Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nicki Minaj 2012 VMAs Makeup Look

For me, Nicki is one of those ladies I’m always excited to see.  She always keeps you guessing:  What’s her makeup going to look like? What crazy outfit is she going to be wearing?  What color is her hair going to be? It’s just so exciting!  Of course her look at this year’s VMA was just as fun as usual.  Here’s the visual in case you’ve missed it…

Nicki Minaj

Before I jump into it my version/mini tutorial of the look, I have to give a shout out to Emily for asking me to do this look! (She’s thinking about doing Nicki’s whole ensemble for Halloween!! How fun is that?!  Go Emily, go!!)

Now, my version of the look!

No flash, but you can see the glitter so much better!
The overall look is pretty simple.  The key features are her silver-glittery eyes, super dramatic lashes, flawless skin and hot pink lips. Below are the products I used to duplicate this look, but remember you don’t have to use the same exact products.  If you focus on the colors used and utilize what you have in your makeup drawer, our outcomes will be pretty similar!

Anytime I know I’m going to be working with glitter (or dark shadows!) I always start with the eyes first.  That way I can simply wipe away any fallout without before applying my foundation, keeping the complexion as flawless as possible.   Here’s what I used/did for the eyes:

Silver Sparkly Eyes

1.       Of course we want to prime our lids to make sure our look last all night long.  You can use one of two things (or both like I did): a regular eye primer or a cream shadow in a silver shade.  (Using the silver cream shadow creates a nice base for the silver eyeshadow, and gives it a little extra pop.)
2.       Next use a light silver eyeshadow and a flat eyeshadow brush to pack the color all over the lid up through the crease.  To build up the intensity of the eyeshadow be sure to pat it on, don’t swipe.  Swiping removes and blends color instead of building it up.
3.       Next using a darker blackish-grey eyeshadow and a blending brush, lightly sweep the color a little above the natural crease of your eye.  This is going to give the illusion of a higher crease, which opens up the eyelids.  Use the shadow to blend out the edge of the light silver.  Bring the dark grey shadow all the way in to the nose, under the front of the brow.
4.       Now for the fun part!  Take your favorite silver or white glitter and pat it all over the lid.  Add multiple layers to build up the intensity.  If you really want to the glitter to pop, apply a thin layer of lash glue over the lid, then press the glitter over top.  Just be prepared to spend some time with some eye makeup remover afterwards.  This is what I did and it looked awesome! I wish the glitter showed up better in the photos!
5.       Line your upper lash line with your favorite black liquid liner, curl your lashes, and apply mascara to the top lashes only.  Nicki doesn’t appear to have anything on her bottom lash line.
6.       Apply the biggest eyelashes you can find! The bigger the better!
7.       (If you need to, don’t forget about your brows!)

Now onto the face!  Make sure to wipe away any glitter or eyeshadow that may have fallen down while working on the eyes.  Nicki’s skin for the VMAs was very doll-like.   To achieve this look we’ll need to use some full coverage products to hide any imperfections and to do some (major) contouring and highlighting!


  1. Nicki’s complexion is flawless which tells me she is using a full coverage foundation or a fair amount of concealer.  So I started by applying Nars Sheer Glow foundation (which is more of a medium coverage foundation).  I used my fingers to work the foundation all over the skin (don’t forget to blend down the neck and even over the ears!)
  2. Next I used the lightest concealer from the MUFE concealer palette to conceal under the eyes and to highlight the center of the face.  The areas you want to concentrate on highlighting are:  the triangles under the eyes (if you drew a line from the inside corner of the eye straight down to the edge of your nostril, then out at an angle to the outside corner of your eye—that’s where you want to highlight), down the bridge of the nose, the center of the forehead, and on the center of your chin. If you have concealer that’s a shade lighter than your actual skin tone it will work best for highlighting.  Just remember to blend all the edges!
  3. To make sure the liquid and cream products don’t move throughout the night, we need to set them with a powder.  I used a makeup sponge and pressed the powder over the face.  This is going to add a little more coverage (which is great!) and more importantly it won’t smear or move the products we’ve already applied.
  4. Next we want to emphasize the highlighting even more by contouring the face.  I used a matte bronzer and an angled blush brush for this step.  Place the powder under the cheek bones, under the jawline, and onto the temples of the face working slowly to gradually build up the color intensity.  Using a fluffy eyeshadow brush, I also contoured down the sides of the nose.
  5. Next I applied a hot pink blush along my cheek bones making sure I didn’t bring the color too far in towards the nose.  We want to keep this area nice and light.
  6. Nicki’s skin is pretty matte but I added just a touch of highlighter down the bridge of my nose and to the tops of cheek bones.
  7. Since Nicki has her own hot pink lipstick shade (“Viva Glam Nicki”), I’m guessing that’s what she’s wearing. I don’t have that so I used the brightest pink I could find in my drawer.  Then I pressed a little of the hot pink blush over top to lock in the color.

And there we have it!  Let me know what you think by leaving a comment down below or on my facebook page! See you in the next post, ladies!

For the love of beauty & Ms. Minaj,
…Casey B