We recognize icons by their distinct beauty features. Back in the day, Jayne Mansfield maintained platinum blonde hair and a bold lip; Audrey Hepburn kept her tresses dark and usually touted cat-eyes; and Donna Summer boasted barrel curls and smoky eyes. For Ariana Grande, an icon of today, a go-to look includes a long, high ponytail, dramatic eyeliner, and matte lipstick. And we love to see her explore that framework with a variety of color palettes and application approaches! So, we've rounded up the best makeup looks from Ariana Grande that you’ll want to recreate ASAP.
At the 2016 American Music Awards, Grande wore an oxblood lip with a defined cat-eye. It paired perfectly with her lacy top and diamond necklace. Given its sultry quality, we'd save this look for the evening or winter season.
Charlotte Tilbury's K.I.S.S.I.N.G in Night Crimson gives the perfect amount of luster and dimension to your boldly colored pout.
A Hint of Shimmer
Sometimes a hint of shimmer is all you need to keep things fresh. Grande's metallic peach eyeshadow, glowing skin, and a matte rose lip kept things natural but dimensional at the premiere of Hairspray Live! In recreating this look, feel free to use any soft-hued sparkle to play up your eyes, and finish off with a lengthening mascara and soft lip color to keep the look super clean and natural.
Snag Charlotte Tilbury's Easy Eye Palette in Charlotte Darling for every shade of dusty peach you'll need to re-create this look.
Neutral But Not Muted
Grande kept the focus on her big and bold lashes by working with a color palette of nudes and just the right amount of eyeliner define without distraction. Since nude colors appear different on everyone, you don't have to echo the exact tones shown on Grande when recreating this look on yourself. Choose the tones that complement your skin, then seek out a volumizing mascara for drama at the lash lines.
For voluminous eyelashes with little-to-no clump, apply a primer, which conditions lashes before mascara application. We love this one by KVD, because it promises curl, volume, and extraordinary added length. Plus, it's vegan and cruelty-free.
Pretty in Pink
A pink matte lip can seem hard to execute, because some shades may wash you out. But that's only the case when you don't pick the right colors to complement your lip. Match it with similar tones of pink for dimension, like Grande, who wore a dress in bubblegum pink satin at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards.
For the perfect pink pout, try MAC Cosmetics' Matte Lipstick in Love U Back. The creamy formula has high color pay-off and lasts around 10 hours. Of course, if you’re eating, drinking, or kissing, you’ll probably need to reapply.
A Very Smokey Eye
A smokey eye and muted lip is a look, and Grande is the perfect example here. Her concentrated eyeshadow makes her eyes the main focus—so strong that they can stand alone. And if it seems complicated to recreate, we assure you that it's not. You can achieve it in five steps.
To bring the drama with black eyeshadow, consider springing for a palette, like this one from Chanel, that contains black shadow as well as some slightly lighter pigments to blend from the crease to the brow bone.
Monochromatic With Spidery Drama
A monochromatic look is a statement and coupled with cat-eyes and spidery lashes, we'd say Grande made a bold one. This look is all about the lashes, achieved by coats upon coats of mascara, and the shade of pinky nude that's strategically placed on Grande's lids, cheeks, and lips. To re-create the monochromatic effect, pick a product in a hue close to your skin tone and disperse it across your lids, cheeks, and lips.
Again, we love Charlotte Tilbury's K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick because it's creamy yet feels weightless on lips. And from a pigment perspective, it packs plenty of rich color thanks to its unique blend of waxes.
Copper tones rule this beauty look. And what we love about the color is that it complements every eye color. Grande rounds out the look well here with a touch of bronzer, a pinkish nude lip, and a feline flick.
For a smokey copper eye, blend Mehron Metallic Powder in Copper along your lid and into your crease.
For most of us, full lips are something to be desired, and in overdrawing them we try to be inconspicuous. But what we love about Grande's look here is that her overdrawn lips are just obvious enough and that it's a twist on a standard pink matte lip.
We recommend applying your lipstick first (in a lighter shade than that of your chosen liner, of course). Then, fill the outer edges and corners of your lips and make the shape of an X at the cupid's bow so that the top of your lip looks even. Finish by extending the X down on each side.
