The VMAs beauty round-up is here, and it's a juicy one! A bit delayed, because even beauty editors need to take vacation. But these looks are so wild and wacky, they're worth the wait. Promise!
Here are all the hair and makeup highlights:
Oops, should've given you an NSFW warning re: Miley's outfit! If you can manage to look away—and ignore the cray hair—then the makeup is actually pretty cool. I don't think I've ever seen liner applied quite this way, in the bottom lower waterlines and darting into the inner corners for a feline effect. The bright blue is also very striking with the orange mouth. Her lashes are defined and a bit chunky, and brows darkened and lifted at the outer edges. I dunno... is it wrong to say I like this makeup?
If someone told me this was a wax figure at Madame Tussauds and not a living, breathing, 18-year-old human, I swear I'd believe them. But I get the sense that Kylie doesn't care about looking natural—her face is contoured within an inch of its life, along with needle-plumped lips, false lashes and matte brownish-toned makeup. I kinda dig the wig and the whole Cleopatra vibe, but it can be done with probably a tenth of the products she piled on here. Most of all, I can't get over her dead eyes...
Finally, a beauty look I can get behind! I think FKA Twigs had my favourite one of the night—a big mass of wild curls in a faux bob, with fresh skin, natural brows and bright red lipstick. It's a total departure from her usual street-influenced style, and you really appreciate her natural beauty here.
Nice to see Taylor putting an edgier spin on her go-to heavy liner and false lashes. I quite enjoy this! Like Miley's blue liner, this shape is very feline, except in a dark, thick, shimmering navy that goes all the way around the eyes and just above the creases. Notice how the waterlines were left light, with what looks like a bit of white shimmer. The rest of her face is fresh, to let the eyes shine, and her hair looks prim in a low ponytail and side-swept bangs.
Nicki took her eyeliner in the other direction, opting for black liner with dramatic outward flicks. There are elements of this that I like—the straight hair and bangs, for example, and the light pink mouth. But her highlighting/contouring is just SO obvious. I don't think there's meant to be a 10-shade difference between the skin in the centre of your face and your jawline.
Gigi looks comparatively fresher in a '60s-inspired bronzed beach-glam look. I really like the off-the-face helmet hair on her, and that the only standout element of her makeup is the fluffy false lashes. Take note of that shimmery lipstick, because I think we might see more of that texture soon.
Gigi is wearing: Primer // Foundation // Bronzer // Powder // Blush in Medium Mauve // Blush in Coral // Eyeshadow in The Blushed Nudes // Mascara // Brow pencil in Blonde // Brow mascara in Blonde // Lipstick in Nude Embrace // Lip gloss in Taupe with Me
Ciara has a lob again, and it is spectacular! I love this cut on her, and how shiny/healthy her hair looks. It's also very flattering with her face shape. She kept makeup minimal, choosing black liner and lashes with pinky-nude lipstick and lids. I do think the highlighting in the centre of her face is too light, though, and doesn't seem properly blended in places.
Not much has changed since the last time we saw Britney, except she skipped the black eyeshadow here, and her hair's up in a cheerleader ponytail secured with a braid. Otherwise, the makeup (and outfit!) are still Vegas-tastic: glittery eyeshadow and lip gloss, heavy black liner, over-the-top false lashes and fake tan. Lots and lots of fake tan. Well, at least her brows look natural.
The centre-of-the-face highlighting strikes again! Rita also went a bit too light there, but you know what? Aside from that minor issue, I think she looks pretty great here. Her smoky black shadow is modern with the angular outer corners, and works well with her dark brows, nude lips and revealing dress. Thanks to the magic of extensions, her hair is tied back in a long, sleek ponytail.
Rita is wearing: Face mist // Moisturizer // Foundation in 4.5 // Eyeshadow in Naked Smoky // Eyeliner in Black Velvet // Eyeliner in Black Velvet // Eyeliner in Vice // Brow pencil in Neutral Brown // Brow Gel in Clear // Mascara // Lip colour in Nude Eclipse
We haven't seen Selena on the red carpet since the Met Ball, where she wore a heavier red lips 'n' flower look. I like this so much better. It's no wonder she's the new face (hair) of Pantene—her curls couldn't be glossier. I also like how she contoured her cheeks with a peachy blush, and the slightly metallic quality of her peach lipstick. Not crazy about the lashes, but they're not terrible.
