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Gwen Stefani’s incredible voice, body and sense of style aren’t the only things women everywhere covet. The brand-new judge on The Voice has a beauty look that’s made her an icon. “If you close your eyes and think of Gwen Stefani you see a red lip and platinum hair and a cat eye,” says MAC director of makeup artistry Gregory Arlt, the singer’s go-to makeup artist (who also works with performers Cher and Dita Von Teese).
At the recent opening of MAC’s latest boutique — a color-coordinated store on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills featuring rainbow LED light displays and a private makeup room — Pret-a-Reporter picked Arlt’s brain about exactly how he creates that picture-perfect pout, among other things.
In general, says Arlt of Stefani’s lips, “We stick to the classics: Russian Red, Ruby Woo, MAC Red. Cherry lip pencil is our favorite.” While red might seem like a no-brainer, Arlt says he always considers her outfit when selecting just the right one.
“For instance, for The Voice she wore a high-collared almost schoolgirl blouse, so I did Ruby Woo because matte feels more intellectual,” he says. On another occasion, when filming a Wild West–themed Voice commercial where Stefani rode in on a motorcycle in a bricky red flannel, Arlt selected a matching dark brick red lipstick.
While the duo is currently adding more pink and fuchsia shades into their rotation — see the VMAs red carpet, for example — Arlt says “[Gwen] has been petrified of orange.” That said, “She’s really open to trying new things.” Expect to see fun versions of the “standardized Gwen look — the paint by numbers I can do with my eyes closed in an earthquake,” with glittery eyes, interesting liner and nude lips this season on The Voice.
One thing that’s consistent despite the playful makeup: Stefani’s brows. “Every week when we’re together I brush them up and make sure they’re trimmed and tweezed. She’s got a beautiful arch and has a little hair underneath it, so sometimes we fill that in and go thicker when she’s doing more of a clean eye, or I’ll err toward thinner if we’re doing a heavy eye,” says Arlt, who swears by brown eye shadow to fill them in, followed by MAC Brow Set gel. “She says, ‘You always do my brows so good,’ ” adds the artist. We concur.
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