If it feels like it's been forever since we had a major award show, that's because it pretty much has been. The MTV Video Music Awards are happening exactly six months after the Academy Awards. And while the VMAs are obviously a much different experience than the Oscars, they're both extremely satisfying when it comes to gawking at celebrity beauty moments.
While you do have the occasional moment of classic glamour at the VMAs (see: Beyoncé's and Taylor Swift's entire red-carpet histories) nominees like Doja Cat, Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, and Demi Lovato all but guarantee makeup, hair, and manicure creativity. We love to see a red carpet covered in broken beauty rules.
It's a night for jaws to drop, trends to start, and glam teams to shine. With such a wide variety of artists, no one will agree on one favorite look — but we have a feeling the following will have viewers talking for days and weeks to come.
Between tattoos and hair art, Doja Cat has been on quite the spider kick lately, and it's showing no signs of stopping. The theme followed her onto the carpet in the form of a cobweb dress and sparkly spider earrings, and even her beauty look contained a nod to arachnids: spider lashes. Her Dior tooth accessory, face gems, and glittery skin may not be very spidery, but those super-skinny brows could arguably be a tribute to daddy longlegs.
Megan Thee Stallion
We had a feeling Megan Thee Stallion was going to make our list long before she arrived on the VMAs carpet, and we were right. She wore her down yet slicked back, giving us a clear view of her makeup by Lauren Child, including flawless skin courtesy of Revlon Illuminance Skin-Caring Foundation, glossy gradient lips, and softly angular eye shadow. And speaking of angular, her extra-long nails — coated in a sparkly sheer gold with animal-print patches — are topped a diagonal edge.
Just when you thought Barbiecore was fading away with the summer, Saweetie is a vision in pink on the VMAs red carpet — which is actually pink — and definitely doing the color her own way. (Is that a pink bone?) She carried the color of her sparkly dress into her makeup: lip gloss, blush, and absolutely incredible eyes. The hue even makes it to her long nails, which are accented in crystals and what appears to be silver… veins? Oh my. (We hear nail artist Temeka Jackson used Aprés Nail Gel Couleur in New Year Wishes for that metallic look.) They almost distract from her remarkably long ponytail.
Olivia Rodrigo stayed very much on brand — long, glossy hair and winged liner, as per usual — just a bit dressier than usual. Very Old Hollywood glam with a touch of baby goth, don't you think? And while she wore the black nail polish she's been favoring lately, she opted for a fresh coat instead of a chipped look.
You've heard of a single tear? Well, Demi Lovato is serving a single tendril. The singer proved you don't have to wear a ponytail or updo to keep one piece loose up front. It dangled from her slicked-back hair in front of her gorgeous makeup by Jill Powell, which includes peachy-tan cheeks and lips — layered over Inkey List's Tripeptide Plumping Lip Balm — a smoky eye, and matte foundation that let her nose freckles peek through.
Has anyone's hair and makeup even been as in-synch as Karol G's? The pink hair, she's been sporting for some time is perfectly reflected in her blush and lip gloss, and those platinum roots have met their match in her strong cheekbone highlight. Her air-dried texture and simple eye makeup help keep this glam look refreshingly low-key.
Shakira didn't exactly do anything new with her look to accept her Video Vanguard award, and that's exactly what makes it so amazing. It's like Shakira from 20 years ago got into a time machine and arrived here in the future to attend the VMAs. The super-long, loosely curled, bronde hair and the subtly sultry makeup — it's signature Shakira through and through.
We can always rely on Billy Porter to show up and show out when he attends an award show, and for the VMAs, his look is like My Chemical Romance and Avril Lavigne had a beautiful, moody baby. Porter wore a long, high-contrast swathe of hair over nearly half of his face — it's a twisted bun in the back, styled by Cheryl Bergamy to stay put with Tresemmé Freeze Hold Hairspray — letting his iridescent lips and eye-corner crystals shine through.
Selena Gomez looked absolutely stunning in what we'd have to call a latte-adjacent makeup look: warm, bronze-y eye shadow and a nutmeg lip. Her long, sleek hair was parted down the middle, her brows were brushed up to perfection, and — hey, wait a minute. Is that a complete lack of a cast on her red-manicured hands? Oh, to be this gorgeous and a fast healer.
She made us work — read: squint — for it, but Nicki Minaj's makeup look, done by Ronald Watkins with Pat McGrath Labs products, was absolutely worth the strain of trying to see it under the veil she wore. Her lids were positively coated in pink glitter, perfectly matching her lacy, lingerie-esque ensemble. We just want to know how on earth she's going to remove all of that shimmer before her next look of the night.
EmRata may not be a musician, but she felt the VMAs were the perfect place to debut new curtain bangs. And we can't argue with that considering how gorgeous her hair looks. The voluminous, bouncy waves are giving '90s supermodel, and her recent return to brunette is still going strong.
More major looks you need to see:
Now watch Anitta breaks down her most iconic music videos:
Originally Appeared on Allure