The Best Beauty Inspiration at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards

Rita Ora, Lupita Nyong'o and more.
Michelle Villett
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Rita Ora, Lupita Nyong'o and more.

The celebrity beauty close-ups have arrived from last night's MTV Movie Awards, and there's a lot to discuss! This red carpet brought a whole range of hair and makeup ideas: evening glam on Rita Ora and Kate Upton; relaxed and beachy on Rihanna and Jessica Alba; and a pop of colour on Victoria Justice and Holland Roden. Here's what I thought of all the looks, and then I'll pass the baton over to you!

Rita Ora

Rita Ora, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Rita wins the night, in my book. Hasn't it been amazing to observe her transformation over the last few years? She's kept her signature blonde hair and red lips, but lost the high-contrast roots and taken the grooming up many, many notches to achieve quite the bombshell effect. Now, I know this hair is fake, but I think the solid blonde works on Rita because it's a deliberate choice; there's also a really gradual transition at the roots instead of a harsh line. (Plus how great are those supermodel waves?!) The makeup is a little more subdued than usual, but still super-glam with that matte red mouth.

I just knew her talented makeup artist Kathy Jeung was behind this look, and used a Rimmel red on the mouth. My educated guess: the Lasting Finish Lipstick in #1.

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Not my favourite hairstyle on Lupita (since I usually never like these pompadour thingies), but the makeup is fresh and fantastic, as per usual. Her go-to guy, Nick Barose, created graphic, sparkly metallic eyes that were intended as a modern take on disco. Dear Nick, if you're reading, you're very good at makeup.

Since Lupita has just signed with Lancôme as their newest spokesmodel—what a coup for them!—the products are all Lancôme. The shadows are Color Design Infinité in Unlimited Silver and Color Design Sensational Effects Eye Shadow in All that Glitters, with the popular Artliner 24H Eyeliner in Black Diamond to add definition and Hypnôse Custom Volume Mascara on the lashes. Her foundation shade is 500 Suede in Teint Idole Ultra 24H, with the matching Dual Finish Powder in 560 Suede to mattify, Blush Subtil in Shimmer Tamarind on the cheeks, and the forthcoming Star Bronzer Palette for subtle bronzing. For the lipstick, Nick chose the not-too-bright L'Absolu Rouge in Saffron Silk, so as not to compete with the strong eyes.

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Jessica didn't really push any beauty boundaries here, but I'm still on board with her look—especially the unstructured waves in her hair that look so soft, I want to reach out and touch them. The one twist that makes this look a little different is the pink eyeshadow, extended all the way up past the crease on the outer third of the eyelid, and worn with a slightly cooler-toned pink gloss. Love that idea for creating interest without having to go too bold or complicated with the makeup.


Rihanna, MTV Movie Awards 2014

I don't know about you, but I'm into this softer, subtler Rihanna. I haven't been keeping track of her hair changes as of late, but last time we saw her on this blog, she had futuristic, slicked-down "helmet hair" that made it hard to ascertain the length. Here, it's all a mass of romantic waves, loosely tied back and with tons of escaping tendrils around the face. (Maybe a bit too undone, but I like the overall effect.) That said, I'm not crazy about the totally unblended lip liner, and is something up with the foundation? Could be my monitor, but it looks like a different colour on the forehead versus the rest of her face.

Bella Thorne

Bella Thorne, MTV Movie Awards 2014

At the Kids' Choice Awards, I wasn't crazy about Bella's half-up hairstyle, nor her yellow and green eye makeup. It's almost like she read that blog post, because here, she's made a big improvement. I feel like the flowing hair is so pretty and age-appropriate. (Is it just me or does it even make the orangey colour less in-your-face?) Then, instead of your typical white, there's a metallic shadow at the inner corners of the eyes; it's paired with the tone-on-tone shading at the outer corners that works so well on brown-eyed types. (The highlight shadow looks silvery-grey to me; but according to her makeup artist, Tanya Brewer, it's gold.) The flushed cheeks are courtesy of Neutrogena Sheer Highlighting Blush in Pure, and that's a Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Warm Caramel on her lips.

