Among the countless celebs in attendance and big awards handed out at last night’s Country Music Association Awards, the buzziest moment of the night came when Brad Paisley revealed that pregnant co-host Carrie Underwood is expecting a baby boy. Pregnancy glow intact, the singer, who just released the music video to her newest single titled "Something in the Water," has never looked better. Luckily, Underwood’s longtime hair and makeup artist, Melissa Schleicher, gave us the scoop on everything from how she created hair and makeup looks to complement Underwood’s double-digit wardrobe changes, the key to Carrie’s signature beauty look, and how she enhanced that enviable mommy-to-be glow!
This was Carrie Underwood’s seventh time co-hosting the awards with Brad Paisley. Was there anything beauty-wise that you were looking to achieve for this awards show?
I loved her red-carpet look. You know, it’s hard for Carrie---this whole hosting and stuff is a long night at all that but she's so easy. We just kind of go with it every year. We never plan anything out hair and makeup-wise, we just look at the dresses. Nothing’s really different except she’s having a baby!
Did that change things at all?
No, not really. She’s just glowier. She just looks fantastic right now. She’s got that pregnancy glow for sure!
Is there anything you do in particular to complement that glow?
I started with Almay's Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer ($11; drugstore.com) and then after doing her makeup I apply a tiny bit of coconut oil. Just the tiniest bit and it just gave her that extra little pop, and I went over her foundation and everything with it and brushed it on a little bit.
How much prior to an event do you typically prepare?
We really don’t prep. I have all my kits there together, but I’ll at the clothes right before the show and I’ll just kinda say, “Do you want to go up or down?” and she says, “I don’t care.” Carrie’s the easiest to get ready. She’s so easy. She’s never like, “I don’t like that!” We kind of work together. It’s been ten years almost that we’ve been doing this.
What added measures are required when prepping Underwood for a red carpet versus hosting an award show?
It’s not too different. We just kind of think “Oh when we start this she’s going to be doing all these different looks," so I have to have the hair kind of prepared for the night, so it’s a little different there than when we’re doing any other show she’s not hosting.
Underwood underwent several fashion and beauty changes, including a classic red lip. How long did you have to switch between looks?
I just had her wipe her lips really quick and just did it! That's the thing-she changes clothes and you pop a different lip on her, Almay's Apple-A-Day Color + Care Liquid Lip Balm ($7; ulta.com) and change the eye and everything looks so different, but that didn’t take long. We usually have more time to do her hair. We sometimes get only about three minutes to change her hair. Fourteen is about the most time we have backstage.
How do you select a makeup look that will complement all her outfit changes?
Her makeup was so timeless last night that it kind of goes with anything. Everything was just so classic last night.
What are your tricks for making a last all night long, especially under those hot lights?
I use the Almay Smart Shade Skintone Matching Makeup in Light/Medium ($14; drugstore.com) and I brush her foundation on, so that makes it stay the whole night. We don’t powder too much because you can go back in with the Smart Shade and smooth it out again. It doesn't mess up-it’s not like other foundations that get clumpy and dry. I have this Face Atelier brush that I am in love with-it’s my favorite for foundation. It’s like a rounded brush that’s flat on the top. I don’t ever put it on with a sponge. Never.
Underwood is also known for doing her own makeup on occasion. Are there any tricks she’s taught you?
She’s amazing at makeup. Carrie has watched me over the years and she enjoys that time. That’s her chill time before she goes out and does a show. She curls her hair and she likes to put her face on. She’s really amazing at makeup! She loves black eyeliner. She’s like, “I need a little more.” We kind of fight over the black eyeliner.
You two have worked together for so long. Do you have a favorite look of hers?
Gosh, there’s been so many. You know what I love? I love this year because she’s having a baby and she just looked amazing, but I love last year’s red carpet at the CMAs. Her hair was flipped over to the side she looked beautiful last year---that was one of my favorite carpet looks.
You’ve mentioned that customers are always looking for the “Carrie Underwood look." What’s the one Carrie look that your customers regularly request?
They always want to know lips or eyes. They’re like, “How did you do that smoky eye?” and they always ask about her lip color. Everybody likes the lighter lip and smoky eye. That’s her signature look for sure.
How Schleicher Created Carrie Underwood’s Stunning Red-Carpet Look for the 2014 CMAs
I set her hair with hot rollers and on every strand I sprayed a little bit of Redken Hot Sets 22 Thermal Setting Mist ($16; walgreens.com). I did her makeup, left the rollers in, and then I brushed it out and then used Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray ($22; oribe.com) and kind of filled in the root area with that. I did a little bit of Shu Uemura's Touch of Gloss ($38; shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com) and it makes the hair shine and makes it bouncy and takes out the flyaways. I finished the look off with Oribe’s Superfine Hair Spray ($22; oribe.com) and have her brush it out.
I concealed first and then used the intense eyes for hazels and blues. Anything that shimmers, I wet, so I wet the brush with the shimmer shadow it will just make it say all night long. I love the liquid eyeliner and it comes in brown and black. Sometimes I’ll start it off with a pencil just to get that smudged in there so there aren't hard lines, and I’ll go in with that. Then I apply Almay Liquid Eyeliner in Black ($8; ulta.com). I did the rim of her eye with the brown eyeliner.
For eyelashes I use the strip lash. A friend of mine has a company called Smoke and Mirrors Beauty and he helped create the Heart Lash a while back that's a little thicker on the ends. We love lashes. You can’t go without lashes!
I loved her red carpet lip from last night. We go to use something from Almay that no one’s gotten to use last night. It’s Smart Shade Butter Kiss Lipstick in Pink Light (out in December). It’s awesome. It’s moisturizing but it’s got great color to it. We got to use it last night and we’re really excited!