ACM Awards 2014: The Must-See Beauty Looks

Who had the best hair and makeup at the 2014 ACM Awards? The celebrity close-ups are in!
Michelle Villett
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Who had the best hair and makeup at the 2014 ACM Awards? The celebrity close-ups are in!

So the country music biz had a hoedown I mean red carpet event last night: I present you the hair and makeup close-ups from the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Personally, I'm pleasantly surprised by Taylor Swift... and shocked that Carrie Underwood has replaced Kate Hudson as the new face of Almay. (Just wait 'til you see her makeup! What were they thinking?!)

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

Maybe I'm alone here, but I like it. Considering Taylor's usual looks (the schoolgirlish ponytail; the way overplayed cherry-red lips), this is at least a bit new and refreshing. Mainly, it's her new haircut that's responsible for this newfound awesomeness. Whereas the long bob was the start of Jennifer Lawrence's downhill slide, on Taylor, it makes her more grown-up in a good way. A prettier way. No surprise, I love the light brown colour ('cuz I'm obsessed with neutral hair lately) and the wavy texture—complete with a little side-swept bang AND a swoop at the part. Yes!

Unfortunately, I'm a bit let down by the skin finish in that it's really too heavy for such a young person. (Well, who am I kidding? It's too heavy for anyone.) I mean, her foundation/blush/contouring are all flawless and perfect, etc., but there's definitely a slight mask-like effect happening. It's even more exaggerated by the sharp angles of her Cupid's bow; I prefer the contrast of fresher skin with a sharp mouth. That said, I can totally get behind the colour palette. The navy liner/shadow with the orangey lipstick is really gorgeous with her colouring. So, for that I say well done, Taylor!

Olivia Munn

Olivia Munn, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

See this? I'm glad Olivia's pic came next because she's got a much better skin finish than Taylor. She's got tons of cute freckles, but happily, her foundation is sheer enough to let them show through. Plus it matches perfectly with her neck. This is absolutely my kind of red carpet makeup: a bare-ish face, lashes, hint of shimmer on the lower lids and then that gorge coral-pink mouth. (Product to try: this new Melon shade from Stila. It's shiny, not matte, but the colour is pretty much exact, and it's amazing.)


Shakira, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

I know Shakira has been a blonde for ages, but I checked and it's her very first Beauty Editor appearance—so I get to talk about how I don't like it. You know that rule about not going more than two shades lighter or darker than your natural colour? I don't think we always have to follow it, but it's generally pretty good advice. Yes, blonde has a certain hotness-adding effect, so I get why she wears it; I honestly don't think she'd have as much of an "It factor" as a brunette. But I don't think it's particularly good with her skin tone (it makes her hair and skin all the same colour), and the blonde itself is a bizarre mishmash of reddish and platinum pieces with ashy roots. I could see her with a darker honey shade, all one tone.

As for the makeup, can somebody tell me what's going on with her eyebrows? I don't know if it's from a pencil or dye, but they're a dodgy multi-coloured mix as well. I don't mind the brown winged liner at all; the medium lip colour doesn't do it for me, though. (I'll just leave this here to explain why.) The weird thing is, if I take a step back and stop micro-analyzing this photo, she looks pretty gorgeous. Don't ask me to explain that.

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

Okay, if I made you guess which one of these ladies recently landed a cosmetics contract, would you ever in a million years have picked Carrie? Alas, it's true—I suppose Kate Hudson's getting up there (in beauty contract land) and so Almay has replaced her with Carrie. What drugs are they smoking?? (I imagine this means they're never going to give me an interview with her, and that's fine. I DID just score one with Olivia Wilde, my beauty crush 4eva, for Almay's sister brand, Revlon. And that's good enough for me. I'll be sharing that with you guys soon!)

Anyway, Carrie must have some major U.S. following, because otherwise I can't fathom how a company would want someone who wears this sort of makeup look to represent them. I've said it all before, for years, and nothing's changed: the caking foundation; the obvious lip liner; the skinny darkened brows; the truckload of dated-looking eyeshadow; and worst of all, the dingin' false eyelashes. I don't even know what to say except I hope Almay do some kind of makeover on this otherwise very pretty girl with bad beauty styling. At least the silver lining is that her hair looks pretty good. It's not as hyper-blonde as I remember it, and she actually brushed out the waves.

Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

Major improvement here. Last time we saw Miranda, at the Grammys, she had the darkest, craziest faux tan that I couldn't even focus on anything else. Thank goodness she lightened up for this red carpet, showing off her natural skin tone and looking much prettier for it (as we all do). Her makeup and hair have also softened, so she doesn't look like she's trying so hard. I really like the casual, centre-parted (and not too wavy) blowout with the dangly earrings. And she's much prettier with low-key, tone-on-tone makeup. The black upper lashes give her face some definition, but the rest is all soft, sheer, peachy-pinks.

Faith Hill

Faith Hill, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

Oh look, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift have almost the same hairdo! It really is a good one; the "universal haircut" of the 2010s. And there's that swoop at the part to give some flattering volume. I also think it's interesting to note how Faith used to be blonde, but has now settled on a shade that's closer to her natural (I'm guessing medium brown) colour. I don't think I'm wrong that we're seeing a trend here—people are getting over their blonderexia, slowly but surely. Well, except for Shakira.

Faith's makeup is great too—gorgeous smoky eyes, nice brows, good skin coverage and a soft glossy mouth without that horrid visible lip liner that we keep seeing on people. Nicely played, Faith. Too bad your husband isn't known for such a low-key makeup look! (I'm serious—for those of you who attended the Hudson's Bay event last year, remember when our host Dave mentioned how Tim McGraw wears tons of makeup? For real.)

Angie Harmon

Angie Harmon, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

Eeks, I don't think Angie will be happy with the lighting for this pic, which is unfortunately accentuating the uneven skin sitch. (Or possibly even creating it, who knows? Cameras can be evil.) Other than that, I think she looks pretty good. I like the very fine black tightlining around the eyes, and how she's gone for a very natural look. I might want to brush out the curls a tad, though.

Kacey Musgraves

Kacey Musgraves, Academy of Country Music Awards, 2014

People were raving about newbie Kacey Musgraves at the Grammys, and yes, she is gorgeous, but I also have to say: not ready for the beauty big leagues yet. At first I was a little disappointed I couldn't get a close-up of her makeup, but then I realized this pic is okay, because you need to appreciate the baby blue ruching AND THE BELT. The belt! It looks like she could've stolen it from Justin and Britney when they had that cheesetastic double denim ensemble in the '00s. Also note the hoop earrings! Who wears hoop earrings?

So that's the context of the hair and makeup. Hair I actually think is okay, although the Ombré's feeling a little dated; it's the navy blue eyeshadow applied in half-moons (!!) that is just wrong with the rest of this look. Not saying you can't do statement shadow, but as you know, it has to be done with the rest of the face very fresh... and not a baby blue dress! From this vantage point, the brows also look a little too defined instead of full and natural, and the nude lip is very heavy.

Kacey, come join us! We can help you.

And that's a wrap! Let me know what you thought of this one....

Have your say

Who had your favourite look on the ACM red carpet?
Which one do you think is the worst?
What do you think of Carrie repping Almay??