How a Celebrity Makeup Artist Picks a Beauty Look for the Red Carpet

Gwyneth Paltrow’s powder-pink dress, slick side part, and brick-red lips at the 1999 Academy Awards. J.Lo’s voluminous ponytail, glossy nude lip, and plunging green Versace neckline at the Grammys in 2000. These are a couple of the looks that have established their place in the canon of epic red carpet moments, forever to be remembered and referenced for the impression they left.

Because we're fascinated by the iconic beauty moments that make history, and because we’re in the thick of awards season glory—Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice, and SAGs now down; Grammys and Oscars next—we reached out to some of Hollywood's top celebrity makeup artists to find out what their creative process is like when sending a star down the red carpet. How do they pick a look? How do they continually come up with new ideas? How do they strike red carpet gold?

First up, we’re talking to the talented man behind some of the coolest, boldest, most beautiful red carpet looks we’ve ever seen, and on risk-taking stars like Kristen Stewart and Nicole Richie: makeup artist Beau Nelson. From his favorite look to behind-the-scenes secrets (like using Photoshop!), he’s telling all.

Keep scrolling to find out what creating red carpet magic is really like, straight from a celebrity makeup artist.