American Music Awards 2012: The Must-See Beauty Looks - Beautyeditor

American Music Awards 2012: The Must-See Beauty Looks

Who had the best hair and makeup on this red carpet?
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It's that time again! Time to dissect the most... how do I put this?... conversation-worthy beauty looks from the AMAs the other night. For me it had all the elements you want in a good awards show—since let's be real, I only really care about the hair and makeup part, obvs. It had drama (lashes and pompadours!). It had gorgeousness (otherworldly glowing skin!). It had embarrassingly awful makeup that should never be seen again (two words: Christina Aguilera).

So yeah, we need to chat. I've handily divided up the celebs of note into a list of DOs... and DON'Ts. Read on!

DO: Beach-ify your hair like Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood - American Music Awards 2012

Can I get a what what? Don't tell me you didn't do a double take when you saw this pic of Carrie Underwood. She looks kinda hot! Mind you, in a very conventional, Girl Hot way. Yes, the makeup is still too overdone for my taste, but compared to the last time we saw her, at the CMA Awards, it's like night and day. Her skin is tons more glowy here... but the key difference, I think, is in the hair. It's relaxed! It's beachy. It's sexy. It's not riddled with those un-separated curls that drive me crazy whenever I see them. So Carrie totally gets my vote for Most Improved. This week, anyway.

DON'T: Spend too much time at the dermatologist, like Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani - American Music Awards 2012

Probably it's because I really like Gwen Stefani that I give her a lot of leeway. When we last saw her at the MTV EMAs, I was totally digging her red lips and perfect blonde hair. Her skin? Not so great, but I thought it was just the bad lighting in the photo. Now, seeing her here, I understand that there is an issue. Something's been tinkered with, and I think it's the brows (they're arching too much at the edges) and the lip/chin area (it's looking sort of immobile and masculinized). Also—and you'd think a derm would be able to help with this—her skin texture's a little uneven. Of course I totally sympathize with that kind of thing on the everyday civilian, but on a celebrity with oodles of ka$hmoney and access to any treatment under the sun? Let's just say I'm surprised. And if it's just the makeup, then it's time to invest in a new foundation.

DO: Show off insanely glowy skin like Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere - American Music Awards 2012

Hayden is doing so well lately. It's exciting, really, because she was most definitely not one of my faves even six months ago. Here, I just can't get over how incredible her complexion looks. Her complexion IS the makeup statement. It's actually secondary to the lip. Sadly, I can't find any intel on what prodz were used, which is making me sad because WELL THOSE CHEEKS! It's like she doesn't even have to try with her hair or the rest of her makeup. Good skin can take you far in life, kids. Very far.

DON'T: Accentuate your under-eye crinkles like Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen - American Music Awards 2012

Carly Rae Jepsen is such a cutie patootie that I hate to nit-pick on her business. BUT. I'll be the evil one and just point out that girl has a lot of under-eye wrinklage going on for the tender age of 27. (It's actually her birthday today—happy birthday Carly!) Anyway, besides asking for some eye cream, I would also suggest she avoid any kind of sparkly shadows in that area, because they only serve to shine a big honkin' spotlight on said problem. If you, too, have this beauty challenge, then matte neutral shadows need to be your BFFs.

DO: Try out the new Mod beauty trend a la Ginnifer Goodwin

Ginnifer Goodwin - American Music Awards 2012

I was so excited when I saw these lashes on Ginnifer Goodwin! Good one, Goodwin. You see, she's following one of the hottest beauty trends of the moment, which is the return to the '60s. I just wrote about this for The Globe and Mail, in fact! Playing up the eyes is key for Mod style—and is she not the perfect person to pull off this extreme lower-lash look? To me these look like falsies, but according to the makeup artist I interviewed for that story, you can also just hold your mascara wand vertically and sort of clump the lashes together as you brush back and forth. I'm telling you, the lower lash line is totes where it's at. Start getting comfortable with putting makeup down there, because we're only going to see more and more emphasis on that area of the face.

DON'T: Go crazy on the contouring like Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera - American Music Awards 2012

Or maybe this should say DON'T: Do drugs. I don't know what else can explain this makeup on Christina Aguilera. I mean, Kevyn Aucoin was a contouring genius and all, but I don't think even he would've approved of this extreme-ass, drag queen-looking job. Right? Right. But that's not the only thing that's killing me. It's also the purple on the eyes. (As in: I don't think that's how you're meant to wear bright colours.) The finishing touches are the obvious lip liner and full-body shimmer. BOOM! You can't make this stuff up. I will say that I like the hair. (There! I'm a nice person, really.)

DO: Wear a sleek pony with fresh makeup like Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks - American Music Awards 2012

I'm loving everything about Jordin Sparks here. (Except maybe her dress, but I'm no fashion expert.) Not too many peeps—including yours truly—can handle the severity of a slicked back, super-straight, high on the head pony. But on her? Amazing. I also love that she kept her makeup really clean and fresh, with barely glossed nude lips, a matte skin finish and a subtle smoky eye. Some might say it's boring, but I feel like being understated just shows off her natural beauty all the more. Just because it's a fancy event doesn't mean you always have to go crazy with Statement Makeup.

DON'T: Over-bronze yourself (or pompadour your hair) like Jenny McCarthy

Jenny McCarthy - American Music Awards 2012

You know who does a mean pompadour? Pink, that's who. Here, Jenny McCarthy is rocking the poor woman's pomp. It's just too voluminous, it's not cool, it needs to go away NOW. Although you could argue that's the least of her problems with this beauty look. Why so much bronzing, Jen Jen? It's on the cheeks (ugh, so contoured—like Christina A.); it's on the lips; it's on the eyelids; it's even in the hair! Nobody needs this much bronze in her life. (Taylor Swift's hint of it on her eyelids that night was just enough.) I would also like to suggest that Jenny read this post and grow out her brows a bit. They're getting a bit on the skinny, witchy, over-arched side... never flattering.

Tell me:

Which AMAs looks did you love?
Which ones make you feel all cringey?
Are some of my DOs your DON'Ts... or vice-versa?