Darn, why didn't Demi stick with this recent look (which was heavy, yes, but still gorgeous) instead of what she did here? Even for her, this is a lot of makeup. The long false eyelashes make me think of insects and Kim Kardashian, and her blush is way too heavy. (Read this, Demi!) Although she has great skin and I love her hair this way, the contour on her forehead is too strong. With her super-precise brows, the overall effect is that she's trying way too hard.
Demi is wearing: Primer // Foundation // Foundation // Concealer // Blush in Dollface // Eyeshadow in Full Exposure // Eyeliner in Blacktrack // Bronzer in Sun Bunny // Brow powder // Brow pencil // Mascara // False lashes // Lip gloss
Karlie was the most bare-faced person on this entire red carpet, wearing just peach blush, darkened upper lashes and a creamy nude lipstick. Brows are natural, hair is tousled and beachy, and she looks stunning—as usual.
Is anyone else really bothered by that tiny, unblended swipe of contour stuck in the middle of Hailee's cheek? I can't look away. That and the concealer build-up under her eyes take away from what is otherwise a great beauty look: shiny, centre-parted hair, popsicle-pink lips and flirty cat eyes. In a world of Instagram brows, I find her natural ones refreshing.
What I love about Cara isn't her eyebrows anymore—it's that she never looks like she's trying too hard. (Take note, Demi Lovato!) Here, she's rocking the new air-dried hair texture with understated black liner, matte lips, flushed cheeks and brushed-up brows. The only thing that bugs is that tiny bit of mismatched colour at the tail of her brow.
Cara is wearing: Face mist // Serum // Moisturizer // BB Cream in Light // Blush in Desired Glow // Eyeshadow in 15 Frasque // Liquid liner in Ultra Black // Eyeliner in Nude // Mascara // Lipstick in Star System
Emily went for a similar vibe as Cara, with tousled bedhead hair and barely any makeup—except for smudgy black in the waterlines, tapering to baby flicks at the outer corners. Perhaps her foundation could be a touch better blended; I'm looking at the upper lip in particular.
Eeks! I know this pic is not the best quality, but Kim's looking a bit... off. I think it's her lips. If you compare them to the last time we saw her on a red carpet, back at the Met Ball, they are distinctively more puffed-up. Do not like. Also, those lashes are going to give me nightmares. I honestly do not feel she needs anywhere near this amount of foundation, or makeup in general.
Uh-oh, looks like Kim isn't the only Kardashian who walked this red carpet fresh from the dermatologist's office. To me, it seems as if Kourtney's lip and cheek filler hasn't "settled" yet, giving her a misshapen, melted appearance. The low placement of brown blush and weirdly smudged, visible bottom lip liner don't help matters at all. I will say something nice: I like her hair.
Vanessa decided to get all creative on us, combining Boho/hippie elements (like the braid and long waves) with glam ones (the glittery gold shadow and false lashes). I don't think it's working—not that it can't, but this just wasn't executed properly. The makeup is too much! And I don't know how this lip liner even happened. What is going on?!
Usually, I find Chrissy's makeup a bit strong, but in this sea of heavy-handed looks, she comes off surprisingly natural-looking. Yep, even with the false lashes and bold blush. It's nice to see her hair up for once, and the soft lip colour is really pretty.
Speaking of updos, it's good to see Bella with one, too, since she usually wears her hair down. The top knot is adorable on her, and I don't really mind the false lashes in this case; they add to the flirty factor. Her makeup is all soft, tawny tones. Very nice!
Holland brought us one of the few beauty looks here that you'd actually wear on the street. Yet another cat eye (there were so many on this red carpet!), with peachy-pink lipstick and blush, and hair simply tucked behind both ears. Definitely not edgy, but that's fine by me.
Laura has such gorgeous skin; I can't help but want to tweak her makeup just a little bit. I find the shimmery white highlighter at the inner corners and the black eyeliner too high-contrast, and her blush placement is too low and not well-blended. Same goes for her brow pencil. But the lip colour is pretty, and does she ever have an amazing mane of hair!
I would never have recognized Greer, who is now a brunette. Here's what she looked like as a blonde. I hope this new shade is just for a role, because the blonde is much better! The waves also seem dated, and I'd like to see her brows darkened for definition instead of relying so much on the fake-looking lashes.
