End-of-summer beauty looks are usually about bronzey skin, gleaming highlighter and easy-breezy hairstyles. But not at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards (a.k.a. the VMAs).
The celebs who walked this red carpet showed off the complete opposite vibe: dark, Gothic and glamorous. I’m talking about red lipstick, precision cat eyes, smoky shadow and crystal appliqués.
Keep scrolling to see the night’s most memorable hair and makeup:
Taylor Swift at the 2022 VMAs
Taylor is back—and she’s more glam than ever! I love how this look has her trademark beauty moves (red lipstick, black liner and bangs), but takes them to the next level with crystal appliqués and bold highlighter at the inner corners of her eyes.
Dove Cameron at the 2022 VMAs
Who would have thought Dove would go from cute Disney Channel teen to full-fledged Goth?! (See her Before & After for the full transformation!) Even though I miss her blonde, I will admit that she pulls off brunette surprisingly well. While her skin finish is a tad powdery, the dramatic makeup is very well-executed.
Becky G at the 2022 VMAs
For a minute there, I thought Becky was Demi Lovato! Go look at Demi at the 2017 AMAs and you’ll see what I mean! Anyway, I feel like this is a very late 2010s aesthetic, what with the “Instagram brows,” heavy eye makeup and long hair. So it’s a lot, and it’s not the most modern... but I still think she looks good.
Becky is wearing: Lip liner in Amor (as lipstick)
Lili Reinhart at the 2022 VMAs
Lili had my favourite look on this red carpet, obviously because it’s the most toned-down and wearable for us civilians in real life! I love her new darker blonde hair colour and blunt bob—so much more flattering than the longer light blonde that she had before. The makeup is super sheer and pretty to show off her great skin.
Chlöe Bailey at the 2022 VMAs
I can’t get over Chlöe’s perfectly symmetrical features. Normally, I’m not a fan of heavy false lashes, but this pair kind of work on her, because she’s so doll-like. It also helps that the rest of the makeup is very neutral, and her hair is scraped back into a high braided ponytail.
Dixie D’Amelio at the 2022 VMAs
Dixie went with an undone, wet-look updo. On anyone else, it would probably look like they just got out of the shower, but she really pulls this off. I think it’s because black suits her skin tone, so the dress, her hair colour and the heavy liner are all working together. Her enviably thick brows are the perfect finishing touch.
Dixie is wearing: Foundation in 5.5 • Concealer in 4.75 • Powder in 3 and 7 • Luminizer in 5 • Contour in 20 • Highlighter in 10 • Eyeshadow in Black Onyx Matte • Eyeliner in Black Onyx • Mascara • Lipstick in 110 Mania
Ashley Graham at the 2022 VMAs
I love how Ashley went super-heavy on her eyeshadow, but then kept her natural skin finish, freckles and all. (Here’s her skincare routine, in case you’re wondering!) The mix of matte charcoal and silvery shimmer is mesmerizing, with natural lashes and textured brows. The only thing I’d change is the unblended lip liner.
Sabrina Carpenter at the 2022 VMAs
You know that old style rule about taking off one accessory before you leave the house? Well, maybe it applies to Sabrina. I feel like the hairband is a step too far with such heavy makeup, darkened brows, and long, aggressively highlighted hair. (Her blonde is actually looking kind of grey and frosty here, which is not good.) I’d love to see her more fresh-faced—she doesn’t need all of this!
Lizzo at the 2022 VMAs
Lizzo’s matte, navy blue lipstick (accented by a faux lip ring) was guaranteed to get people talking. I actually think she wears it well, and I even like the slicked-back wet hair on her. It’s the contouring that I take issue with. Why is it purple-toned?!
Sofia Carson at the 2022 VMAs
Sofia, like Dove, was going for a Goth vibe, but my first thought here was “she looks like a nun.” We always see her in the same side-parted updos, so I guess it’s cool that she mixed things up? The makeup is unexciting, since it’s devoid of any colour. I do like the winged liner and rosy-nude lipstick, but her skin is very powdery.
Bebe Rexha at the 2022 VMAs
I feel like Bebe is caught in a beauty rut. The deep fake tan and piecey, yellow-blonde hair are just not the look anymore, and it’s time to move on! Even if she went back to the side-parted lob (and her natural skin tone!) that she had at the 2020 Grammys, it would be a huge improvement.