For nearly four decades, the MTV Music Video Awards have been home to some of the most iconic moments in pop culture history. Not only are the performances larger than life every year, but the beauty looks are too. Hollywood’s hottest stars always show up to the award show decked out in some of the most mesmerizing hair and makeup looks we’ve ever seen. From Madonna’s Marie Antoinette-inspired look to Lizzo’s take on old Hollywood glamour, there have been so many memorable moments that we will be singing the praises of for years to come.
Ahead, scroll through our pick of the 24 best VMA beauty looks of all time.
For her performance of Vogue, Madonna tapped Marie Antoinette as inspiration. Her thin eyebrows and towering curly wig were the focal points of this over-the-top look.
Janet Jackson, 1994
Janet Jackson took home the award for Best Female Video in 1994. Her vibe for the night was sporty and casual, wearing box braids and a bright red lip.
Drew Barrymore, 1995
Actress Drew Barrymore looked stunning on the red carpet with her blonde bob decorated with daisies. Her thin eyebrows were right on trend for the decade.
Spice Girls, 1997
The beauty of the Spice Girls is that they exude individuality and girl power. Here, the group wore everything from high ponytails to dark lipstick.
Lil Kim, 1999
When it comes to her hair and makeup, expect the unexpected with Lil Kim. Her all-purple look was a show-stopper in 1999 and we’re still obsessed with it today.
There are three words to describe TLC’s 1999 VMAs looks: crazy, sexy, and cool. Each group member paired their soft makeup looks with hairstyles that complemented their personalities.
Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, 2000
From crimped hair to dark eyeshadow, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera took to the stage rocking all of the buzziest 2000s trends.
Gwen Stefani, 2004
Gwen Stefani accessorized her updo with a red floral headpiece. Her hair adornments paired perfectly with the bold red lipstick she wore.
Jennifer Lopez, 2006
J-Lo was shining bright like a diamond at the 2006 VMAs. To play off of her shiny ensemble, Lopez went for a smokey eye, fluttery lashes, and a subtle lip.
You know the saying, “Go big or go home?” Well, that’s exactly what the legendary Cher did. Her over-the-top curly hair is a look we’ll remember forever.
Nicki Minaj, 2011
Nicki Minaj’s pink and yellow beehive updo is a work of art. Her teal eyeshadow is another touch that makes this look even more fun.
Rihanna debuted her chic pixie cut at the 2012 VMAs. The Barbadian-beauty kept her makeup simple this night, opting for a glowy complexion and a red lip.
All eyes were on Kesha when she hit the carpet with her multi-colored hair and radiant skin.
Taylor Swift, 2015
Taylor Swift kept her hair pulled back so we could focus our attention on the star of this look: the intense cat-eye.
Beyoncé showed up and showed out on the 2016 VMAs red carpet. The record-breaking entertainer wore very natural makeup and her hair in a double-sided french braid.
Kim Kardashian, 2016
Kim Kardashian brought beach hair to the red carpet with this wet and wavy look. From her hair to her makeup, her look felt effortless and fresh.
Naomi Campbell, 2016
Naomi Campbell’s red sparkly lip and voluminous lashes immediately grabbed our attention back in 2016.
Cardi B, 2017
All eyes were on Cardi B when she attended the VMAs for the first time in 2017. Her tousled bob was coupled with a neutral makeup look.
Yara Shahidi, 2017
It was all about the glow for Yara Shahidi at the 2017 VMAs. She wore gold pigment on her eyes and pulled her beautiful curls back into a low ponytail.
Lizzo showed us her modern take on old Hollywood glamour with this coiffed updo and a vibrant red lip.
Halsey has never been scared to experiment with her hair. She looked absolutely gorgeous at the 2019 VMAs with her rainbow roots.
Keke Palmer, 2020
As the host of the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards, Keke Palmer switched up her look a few times. But, this neon eye moment is one of our favorites.
Bella Hadid, 2020
Bella Hadid channeled the 90s for this year’s award ceremony. Her throwback beauty look boasted dark eyeliner and a Lizzie McGuire-inspired updo.
Doja Cat, 2020
Doja Cat hit the red carpet rocking a beautiful braid, slicked baby hairs, and hot pink eyeshadow. See how to recreate her slime green performance hair here.