Lights, Camera, Action: Best in Red Carpet Beauty

Awards season isn't over by a longshot, but we've already pin-pointed our favorite red carpet beauty trends! From Garcelle Beauvais' navy eyeshadow (pictured) to Jessica White's matte red lip, we can't get enough of these glamorous, fancy-night-out makeup moments. Here, we caught up with A.J. Crimson, co-creator of Keisha Whitaker's Kissable Couture lipgloss line and celeb makeup artist (his devotees include Amerie, Fergie, Keyshia Cole), who gave us pro tips on how to create these superstar looks at home.
ESSENCE.COM Feb, 12, 2010

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Awards season isn’t over by a longshot, but we’ve already pin-pointed our favorite red carpet beauty trends! Here, we caught up with A.J. Crimson, co-creator of Keisha Whitaker’s Kissable Couture lipgloss line and celeb makeup artist (his devotees include Amerie, Fergie, Keyshia Cole), who gave us pro tips on how to create these superstar looks at home.

“The navy smokey eye is a new take on an old trick,” says Crimson. “Instead of using a black or dark gray shadow, blend a deep, midnight blue shade along top and bottom lids. For a day look, only apply shadow to the top lid.” To keep your smoky shadow from smearing, Crimson suggests first blending a navy eye pencil over lids before layering on shadow. “”" target="blank">Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencil in Victoria Falls ($22) is a really great eyeliner."

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Few things are more refreshing in mid-winter than a sun-kissed, bronzy faux-glow, a’la Beyonce. “There’s no wrong way to wear bronzer,” says Crimson. “You can use it as blush, as eyeshadow…or, if you’re transitioning your foundation from winter to spring and it feels too pale, warm it up with a bit of bronzer over the bridge of nose, cheekbones, and the perimeter of the face.”

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The prize for the most ubiquitous look this award season definitely goes to the candy-pink lip. “If you have a fair to medium complexion, you can go for a paler, cooler pink,” says Crimson. “Darker skin tones should wear richer pinks with more pigment to them…or else you could get into mod, chalky territory.” We love Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink Velvet ($8), a pale, ballet slipper pink; and Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte in Opera Rose ($33), a rich fuschia shade.

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A touch of pearly highlighter over cheekbones and browbones can instantly boost a classic, clean look into red carpet glamour territory! Exhibit A: Saana Lathan. “I love to use highlighter along the bridge of nose, just to help define it,” says Crimson. “It also adds a beautiful radiance to cheekbones and makes lips look fuller when blended along the cupid’s bow.”

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Sixties-style winged liquid liner has made a huge comeback this awards season—just check out Zoe Kravitz’s sexy cat eye at the amfAR New York gala. According to Crimson, creating this look is all about getting the right tools. “You need a really thin eyeliner brush like ”" target="blank">Make Up Forever Eyeliner Brush S," he says. “Dip the brush in your liquid liner and, starting from the inner corner, drag it along the lashline and extend outwards to create a wing.” If you’re a liquid liner newbie, he suggests using a cream formula like Lancome Ink Artliner, $23.50 (“it’s dense, and easier to maneuver”). Steadier hands can try liquid formula Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($20).

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This awards season, Alicia Keys has repeatedly rocked the red carpet in gorgeous faux eyelashes. But according to A.J. Crimson, false lashes aren’t the only way to rock a fierce fringe! “Always start by curling your lashes,” he says, recommending the cult-fave Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler ($19). “After a hard curl, hold your mascara at the base of your lashes, jiggle it a bit to catch the hairs in the brush, and then sweep outwards. I love ”" target="blank">Cover Girl Lash Blast Volumizing Mascara ($7.79)."

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Kerry Washington’s flirty, berry-hued blush instantly brighten up her red carpet look. “To apply blush, smile in the mirror and then blend it over the apples of your cheeks,” says Crimson. “Be careful that you don’t sweep the blush too far backwards…then it becomes ’80s!”

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Matte crimson lips are a classic, sexy, universally flattering red carpet look. “Red lipstick is gorgeous, but it does bring more attention to chapped lips,” says Crimson, who recommends
Kissable Couture in Fantasies ($22). “So, always exfoliate and moisturize first before applying your lipstick.” Smooth chapped lips with Tarte Frxtion ($22), a sugar-based exfoliator and lip balm stick.

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On the red carpet, sometimes the quietest look—ie, clean makeup and a strong, bold brow—can speak the loudest. “To define brows without exaggerating them, use an angled eyebrow brush to smooth the hairs downward,” says Crimson. “This way, you can see the natural shape of the brow. Then, take a brow powder of your choice and fill in the brow, not going outside of the line. When you brush the hairs back upwards, you’ll get a full—but natural-looking—effect!” Crimson is a fan of L.A. eyebrow genius Damone Roberts’ Brow Kit ($150).

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When we saw Amerie’s bold plum pout at a recent red carpet event, we were instantly smitten. “To help prevent smudging or feathering, line and fill-in lips with a deep plum pencil before layering on a matching lipstick,” says Crimson. Try Avon Ultra Luxury Lip Liner in Deep Plum ($5) and Avon Color Rich Lipstick in Perfect Plum ($6.50).


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