Makeup Tips for the Red Carpet and/or Black-Tie Events

Published in: Makeup Tips/How To

My Emmys makeup look

With my sweetpea, Stef, from @weheartthisdotcom. #emmys

I can say this with absolute certainty: I never, ever expected that I would ever be doing actual red carpet makeup on myself.

Soooooooo, to prep for the Emmys this year, I asked LA-based makeup artist and all-around-nice-gal Vanessa Haro for some of her best red carpet makeup tips.



Vanessa has done makeup for the Oscars, for photo shoots in magazines, and for gajillions (I don’t know if that’s an actual number…) of brides in the So Cal area.

She also glams up some of the seriously sexiest models in LA — and those girls have butts — swear to gawd — that make me want to do squats every hour for the rest of my life. LOL!

TMI, but it’s so true.

So yeah, girlfriend is busy.

Anywho, before the show I told her, as calmly as possible, that I was kind of freaking out about my Emmys makeup situation. I couldn’t figure out what to do, and she was kind enough to help.

Here are four of Vanessa’s top black-tie/formal/gala extravaganza makeup tips.

1. Grab your mattes

“Red carpets need makeup to be a little heavier than normal, but no glitter/shimmer on the face. It tends to look cray. I use mostly neutral matte shadows and matte peachy blush with matte peachy bronzers.”

2. Place shimmer strategically

“Highlighter should be very soft. If you can, get your hands on Kohgendo’s Liquid Illuminator in Beige. It looks beautiful above the cheekbones, on the inner corners of the eyes, and right along the Cupid’s bow. Or, try a very finely milled powder — the BECCA ones applied very lightly may work. For the eyes, I add a touch of pearl finish shadow right on the lid, keeping it closer to the lash line and maybe a teeny bit of shimmery eye shadow along the outer part of the crease.”

3. Go a few shades deeper for lips

“I try to keep lips a few shades deeper than the natural tone with a bit of gloss right in the center.”

4. Turn up those lashes

“Go a little heavier on the lashes and mascara.”

Vanessa Haro wearing Black Honey Almost Lipstick from CliniqueIf you’d like to check out Vanessa’s work (it is AMAZING!), or perhaps get in touch with her to book her for an event, contact her by Instagram at @MakeupbyNessa or through Facebook at Beauty By Vanessa Haro.

Better hurry, though — she books up fast! I actually wanted to hire her to do my makeup, but she’d already had commitments. Next time, Nessa! 🙂

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Good morning! I’m rising and shining over here. Wasn’t last night fun? I hope you enjoyed hanging out. Who knows when we’ll be able to come back to the Emmys.


I think the whole live-blogging thing worked out pretty well, too. I’m surprised the show peeps allowed camera phones in the audience. I don’t know why… I just didn’t know what to expect. They didn’t, however, allow regular full-size cameras (shoot). Just smartphones.

My flight back to the Bay leaves in a few hours, so I’m packing up and getting ready right now. Tabs and I (you knew he came along, right?) should be home around 2.

Have a great day, my friend. Talk to you soon.

P.P.S. Here’s another shot of my makeup from last night…



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So far, 23 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Debra says:

    Rest well today!! You have had quite an evening!

    The closest I’ll get to a red carpet is cranberry juice spilling on the parlor rug, but I shall keep those tips in mind. We all remember Nicole Kidman and her under-eye glow!

    Tabs will have to adjust back to the routine after his big night out!

  2. Kwmechelle says:

    Fun indeed! You looked stunning & I enjoyed “being there with you.” Here’s looking forward to the next black tie gala. 🙂

  3. Agata says:

    These are some great red carpet tips and Vanessa looks absolutely gorgeous! I am so glad you had fun Karen (and Tabs). Have a safe flight home!
    Agata recently posted … How much would you pay for a bottle of nail polish?

  4. Great tips! I’d definitely be careful with shimmer and sparkle too. And great idea to oomph up the lashes 🙂 I’ve never done it, but for a red carpet I definitely would.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Sisley Amber Phyto-Ombre Glow

  5. Trisha says:

    You looked gorgeous, Karen! That dress is amazing and your makeup is spot on. Great tips!
    Trisha recently posted … How to Use Paintings for Eye Shadow Color Inspiration

  6. Katherine M says:

    Rest well! Sounds like you had an awesome experience! Those are great tips. I noticed in pics the way my makeup looks is hit or miss. I don’t like to pile on the makeup but in some pics due to lighting/flash, whatever, I look like a ghost. Maybe it’s time to self tan? I definitely need to stop buffing my eye makeup so much. It’s too subtle when there are cameras around!

  7. Jasmine says:

    Handy tips, not that I’ll ever come close to a red carpet but a girl can dream 🙂

  8. Phyrra says:

    Squats and lunges! They’re the key to a nice butt 🙂 You and Stef look great!
    Phyrra recently posted … Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant Fresh Vanilla Lemon Review

  9. sadia says:

    you look amazing!!!

  10. Edna says:

    Hello there you looked good!
    I loves your hair, make up and your dress its beautiful can you tell me what are you wearing?

  11. Allison C says:

    So glad you picked the pink! You look stunning! Love the different hair look for the occasion!
    Allison C recently posted … ipsy Beauty Schooled September 2014 Bag

  12. Fancie says:

    I’ll probably never hit a red carpet but these are still pretty great tips. These will come in handy for events that require a lot of flash photography
    Fancie recently posted … Ulta Hauling!

  13. Jenna N. says:

    You did an AMAZING job! You look a true star! So beautiful!!!

  14. Carol B says:

    You win for best dressed! You (and Tabs) looked purrfect!!!!

  15. Iris says:

    Thanks for sharing the makeup tips!

    You look beautiful, and it looked like you had an excellent time.


  16. Paddychat says:

    You looked beautiful ! And that pink dress seems made just for you !!!
    Perfect look, perfect girl !

  17. Alison M says:

    You looked so fab! Glad you had a great trip…it was so much fun following along in IG 🙂
    Alison M recently posted … Skin Care Routine for Summer/Fall 2014

  18. Erin says:

    You looked great, especially the lashes!
    Erin recently posted … L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Nail Polish In Tangerine Crush Review

  19. Erica says:

    You look gorgeous. Hope you had a great time. Any significant celebrity sightings?

  20. Congrats on errrthang, Karen! I was/am just so excited that you got to do this! And hello – you looked GORGIEPANTS du JOUR! Love the lashes, especially.
    kristen @ glambunctious recently posted … Project Make A Dent a/k/a PAN POWAH! | #1

  21. Your makeup looked fantastic Karen! Love the lip! What did you use for the lips?
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Revlon Photoready Cream Blush : Coral Reef

  22. Chelsea says:

    Girl, your brows here are just amazing! Love the tips, and I’m glad you went with the pink!

  23. Polarbelle says:

    I stayed with you all night, Karen. I’m so excited you got to go. You looked absolutely beautiful!!!! Is that the Tom Ford Negligee you’re wearing?
    Polarbelle recently posted … The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is NOW Open for 2014!!

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