The Best Makeup Of 2011

We can talk for DAYS about gorgeous red carpet dresses, cop-worthy street style, and outlandish performance outfits, but when it comes down to it, it’s really the details that can send an ensemble over the edge. Makeup is a key component—bright pink lips brighten an all black outfit just as a a swipe of black eyeliner adds drama to an otherwise staid daytime look. So from goth lips, to straight-up face paint, we’ve pored over the year’s most note-worthy beauty trends (of course hair is another post ENTIRELY) to bring you the best of the best from the past 12 months.


Chloë Moretz on Nov. 9, Katy Perry on Nov. 29, and Nicki Minaj on Aug. 29.
Photo: Getty Images

When you want to add a burst of color to your makeup routine, we know it’s easy to default to a bright pink lipstick and call it day, but there are other options, people! Chloë Moretz, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj rendered their peepers even prettier by applying a line of electric teal on their lids for a lovely glow. Chloë paired her neon liner with a touch of blush (but not even a lick of lipstick), which complements (but doesn’t overshadow) her bright yellow Versace for H&M shift dress. Katy always has fun when it comes to her beauty game (I mean, she does have pink hair!), so she took her blue cat eye to new heights by pairing it with glossy magenta lips, extra voluminous top and bottom lashes, and dark, full brows. Nicki’s head-to-toe neon ensemble just wouldn’t be complete without neon makeup, hence her million-mile lashes with heavy teal lids and light pink lips. Even her hair boasted hints of the bright stuff!


Rooney Mara on Nov. 15, Lady Gaga on Nov. 7, and Jessie J on Jan. 11.
Photo: Getty Images/PictureGroup

On the opposite side of the color spectrum, one of this year’s biggest trends was super dark lips with porcelain skin, or, as we love calling it: goth lips. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara sported deep plum lips with nothing but thick lashes and even thicker brows. Lady Gaga’s take on dark lips was a little different—she wore blue metallic lipstick with intense over-under eyeliner, glittery green brows, and a rhinestone cross in the center of her forehead. Yeah, you might be leery of the Gags’ daring beauty game, but just WAIT until you’re sporting bright-colored eyebrows a couple years from now. British bombshell Jessie J went aaaaall the way in on the dark arts with black matte lipstick paired with black smokey eyes and a jet black bob that anchors the look.


Kat Graham on May 14, Taylor Swift on Oct. 13, and Lauren Conrad on Oct. 26.
Photo: Getty Images

Liquid liner has long been a staple, as has the bold cat eye. What makes these girls notable in 2011 is their own distinct approach to the look. Kat Graham mastered the extreme swooping liner/shadow combo. Her tips extend all the way out to the edges of her eyebrows while her inner lids are dusted with a light white shadow for even more drama, drama, drama. She let her eyes completely steal the show by keeping her lips nude and adding only a touch of blush. Taylor Swift’s cat eye is much more understated with thick, luscious lashes and a swipe of shimmer. She paired her liner with her signature fire engine red lips for an Old Hollywood look. Lauren Conrad’s consistently nailed feline liner (heck, she even made a video on it), so it’s only appropriate we put Ms. LC in this category. This is a dressier beauty look for Lauren—not only did she sport the traditional wing-tip, but she also coated her lids with silvery-white shadow. She finished with pearly magenta lips for a memorable day-to-night beauty transformation.


Camilla Belle on Nov. 15, Hailee Steinfeld on Oct. 27, and Lily Collins on Nov. 20.
Photo: Getty Images

Sometimes the best things in life are free—especially for gals born with the glorious gift of full brows! This year was all about framing your eyes, and these dark-haired ladies do it beautifully. Camilla Belle’s dark brows are gloriously arched so they lift and brighten her face instead of weighing it down with overbearing heft. It takes serious commitment to get brows THAT immaculate, so we duly note her dedication. Hailee Steinfeld is only 14 years old, which is around the time we butchered our brows with over-plucking. Luckily, Hailee knows better and keeps her brows well-groomed, even wearing dark eyeshadow to draw MORE attention to her lids. Lily Collins’ eyebrows are dark and lush, just like her hair, and we’re glad she kept them close to their natural shape. They frame her face and paired with a killer smokey eye (as seen above) it gives her an elegant, finished look that offsets her tousled tresses. Pro tip: With heavy brows and eye makeup, keep your lips light and simple, as seen here.