A Subtle 1950s Flair
This look combines all three of Grande's signature beauty elements—a cat-eye, a red lip, and a shimmery shadow. And together, it makes us vaguely nostalgic for the '50s. But perhaps what we love most about it is that what could easily be construed as a look that's "too much," given its bold elements, looks perfectly balanced.
This classic red lipstick from Kosas can be applied as a full-coverage lipstick, as seen on Grande, or a sheer stain. For the latter effect, simply tap the color onto your lips with your finger.
We're living for this sunkissed nude look from 2018. Perhaps what we love most is it still manages to stay true to Grande's aesthetic, because it includes her signature feline flick. Following a neutral color palette, it's topped with a shiny, deep-nude lip that's perfect for any season.
Charlotte Tilbury makes contouring easy with this two-step kit. To create the illusion of more defined cheekbones, apply the darker pigment, called Sculpt, to hollows of your cheeks, temples, jawline, and the sides of your nose. Then, apply the lighter shade, called Highlight, to areas you wish to illuminate, like the top of your cheekbones, down the center of the nose, and your brow bone. Killer cheekbones couldn't be achieved more easily!
Met Gala Eyes
For a Met Gala look, this may seem subdued, but take a closer look at the drama of that cat-eye! Beyond that, this look is all about the delicate details—the matte nude lip and mostly matte lids make the bit of bluish-purple shimmer at the inner corner of her eyes pop. This is a major cause for matching your makeup to your outfit.
This palette contains 10 classic shades developed by Pat McGrath Labs, a few of which are perfect for re-creating this look. Try Skinshow Glow to create a base, then VR Nectar for the crease, and Astral Ghost Orchid for the inner corner of the eye to achieve a similar pop.
Lovely in Lavender
Grande made the case for a head-to-toe pastel look in 2019 by blending a lavender shadow with her usual nude eyeshadow shades. We love this look because it's edgy, fun, and easy to re-create. We
For a hint of lavender to match your look, swipe Glossier's glistening eyeshadow.
Intense Feline Flick
Grande mixed her usual rosy-brown hues with touches of silver at the Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2020. Accompanied by liquid liner and false eyelashes, this look makes the list of best looks for its commitment to both Grande's signature style and her unique red carpet look. Similar to the Met Gala look, this shows the appeal of matching your makeup to your outfit.
If you're feeling daring, try this dramatic eyeliner look, best explained by makeup artist Sir John B here.
Double Winged Liner
As a part of the release of "Rain on Me" in 2020, Grande took her classic cat-eye to a new height—literally—in a double winged eyeliner look. What we love most about it is the contrast of black and white liner, because it draws even more attention to the negative space than the average look would. And that she kept the focus there by choosing a simple pink gloss to finish the look.
For your own look, play around with shapes until you land on something you love.
Grande mixed two of our favorite elements and added something new to create a look with all-over dimension: double winged liner, overdrawn lips, and sparkle. We particularly love her choice of shimmery white shadow, which makes the holographic stickers around her brow and cheeks pop.
Arrange these holographic jewels as you see fit for a creative look that rivals that of Grande.
Double Winged but Make It Nude
Grande used her classic nude palette for a softer double winged look in late 2020. If bold or strongly pigmented eyeliner isn't your thing, but you still love the edge of a double winged liner look, we suggest giving this look a try.
New to double winged liner? Grande's approach to the look, using a liner like this one from Sephora Collection, is the perfect entry point for beginners, since light colors in creamy formulas require less precision than dark shades in liquid formulas.
Wispy Feline Flick
Grande toned down the drama with a wispy feline flick from shadow liner. Like the traditional cat-eye, the shadow liner look defines the eye as it emphasizes, lifts, and elongates it subtly. Another plus: It's much easier to clean up and reshape mistakes with eyeshadow than it is with a traditional liner.
To get the look, grab a dark shadow or gel liner and an angled brush. Apply the shadow or gel up to the outer corner of the eye. Touch up with makeup remover as needed.
Glossy Overdrawn Lips
Love the look of overdrawn lips but partial to gloss? In a series of promotional photos for NBC's "The Voice," Grande showed us that you can have both. To keep the look clean and natural, she paired it with a thin cat-eye over nude shadow.
Once you've applied your lipstick and liner of choice, swipe on a clear gloss to finish the look. We love this one by Glossier because it's long-wearing, cruelty-free, and relatively cost-effective.