Omigod guys! I saw this stunning Paper magazine cover shot of Christina Aguilera in a true no-makeup makeup look and stopped in my tracks. Well, I was in the back seat of an Uber, so not literally. But holy WOW, can we talk about this?? Is this, or is this not the beauty transformation of the year? Maybe of the decade?
Stun. Ning. Okay, the hair by Rob Talty is editorial – that might be a challenge for some. But this stripped-down-beauty version of Christina is breathtaking. Adore, adore, adore.
In subdued, perfect lighting by photographer Zoey Grossman, the makeup by artist Kali Kennedy is everything, very much like this gorgeous "secret makeup" application Lisa Eldridge demonstrates in the video below.
My preference for less-is-more makeup, especially on young faces*, is undoubtedly part of why I love Christina's fresh look in this and two other minimal-face photos in the Paper mag feature story by Marie Lodie. There's a striking greased-smokey-eye look I love as well.
I also love the confidence and self-acceptance a pared-way-down look like this conveys. It's not naked-face, and sure, there's been some digital editing. But it's such a departure from the dramatic looks Christina Aguilera is known for, and a standout in the current popular-looks landscape.
“I’ve always been someone that obviously loves to experiment, loves theatrics, loves to create a story line and play a character in a video or through stage," says Christina in the Paper mag story. "I’m a performer, that’s who I am by nature. But I’m at the place, even musically, where it’s a liberating feeling to be able to strip it all back and appreciate who you are and your raw beauty.”
Of course, singer and "The Voice" coach Alicia Keys is the poster child for the actual no-makeup beauty category, and Frances McDormand, another who regularly eschews makeup (that's no-makeup makeup going on in the shot on the left), wore none at this year's Academy Awards (right).
But for them, the choice to go bare-faced seems to have more staying power than a one-off photoshoot look – having opened her repertoire up to makeup again, Alicia Keys has proven "no makeup" is a real option for her public face whenever-the-heck she feels like it. Doesn't lessen the impact of Christina's new shots, though. (In fact, several of the story images feature bold and theatrical looks more in character with what we've seen from the performer over the years.)
I'm going to add a bunch of Xtina reference images shortly, but it's already been three days since I spotted the cover image on celebrity makeup artist Rachel Goodwin's Insta feed, and I haven't actually talked to anyone about this yet! I'm dying to know what you all think! (UPDATE: lots of past looks now added, below.)
the beauty transformation of christina aguilera
I haven't followed Christina's career all that closely, so please forgive any inaccuracies in the timeline of the following looks. And frankly, some I chose because I like them.
In the Paper magazine interview, Christina describes her debut pop album as "what an older label head male's perspective was."
Like it? Love it? Meh? No thanks? Any fave looks from the past? Let's chat!
*Also, how annoying is it that the young faces that can most easily get away with no-makeup makeup are also the ones that best handle dramatic makeup looks too? Sheesh.