My S.O., Boss, and a Makeup Artist Chose My Makeup for a Big Event—See the Pics

Updated 02/22/17

Lucky me! This year I've been invited to a fancy-schmancy Oscars viewing party, where there's a more-than-likely chance I'll run into a beautiful Hollywood type or two (eek!). My dress is already cued up: It's a simple black-and-white number I've had for a few years and like to whip out whenever a classy black tie affair comes around (what's up, fellow outfit repeaters?). I have a hair stylist friend who's graciously agreed to do my updo. But I am super picky about my makeup, so that part will be left up to me.

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my makeup. (Whenever a professional does it, I can't help but want to go back and make a few tweaks; I know it doesn't make sense, but my face is my face, ya know?) Typically when a formal affair pops up, I always opt for the same look: a sharp cat eye, long lashes, and a tomato-red lip.

But this time around, I decided it was time to give up a little of that control. So, I asked three people with totally different takes on beauty to design my Oscars makeup look: my boyfriend, my boss, and a celebrity makeup artist. This way, I'd still be in charge of executing the makeup myself (don't worry, this isn't one of those "my boyfriend does my makeup" tags), while getting the chance to step outside my comfort zone.

Curious to see how my boyfriend, my boss, and a professional makeup artist think I should do my makeup for the Oscars? Keep scrolling to see the three looks. Then, vote for your favorite in the comments, and that's the one I'll choose! (See? Told you I was giving up some control.)

The Boyfriend's Pick

formal-makeup-ideas-special-event
Paley Fairman

Having my boyfriend design my makeup look was hilarious. Ben's first reaction was to tell me that "all makeup looks the same," but once he started researching, he suddenly had all these very specific opinions.

Ben told me that he wanted my look to be "natural, but elegant; composed, but nothing hyper-stylized because that will ultimately date itself." (Hysterical, right?) No contour, no crazy eye shadow. "Just look like yourself," he said. "Composed and pretty." Spoken like a true straight dude.

He pulled up an image of Jennifer Lawrence at a Silver Linings Playbook premiere, looking super feminine in pink lipstick and black eyeliner. So, I shelved my bronzer and colorful eye shadow palettes in place of a pinky-coral blush, rosy lip, and slightly smudgy black eyeliner on the top and bottom lids. I also threw on some fluttery Kisslashes to play up the femininity. 

This look felt a lot softer and more natural than what I would normally choose for an event like this, but I definitely didn't hate it. It was interesting to experiment with a more minimal look. In fact, I haven't been wearing bronzer or eye shadow lately, and I think this look had something to do with it.

However, I do prefer a bit more personality with my makeup (it's the Oscars, after all), so I was interested to see what my boss would pick out.

The Boss's Pick

formal-makeup-ideas-special-event
Paley Fairman

Leave it to my always-chic boss, Byrdie editorial director Faith Xue, to design a look that's 100% current and on trend. (Did I mention my boss is also incredibly beautiful and smart and totally deserves a raise? Hi, Faith!)

Faith recommended something new for me: "a rust smoky eye, sculpted/highlighted skin, and a nude lip." She sent me a series of editorial-looking reference images and suggested I employ the wonders of Charlotte Tilbury's contour palette and lipstick in the shade Kim K W to execute the look.

This was the first time I had ever attempted a warm-toned smoky eye like this; and though it was tricky getting the combination of hues just right, I loved the final result. It yielded the most compliments out of every look I created, including one from Ben, who said I looked like a "desert princess." 

If I were to go with this look for the Oscars, I would probably use a black liquid liner to define the eyes a bit more, instead of just shadow, which doesn't read as well in photos as it did in person. But generally, I was delighted with this departure from my usual style. 

The Makeup Artist's Pick

formal-makeup-ideas-special-event
Paley Fairman

My final look was designed by makeup artist Brittany Spyksma, who's worked with celebrities for the Oscars several times before. Her Hollywood clients have included Olivia Culpo and Cara Santana, and I've had the delight of working with her a few times, too.

Spyksma's look was definitely the most "glam" out of them all. To go with my simple dress, she suggested "clean, glowy skin look with a pop of peachy tone on the cheek; smudged black eyeliner; a silver glitter eyelid; and coral lip" for a result that's "pretty and fun while still looking fresh."

At first, I had reservations about sparkly silver eye makeup and a dewy orange lip. On paper, it didn't really seem like "me." But once it was all finished, I thought the look was pitch-perfect for an award show. The eye-catching glitter and glowy skin looked pretty under the bright lights of our studio and showed up well on camera—it's clear that Spyksma knows what works for celebrities on the red carpet. 

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Which of these looks is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below, and that's the one I'll re-create on Oscars night!

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