Gabrielle Union's Met Gala Makeup Look Is a Lesson in Soft Glam

The Met Gala is fashion's biggest night, and Gabrielle Union has once again understood the assignment. For the 2021 event honoring American fashion, the actress, entrepreneur, and best-selling actress wore a custom white Iris Van Halpern gown that changed colors as she walked up the Met Gala steps.

"Every step it changes; all of the colors change, just like America," Union told ET on the red carpet. She also mentioned it took 1,400 hours to make. The star's glam team leaned into the theme, giving the star a classic hair and makeup look with a modern twist.

"Sometimes the dress is the focus for an event and this dress was a showstopper. I wanted Gabrielle to look elegant, beautiful and sensual," makeup artist Fiona Stiles tells InStyle. "I wanted a sculpted look with no hard lines, only soft definition to accentuated her incredible beauty."

Stiles turned to Chantecaille products to give Union a hydrated, but not too glowy base for her soft, glamorous smoky eye. "Skincare prep is everything, but you also want to be careful not to make the skin too emollient because you don't want to battle shine," she says.

The makeup artist used the combination of the brand's "Anti-Pollution Mattifying Cream in the center of the face and the Rose de Mai Cream on the perimeter of the face, neck and chest" for the perfect balance. And because your skin doesn't stop at the neck, Stiles applied Rose de Mai Body Oil on the star's arms and legs. She finished off the complexion with a mix of foundation, and concealer where needed, in addition to using various shades for a subtle contour.

The secret to Union's soft smoky eye comes down to artful blending. "I started by smudging the Luster Glide Eyeliner in Raven along the upper and lower lash lines, buffing it out," says Stiles. "Then I applied a layer of the eye pencil in Earth at the edge of the black and buffed that out to create a tonal smoky eye." For definition, a touch of Luminescent Eye Shade in Leopard was dusted on Union's upper lids, and the Luster Glide Eyeliner in Raven was used on the waterlines. A few coats of Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara finished off the look.

To keep the focus on the eyes, Styles gave Union a nude lip using the Lip Definer in Tone allover the lips to create a base for the Le Matte Stylo in Meadowsweet and Brilliant Gloss in Blithe.

Union's go-to hairstylist and business parter Larry Sims also played into the movement theme, creating a sleek high ponytail on the crown of the star's head, braiding it, and then sculpting it into a wave that grazed the right side of her forehead, with the ends laid by her ear. Naturally, Sims reached for Flawless haircare products when styling the look.

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