Janelle Monáe Pulled Off Both a Bold Lip and a Strong Liner Last Night

Her lip-eye-nails combo last night was one for the books.

Janelle Monae at a Grammy Museum special panel on December 20, 2023.
(Image credit: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

On December 20, award winning singer, rapper, and actress Janelle Monáe participated in a special panel at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. She was joined by musician Nate Wonder and producer Sensei Bueno, who was part of the team that crafted Monáe's latest album, The Age of Pleasure. During the sold out event, she opened up about her creative process, performing live, and even graced the crowd with a special acoustic sing- along. 

But Monáe also impressed fans, both those in attendance and those at home, with her retro beauty look. The artist wore bright red lipstick that matched an equally scarlet manicure—a choice that contrasted her fully black and white dress, pumps, and silver jewelry. Of course, Monáe is never one to shy away from color in her makeup, and even chose electric blue eyeshadow for her most recent album cover. And in last night’s makeup look, she demonstrated not only how to pull off a pop of color, but also have to make basic black and white look interesting. 

Janelle Monae at a Grammy Museum special panel on December 20, 2023.

(Image credit: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

This brings me to Monáe’s eyeliner. While Monáe loves color, she’s clearly strategic, tending to choose colorful eyes or colorful lips—never both—for her looks so that one detail doesn’t take from the other. In this case, she did just that, opting for neutral eyeshadow and black eyeliner, but she did manage to make the eye look more interesting: She went for a dramatic, Cleopatra-like cat eye, then embellished the look with a swipe of white liner under each tail. She then topped off the eye look with dramatic, voluminous lashes.

Overall, Monáe managed to go for a colorful lip and a dramatic eye in a way that allowed the two details to complement rather than detract from one another. It was a masterclass in how to balance these two elements and in how to craft a makeup look that makes your outfit look even better.

Dying to try the look out? Below, some of our favorite products to help you achieve Monáe's standout style.

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Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.