You really have to love Ariana Grande. In the midst of what has to be the most traumatic year in living memory, she’s come through doing what she does best. As an election, pandemic, civil rights movement, and climate crisis rage on, Ariana knows what to do. And that is coming through with an absolute bop about different ways to get laid. What an icon.
But aside from the ingenious timing and frankly irresistible bop of “Positions,” there’s another clear reason for the tune’s success. Her hair and makeup in the video are simply second to none. In a year distinctly lacking in iconic pop culture makeup moments, Ariana has given us what we need. So let’s get into it.
The skin for the ‘60s-inspired look is matte, so starting with a silicone heavy primer like the Kiehl's Micro Blur Skin Perfector is key. It’ll help fill in pores and areas of uneven texture, giving skin a smoothed-out surface. Apply with fingers, and remember—with silicone, less is more. Overdoing it will lead to product pilling, which we all know is the bane of any makeup lover’s life.
On top of this, a creamy yet full-coverage product like the Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Balm is perfect. Use a small buffing brush (this foundation actually comes with one) to target application so your skin looks perfected but not heavy with product. The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is great to brighten up the under-eyes and conceal any small blemishes.
The face looks very structured here, so contouring with a stick product can help you add some definition. The Fenty Beauty Match Stix in “Amber” is a great shade with extremely easy application. Take it under the cheekbones and around the perimeter of the face.
To highlight without looking like you’re wearing highlighter, there’s nothing better than the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. It offers a soft sheen that helps lift cheekbones and brighten the complexion, but doesn’t look obvious. Dab a little on the tops of your cheeks, the center of your forehead, the bridge of your nose, and your cupid’s bow. It blends pretty easily with either a finger or your foundation brush.
If you want to add a little ‘60s flair to the cheeks, a tiny bit of bright coral blush is the way. My personal favorite is the RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in “Smile.” In the pan it looks a little frightening, but once dabbed onto the apples of the cheeks using fingertips, it gives the most gorgeous warm wash of flush to the face.
To add more structure to the face, brows should be uber defined. A waxy pencil like the It Cosmetics Brow Power Eyebrow Pencil in “Universal” is perfect. Start slow, applying a little of the product and then using the built-in spoolie to brush it through.
For the eyes, you’re going to want to start with a primer. Again, I’ll say it—the Smashbox Photofinish 24 Hour Eyeshadow Primer is the best one. You really don’t need to experiment any more. You’ll want a matte neutral eyeshadow palette to copy Ariana’s sculpted, cut-crease look, too. My favorite is the Viseart 01 Neutral Matte Eyeshadow Palette, but you can mimic these shades using whichever palette is on hand.
First, use a flat brush to take the bone shade (top row, second right) across the whole lid. Wing it out slightly at the edges, too. Next, using a mid-toned mink shade (far right, middle row) and a small detailer brush, sketch out a line slightly above the natural crease of your eye socket. When you get to the outer edge of your eye, wing that shape up.
Once the look is the same (or, you know, close enough) on both eyes, use the same detailer brush and a darker mink shade (bottom row, far right) to properly define the line. From the outside of the cut-crease line, connect the shape to the outer corner of your eye. Use a clean, fluffy brush to slightly diffuse your cut-crease line on the inner part of your lids.
Finally, take a matte white shade (top right) and use another flat brush to apply it directly beneath your eyebrow. Using your finger, pat a little of the white shade right in the center of each of your eyelids to add extra dimension and make your lids look brighter.
Line your upper lash line with a black liquid liner—I recommend the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner in “Carbon Black.” Keep the line as small as possible, and draw it out into a winged shape only very slightly. Then, it’s time to get lashy. The It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara is absolutely amazing for getting a super dramatic look, but if you really want to lean into the ‘60s vibe, it has to be falsies. An oversized and slightly winged-out shape like the Huda Beauty Lengthy Lashes is perfect for this look. Apply with the Duo Brush-On Striplash Adhesive, which is the best lash glue on the market, IMO.
Finally, a ‘60s lip. This is a true nude—not too brown, not too peach, not too pink, not too matte, and not too shiny. The most classic I’ve ever found on the market is the combination of the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Liner in “Iconic Nude” and the Charlotte Tilbury Kissing Lipstick in “Nude Kate.” Finish with some statement earrings, an oversized headband, and a little hint of a beehive for ultimate authenticity. Thanks again, Ari!