The 2022 Met Gala is days away—and thanks to the “Gilded Glamour” dress code, we’re expecting the beauty looks to be as extra, insane, and absurd as humanly possible. But wild Met Gala beauty looks are nothing new. Outrageous glam has long been par for the course during fashion’s biggest night. Be it bizarre headpieces, jaw-dropping hair transformations (shout out to Jennifer Lopez’s crystal wig in 2019), or insane makeup looks, celebrities don’t shy away from a statement.
In recent years, stars and their teams of beauty experts have only upped the ante, with many steering clear of stereotypically “pretty” makeup and hair in favor of shocking looks that leave us speechless. Take last year’s Met Gala, for example. Euphoria star Hunter Schafer popped in milky white contact lenses to complete her alien-inspired outfit, while cohost Naomi Osaka worked with hairstylist Marty Harper to create a structural hairstyle that paid homage to her Haitian and Japanese roots.
But those wild looks don’t even scratch the surface. From painted metallic hairstyles to gold-foiled eyelashes a la Lady Gaga, there are tons of wild Met Gala beauty looks that are sure to make your jaw drop. And we’re rounding them up, ahead.
Naomi Osaka, 2021
The tennis star’s structural hairstyle stole the spotlight thanks to Harper’s genius work. Given the theme for the year was In America: An Anthology of Fashion, Osaka chose to pay tribute to her Haitian and Japanese roots. Her hairstyle was complete with three braids, flower embellishments, and slicked pigtails.
Hunter Schaefer, 2021
With milky contact lenses and an alien-inspired accessory smack in the middle of her face, the Euphoria star’s beauty look was shocking.
Maisie Williams, 2021
The Game of Thrones actress switched up just about everything for the big night. Not only did she bleach her typically brown eyebrows, but she also dyed her blonde locks jet black. Her hair, which took a style cue from The Matrix, was then worked into a glossy, multi-dimensional updo by hairstylist Vernon Francois.
Lady Gaga, 2019
One of the most iconic looks in Met Gala history is hands-down the Haus Labs founder’s gold foiled eyelashes at the Camp: Notes of Fashion Met Gala. The eyelashes, which took days to execute, were paired with a bubblegum pink lip, blonde bob, and graphic liner.
Lily Collins, 2019
Taking inspo from Priscilla Presley’s wedding makeup, the Emily in Paris star brought all the drama to the red carpet. Hairstylist Gregory Russell put a spin on the hair look with flower appliqués, while makeup artist Fiona Stiles gave the actress retro purple eye makeup.
Jennifer Lopez, 2019
In line with the gaudy theme for the evening, J. Lo showed up with a crystal wig that perfectly matched her Versace gown. As for the makeup? She opted for a smokey purple eye and nude lip.
Lupita Nyong’o, 2019
When it comes to eye makeup at the Met Gala, Nyong'o's 2019 look takes the cake for creativity. Her makeup artist, Nick Barose, revealed that he was inspired by drag queens, while Francois took a page from Marie Antoinette’s playbook.
Billy Porter, 2019
To go with his 24K gold ensemble from The Blonds, the Pose actor rocked gilded gold eye makeup complete with rhinestone accents.
Cynthia Erivo, 2018
Rather than wearing a headpiece or crown like many stars did for the Heavenly Bodies theme, Erivo opted for bejeweled eyebrows. Makeup artist Giselle Ali mixed and matched gemstones of different sizes to mimic a natural shape.
Jasmine Sanders, 2018
The model’s braid was anything but boring at the 2018 Met Gala. It featured real (!!) red roses, gold tinsel, and pearl strands.
Cara Delevingne, 2017
The Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons theme was all about being daring—and Delevingne delivered. Just weeks after shaving her head for Life in a Year, the model had hairstylist Mara Roszak paint her head a metallic silver hue.
A year before releasing Fenty Beauty, the singer secretly wore the now-famous brand to the Met Gala. Makeup artist Lora Arellano gave RiRi an over-the-top pink blush face beat. It was later revealed on Fenty Beauty’s Instagram that the product used to create the look was Killawatt Foil Blush (opens in new tab).
Lily Aldridge, 2016
The Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology theme saw a decent amount of metallic fabrics, but Aldridge took the gilded look to the next level: she painted her eyebrows gold.
Miley Cyrus, 2015
The Hannah Montana alum channeled the China: Through the Looking Glass theme with a cutout black dress—and a freshly-dyed blue pixie cut.
Joan Smalls, 2014
For the first white tie Met Gala, which was themed Charles James: Beyond Fashion, the model wore a stunning Vera Wang gown. But it was her bright purple lip (courtesy of Sir John) that had everyone buzzing.
Nicole Richie, 2013
In line with the Punk: Chaos to Couture theme, the former reality star showed up with her shoulder-length locks styled into a silver-meets-white messy updo.
Serena Williams, 2011
For the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty-themed event, the tennis star accessorized her look with an opalescent fastener. When it came to makeup, Williams rocked a rosy cheek and pink lip stain.
Jessica Alba, 2010
For the American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity theme, the Honest Beauty founder channeled Old Hollywood with her updo, which was styled by Renato Campora.
The “Like a Virgin” singer embodied the Model as a Muse theme in a Louis Vuitton ensemble complete with a silky blue, structural headpiece that drew comparisons to an oversized scrunchie and a pair of bunny ears.
Tilda Swinton, 2008
Swinton committed to a gold hue for the Superheros: Fashion and Fantasy theme, rocking the metallic pigment across her eyelids and eyebrows.
Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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