Red Carpet Stunners

Photo-ready makeup for awards season

By: Erin Torrance

Last week we took care of your tips, getting them fashionably set for this award season. This week, it’s all in your face—or on it—as we give you some makeup advice for your own photo shoot.

A matte palette is best for events that you anticipate having your photo taken over and over and over again. Glossy, sheer, pearlized or satin finishes will reflect light from the camera’s flash and make you appear pale, washed-out or oily. Our following recommendations are generally matte products, but with a slight shimmering touch. A simple way to go about planning your winning matte look is to first decide what feature to emphasize: lips, cheeks or eyes.


As seen at New York’s Fashion Week and the Grammy Awards, red lips are elegant and bold. A simple swipe of lipstick, stain or gloss will pump up the impact of your smile, while still keeping your makeup palette clean and simple. We recommend Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain in Strawberry Kiss (Sephora, $12), a pinky-red shade with a matte finish that compliments fair skin. For a bolder look, try NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio (NARS, $32), a vibrant, moisturizing and long-wear lip colour with antioxidant benefits.

Adele at the 2012 Grammy Awards


When highlighting your cheekbones, avoid luminizers; instead of emphasizing them, it will cause them to vanish due to a flash’s exposure. Laura Mercier’s Second Skin Cheek Colour (Laura Mercier, $24) is a silky, flawless blush that is available in 15 shades, ranging from a sheer, neutral Fresh Ginger to deep City Pink and Spiced Cider, which are two great shades for darker skin tones. For emphasis, opt for a deeper, more pigmented shade that is slightly more dramatic than a shade you would naturally select, as this counteracts the flash’s tendencies to make skin appear washed-out.

If you have chosen to emphasize your eyes or lips, a neutral shade of this blush, like Orange Blossom or Wild Bouquet, will subtly define your cheekbones without overwhelming your other features.

Nicole Kidman at the 2012 Grammy Awards


To emphasize your eyes, the classic smokey eye effect is a standard that will compliment any eye colour. Too Faced’s Smokey Eye Shadow Palette (Sephora exclusive, $36) is a perfect choice for your meeting with the paparazzi. It combines graduating shades of brown and black-based matte shadows with shimmering taupe, white and silver, for the perfect pinch of highlight.

Another option is to select shadows that compliment your eye colour. Too Faced’s Matte Eye Shadow Collection (Sephora exclusive, $36) features nine shades (neutral, warm and cool) with options that compliment every eye: mauve and warm brown for green eyes, pale pink and dark brown for blue eyes and a deep blue for brown eyes.

Kelly Rowland, 2012 Pre-Grammy gala, smokey eyes with deep blue to emphasize her brown eyes. -photographed by Clive Davis

Taylor Swift, 2012 Grammy Awards wearing brown shadows to emphasize her blue eyes

Of course, what is at the base also matters. A primer like Lancome La Base Pro (Lancome, $42) hides imperfections for a smooth skin tone. As a finishing touch, set your makeup with Skindinavia’s Makeup Finish spray (Skindinavia, $19-39). It comes in six different types, each formulated to meet the needs of different skin types. Its oil-free formula will also boost your makeup’s lasting impression for up to 16 hours.

With these suggestions, create a look, distinctly your own, that emphasizes your natural features and is guaranteed to be red carpet worthy.

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