Victoria Justice

Victoria Justice, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Before you even have to ask, I'll let you know that I've got a query in to Victoria's makeup artist, Lusine Galadjian, to see if I can track down this amazing Barbie pink lipstick colour. (If I had to guess, I'd say Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Lip Tar in Mannequin—a "Malibu pink.") Personally, I would've worn this colour with a lighter touch on the eyes, but it's still gorgeous with the smokies and the tone-on-tone blush. Notice the contrast of the cool mouth with the warm colours on the rest of her face. I can't make up my mind about the white shadow extending from the inner corners. It does throw some nice light to the eye area, but I think there's something that looks a little dated about it.

As for the hair, the sleek part and smooth ponytail were a wise move to complement such a bold mouth.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj, MTV Movie Awards 2014

You don't know about bad eyebrows until you Google Image Search the term "Sharpie eyebrows". Go on. Frightening, isn't it? I don't know why Nicki Minaj has now decided to emulate those people. I know bold brows are a trend and all, but drawing them on to this extent is just scary. Can't she stick with what works, i.e. the blonde wigs and pink lipstick? I do like that graphic flick of black eyeliner, though; it's very fierce with the dramatic gold jewellery.

Kate Upton

Kate Upton, MTV Movie Awards 2014

It's way more makeup than I would ever normally wear, but I'm still finding Kate's vampy-glam look très inspiring for a big night out. The eyes, brows and mouth are all super-bold, but see how they also keep each other in balance? I'm especially enamoured with the dark brows, which model Suki Waterhouse is known for, too. Blondes out there, think about copying that instead of trying to match the hair on your head too closely. All the makeup is Bobbi Brown, since Kate is their newest face. I'm guessing it's the Lip Color in Blackberry on her mouth.

Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Well... I don't hate this look for Shailene, but I'm not in love with it either. The dress probably required an updo, so there's that; it was also so complicated (as well as her shoes) that I understand why her makeup artist Gloria Noto went low-key with her face. Speaking of complexions, did you know that Shailene eats clay? I wonder if that jazz has a negative effect on your skin (to put it into context, she's 22 years old... discuss). I do like a natural brow, but I feel like these could use just a bit more tidying.

Debby Ryan

Debby Ryan, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Ugh, gorgeouness. Debby's only two years younger than Shailene, and as far as I know doesn't eat clay. Whatever she's doing, her skin (and hair) look all kinds of incredible. I must say, I really like the idea of centre-parted loose waves hanging around the face like this. Her stylist, Bobby Eliot, created them with a GHD Styler and products from Oribe. I also like the idea of this hair colour, which is similar to Bella Thorne's and really quite excellent on brown-eyed girls. What I can see of the makeup is a little bit '60s: lashes and black liquid liner along the top lash line only, and a pretty peachy lip. Definitely one to copy.

Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Not that there's anything wrong with this, but I think it's time for Chrissy to start mixing things up—I feel like I've seen the same hair and makeup on her a few too many times in a row now. Can we please have an updo or a bright lipstick, for once? That said, I like her highlights and the "bountiful waves" created by stylist Giannandrea using Macadamia Natural Oil. The pinky makeup, by Mary Phillips, is pretty if not a bit predictable... my one pet peeve is that darn visible lip liner striking again. They do make clear ones.

Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried, MTV Movie Awards 2014

I will always have a soft spot for Amanda, who I think is hands down one of the most naturally beautiful people in Hollywood. That's her real, untouched hair colour, and how refreshing is it to actually see the faintest of lines in between her brows? Amanda, thank you. Jenny Cho did the simple, straight and centre-parted hair, while Monika Blunder did the makeup (I believe with prodz from Clé de Peau Beauté). Should we make a guess at the lipstick colour? It looks like it could be the pinky 203 Sk. Love it with the rosy cheeks, defined lashes and black liquid liner on the top only.

Leslie Mann

Leslie Mann, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Toner. My first thought is that Leslie Mann needs some toner. She makes a pretty blonde, but I'd love to see her quiet the brassy tones in her hair for something more along the lines of Amanda's natural colour. Her makeup looks fine, although I might've done a bolder, less glossy lip.

