This summer, The New Yorker’s TV critic Emily Nussbaum wrote an essay on the importance of Sex and the City, its influence on the evolution of the anti-hero(ine) now so prominent on television. You should read the essay. But after you read the essay, you will probably embark on a Big re-watch of all six seasons, marveling over not just the fashion but also the odyssey that Carrie Bradshaw’s hair and makeup take from episode 1 to episode 94. We did, and we couldn’t help but wonder: what’s the secret to her radiant skin and bountiful curls?
Ten years ago, that signature Carrie Bradshaw glow seemed unattainable without the help of a makeup artist (and a Cosmo or two). Now, thanks to technology, beauty counters are flooded with lightweight formulas promising coverage without masking the healthy skin underneath. The first step to radiant skin? Moisturizer. Try Clinique’s Moisture Surge Intense ($37) or, if you have dry skin, an oil like Joanna Vargas’ Rejuvenating Serum ($100).
Use a lightweight foundation, like L’Oreal Magic Nude ($13) or a tinted moisturizer, like Nars’ Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($42) to even out your skin tone. Even after being broken up with via Post-It note, Bradshaw’s skin looked flawless.
Whether dashing across the street in heels or meeting at the Vogue offices, Bradshaw always had just-ran-ten-blocks-in-Manolos pink cheeks. Press a cream blush like RMS Lip2Cheek ($36) in Demure into the apples of your cheeks for that fresh flush. Next, use a cream illuminator like Benefit’s High Beam ($26) the top of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, your cupid’s bow, and the inner corners of each eye. Trust us, with this lightweight formula it’s almost impossible to have too heavy a hand.
Bradshaw’s lids were normally dusted with shades of pink and light purple to complement Sarah Jessica Parker’s blue eyes. Try the two shades on the far right of Revlon’s Custom Eyes Shadow Palette ($9) [product no longer available] in Rich Temptin for a similar look. If she really wanted to be dramatic (without moving to Paris and wearing couture to breakfast) Bradshaw would line her eyes with a soft brown or grey pencil.
Over the course of the show, Bradshaw’s hair went in every which way: long to short, straight to curly, blonde to brunette. If you’re big on experimenting with your own ‘do, keeping it healthy is key. Regularly moisturize your locks with a daily leave-in conditioner, like It’s A Ten ($29).
If you’re currently curly, try SheaMoisture’s Organic Coconut Curl and Style Milk ($12) to define your curls without the crunch. Once dry, use a shine spray; Tresemme’s Smooth & Silky No Frizz Shine Spray ($5) tames flyaways without making everything look too polished.
Turning curly hair straight can be as difficult as walking a runway in sequined Dolce & Gabbana panties. Luckily, we have a solution: Prep your hair with Bumble and bumble’s Straight Blow Dry ($29) before blowing it out with a paddle brush. (We’re also currently digging the new Ferrum Flat Iron ($180)—it’s fabric on one side, exposing your hair to half the heat while still straightening.)
Bradshaw was always one for a structural up-do or fantastical headpiece. The Mohawk-like twist she wore at the end of her relationship with Aiden has served as red carpet inspiration for Parker in the years since. Don’t try this at home. Head to a salon—or put something on your head! If Bradshaw were party-bound today, she’d probably don Maison Michele’s Headband ($435) or Eugenia Kim’s Sofia Taffeta Turban ($295).