual shadow application, which goes up, hers goes out and under, which makes it more feline-looking (and of course, more on trend). I also want you to notice the diagonal, '80s pink blush. Not sure if we should actually try that yet, but take note—it could become a thing. (To find out how to get Léa's exact makeup look, see here.)

14. Adelaide Kane at the People's Choice Awards

Adelaide Kane, People's Choice Awards, 2014

The look: Taupe shadow all the way to the brows with stained pink lips.

The lesson: Bet you never thought a simple sweep of taupe eyeshadow with a lip stain could look so freakin' amazing—didja? Well, it doesn't hurt that Adelaide is so genetically blessed... but I still think most of us could try this with great results. For the eyeshadow, try Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Taupe, and for the lips, try either blotting down a lipstick shade you like, or something like BECCA Beach Tint in Watermelon. Oh, and with such drama on the eyes, I think you need to wear your hair back with this one.

15. Jared Leto at the SAG Awards

Jared Leto, SAG Awards, 2014

The look: The ultimate beachy Ombré waves with baby-fresh skin.

The lesson: Is there a lesson here? For men, I think it's to take care of your skin (because dude is 42, people. I repeat: 42). And his hair is just awesome. Did I mention that for the first time in the history of covering these red carpet thingies, I received an actual how-to from a hair company for his beachy waves? That really says it all. If his hairstyle were on a woman, well, I'd say she needed sharper ends—but on a male, I think the slightly disheveled look is what you want. And I'm SURE he goes for regular colour jobs and the whole nine yards to maintain his Ombré, but it really doesn't look like it (which again, is the goal here).

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these! Who inspired you?

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Who did you find the most inspiring this awards season?
Which of these looks will you be trying out at home?
Is there any awards season beauty trend you hope doesn't take off (or dies a quick death)?