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When the glam squad behind Saoirse Ronan’s 2018 Oscars look — her third time being nominated — saw the actress’ custom Calvin Klein gown, they had unique responses. Makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua was inspired to create a look based off late 19th century Japanese manga style, while hairstylist Adir Abergel pulled simple, chic references from the 1990s. Still, the complete vision worked to make the star radiate in her petal-pink dress.
Yoshimoto Bua wished to give the Lady Bird actress a glowing, healthy energy, and couldn’t stop thinking about cherry blossoms in Paris and Tokyo in the springtime. The large bow on the back of her dress, too, felt to the makeup artist reminiscent of a kimono, and the actress’ new blunt center-parted hairstyle read like an Asian bob. “With manga you get this subtle pink blush on the top of the cheekbone and wrapping around across the lid,” she says.
Key to accomplishing that look were two shades of Chanel’s new Rouge Coco Lip Blush (Tender Rose and Orange Explosif), stippled with a contour brush onto the apples of Ronan’s cheeks, on top and under her eyelids, and bursting from the center of her lips outward. For day-to-day life Yoshimoto Bua says these tints are effortless. “Add a little on your cheeks and your lips, and whatever excess you have, wipe it in your [eyelid] crease. It adds a glow that is instantly fresh — you look like you’re ready for the day, and people are like, ‘Ooh, what have you done?’”
The super subtle, harmonious makeup look also included warm taupe eyeliner, a hint of Chanel Inimitable Mascara in Noir Brun, defined brows using a pencil and brow gel to “set them up and out so they behave.” Along with the warm sunrise tones used across Ronan’s visage, her blue eyes popped brightly. While Yoshimoto Bua was looking to Japan, hairstylist Abergel found inspo in the ‘90s, “when glamour was all about being sophisticated and effortless,” for Ronan’s chic new bob. “The look feels very much like Saoirse. It’s young and cool. It also mirrors the blunt, middle-parted bob she wore as her character in the film,” says Abergel.
“The look was first created through a haircut — a choppy, linear bob — accentuated by high-shine,” Abergel says of her new face-framing cut. He then used the Aquis Lisse Hair Turban to cut drying time by 50 percent and straightened Ronan’s hair with the ghd Gold Professional Styler, which enhanced shine and accentuated the bluntness of her haircut. “For the perfect finish, I applied Virtue Perfect Ending Split End Serum to hair with a toothbrush, which smoothed out any flyaways.”
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