Speaking to Ariana Grande’s makeup artists, one thing is clear: She is a true artist. She’s not only carved out a space as a trailblazer in the music industry; she’s also become a fixture in the beauty sphere, especially with R.E.M. Beauty (which she’s been secretly wearing on tour and on the red carpet for years) and her successful line of Ariana Grande perfumes (speaking of which, I’d like to go on the record and say that her Cloud Eau de Parfum is as good as you’ve heard, if not better).
It’s also worth noting that Grande’s beauty team regularly lauds her collaborative nature and kindness—a trait not always seen in superstars of her size. “It’s always a collaborative vibe working with Ari,” says makeup artist Michael Anthony. “She makes me feel so empowered and valued by celebrating my creativity and my ideas. We just have so much fun creating together.”
All this is to say that Grande is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to beauty. And throughout her long career, she’s served us some seriously head-turning looks. Scroll on for 13 of our all-time favorite Ariana Grande makeup looks over the years.
It’s fair to say that Dangerous Woman set the stage for the classic Ariana Grande glamour we’ve come to know and love. Though she’s missing her signature winged liner, the kept brows, seamless base, and bold lashes are staples in the star’s makeup repertoire. Even on a black-and-white album cover, the look packs a punch without feeling overly done up.
Soft and Sweet
Justice for Ariana’s short-wing era. There’s something simple and classic about this look—we love it as much today as we did in 2016.
From the Sistine Chapel-inspired Vera Wang dress to the stunning makeup, Ariana Grande’s 2018 Met Gala look is simply iconic. The key, apparently, is starting with a strong base. Her skin is glammed up while still looking fairly natural, allowing her classic winged liner to take center stage. With just a pop of highlighter in the inner corner and strong contouring, the result is a new take on classic old Hollywood glamour.
Work of Art
Artist Alexa Meade is responsible for this absolute masterpiece from Grande’s “God Is a Woman” music video. The look, which can really only aptly be described as a work of art, was inspired by the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, particularly a 1923 piece called Grey Lines with Black, Blue, and Yellow. And while it took weeks of preparation to pull off, the body painting process only took about 40 minutes total. And, as if we couldn’t love Grande enough, it turns out she actually painted her own lips. According to Meade, she was a pro with the paint brush.
You can’t talk about Grande’s best makeup looks and not talk about her over-the-top Halloween makeup. A true Halloween fan at heart, the musician has never shied away from the spooky and scary. Is it just me or does she still look absolutely stunning here?
These bronzed eyes, sharp liner wings, and nude lips from the 2020 Grammys were a classic Ariana Grande glam moment. To recreate this look, makeup artist Daniel Chinchilla says it’s all about playing up the eyes while keeping the lips glossy and nude. And it’s actually not that hard to recreate, since she was actually wearing her own line, R.E.M. Beauty, that night—a full 22 months before the brand actually launched. To create the eye, Chinchilla used the At the Borderline Eyeliner Marker in Midnight Black to achieve that classic cat eye look. Then, he added her At the Borderline Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in the same shade to her waterline to add a little more drama. For the lips, she rocked the Plumping Lip Gloss in VCR—which Chinchilla swears is the perfect neutral color.
In classic Ari fashion, Grande was actually on tour during her 2019 Coachella performance. And according to Chinchilla, tour makeup means one thing: “glam mode.” Using the R.E.M. Midnight Shadows Liquid Eyeshadow in Hot Lava as a base, he then contoured the eyes with her Midnight Shadows Eyeshadow Palette in Babydoll. And of course, the eye look wouldn’t be complete without the star’s signature black liner.
“To make her cheekbones glow, I used the Midnight Shadows Liquid Eyeshadow in Fembot,” Chinchilla says. “Then, we finished the look with some rhinestones placed on top. I love layering highlighters and anything that sparkles.”
Anthony gives Grande credit for the white eyeliner featured in this look. “It was her idea–and wow, did it work,” he gushes. “Me working out makeup looks with Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga? There is literally no way to go wrong.” We’d have to agree.
Lashes in Bloom
Grande is a glam girl through and through. Just take her mid-pandemic 27th birthday, when she celebrated in an amazing set of flower lashes. Anthony says he’s still absolutely obsessed with this look in particular—there’s something so graceful and fantastical about it. “The trick to making this look work is pre-gluing flowers to individual lashes so you can place them where they fit easily,” he shares. “Also, I think having a variety of colors and sizes is important so that you don’t overwhelm the eyes.”
“We approached [the ‘Positions’ album cover] like any other collab,” Anthony told me. “I checked in on what the style vibe was, we shared some inspiration between each other, and we were off! Sometimes the magic happens in the chair and you just go with it.” In the end, Anthony created a classy, beautiful, modern take on ’60s glam. He says he snuck some lower lashes in there for a little more drama and kept the textures matte as a nod to the mod.
This Femme Bot look from the “34+35” music video was another moment of true artistry, according to Anthony. Despite having a full look prepared, he completely changed gears after seeing the costume during a lunch break. “I asked the nail artist if I could use some of the metallic strips she had and I created a circuit board on wax paper and then placed it on Ari as the Femme Bot and it just worked out,” he says. “I think it’s important to listen to your intuition and when an idea hits you—just work it out and see if it makes sense. It was just campy enough, but also very chic.”
While Grande never shies away from a bold look, she gave her signature aesthetic a timeless, elegant bridal twist for her wedding. Makeup artist Ash K Holm kept the look fairly matte and minimal, with the main focus on her eyes. She blended out a soft, natural brown smoky eye to create definition, and added a slim, winged cat eye and lashes to finish it off. Holm balanced out the eye with a matte mauve-nude lipstick and some subtle contouring.
When Grande finally launched R.E.M. Beauty, she released a series of photos showing off what the products can do. We love how this one creates an ethereal glow while also incorporating the star’s signature cat eye look.
To achieve a similar sharp winged liner at home, Grande’s makeup artists say it’s all about practice and finding the right product for you. They’re all fans of her R.E.M. liner markers—and so is Ari herself. “I love this marker because it’s super precise, and you can make the perfect little simple cat eye but also create more graphic looks because it’s so pointy and precise, thin and flexible,” she told us when it launched.