The Met Gala, formally known as The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, is one of the most anticipated events of the year. The grandiose fundraiser brings together some of the most influential figures to celebrate the Costume Institute's annual fashion exhibit. While the Met Gala is traditionally held on the first Monday of May, restrictions forced the event to go on hiatus for over a year. But, the star-studded fashion and beauty spectacle is finally returning on the second Monday in September in 2021.
Over the years, our favorite celebrities have hit the Met Gala red carpet in over-the-top makeup and hair moments influenced by the exhibit's theme. Who could forget Solange's braided halo headpiece at the 2018 Heavenly Bodies-themed Met Gala or Lupita N'yongo's drag-inspired glam at the 2019 Camp-themed Met Gala? With a proven track record of being the ultimate beauty playground, we expect this year's exhibition In America: A Lexicon of Fashion will inspire attendees to conjure up unforgettable looks once more. Ahead, scroll through the best Met Gala beauty looks from this year.
American poet and activist Amanda Gorman is one of the evening's co-chairs, so we knew she'd show up in a standout look. Her lengthy braid was enhanced with beautiful jewels, and her face boasted a sweeping of gems as well.
Keke Palmer graced the red carpet looking like a glamour girl straight out of the '70s. Our eyes were immediately drawn to her billowing, blown-out tresses and smudgy cat eye.
Gymnast Nia Dennis made a grand entrance into the Met Gala, flipping across the iconic stairs. She wore striking royal blue eyeshadow to complement her ensemble. Dennis worked with the Pat McGrath team to create her makeup look who used iconic Pat McGrath Labs products like the Mothership I: Subliminal Palette ($128) and Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner ($34) to achieve the eye look. For hair, her braids were pulled into in a sleek ponytail, complete with swooped baby hairs.
Emma Chamberlain's twist on a smoky eye was the focal point of her beauty look. Using Byredo makeup, Makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan created "a bold eye with a pop of neon," representing the confidence and creativity of American fashion today as a nod to the event's theme.
The makeup artist used Colour Stick in La Scène ($33) across Chamberlain's lid and crease. To add depth and drama, she added Colour Stick in Dravite ($33) to the inner and outer lid, and Scylla from the Byredo Eyeshadow 5 Colour Palette ($70) provided a striking green detail to finish the look.
Julia Garner's swept-back blonde tresses and jewel cat-eye instantly captured our attention. Hairstylist Bobby Eliot wanted Garner's hair to feel as if there was a gust of wind blowing through her curls. He used a mix of Living Proof products like the Curl Definer ($34) and Curl Moisturizing Shine Oil ($30) to create an effortless look. All Pat McGrath Labs products were used for her makeup, including the Mothership IX Huetopian Dream Palette ($128) and Dark Star Mascara ($34) on her eyes.
Beauty influencer Jackie Aina understood the assignment. Drawing inspiration from Barbie, Aina attended her first Met Gala in a doll-inspired look. Her blonde hair was pinned into a beautiful updo, while her makeup was kept fairly neutral.
Gossip Girl actor Evan Mock hit the red carpet with his signature pink buzz cut.
We love everything about Barbie Ferreira's look—from her intense purple eyeshadow to her tightly curled ringlets. A pre-Met facial from Dr. Barbara Sturm x The Beauty Sandwich prepped Ferreira's skin for the night out, and makeup artist Kali Kennedy uses Byrdedo's Purple Stinger Colour Stick ($33) for her lavender eye look.
But, her 3D pearlized nail look deserves its own shoutout. Nail artist Natalie Minerva used the KISS Complete Salon Acrylic Kit ($19) to create sculptural texture on the nail. Once each nail was set, Minerva painted on a bit of KISS PowerFlex Brush-On Nail Glue ($3) to make sure the pearls were sitting in the acrylic firmly.
Ella Emhoff's hairstylist Gonn Kinoshita opted to create a slicked-down look with flipped ends. She created the style using R+Co products including Rodeo Star Thickening Style Foam ($32), Trophy Shine + Texture Spray ($32), and Cool Wind pH Perfect Air-Dry Crème ($32). Emhoff also worked with the Pat McGrath Team for her makeup. They drew attention to her eyes with carefully placed jewels and left her skin fresh and luminous using products from the Skin Fetish collection, including the Highlighter + Balm Duo ($50) and Sublime Foundation ($68).
Saweetie looked like a glittering goddess on the red carpet. Her blonde hair was dotted with gems that instantly elevated the style.
Billie Eilish was a total classic beauty at this year's Met Gala. Celebrity makeup artist Rob Rumsey is responsible for her '60s-inspired glam, using a mix of products from sustainable skincare brand BYBI and makeup from Charlotte Tilbury. “The inspiration behind Billie’s makeup look was old Hollywood glamour meets rockstar," Rumsey explains. "We paired a rich, smoldering smoky eye and a nude lip with an illuminating highlighter for the ultimate Hollywood glass-like glow." The makeup artist designed the look using the latest from Charlotte Tilbury: Supernudes Face Palette in Nudegasm ($75).
