Jaw-Dropping Makeup Looks Guaranteed To Inspire

You know that feeling you get wandering through an art museum? Or a park, or a mall, or your neighborhood (hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder). Whatever the source, you've come upon some form of stimulating masterpiece that inspired your own creative genius.

As beauty editors, we get that feeling watching great makeup artists. It is truly remarkable to see how they play up the transformative effects of makeup on a variety of faces. So we teamed up with artist Michael Anthony to give you four gorgeous, completely original looks that'll have you ooh-ing, ahh-ing, and imagining how you can bring a piece of that beauty into your own life. And, just as fine artists work in multiple mediums, Anthony used everything from craft-store stickers to multitasking beauty buys, like Maybelline’s Lip Studio Color Blur pencils, to achieve what you're about to see. We also seized this opportunity to glean whatever applicable advice we could while watching him work, bringing you some of his expert tips and tricks. Know that we’re not expecting you to show up to the office Monday morning in a full, sticker-adorned face (though we’d be the first to compliment you if you did) — these looks are meant to entertain, inspire, and remind you how fun it is to get creative with makeup.

Don't worry, we’ll keep featuring the latest in contouring tutorials and step-by-step cat-eyes. But for now, lose yourself in some art.




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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
Technicolor Contour
You’re probably sick of hearing about contouring. We feel you. Tontouring, vontouring…enough already. Your natural bone structure is good enough. That said, Anthony created this colorfully contoured look that’s just mesmerizing. It’s as subtle as it is bold, using the sculpting principles of contouring to define cheekbones and other high points of the face. The result is a wash of sunny yellow that's surprisingly flattering.

Dior dress, Miu Miu earrings, Eddie Borgo bracelet and ring.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
“We’re trying to break the beauty rules,” says Anthony. So when it comes to choosing a color, there are no restrictions — go with whatever looks best on your skin tone. (If it helps, think of the clothing shades you gravitate toward first.) Prefer to stick to the more usual makeup shades? If you’re wearing bright-pink blush, try a light contour with purple. There’s a whole world out there that’s not bronzer.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
If you do decide to go all out (hello Instagram Likes!), Anthony suggests getting three hues of your chosen color. Here, he started with lemon yellow all over, followed up with a deeper saffron to intensify the contour, then finished with a bright, white-yellow for a complementary highlight. Blend the color far past your usual comfort zone (who said it should stop at your brows?), add a touch of gloss to the eyes for maximum shine, and show the world a #selfie that's never been seen before.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
Ultra-Modern Metallics
When you want to amp up a simple look, metallic accents are a no-brainer. Just a swipe of shimmery pigment on eyes, lips, or cheeks offers an instant wow factor.

Anthony took this basic idea up a notch...or 10, as is his specialty. Featuring craft-store foil paper cut into the thinnest of strips, this look puts a new spin on the face jewelry seen at Dion Lee’s New York Fashion Week show. (Just be sure to check the toxicity of the paper if you’re placing it anywhere near your eyes.) Swapping out frosty highlighters for warm gold tones helps the foil strips blend in almost seamlessly.

Fausto Puglisi dress, Eddie Borgo necklace, Pomellato ring.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
This might be intimidating at first, but there are plenty of takeaways for IRL makeup application. After creating a warm smoky eye with shimmery brown shadows, Anthony added an eye-catching pop of gold to the inner corners. He then placed the strips of foil paper as close to the lashline as possible (without actually touching them to the lashes), securing the strips with clear lash glue. The shape creates a cool new dynamic you could try with your actual liner: Follow the shape of your upper lashline, winging it ever so subtly past the outer corner, then create a straight line along the bottom that purposely doesn't connect. It's a graphic take on the perennial cat-eye that also plays with negative space.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
A vampy lip gets a futuristic update with just a few minor tweaks (not to mention a badass strip of gold). Here, Anthony lined the lips in deep burgundy, exaggerating the outer corners of the mouth to create precise points. Then, he filled in with color using Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur in Plum, Please. For a final eye-catching finish (in case the faux face jewelry wasn't enough), he highlighted the Cupid’s bow with gold pigment — a tip we’re dreaming of utilizing everywhere. (Think gold strobed cheeks, gold browbones, all-gold everything.)
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
Living Color
Somewhere along the way, we started equating “colorful” with “childish.” Our wardrobes got a whole lot blacker, and color became relegated to just one statement piece. Not anymore. We’re vowing to embrace color regardless of the season and giving multiple features the coveted statement spotlight while we're at it.

Peter Pilotto jacket, Eddie Borgo earrings, Pomellato rings.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
You’ve surely seen an ombré lip while doing your very own beauty stalking. But consider these sunset shades the dawn of a new trend. (Yeah, we went there.) To create this look, Anthony filled in the lips with Maybelline Lip Studio Color Blur in Orange Ya Glad, leaving the top third of the upper lip bare in preparation for a lighter shade. He then used a creamy yellow highlighter along the top lip line and blended the two shades together with the Color Blur smudger tip for a seamless finish.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
An ombré lip this masterful begs an ombré eye to match. (And in an even more avant-garde twist, we gave the eyes a glossy finish while keeping the lips creamy matte.) We all know that brows frame the face, but hot-pink ones deserve a frame of their own. To get this look, Anthony filled in the brows with a magenta lip pencil, smoothed them over with a bright-pink cream pigment, and finished with translucent powder. (Because of course you'll want your fuchsia brows to last.)
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
Makeup Redefined
In case you haven’t noticed, beauty editors are big fans of multitasking. We prompt you to use your mascara as liquid liner, wax poetic about the versatility of lipsticks and blushes, and don’t even get us started on the virtues of coconut oil. Because who's really to say a product can have one purpose and one purpose only? For this “makeup” look, Anthony thought way outside the box (and the beauty aisle) and used a variety of good old stickers to stand in for eye makeup. (Yes, that eyeliner is made of butterflies.)

Delpozo dress, Chopard earrings.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
Like the gold foil strips, we suggest applying stickers with lash glue, since it's an adhesive that's safe for use around the eyes. If you struggle later to get them off, soak a cotton ball with makeup remover and hold it in place for 30 seconds to loosen the glue.
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Photographed by Jamie Nelson.
As with our other looks, there are literally no rules here. Go freehand and place stickers in any pattern or direction that strikes your fancy. But to avoid any beauty 911 moments, only place stickers beneath your lower lashes or alongside your upper lashline, never directly onto your actual lashes. Contrary to popular belief, beauty shouldn’t be painful — just playful.
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