Last night's Oscars proved that red carpet hair and makeup has become more personalized than ever.
Over the past few seasons, there was a very specific beauty moment—long, side-swept waves and predictable, "safe" makeup—that I'm glad is finally on the wane. Now, it's all about the unexpected touches: hair accessories, big curls, vibrant makeup hues and washes of non-traditional textures and colours.
Keep scrolling for all the must-see looks from this year's Academy Awards:
What I like: It wouldn't be the Oscars without a nod to Old Hollywood, but Emma made this 1930s-inspired look feel fun and fresh. There are a few important details that make it modern. Her hair is at shorter length; looks full, not droopy; and touchable, not stiff. The generous dusting of gold shimmer adds quirkiness and interest to the eye area. And even the lipstick choice, a brick red, is cooler than the usual scarlet. What I'd change: Nothing.
What I like: Chrissy's relaxed updo and fresh take on a brown makeup palette. We know she loves her browns, but for once, they don't look muddy here—probably because there's a lighter touch on the contouring, rosy cheeks, soft brows and no detectable eyeliner. I think she pulls off this hard-to-wear lip colour beautifully. What I'd change: I would just soften the lower lip liner a tad. I think I see bottom false lashes, but weirdly, they're not offending me.
What I like: Felicity's pinky-coral lipstick. Her makeup artist mixed raw pigments together to get this tone, and it's so unbelievably pretty! The faint blush is in the same hue, on top of flawless, apparently foundation-free skin. I always love when she does a classic black cat eye, which, along with the half-up hair, gives this a subtle '60s vibe. The texture through her hair and imperfect bangs make this look so effortless. What I'd change: Nothing.
What I like: Halle's voluminous, sky-high curls! Talk about a departure from her former signature short crop. According to her hairstylist, it's actually not a wig, but it did take two hours to create! For years now, I've been a fan of how Halle does her makeup—always so natural and understated. What I'd change: Nothing.
What I like: Salma's matchy eyeshadow and glossy lip colour. Pink tones are so youthful and pretty on her! I also really like the eyeliner all the way around her eyes, with a thicker line along the top—it has a lived-in quality that's really great. The natural brows and skin keep things fresh, and somehow, the girly hairband feels just right. What I'd change: Nothing (although I would give those nose hairs a little trim).
What I like: Alicia's beautiful, healthy skin—she has one of the best complexions in Hollywood right now. We get to appreciate it even more than usual this time, since her hair is up and she skipped her usual purplish eyeshadow. Even the lip colour is barely-there, a soft, berry stain. The top knot is adorable. What I'd change: It's a little too safe, although that may be because I dislike that neckline on her, and especially with the necklace. (I do like the dress, but for someone else!) Also, not a big deal here, but her lashes always look weighed-down.
What I like: Scarlett's shimmering champagne eyeshadow and defined lower lashes. This is one of those makeup looks that you only appreciate when you get close. The blush makes it seem like she is flushing from within, and I love the shiny lips—they're a nice break from the trend of overdrawn mattes. Her skin is in great condition as well. What I'd change: The drawn-on brow tails are too obvious, and I wish she didn't do the white waterlines. I cannot wait until she grows out this haircut!
What I like: Naomi's sheer wash of pink eyeshadow. You knew you'd be seeing this trend more than once on this red carpet! She took the colour all the way over at the inner corners; it's also cooler without false lashes or heavy eyeliner (although there is a soft brown in the waterlines). Straight, centre-parted hair complements the clean lines of her dress. What I'd change: The lip liner could be smudged in so it's not an obvious line. I don't like the brow tails for the same reason.
Naomie is wearing: Serum • Foundation • Concealer in 40 Beige Santal • Powder • Blush in 190 Angèlique • Brow powder in 50 Brun • Brow pencil in 40 Brun Cendré • Eyeshadow in Candeur et Expérience • Eyeliner in 932 Mat Taupe • Mascara in 10 Noir • Lip crayon in No. 9 Beige Rosé • Lip gloss in 712 Melted Honey • Lip gloss in 774 Excitation
What I like: Karlie's fluffy waves and orange lipstick. Her hair is really similar to Emma Stone's, just a little messier—which tones down the glam choker/earrings combo. I love the lips and blush, which are way less predictable than red; I even see a hint of the same warmth on her lids. Her lashes and brows both have a nice soft texture. What I'd change: Nothing.
