The red carpet beauty vibe at this year’s American Music Awards? Bold, experimental and actually downright surprising. Think: faux bobs, new bangs... and even coloured contact lenses.
Let’s dive in for a closer look.
Selena Gomez at the 2015 American Music Awards
Selena has been experimenting with coloured contacts, and this hazel pair are so striking. I totally get it. There’s something so mesmerizing about dark hair and light eyes à la Adriana Lima. I’m not sure if she needed to push the look even further with the false lashes, but I do love her full brows, shiny hair and muted lipstick. She looks like a futuristic Barbie doll.
Gigi Hadid at the 2015 American Music Awards
Gigi has a bob! Well, a faux one, anyway—this has been revealed as a clever half-wig, attached at the back to blend in with her shortest layers. I never would’ve guessed that she didn’t actually cut it! (Truthfully, I’m glad she didn’t. It would be criminal to chop off that long, wavy, voluminous, supermodel hair.) Her makeup is all illuminated nudes, with soft lashes, brushed-up brows and two prominent highlights at the inner corners of her eyes. The effect is quite ‘90s with the slicked-back roots, and balances nicely with the extremely bare chest.
Ciara at the 2015 American Music Awards
Normally, I prefer sleek hair on the red carpet, but Ciara’s low ponytail with undone pieces looks pretty cool (the long strands kind of soften her). Her skin finish is excellent, and so is the charcoal eyeshadow, applied precisely up to the crease. She has some flirty lashes at the outer corners of her eyes, but at least from this angle, they don’t seem overdone. While I like the berry mouth, it might’ve been nice to introduce an element of sheer, glossy shine.
Hailee Steinfeld at the 2015 American Music Awards
Hailee did her usual creative smoky eye makeup with long, loose waves. It’s a lot of eyeshadow: she paired a charcoal on the outer edges with bright gold shimmer at the inner corners, and taken about halfway across the lower lash lines. The rose lip is muted and modern.
Zendaya at the 2015 American Music Awards
So this is actually pretty toned-down, for a Zendaya makeup look. I don’t think we’ve seen her in pink lipstick before—it’s pretty! I’ve also got to applaud the use of more appropriate false lashes. I like her straight hair a lot, too, although at this point I have no idea what’s a wig and what’s not!
Kendall Jenner at the 2015 American Music Awards
Kendall showed up in bangs, and has yet to confirm whether they are real or fake. (Leave it to a Kardashian to draw out that debate, right?) I think they’re fake. As a model, I doubt she would cut them, and they don’t even seem to be trimmed properly in the centre. As for the rest of this look, there’s a lot going on with the high neckline, shoulder details, snake earrings and then the bangs/side pieces. I feel like she also went too dark with her contour and too light with her foundation.
Kylie Jenner at the 2015 American Music Awards
Meanwhile, Kylie doesn’t even look related to Kendall, she is wearing such dark spray tan or contour/bronzer—I’m not sure what it is! Compared to her shoulders, her face looks so orange. The lip injections are still going strong, although compared to last year, she appears to have a new technique of keeping the top lip thinner and going huge on the bottom. I also noticed she drew over her beautiful brows, so now they look stencilled-on. I don’t understand...
Nina Dobrev at the 2015 American Music Awards
Nina’s look is a bit “safe” for a music awards show, but still lovely. It’s mostly about her gorgeous mane of hair, with brown smoky eyes to match. Notice how the shadow has an angular shape, but it’s all soft and diffused—not like a harsh, graphic eyeliner. The matte rose lips are a nod to her outfit.
Tove Lo at the 2015 American Music Awards
Tove did a Goth-inspired look, complete with septum ring and oxblood lipstick. Worn with straight, centre-parted hair tucked behind her ears, the effect is half edgy, half high-fashion. She wisely kept her brows soft and natural (just the fans brushed up), and is wearing minimal blush. The lashes are fake but soft, which is key.
Kat Graham at the 2015 American Music Awards
Yes, Kat! Allow me to explain why I think her bright yellow and purple eyeshadow is actually a good thing. In the past, her makeup has been super-heavy and “Instagrammy” (you know what I mean). I would much rather see people experimenting with colour in creative ways like this, versus wearing all the makeup, all at once. No, it’s not perfect, but at least it’s a fresh statement, and very modern with the nude, matte lips and (relatively tame) lashes.
Chloë Grace Moretz at the 2015 American Music Awards
Chloë went for an edgy vibe, wearing her hair with tons of texture (note the straight ends) and adorned with a couple of oversized black clips. I’m glad she kept a light touch for her makeup, though, as anything too dark would overwhelm her fair colouring. Yay for natural lashes!
