Sure, VMA stands for Video Music Award, but let’s be real—we’re tuning in for beauty inspiration just as much as we are for the music. In honor of the Moonman trophies being handed out by MTV on Aug. 24, we came up with a few of our own music video beauty categories that really matter to us (like Best Daytime Vamp and Best Mani Mix!).
From Beyoncé’s retro waves in her “Haunted” video to Demi Lovato’s fluorescent lips for “Neon Lights,” it’s obvious the experts behind our winning looks brought their beauty A-games to set. We checked in with the hair and makeup masterminds for all the behind-the-scenes beauty deets. Find out what they had to say here in our gallery!
1. BEST THROWBACK: JENNIFER LOPEZ
For the “I Luh Ya Papi” video, hairstylist Jen Atkin stepped up the nostalgia game by recreating a modern version of J.Lo’s unforgettable 2000 Grammys look. “Her Versace dress was iconic, and she wore her signature hairstyle that night,” says Atkin. To update the hairstyle with a bit of a twist, she added “a little more movement and texture, but still keep it very 'J. Lo,'” she says.
2. BEST READY-TO-RAVE: DEMI LOVATO
Lovato’s fans went wild for her fluorescent “Neon Lights” makeup by Jill Powell, who used Make Up For Ever Fluo Nite Pigments and Wolfe Brothers UV makeup to create the black light-friendly look. “I wanted her lips to be the focal point,” Powell says. To get the bold hue, she mixed pink lipstick colors until she’d created the perfect strong shade of neon.
3. BEST READY-TO-RAVE: DEMI LOVATO
To complement the bright lip without overpowering it, “we came up with a strong winged liner that really popped when she looked down,” Powell says. “I kept the sling glowing and contoured to balance out the rest of the makeup, and added subtle neon on the bottom lash line.”
4. BEST MANI MIX: KATY PERRY
No wet nails, no problem! Manicurist Kimmie Kyees created Perry’s graphic “Dark Horse” press-ons in advance so they were dry before shooting each scene. “The black nail with the white female Egyptian symbol was Katy's idea, and I thought that doing the black in matte and the white symbol shiny would give it a little extra something special,” Kyees says.
5. BEST MANI MIX: KATY PERRY
“The blue nail she wore with the white wig was specific to the colors of the print in her hair, and the black outline gave the nails a pop," says Kyees. "There’s also an accent nail with the Egyptian eye in white on her ring fingers-that was a last-minute addition!”
6. BEST MANI MIX: KATY PERRY
“There were some custom wraps and glitter nails in the mix, and we kept with the theme as far as the colors in her hair and clothes,” she adds.
7. BEST DAYTIME VAMP: LORDE
M.A.C. Senior Artist Amber Dreadon gave Lorde’s signature dark lip a killer boost in the video for “Team,” using a mixture of M.A.C Pro Lipmixes to create a custom shade. “We knew it was going to look dark and steamy, so we wanted to juxtapose the textures in the makeup-metallic and a little shiny against super matte,” she says. “The finished effect is like an oil painting!”
8. BEST BUTTERFLY CLIPS: IGGY AZALEA
Is that Cher Horowitz, or are we totally buggin’? Better do a double-take, because that’s actually “Iggy Cher,” as hairstylist Sami Knight calls her. To get the “nineties high-school glam” look just right, Knight re-watched Clueless several times for inspiration-and although butterfly clips aren’t used on Cher in the film, “It seemed like something she would have worn,” he says. “We felt it was important not to mimic everything exactly, but to make little variations on a theme.”
9. BEST RETRO WAVES: Beyoncé
For Queen Bey’s polished pixie in “Haunted,” hairstylist Kim Kimble looked to Coco Chanel and Josephine Baker for inspiration. “The short, cropped hairstyle is great because it has masculine elements to it, but the finger waves add a feminine touch and that androgyny is fun to play with,” Kimble says.