What I like: Emma's creamy red lipstick. She has such pretty, naturally full lips; this hue also looks interesting (not so classic) with her vibrant hair. On her eyes, she skipped mascara on her lower lashes and just focused on the top, adding lots of gold shimmer, similar to the other Emma. Her brows look great—this is how I'd prefer people handle the tails. What I'd change: The hair is very Jessica Rabbit; I think she looks best as a brunette.
Emma is wearing: Face mask • Moisturizer • Primer • Foundation • Concealer • Powder • Contour and highlighter • Brow pencil • Brow gel • Eyeshadow in Bette • Eyeshadow in Jean • Eyeshadow in Bronzed Garnet • Mascara in Glossy Black • Lip liner in Kiss 'N' Tell • Lipstick in Red Carpet Red
What I like: Michelle's fresh skin and barely-there makeup. I'm impressed that she managed to wear so little colour and not look washed-out. The lashes are the one statement, with her usual sheer rosy lips and cheeks, and a new, even shorter haircut. What I'd change: It's kind of blah... I think she peaked too early, because her Golden Globes look, with longer hair and a ribbon choker, was more memorable. Still hoping she'll go back to strawberry blonde and more eye makeup, circa 2012.
What I like: Janelle's new, textured pixie cut. The space buns are gone (sob!), but to dress things up, she added a sparkly headband like Salma Hayek's. Her complexion is flawless, and I'm into the pale, shiny, two-toned lips. What I'd change: Like Michelle Williams, I think Janelle peaked early on, at the Critics' Choice Awards. I know it wouldn't have worked with the dress, but it's a shame not to see her looking edgier, with bold colour.
What I like: Polarizing dress choice aside, I think Dakota's makeup is really good. Especially the pinky-berry lip colour, which looks soft and pressed-on. I also like the thick fringe of upper lashes, warm copper shadow and feathery brows. What I'd change: The biggest problem, for me, is the way her bangs are pinned off her forehead. Do not like.
What I like: It's not every Oscars you see an eyeshadow colour like Olivia's bright violet. (No surprise, Sir John was behind it—looks like this are his signature.) I like that the shadow goes all the way around, and the lashes and brows have a lot of soft texture. She wisely pulled her hair (mostly) off her face, and paired it with a nude lip. What I'd change: The over-lined lips are too obvious, and I really dislike the gelled hair strands across her forehead. I think her skin could be less matte.
What I like: Brie's Day-Glo poppy lipstick. With her black dress, normal red could've been too boring, so I'm glad she dialled it up several notches. Another interesting feature is her cascade of waves, which aren't the usual mermaid style, and have a few sections pinned back to show off her face. Her brows are also look excellent. What I'd change: I'm bothered by this choice of false lashes—I think they take away from the entire look.
What I like: Ruth is supposed to be a "Victorian gothic pagan goddess." Okay, I appreciate that she tried something different. She's got great lips for a red lipstick, and once again, we're seeing a pinky shade in the eyeshadow. Also good that she kept her lashes so natural. In her short hair, there's yet another example of the headband trend. What I'd change: I don't get all the love for this look, to be honest. The headband, earrings, lipstick and high neckline—all in various shades of red—are just overkill for me. Makeup-wise, the blush is too low and dark; the shadow and liner are too heavy under her eyes; and I don't think bleached brows work off the runway. I MUCH preferred her look at the Globes.
What I like: Jessica's graphic winged eyeliner (in brown, not black) with soft peach lips and lids. The subtle reflective quality of her eyeshadow is very cool, and I'm glad she avoided gold, since her dress already has so much of it. I also love that we never see her with heavy contour, false lashes or drawn-on brows. The hairstyle isn't that interesting from the front, but there's a sculptural swirl at the back. Plus, you'd never know that she actually has short, heavy bangs right now—they're disguised so well! What I'd change: Nothing beauty-wise (I just don't like the dress).
What I like: Ava's half-up 'locks and flawlessly executed smoky eyes. So often, people go overboard with their smokies, but these ones—with the charcoal hue only up to the crease, and all the way around in the waterlines—are among the best pairs I've seen. Her lashes are lovely, she has great skin, and I'm a fan of the muted plum lipstick. What I'd change: I'd make her brows more ashy and feathery, not so drawn-on.