Jenna Dewan-Tatum

Jenna Dewan-Tatum, MTV Movie Awards 2014

So let's talk about brushing up your eyebrows. We're always told by the "experts" to do that, but Jenna here is an example of why I don't think it always works off the runway. Sure, I could see these extreme brows on a 15-year-old model, but it's a little distracting to have quite this many hairs sticking up all the way across the tops of Jenna's brows (especially since they're on the skinny side). I like my fans at the inner corners, but I think the rest of the brow should be smoothed diagonally. You?

With the exception of the brows—and the unnecessary false lashes—I'm okay with everything else here. She made great choices with the bright red lipstick, metallic shadow, and her hair worn back, behind the shoulders and tucked behind the ears.

Bethany Mota

Bethany Mota, MTV Movie Awards 2014

So if you haven't heard of Bethany yet, I'll fill you in—she's an 18-year-old YouTuber. And apparently these people get to go to awards shows now. Who knew?! I actually think she didn't do too badly here, all things considered. I would definitely smooth the hair and brush out the curls. I'd also like to see her with fresher makeup, as the heavy black liner plus the matte red lipstick is very "mature" for a teenager. I'd go with one or the other, and if it's a lip, why not commit to a bold colour in a big way? Lastly, I think she should consider growing out her eyebrows, which look over-plucked, and filled in a bit too sharply/darkly.

Kat Graham

Kat Graham, MTV Movie Awards 2014

There's always gotta be someone who wears a mask to the awards night, and this time, it's Kat Graham. I think what's bothering me is that her skin finish is so heavy, with a giant highlight in the centre... it just looks unnatural. Also, with so many colours going on—purple! gold! orange!–it comes across like the makeup is wearing her instead of vice-versa. I think if she didn't have such a heavy-handed application, maybe the unusual colour combo could've worked. I'd also like to see a bit less height at the top of her waves.

Vanessa Marano

Vanessa Marano, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Vanessa got all matchy-matchy here with pink blush, eyeshadow and lipstick. I just wish she hadn't cheapened it with the false lashes. If you're going to make a modern statement like that, with so much of one colour, then you don't need to take things back to the early '00s with the lashes. She does have beautiful skin, though, and I like the ballerina bun.

Zendaya Coleman

Zendaya Coleman, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Hooray! Finally, 17-year-old Zendaya is sporting glowy, barely-there makeup and undone hair, which is a huge improvement over previous red carpet showings where she was trying way too hard. (Need I remind you of her waxy look at the Kids' Choice Awards?) This time, she's enhancing her natural beauty instead of covering it up. Makeup artist Allan Avendaño used the NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Biscayne Park on her lips to complement the neutral blush and gorgeous strong brows. Maybe he could consider ditching the false lashes next time, if we're lucky. Check out the lovely and very trendy swoop at the front of your hair... everyone's doing it!

Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azlea, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Now, this is unexpected—but actually a great look for a young performer. Izzy took a crimped texture and gave it a 2014 spin by keeping it to the lengths of her ponytail, with a slick, straight part at the front. The pink lips, defined brows and lack of false lashes keep everything really fresh.

Holland Roden

Holland Roden, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Is it weird that there are not one but three young Hollywood celebs right now with this orangey hair colour? Holland wore hers tight to the head in a high ponytail, with a hot pink mouth. Not bad, but I think she could do better.

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Ellie's hair sure has grown a lot since the last time we checked her out, at this same event last year. I'm assuming she's wearing extensions. Anybody else reminded of Lady Gaga's? I don't mind the frizzy, flyaway texture, but I think her hair would look better at a shorter length with blunt ends.

Laura Marano

Laura Marano, MTV Movie Awards 2014

Last one for this red carpet is Laura Marano, Vanessa's sister, who is unfortunately looking like a Conehead here, with the bouffant at the top of her head. Rookie mistake, ah well. I'd also really like to see her makeup lightened up, instead of the dark rose blush, berry lips and all the liner (not to mention false lashes) closing up her eyes.

That's a wrap for me—would love to hear what you thought!

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Who were your favourites on this red carpet?
Which looks didn't you like that much?
What beauty idea here are you most likely to try on yourself?