Ashley Benson at the 2015 American Music Awards
This is nice, although I wish Ashley had been a bit more creative. Her lashes and brows have lots of good texture, and the soft diffusion of bronzey-brown shadow matches her hair (as well as her lipstick and blush).
Olivia Holt at the 2015 American Music Awards
Olivia did the most conventionally pretty look on this red carpet, and it turned out great. The soft makeup really shows off her good skin and big brown eyes. Notice the subtle, shimmery peach eyeshadow, all the way up to her brows, and how the black liner is tight to her upper lash lines. That’s why the dark fringe of lashes works here—because nothing else is heavy. Having her hair up in a ponytail helps, too, and the jangly earrings complete the look.
Hannah Davis at the 2015 American Music Awards
With her hair back in a clean ponytail parted down the middle, all the focus is on Hannah’s beautiful eyes. I just wish she’d lose the false lashes—she really doesn’t need ‘em. But overall, she is obviously stunning... look at those perfect eyebrows and chiseled cheekbones!
Demi Lovato at the 2015 American Music Awards
Even with all the “haircuts” and eye colour changes on this red carpet, the one person who changed her look the most was Demi. She really committed to this vintage 1920s glamour thing—I wonder how long it took her to get ready! First of all, her skin looks fantastic and I need to know her secrets. I also think she pulls off the finger waves in her glossy black hair. As for her makeup, the Ombré lips and smoky eyes are dramatic but still in balance. The only thing I’d like to see would be a more natural, less angular brow.
Demi is wearing: Lip crayon in Creature
Christina Milian at the 2015 American Music Awards
Christina wore a super-slick, ultra-tight, sky-high top knot. Actually, it’s much taller than your average top knot, which gives her sort of futuristic vibe. While it’s not my favourite, she has such nice skin, she does pull it off. With such sleekness to the hair, and very nude makeup, it’s fine to go more dramatic on the lashes. I just would’ve preferred less angular brows.
Alicia Silverstone at the 2015 American Music Awards
You have to appreciate that Alicia is committed to being au naturel—no Botox or fillers here. Her side-parted, textured hair looks perfectly appropriate for a music event, paired with some smudgy metallic bronze eyeliner. For a fresher look, I’d love to see her brows with a straighter (not so angular) shape.
Ellie Goulding at the 2015 American Music Awards
Hmm, not Ellie’s best. I appreciate that she tried something new with the gelled-back, voluminous roots... but there’s a reason we usually only see that on supermodels like Gigi Hadid. A swingy, bouncy lob is way more flattering to normal people. I’m also not a fan of her stencilled-on brows, or the false lashes, but her skin looks great.
Rebel Wilson at the 2015 American Music Awards
Rebel went for big Bardot hair, and I quite like it on her! The hair sweeping across her forehead is really flattering to her face, and I have no complaints on the eye makeup. Notice how the shadow carves out some angles because it’s smoked out on the diagonal; the false lashes also help to balance her face.
Gwen Stefani at the 2015 American Music Awards
Well, this is not the “happy to be single” red carpet debut that I was expecting! Between the heavy, arched brows and over-the-top eyelashes, Gwen’s makeup is the opposite of fresh. It’s actually giving her a witchy vibe. I do like the hairstyle, but in a solid platinum blonde, it’s just too much.
Julianne Hough at the 2015 American Music Awards
While there are aspects of this look that I can appreciate, the thing that’s bugging me is Julianne’s deep spray tan. It’s making her look orange, and just doesn’t go with her cool-toned platinum hair colour. That said, the criss-cross pattern of her part is kind of cool, and I can’t remember seeing that before. The orange lipstick is also fun with her light blue eyes and the blue/green earrings. I think she could tone down the eyebrows and the lashes.
Julianne is wearing: Lipstick in Geraldine
Meghan Trainor at the 2015 American Music Awards
Meghan’s combo of red lipstick with black false lashes and light blonde hair can easily look too harsh... and that’s definitely the case here. I’m not really one for beauty rules, but in this case, I think it would’ve been better to emphasize either lips or eyes, not both. I’d probably go with eyes—obviously, with more natural lashes and without the white waterlines—and a sheer, glossy lip.
Carrie Underwood at the 2015 American Music Awards
There’s a pretty woman underneath this unfortunate makeup, I just know it. I’d love to give Carrie a “make-under” with less fake tan, no eyeliner, natural lashes and feathery, non-tadpole brows. (It’s a long list!) I just don’t get why she thinks she needs so much?
If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. See our Disclosure for more information.