If you caught the red carpet looks from the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, then you saw the most-talked about one of the evening — Gwen Stefani’s. The rocker’s signature red lip and cat eye were missing, and instead, her makeup was nude, bronzed and bombshelled out! Even though it’s *impossible* for this beauty to look anything but, well, beautiful, the overall word from the internet was that most people weren’t a fan. Don’t get me wrong; she is one of my all-time favorite ladies in the limelight and has been since Tragic Kingdom dropped back in ’95, but I couldn’t figure out what about her look seemed off. Was Gwen “unrecognizable,” as so many Tweeters and bloggers said, because we are not used to seeing her in this look? Or was the look itself just not executed well? Either way, let’s take our hats off to her for trying something new and use this moment to talk about how to do a monochromatic bronzy-nude makeup look right.


I really tried to mimic Gwen’s makeup look, but made a few small changes that could have made her look a full-on win. Keep in mind the following tips when taking on a nude, monochromatic makeup look.

Going Monochromatic? Choose Cool OR Warm: I love the “mixed metal” look, but in this case, the final outcome of Gwen’s cool, almost-green brows and eye makeup mixed with her warm, glowing cheeks feels off and unfinished.

If you’re going to do a monochromatic makeup look, it’s best to keep the undertones within the same zone. Choose cooler or warmer undertones based on what looks good on your skin tone, and then keep that consistent with the makeup for your eyes, cheeks and lips. I actually used the same bronzer on my eyes, cheeks and even lips!


Give (Bold) Eyebrows a Natural Shape: Speaking of bold brows, you can totally rock them — just make sure they have a natural look, otherwise you run the risk of looking more like you’re in costume. Gwen’s eyebrows are a really cool tone, almost green, and look like they’re tattooed on, which appears strange next to her golden blonde locks. As you can see, I opted for a bold brow that matches my roots.


Tightline Is Key: When you go for a nude eye makeup look, you want to at least tightline your upper lash line with a black or brown eyeliner to make sure your eyes don’t get lost in translation. I love Gwen’s simple eye A LOT, but the upper lash line feels unfinished and could use a little extra love.


Skip the Gloss and Go for a Matte Lip: I’ve seen Miss Stefani rock a nude lip before, and it never seemed odd in the past — this time though? Eek. We are used to seeing her with those bodacious red lips. The nude already makes her lips look smaller and the light reflecting off of her gloss makes her lips look even thinner.

I actually really love, love, love her lip color, so I wanted to show you that you CAN actually wear a cooler undertone nude lip with the warm bronzed makeup, as long as you go with the matte finish.

The fact that I got to pretend and channel Gwen Stefani for a shoot makes me so happy! Another face could rock her bold makeup look and look amazing, because we all have different features, hair color, skin undertones and personalities. These little tweaks are just my suggestions based on the overall reactions to this particular look. I love you, Gwen!!!

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Hair/Makeup + Styling: Misty Spinney

Photographer: Kurt Andre

Gwen photo credit: John Shearer/BBMA2016