Oscars 2015 Makeup: Subtlety Rules The Show Plus The One Thing That Was Missing

I know it’s been a week since the Oscars but two things in particular caught my eye and I’ve been dying to share…

Firstly, did anyone else feel that the makeup at the Oscars this year was a bit, how do I say, underwhelming? I’m always itching to see what the makeup artist elite have chosen to bring to our most beloved red carpet, but this year felt, I don’t know, a bit ‘meh’. Did you agree?

On many of the female actors skin was kept low key with lips ‘barely there’, slight definition around the eyes (mostly brown hues) and the lightest wash of blush.

What happened to the drama? The glamour?!

Could it be possible we are experiencing a backlash, an antidote to the bold looks of recent years?

Secondly, one thing was blatantly missing from the large majority of makeup looks… Where was all the contouring?


Anna Kendrick with subtle makeup
Anna Kendrick eschewed bronzer in favour of a wash of peach blush


A Sculpting Backlash?

Even if your makeup bag rarely boasts anything more than a concealer and a six month old mascara it’s likely you’ve heard of a technique called contouring. A trend arguably made famous by the Kardashian sisters, contouring has been one of the biggest buzz words of the past two years with the majority of cosmetics brands choosing to invest in innovative contouring products (just launched: Clinique’s new contouring sticks).

But contouring this year at the Oscars was astoundingly absent.

Yes, there were a couple of exceptions…J-Lo and Jennifer Aniston both opted for their staple ‘bronzed goddess’ look (no surprises there) and bronzers were definitely, if more subtly, deployed with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Gwyneth (I desperately wanted to get out my blending brush with Rita Ora!). But for the majority of stars skin was left refreshingly nude and in some cases topped with just the slightest hint of blush.


Meryl Streep with subtle makeup


Is Less Really More?

Take Meryl for example. And please don’t get me wrong, the woman is a genius and I simply adore her… but I felt her skin this year could have done with a bit of warmth. A little bronzer around the hairline perhaps. I’m not talking colour here because I think the level of blush is bang on, but working more with a matte bronzer, 2-3 shades warmer than Meryl’s natural skin tone.

Another thing I would have changed about Meryl’s makeup would have been to have added a touch of highlighter, something unbelievably sheer such as Glamcor’s Glamour Glow, just to the cheekbones and temples (notice her skin is completely matte in the photo which makes it look a bit flat). This is especially important on more mature skin which loses its natural sheen over time.

The New Nude

Seems I’m not the only one banging on about the rise of the new nude makeup look for 2015. Vogue recently tweeted a link to this article featuring countless examples of understated, natural looks from the A/W15 shows.

I should stress, it’s not that I’m against an au naturelle makeup look, I frickin’ love it! It’s just that I occasionally pine for something a little more spectacular. And if you can’t dazzle at The Oscars then when can you?

All images: Getty (unless otherwise stated)

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