As one of the evening's co-chairs, Naomi Osaka wanted to make a statement by fusing her Haitian and Japanese background into her beauty and fashion look. Celebrity hairstylist Marty Harper is the visionary behind the athlete's head-turning coiffure. "The story is embodied in hair and its structure," Harper says. "We drew inspiration from Haitian school girl style and Onna-Musha warriors of Japan." He exclusively used NatureLab.Tokyo products on her hair and enhanced her sculptural 'do with bright red jewels and flowers. Her punchy red eyeshadow and blush tied the look together.
When it came to her glowing glam, the actress began prepping her skin ahead of the gala. Leading facialist, Iván Pol (aka The Beauty Sandwich) treated her skin to Dr. Barbara Sturm’s coveted Signature Sturm Glow Facial.
For her beauty look, Shahidi pulled inspiration from world-renowned performer Josephine Baker. Her hair was blown out into fluffy curls coupled with a beautifully braided headpiece inspired by those the legendary entertainer once wore. On the day of, celebrity makeup artist Emily Cheng got her skin ready for makeup using the Pause Well-Aging Fascia Stimulating Tool ($115). Then, she proceeded to use an array of products from Dior Beauty. Shahidi's fluttery '20s-inspired lashes were achieved using the KISS Lash Drip Lashes in You Dew You ($5).
Let's talk about Cynthia Erivo's nails—they're a moment. The actress's manicure was a dazzling homage to America, featuring red, white, and blue jewels. Legendary makeup artist Sam Fine created her makeup for the evening using all Armani Beauty products. "We wanted to make her look absolutely glamorous but also effortless," Fine says. "There’s no glitter or strong lip, just beautiful carving, sculpting, and contouring of the skin and eyes. To me, that is the most elegant way to grace the red carpet."
For Cynthia’s gorgeous nude lip, Sam first applied the Lip Power Lipstick ($39) in 200 all over the lips and then applied Lip Power Lipstick in 106 to add dimension to the look.
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion drew inspiration from old Hollywood starlets like Marilyn Monroe for the night. Her hair was styled in soft, cascading waves and complemented by her neutral makeup done by celebrity makeup artist Lauren Elise Child. "We decided to do a classic look, with touches of shimmer and gentle sculpting to accentuate her beautiful eye shape and cheekbones," Child says. "We wanted the makeup to be a soft statement to compliment the dress; pretty and defined with a nod to those days of glamour." Since the rapper is a Revlon ambassador, Child used many of their iconic products (like the Colorstay Foundation) and some from Megan's collaboration with the brand (like the Revlon x Megan Thee Stallion Big Bad Palette) to achieve the look.
Jennifer Hudson brought regality to the Met Gala with her larger-than-life updo and vibrant red lip. She worked with celebrity makeup artist Ernesto Casillas, who exclusively used Bobbi Brown products to create her glam for the evening. "I was inspired by the rich red shade of the gown and wanted to bring that warmth into the face by bronzing up her complexion and painting her pout a rich red shade," Casillas says.
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X's simple glam played off of his golden outfits, featuring a slight touch of gold eyeliner along the outer corner of his year. To achieve his glow, makeup artist Grace Pae began with thorough skincare prep. She began with the SolaWaveBeauty Red Light Therapy Wand ($149) and followed up with a blend of Versed skincare products like the Mood Lighting Glow Drops ($18) and Baby Cheeks All-In-One Hydrating Milk ($18). Pae used a few of Danessa Myricks' signature products for his complexion, including the Vision Cream Cover ($28).
Kim Petras' equestrian-inspired look boasted an intricate braid that flowed past her waist. She worked with hairstylist Iggy Rosales to create the horsetail ponytail using göt2b hair color and styling products. The singer-songwriter added to the moment's playfulness by swiping a wash of light blue eyeshadow across her eyes.
Throughout her career, Iman has gifted us with too many iconic looks to count. And tonight, we can add another one to the list. The supermodel's Met Gala beauty highlights include an intense smoky eye and her wavy golden-brown hair.
Taraji P. Henson
Taraji P. Henson also tapped decades past for beauty inspiration. She turned heads on the red carpet with her fluffy, textured blowout and shimmery blue eyeshadow.
Leave it to Megan Fox to bring back micro bangs. Hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons achieved the Bettie Page-inspired style using Living Proof products and a fun clip-in bang. Her radiant makeup look was created by celebrity makeup artist Ash K Holm. She created the look by prepping Fox's skin with BYBI skincare products and finished with BUXOM Cosmetics and KISS lashes for her makeup.
Teyana Taylor hit the red carpet with a jewel-encrusted rope snaked through her faux loc updo. Her makeup felt ultra-glamorous, with dramatic lashes and high-shine glossy lips.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross solidified her status as a hair chameleon a long time ago, and she continues to find new ways to experiment. Tonight, she opted for a chic choppy bob.
You can always expect the unexpected at the Met Gala, and Gabrielle Union delivered on that end with her front-flowing ponytail. To achieve her fresh makeup look, celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles used all Chantecaille products.