What I like: Charlize's incredible skin and soft, pretty—yet always glamorous—makeup. She rarely wears a lot of colour, and this red carpet was no exception. It's all about her fluttery lashes, brushed-up brows and sheer, glossy lips. What I'd change: The hairstyle isn't doing it for me. Wouldn't you choose between a pompadour or a ponytail, not both at the same time?
Charlize is wearing: Lipstick in 570 L.A. Pink
What I like: Priyanka's super-soft smoky eyes and pinky mauve lipstick. This is another amazing makeup idea—a light, muted grey smudged into the waterlines, surrounded by fluffy lashes. The peach cheeks warm things up, and the sleek, straight hair goes with the sharp lines of the dress. What I'd change: Nothing.
What I like: Viola's new short hair—she looks, like, a decade younger! The long, side-swept bang throws the focus to her eyes, which are adorned with thick winged shadow and a dusting of shimmer. The gold lipstick is really fun. What I'd change: The highlights in her hair are a bit uneven.
What I like: Nicole's creamy red lipstick. What a pretty shade! Jet-black lashes and a seamless blush complete the makeup. Who knew her brows were this full? I guess she's sticking with blonde hair now; at least it has a hint of strawberry warmth. What I'd change: Is it just me or does her skin seem powdery in spots?
Nicole is wearing: Moisturizer • Eye cream • Foundation in Classic Ivory • Concealer • Blush in Rosy • Eyeshadow in Classic Nude • Eyeshadow in Mink Brown • Mascara • Lip balm • Lipstick in 402 Teatro • Lip gloss in Deep Cherry
What I like: Sofia's tight, low bun and sparkly barrette. She went equally precise on her makeup, wearing a classic red lipstick with long lashes and matte skin. The contouring has a light touch. What I'd change: I don't think she needed false lashes with everything else so "done."
What I like: Isabelle's side-parted, mid-length red waves—which showcase her dramatic earring. Her makeup is glamorous but not heavy, featuring a red lip stain, gold eyeshadow, and a fringe of black lashes. For once, a reddish brow pencil is the right shade. What I'd change: Nothing. (Her lip colour is bleeding a tiny bit, but it happens.)
Isabelle is wearing: Lip crayon in Endangered Red
What I like: Leslie's messy, wavy hair. This is a lot of texture—but I actually love the juxtaposition against the strapless, vibrant gown. It's as if she just threw it on, in the best possible way. The electric coral-pink lipstick adds to the fun, and I always like that she keeps her eye makeup to just lashes. What I'd change: Nothing.
What I like: Kirsten's wavy, undone chignon. This is the prettiest I've seen her hair (and wardrobe!) in quite a while. As for her skin, I take it she's just hot and flushing—not wearing gobs of blush!? What I'd change: I was hoping for a change from her go-to red lipstick and black smoky eyes. Technically, there's nothing wrong, but it's such a strong look for her colouring.
Kirsten is wearing: Lipstick in Cerise
Taraji P. Henson
What I like: Taraji mixed things up with some blue liner along her lower lash lines, albeit with her favourite smoky shadow up top. I'm happy to see more natural lashes, and the lip gloss has an interesting iridescence. What I'd change: Overall, I find this too busy. If you're going to wear colourful eyeliner, let that make the statement on its own, without the distractions of other colours, heavy contouring, a voluminous bob and strong jewellery. My preference would be for the hair to do the talking here, with soft pink makeup tones like she wore to the SAG Awards.
Taraji is wearing: Moisturizer • Eye balm • Foundation in Tan • Powder • Bronzer • Blush in Dusk • Eyeshadow • Eyeliner in Mainline • False lashes • Mascara in False Black • Brow pencil in Minx • Brow highlighter • Lip gloss in Pompadour Pink
What I like: Hailee's skin is looking gorgeous. It's great to see her hair up and off her face—it was necessary with this ruffled collar, and keeps things nice and clean, even though the smoky eyes are quite dramatic. Speaking of which, the shadow is very well-blended, as is the blush. I could almost live with the false lashes, if it weren't for this next part... What I'd change: I'm SO disappointed that Hailee felt the need to get herself a new set of lips! It's one thing to enhance so-called "thin lips," but her lips were perfectly full and lovely before. Never in a million years would I have thought that obviously fake-looking lip fillers would be an aspirational trend.
Who had your favourite (and least favourite) beauty look on this red carpet?