Chloe Sevigny on June 6, Katy Perry on Nov. 20, and Kat Graham on Sept. 14.
Photo: Getty Images/WireImage

A quick and foolproof way to enliven your beauty look is a healthy dose of SUPER bright lipstick! Nothing draws attention quite like an electric pout (it’s like science or something), and we found three girls who we just couldn’t stop staring at. Chloe Sevigny wore an almost orange-y shade of lipstick with her all-black ensemble. She kept the rest of her makeup sparse so as to not compete with her fiery pout—no blush, no eyeshadow, no liner, nothing (which in itself is CRAZY bold)! Katy Perry paired brash red lips with a heavy cat eye and softly arched brows, which was unexpected since the rest of her was head-to-toe pink. Kat Graham sported the brightest lip hue of all—magenta! She toned down the eyes and sported just a swipe of shimmery bronze shadow and mascara.


Evan Rachel Wood on Aug. 2, Lady Gaga on June 23, and Mia Wasikowska in the April 2011 issue of “BlackBook.”
Photo: Getty Images/WireImage/Courtesy of “BlackBook”

From the red carpet to fashion magazines, it seemed makeup artists couldn’t get enough of this fresh take on the ’60s staple. And we like it. Evan Rachel Wood sported a softer version of over/under look but instead of black liquid eyeliner she used a pencil, to a less intense but stunning effect. Lady Gaga wore heavy black AND white liquid liner paired with black brows and a bold red lip for an Egyptian Pharaoh vibe. Mia Wasikowska transformed into a modern-day Twiggy for her BlackBook spread. From the drawn-on lower lashes to the pale lips to the heavy side bangs, she could pass for the model’s twin.


Lady Gaga on June 28, Lauren Conrad on Aug. 10, and Ke$ha on May 22.
Photo: Getty Images/WireImage

A makeup rut is understandable but sometimes you have to break out of your normal routine for something new. Whether it’s for a special occasion or just for fun, it’s good to transform your face into a canvas just like these ladies. We give Lady Gaga her dues for altering her eyelids to resemble an anime character. (Even MORE props for managing to keep her eye closed the whole time. #commitment). Lauren Conrad had some fun with makeup by decorating her temples with delicate yellow and gold flourishes. While Ke$ha’s cheekbone exploded with streaks of blue, white, black, and glitter for some rocker-chic face art that enhances her fearless fashion sense.


Clockwise from top left: Leighton Meester on Oct. 25, Elle Fanning on Nov. 21, Mia Wasikowska on Nov. 21, and Emma Watson on Nov. 20.
Photo: Getty Images/WireImage

Sometimes the most expert beauty regimen is the one that makes you look like you’re not wearing makeup at all. These fresh-faced ladies all sported minimal makeup in their own way—Leighton Meester wore nothing but a touch of mascara and swipe of gold shadow on her lids; Elle Fanning showed off her glowing complexion with just a little bit of mascara; Mia Wasikowska wore light gray shadow on her lids to allow the rest of her beauty to shine; and Emma Watson went heavy on the rosy cheeks but kept her lips and eyes relatively bare.


Avril Lavigne on Nov. 11, Jessie J on Feb. 16, and Taylor Momsen on April 2.
Photo: Getty Images/WireImage

We’ve all seen celebs sport the smokey eye, but these gals take the dark rim to a WHOLE new level. Avril Lavigne sported a smudgy panda look by focusing the dark shadow around the lower portion of her eye and lining the inner eye with gold. She kept the rest of her makeup simple with just a spot of clear lip gloss. Jessie J’s stunners are completely lined from the waterline on out for eyes that really POP against her pale complexion. She paired her eye makeup with a bright magenta lip. Taylor Momsen has long mastered the smokey eye, so much so that we’ve lost count of how many time she’s showcased this look. But the thing we did notice this year is that upon closer inspection—she actually wears false lashes on the bottom as WELL as the top for a serious don’t-mess-with-me look. To finish, she applied bright silver on the the inner corners of her eyes and kept her lip color natural.


Lady Gaga on Feb. 13.
Photo: WireImage

Lady Gaga took her beauty game to new heights (quite literally) when she began wearing skin-colored prostheses earlier this year. She began sporting sharp, pointy shoulders as well as fake cheek bones protruding from her face. She’d often pair her new curves (so to speak) with heavy eyeliner, bleached eyebrows and a bright lip. We’re not sure what inspired Gaga to sport these faux body mods, but we applaud her makeup artist for making them look completely real. We’ll never forget this bizarre and iconic beauty moment for Mother Monster but, psst—don’t call these lady lumps “prostheses” in front of Ms. Gaga—she claims they’re her actual bones. *nods solemnly*

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