Chloe Bailey showcases the versatility of locs every time she steps out. Tonight, she wore her blonde locs in an off-center ponytail, with pieces perfectly framing her face.
Gigi Hadid used tonight as an opportunity to experiment with color, gracing the red carpet with a fiery red ponytail. Her powder blue eyeshadow is another noteworthy element of the model's beauty look, acting as the perfect contrast to her warm-toned hair.
Laura Harrier looked absolutely elegant on the Met Gala red carpet. Jennifer Yepezworked with the actress to create her hair look for the night. "This year, we went with a very '70s vibe," Yepez says. "Laura is wearing this beautiful gold dress by Altuzarra to the Met Gala. So, we wanted to do beautiful long, sleek hair down her back." Yepez told us she achieved the style using Hair Rituel by Sisley Revitalizing Smoothing Shampoo ($163), Volumizing Spray ($100), and Precious Hair Care Oil ($110). She also used Great Lengths tape-in hair extensions.
Jennifer Lopez tapped into her inner cowgirl for her Met Gala look. "The sun-kissed makeup and [ponytail] are very reminiscent of the American Wild Wild West," celebrity hairstylist Lorenzo Martin says. To create the long pony, Martin teased Lopez's hair with a GHD Tail Comb ($22) at the roots. Then, he added in Great Lengths 20-inch tape-in extensions, mixing shades BR03, RT67, BR08, and BR06 for a custom blend. He curled the hair using the GHD Curve 1.25” Soft Curling Iron ($199). Before securing the hair into a tight ponytail, he mixed Wella Eimi Dry Me Dry Shampoo ($20) and Shape Shift Molding Gum ($12) throughout Lopez's tresses to add texture. ponytail. He completed the look by spraying on Wella Glam Mist Eimi Shine ($18).
Amandla Stenberg's braided look was the centerpiece of her beauty look. She worked with celebrity hairstylist Vernon François to create a "cornrow durag." The resulting style is a work of art. "This is a first for me—creating a durag made with hair, instead of from material to cover the hair," François said on Instagram. It complements, elevates, and balances [Amandla Stenberg's] overall look while reflecting the theme of the night."
To seal her braids, François spritzed on his own Leave-In Conditioner, followed by Redken’s Triple Pure 32 High Hold Hairspray ($2) and Quick Dry 18 Instant Finishing Spray ($11) for strong and flexible hold.
The always elegant Lupita Nyong'o is known to show up at the Met Gala with stunning sculptural hairstyles, and this year was no exception. Styled by Vernon François, the actress' hair look drew inspiration from Lorna Simpson's artwork. "Doing this technique with afro hair texture has always been an ambition of mine, and seeing it a reality here tonight is something else," the celebrity hairstylist said on Instagram. "Brooklyn-born conceptual artist [Lorna Simpson] inspired the look. Her take on hair textures is powerful, and I wanted to imitate the effortless wave and movement that she conveys in her work."
The stylist sprayed her hair pieceswith Redken’s Quick Dry 18 Instant Finishing Spray ($20) and Triple Pure 32 High Hold Hairspray ($24) to help smooth and add hold to her hair, before setting the whole look in place with the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer ($430) with its Diffuser attachment.
For her makeup, Nick Barose used a full face of Lancôme. "I wanted the look to be super glamorous and classic, but also tie-in the blue denim color, which is so iconically American," said Barose of the red carpet look. The Lancôme Hypnôse 5-Color Eyeshadow Palette ($50), in a shade aptly named Drama Denim (coming soon), completed the look.
Rihanna arrived fashionably late to the red carpet, knowing full well we'd been waiting patiently to see her Met Gala look. Wearing a black voluminous dress and an almost gothic-inspired dark lip to match, the singer stunned in a full face of Fenty Beauty. Makeup artist Hector Espinal used Fenty Beauty's Pro Kiss’r Lip-Loving Scrubstick ($16) and Stunna Lip Paint Longwear Fluid Lip Color ($26) in Underdawg to create her bold lip.
Lili Reinhart was a vision on the red carpet in a stunning floral Christian Siriano gown. Since the dress itself was such a moment, her hair and makeup team decided to keep her glam fresh-faced and minimal. “We wanted to complement the look and not interfere with it,” hairstylist David Stanwell tells us. “I decided to keep her hair down, but to keep it behind her shoulders.”
To create the actress’s low-key hair look, Stanwell first prepped her hair with Authentic Beauty Concept Beachy Texture Spray ($25) and Blow Dry Primer ($25). After blow drying with a round brush, he then added Hidden Crown Clip-In Extensions ($89) in a blend of three blonde shades to create length, fullness, and dimension. Next, Stanwell used a straightener to go over the strands for extra smoothing, and then finished off with Glow Touch ($25) finishing spray. “We tucked the hair behind the ears so that it doesn’t interfere with what’s going on the front of the dress, but still keeps an effortless feel to the look,” he says of the finished style. For Reinhart’s makeup, the team kept things simple with full lashes, light blush, and a bright pink lip.