These Met Gala Beauty Looks Prove Fashion Isn't the Only Way to Stand Out

From Cher's ultra-glam lewk at the 1985 Met Ball to Rihanna's standout makeup at the 2017 event: See the best Met Gala beauty looks, which was just as charming as the fashion.

By Alyssa Morin May 03, 2020 11:00 PMTags
Watch: Most Memorable Met Gala Moments That Had Us Saying OMG

As Tiffany Pollard famously said: "gorgeous is gonna, you know, devour cute."

When it comes to the Met Gala, no one wants to be called cute because it's all about the more is more approach. It's the one event where larger-than-life ensembles, in-your-face accessories and exaggerated poses on the red carpet are encouraged.

And it's safe to say clothes aren't the only way to stand out at the annual fashion extravaganza—which historically takes place the first Monday in May. Yes, wearing a theatrical design will certainly turn heads, but that doesn't mean the lewk ends there.

Beauty plays a big role.

Take for example Rihanna's drool-worthy looks over the years. Look back at any outfit, and you'll notice her vision didn't stop at her garment. She pushed it further with her hair and makeup.

Case in point? The Fenty Beauty founder celebrated the 2017 theme (Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons) with a voluminous and architectural dress that could've easily swallowed her whole.

Instead, she owned the avant-garde design and commanded the room.

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Most Unforgettable Met Gala Moments of All Time

Her makeup also complemented the gown's vivid and colorful palette—she took her blush all the way to her eyelids, which made everything a lot more cohesive and playful. Her deep red lipstick not only matched her design but it tied her entire look together.

One word: swoon!

Another memorable beauty moment? Lupita Nyong'o's Divine-inspired makeup at the 2019 Met Gala. The Us actress exaggerated her eyebrows like the late drag icon, while also adding glitter liner and eyeshadow to her lids. An array of gold combs peeked through her hair and doubled as accessories.

Her electrifying glam made her rainbow-colored dress pop even more that night.

Of course, we're only scratching the surface here.

We've rounded up the best beauty looks to hit the red carpet over the years. Scroll through our gallery below for some makeup and hair inspo!

Lady Gaga

No one does over-the-top glam like the 34-year-old star. From her spider-like, gold lashes to her bright and bold pink lipstick to her sparkly face jewels, this is a makeup look to remember! Plus, her baby bow hairstyle is an ode to her early days.

Rihanna

A work of art! Rihanna's makeup perfectly complements her colorful architectural gown—she takes her blush all the way to her eyelids, which makes everything cohesive and playful. Her deep red lipstick not only matches her vivid design but it ties her entire look together.

Billy Porter

All that glitters is gold. The Pose star drips in the enchanting and opulent color—from the face jewels to the blinding shadow to the chainmail headpiece.

Amber Valletta

The supermodel takes us to the 18th century with her flamboyant and fabulous wig. Her flushed cheeks and and rose-colored lip tie the theatrical lewk together.

Beyoncé

The Homecoming star serves face and bawdy at the 2014 event with her seductive black beaded fascinator, deep wine-colored lipstick and sultry eye shadow.

Lily Collins

A nod to mod! The actress pays homage to Priscilla Presley with her bright and bold beauty. Along with the lavender shadow and exaggerated eye makeup, Lily's voluminous bouffant and flower accessories give her glam a retro feel.

Katy Perry

Even though Perry's face is covered with a crimson-colored veil, her makeup is still on-point. She rocks glossy and shimmery red lips, mesmerizing ocean-blue shadow with a touch of silver on her inner corners and bold brows.

Cher

The queen of ultra-glam lewks! Cher brings the theatrics to the 1985 Met Gala with her majestic purple shadow, extreme contour and shimmery holographic lips.

Zendaya

One word: breaktaking! Zendaya shuts down the red carpet with her vivacious makeup and hair. Her rich orange lip color packs a punch while her Afro adds elegance and grandeur to her ensemble.

Cara Delevingne

Silver siren. The supermodel pulls out all of the stops for the 2017 fashion affair. From her silver-painted head to her dazzling face jewels to her blinding body glitter, Cara lights up the red carpet.

Cardi B

Let's all take a moment of silence to appreciate the rapper's captivating lewk. She takes us to church with her larger-than-life headpiece and glamorous makeup at the 2018 ceremony—Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination.

Lupita Nyong'o

The actress brings the drama to the 2019 Met Ball with her electrifying beauty lewk. Inspired by the famous drag queen, Divine, Lupita nails the Camp theme. "We were gagging when we started drawing [her] eyebrows so high," makeup artist Nick Barose tells E! News. "That's what camp attitude is. You have fun and carry on."

Marilyn Manson

The singer makes a grand entrance with an edgy and eccentric makeup look at the 2005 Met Ball.

Gigi Hadid

The 24-year-old supermodel makes the 2019 fashion affair her own personal runway. Naturally, she turns heads with her stark white lashes that look like icicles.

Rihanna

Once again, the Fenty Beauty founder proves why she's the queen of the Met Gala. She pulls out all of the stops at the 2018 ceremony with her Pope-inspired ensemble and equally dazzling makeup, which complements her jewel-adorned design.

Ginnifer Goodwin

All eyes are on Goodwin, who turns heads at the 2013 event with her edgy eye makeup.

Lili Reinhart

The Riverdale star transports us to 18th century France with her Marie Antoinette-inspired lewk. From the explosion of flowers in her updo to her pink monochromatic makeup, Lili brings a fashion fantasy to the 2019 event.

Miley Cyrus

The "Mother's Daughter" exudes goth-glam vibes at the 2013 event with her vibrant red lipstick and spiky hairdo.

Ezra Miller

A sight to see! All eyes are on the Justice League star... quite literally. 

Madonna

You better Vogue! Madonna's makeup is effortless, timeless and simply swoon-worthy. Her Anna Wintour-esque hair is a nice finishing touch to her overall outfit.

Sadly, the 2020 Met Gala has been postponed indefinitely due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, that doesn't mean you can't reminisce on what could've been. 

E! News is here to fill that fashion void—so go ahead and relive the best Met Gala moments!

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