Julianne Hough Plays Rainbow Brite

It was hard to know where to look when Julianne Hough was on set for our second editorial shoot. There were her darling cavaliers bouncing around the studio, the shockingly bright and beautiful cosmetics laid out by makeup artist Molly Stern, and a table full of props—Maison Michele ears, Ring Pops, and stacks of hats—assembled by Who What Wear’s Fashion Director Laurie Trott. Then of course there was Hough, with unbelievably pore-less porcelain skin and bouncy blonde hair. The actress (and Sole Society designer) stars in Paradise, the new Diablo Cody flick out on DirectTV this month (it hits heaters in October). Hough plays Lamb, an evangelical Christian who, after surviving a plane crash, takes a trip to Vegas to discover “worldly pleasures” including booze, tattoos, and hookers—so asking Hough to try out a rainbow of bright eye makeup seemed positively tame!

The key to wearing brights, says Stern, is laying the right foundation. “Here’s the thing, as long as you’re taking care of your skin tone, and warming your cheeks, that’s an area that you should feel totally free in,” she says of color, dismissing any tip associating one shade with one skin tone. “If you’re olive skinned you should only wear purple? That’s bullhonk.” She does suggest reaching for pencils or cream shadows instead of liquid liners or powders because they’re easier to manipulate. Other than that, she promises, there are no rules.

While not every actress is game for trying a new beauty look or the latest runway hairstyle, Hough fully embraced the challenge. “If she wasn’t doing what she’s doing, she’d be a hairstylist or makeup artist for sure,” Riawna Capri, Hough’s hairstylist, says of the actress. Capri even lets Hough cut her hair: “There are pictures and videos of me doing it and my face is like this,” Hough says, scrunching up her nose and eyes. “Now I know why I’m getting wrinkles!” There were no scissors on set, just Unite’s 7 Seconds Leave-In Conditioner ($29)—the one thing Hough uses everyday—and Oribe’s Dry Shampoo ($20) for texture. That, and plenty of color!