In 1998, we met Carrie Bradshaw, a single New York City newspaper columnist with a teensy apartment, a stunning wardrobe, and her very own Prince Charming...Mr. Big. "Her life was meant to be something of a bohemian fairy tale," said makeup artist Kabuki, who was brought in by costume designer Pat Field for the first two seasons of the show. "I used a lot of pearly highlights around the eyes and along the cheekbones, and would often smudge glittery black pencil around her eyes."
In the second season, Carrie and Big were on-again off-again. Her makeup, however, was incredibly consistent. "If it hadn't been so early in my career, I would have pushed it further, but back then I just wanted to play it safe," said Kabuki. Of course, that didn't mean he didn't have a few tricks up his sleeve: "Before she left my chair, I'd mist her face with Evian water for that dewy, fresh feeling. It kept the makeup from looking heavy and went with her character's youthful vibe."
"This was when Carrie meets Aidan for the first time," recalled Judy Chin, who was Sarah Jessica Parker's personal makeup artist for the last four seasons of the show, and both movies. "We were able to read the script far enough in advance to know that she'd be meeting a new guy and that he'd stick around for a while-so took care to not to let the makeup distract from the moment. We wanted to show pure Carrie as we know her: black mascara, flushed cheeks, and a bit of pink liner on the lips topped with clear gloss."
"Carrie's brows were a group effort. Both Sarah Jessica and I weighed in on the grooming," said Chin. "Her two brows are very different so we just went with it. I'd fill them in very slightly with a seal brown pencil and extend them out a bit, like I did here, for a bit of glamour. When brows are too groomed, it isn't youthful. The asymmetrical nature just adds to Carrie's charm."
In the final season, Carrie moved to Paris with her lover, Aleksandr Petrovsky-but brought along her New York City beauty sense. "I knew for this scene she'd be wearing a simple black dress and only be seen sitting down-so it could be a big hair moment," said Mandy Lyons, who worked as Sarah Jessica Parker's personal hairstylist for seasons 5 and 6, plus both movies. "I created two extreme textures with one hairdo: quite slick in the front and teased and voluminous in back. I backcombed the ponytail until it had the texture of cotton candy," said the British hairstylist. "It was a very sweet look."
After Big left Carrie at the altar, director Michael Patrick King was very clear with the hair and makeup teams that he wanted her look to mirror her depression. "I think of this as Carrie's dark period. I was thinking goth," said Chin. "I just drowned her in black liner." Lyons's job, however, required a bit more planning. "Before the wig was made, we tested hair colors against SJP's skin to find the shade that was closest to her natural base. We added auburn and honey gold highlights so that the wig wouldn't read too flat on screen," she said. "Carrie was meant to look beautiful, but like she wasn't paying as much attention to her hair."
"Sarah Jessica wore this Madonna-inspired look very well," said Chin. "I was worried the colors-deep purple shadow, fuchsia lipstick, and contour powder-would be too harsh and vibrant, but she looked great." Her hair was just as successful: "We used a wig but it was still really fun for me to do technically," said Lyons. "I scrunch-dried it with strong gel and added the bow very last minute. We burnt it with cigarettes for that lived-in feel. It was meant to look like she’d plucked it right off the corner of her mirror.”
Try on Carrie's Sex and The City 2 '80s hairstyle now!
"For this movie I wanted to bring back the old Carrie," said Chin. She kept the skin as bare as possible and focused on creating a natural, lit-from-within flush. She blended cheek stains, powder blushes and bronzers to create the perfect rosy glow. And for the hair? "Carrie has moved in with Big, she's uptown in an amazing apartment and she's more serious now," said Lyons. "I went for something more sophisticated: soft, brushed-out waves with a sexy, dry shine."