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Makeup trends spotted at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards

At the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards, bold makeup marks a grand return.

Red carpet events are gradually getting back in business, bringing with them some particularly audacious beauty looks — as was the case at last night’s MTV Video Music Awards. While a handful of guests opted to play the natural card — albeit a rather sophisticated take on natural — the majority went for more elaborate looks, with vibrant or metallic colors, rhinestones, sequins, and hairstyles each more extravagant than the next. All in all, it was a real breath of fresh air!

As the natural trend continues into fall — especially since many of us are still wearing face masks — there are some signs to suggest that people are rekindling with a certain desire for freedom, spontaneity and self-expression through much more eccentric beauty looks. Big red carpet events, now once again being held in person, rarely leave room for the “no makeup” vibe that was a core trend just a few months ago. And the MTV Video Music Awards proved no exception.

Time to go all out

Who better than Doja Cat to embody this electrifying red carpet parade. The American rapper certainly didn’t do things by halves — and that’s no bad thing! — opting for a vibrant take on the smoky eye, with shades fading from electric blue to purple. This was matched with hair that may have seemed a little more natural than her usual styles, but which stood out with its many red strands, perfectly matching her thigh boots. There’s no doubt that the artist caused a sensation on the red carpet, making everyone forget — just for one night — that the pandemic is not yet over.


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As for hairstyles, many celebrities embraced long, real hair, highlighting their natural curls, even if they were much more styled and finished than in everyday life. One of the hairstyles that went down a storm — as sported by Latto and Jenna Andrews, in particular — was an extravagant braid falling (at least) to the knee. And when guests didn’t step out with colored hair — like Cyndi Lauper, Nick Cannon, or Saweetie — they brought a ’90s hairstyle back into the spotlight, wearing hair pulled back neatly in a ponytail or a bun, but leaving two strands free to frame the face. Hailey Bieber, Bia and Kourtney Kardashian all embraced this trend.

Note too, the highly worked makeup looks — with vibrant colors, smoky eyes and XXL eyeliner — sported by the singer Ashanti, not to mention Charli XCX, Ciara, Billy Porter, Rita Ora, and Bella Poarch.

Natural… but not too natural

While Alicia Keys remained true to her decision to stop wearing makeup, even on the red carpet, others chose beauty looks with a natural  — but not too natural — effect. So while there was no sign of vibrant red lips, flashy eyeshadow or excessive sculpting, there was nevertheless an enhanced, perfected complexion, a line of eyeliner — albeit light — and glossed lips. And often when makeup was kept ultra-light, it’s the outfit that made a statement with an eccentric twist. See, for example, Megan Fox — whose transparent dress left no one indifferent — plus Normani, Winnie Harlow and Billie Eilish, who, with Alicia Keys, was probably the most natural of the evening.


Hero and feature images by Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP. The story is published via AFP Relaxnews