Even fresh-faced models like Martha aren't immune from the pervasive visible lip liner problem. I'm telling you, seeing all these faux pas is enough to make a girl swear off lip liner forever! Otherwise, I'm totally into this look of natural hair, bare skin and soft definition around the eyes.
I think Tinashe is an example of the centre-of-the-face highlighting done right. At least in this lighting, it's flattering and not too light. The false lashes are too much for my tastes, but otherwise, she looks pretty. Very understated glam.
Halsey makes her Beauty Editor debut, and I'm getting a brunette Agyness Deyn vibe, big time. I think she looks great. I'm a sucker for freckles, which keep her skin texture looking fresh against the pop of red on her lips. The lashes don't feel too strong, since the lids are bare.
I love when girls like Tori let loose their natural hair texture—it's an instant style. Sure, the colour is rooty, but it works with her brown eyes and dark brows. I like the pale copper shade on her lids, and the wings to accentuate an almond shape. Maybe matte lips would be better.
You know it's a crazy red carpet when Maria has one of the few looks regular folks would actually wear! I feel like she's lightening up a bit—the top knot is very cute on her, lips aren't goopy, and her skin looks almost naturally sun-kissed. Not a fan of the lashes, though.
Amanda has the most amazing icy blue stare—the effect is very Hitchcock blonde. I dunno about this makeup, though. In a way, the matte, brown-toned lips, blush and shadow are kind of interesting. But they also seem to give her complexion an unflattering cast, almost like she is ill. Maybe it only works because she's so pretty!
What's the deal with Rebecca's lower lip—anyone know? I'm not sure if it's the way-too-obvious lip liner or injections, or both, but I'm very distracted. Aside from that, I think she looks great; very fresh-sexy. The eye makeup is perfect, and her tousled, highlighted hair really flatters her.
We've seen Beatrice before, at the Radio Disney Music Awards, but I probably wouldn't have recognized her. That's because she has a way more flattering hair colour (more golden, not so frosty) and her makeup is much more fresh.
I love Arielle's hair with the big swoop on top and the glamorous, mid-length waves. Can't complain about her makeup, which is nude and fresh, with just a few individual false lashes.
Charlotte has one of the best manes of hair on this red carpet; it looks incredibly thick. I also like her navy blue eye makeup, sheer skin and peachy lip gloss.
Not sure if Katie chose the right foundation—her skin looks a bit yellowish to me. But I do like the eye makeup, and the emphasis on the bottom lashes. I think she could've chosen a softer lip colour to look more modern.
OMG JoJo, step away from your eyeshadow palette. Nobody needs to use this much eyeshadow to achieve a smoky effect! The blush, contour and brow powder aren't really blended, either.
Oh look, it's another member of the Cyrus family! Maybe Miley can help a sister out and share her makeup artist, because Brandi's look isn't quite ready for prime time. Her skin needs blotting/perfecting, and this is truly one of the most unflattering lipstick colours I've seen in a looong time.
Well, at least Lindsey looks like she's having a good time! So she gets points for the big smile. It's just too bad she chose these particular makeup colours. Purple shadow and chalky peach lipstick are challenging for even the most experienced red carpet pros, so no surprise they don't work here.
Jillian Rose Reed
Finally! Jillian ditched her super-fake burgundy hair colour for this much more flattering reddish-brown. Unfortunately, that was the only upgrade, because she's still choosing the same heavy false lashes and copper shadow. (The shadow might work with less makeup everywhere else.) The extra skinny lines at her tear ducts interests me, but get overshadowed by the heavy lashes and everything else. Also looks like she's getting lip injections. Noooo, Jillian!
Rachel not only has a light face on top of a dark body, but also some of the most obvious swipes of contouring I've seen yet. Choose a lighter shade and then blend, gurl! The weirdly curled false lashes also need to go.
Oh wow, Kat busted out a whole bunch of beauty extremes, from Ombré brows to extra-long lashes to radically highlighted skin. I don't even know how to describe this lip colour... greyish mauve? Also, I swear she is wearing coloured contacts. Nothing about this is real, and the only thing I can say I genuinely like is her hair. She did good with that wavy bob!
The grand finale belongs to Jeannie, who is wearing ALL the makeup. Glittery white shadow, hot pink lipstick, mega falsies, bold blush, you name it—it's all here. Don't hold back, Jeannie! Hey, I would have loved this when I was five.
Who had your favourite (and least favourite) beauty looks on this red carpet?