Everyone has one of those nights where you try a new look and despite your best efforts, it ends up falling a little flat. Even celebrity beauty icons can have those hit-or-miss (but mostly miss) moments, too. Take Gwen Stefani’s look at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards. Known for sporting a dramatic winged liner and crimson lips, when the singer stepped on stage to join boyfriend Blake Shelton for a duet, the star looked, well, different. Her eyes weren’t lined (gasp) and her lips were nude, a stark contrast to her signature look. The viewers went B-A-N-A-N-A-S on social media and the commenters weren’t feeling “hellagood” about her new look.
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Commenters were focused more on Stefani’s lack of eyeliner than her performance. The reactions ranged from concerns about the singer’s health to harsh comments in the form of “helpful” tips about how to properly apply makeup. One Twitter user even went as far as to digitally redo Stefani’s makeup to give her back her signature look.
— Helen Rosner (@hels) May 23, 2016
The collective chatter got back to Stefani’s makeup artist, Gregory Arlt, the man responsible for many of the singer’s classic looks that we’ve come to know and love. He eventually spoke up via a post on Facebook to defend the more muted look. “It’s basically what we’ve always been doing, just no upper liner or false lashes (and yes, a pale lip as opposed to a color). You’d think I sent her out with tinted moisturizer and chapstick from what people were saying!” wrote Arlt.
Despite having a famous go-to style, Arlt says he and Stefani are not afraid to change it up and try something new. “Gwen is the ultimate Barbie head—we love experimenting and trying new things; sometimes subtle (Ooh! A pink lip! Ahh! Lining her eyes with shadow instead of liquid!) and sometimes dramatic (I bleached her eyebrows for the ‘Push And Shove’ video and sent her out onstage for the awards performance with a nude, pared down [’90s] supermodel, sun-kissed look).”
Even though the public didn’t love the end result, Arlt says the night stands out because of the great time he and Stefani had getting ready. “Bottom line? We had fun. One of the best times getting her ready, with a room full of people who adore each other, laughing and cracking jokes while reveling in the excitement of performing a number one song on an awards show,” he wrote. Now the world can rest easy knowing that Stefani’s red lip and bold liner will make it’s triumphant return (phew!).
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