Every Met Gala, there’s always one celebrity you see again and again as you scroll through Instagram during the live event. Think: Katy Perry in 2017, Blake Lively in 2018, Lady Gaga in 2019. As for this year, it was undoubtedly tennis star Naomi Osaka and her 2021 Met Gala beauty moment that took the cake. Thanks to her glam-squad, which consisted of hairstylist Marty Harper and makeup artist Jessica Smalls, the athlete’s look created buzz from viewers all over the globe.
“The look is all about [the] cross-pollinated conversation of culture, fashion and homage, cognizant of youth, fantasy and a new American — a new us,” Harper tells TZR about the inspiration behind Osaka’s hair for the event. “The story is embodied in hair and its structure. We drew inspiration from Haitian school girl style and Onna-Musha warriors of Japan."
When designing Osaka’s hairstyle for the event, her extravagant outfit was taken into consideration to create a truly breathtaking moment. “Naomi and Mari Osaka designed the look in tandem with Louis Vuitton,” Harper explains. “The look was the acknowledgment of their culture and love. When they showed me the dress, we literally began to think about the marriage of hair and garments.”
To achieve the tennis star’s one-of-a-kind hairstyle, Harper first went in and cleansed Osaka’s hair using NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Texture Shampoo and Conditioner. Next up, he prepared her locks with the NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Smooth Blow Out Lotion and then blow-dried the hair in one-inch sections using the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer. Once Harper finished blowing out the hair, he then went in with NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Smooth Hair Oil from mid-shaft through the ends. Taking 1/2 inch sections of Osaka’s hair, he pressed these parts using the Dyson Corrale hair straightener until he got his desired smoothness.
After that, the hairstylist sectioned strands from ear to ear and then smoothed both sections into two ponytails, using a mixture of Perfect Smooth Hair Oil and NatureLab. Tokyo Perfect Shine Oil Mist. To finish up the look, he braided both ponytails into an architectural shape and finished the braids with a spritz of the Perfect Shine Oil Mist.
As for Osaka’s makeup for the night, Smalls explains to TZR, “she wore a Japanese-inspired look so I wanted to pay homage, giving her a modern-day Geisha look.” The makeup artist didn’t make her face white (which, traditionally, Geishas have used white foundation to achieve this cultural look) and instead, kept the skin very dewy and glowy. “We used lashes instead of a natural lash — just trying to pump it up and make it more modern,” she adds.
Smalls first prepped Osaka’s face with Kinlò’s Hydrating Golden Mist, and then on top of that, she applied the brand’s Golden Rays sunscreen. “Then, I used the Glossier Futuredew as a glowing base for the look, that way you could see it through the foundation and concealer so she would have this ethereal glow the whole night.”
To shape the lips, Smalls used Charlotte Tilbury’s Kiss n Tell. Then, Osaka’s vivid rep lip was courtesy of Glossier’s Generation G in the shade Zip. “And on her eyes, I paired the Generation G lipstick and Spark Cloud Paint,” the makeup artist explains. She adds, “And I used a bit of the Hollywood Exagger Eye [from Charlotte Tilbury] duo pencil to add a little bit of definition in the outer corner of her eyes.” The lashes Smalls placed on Osaka’s eyes were individual KISS lashes. Lastly, the artist applied Glossier’s Monochrome — a new essential eyeshadow trio that will be available on September 28 — on the center of the lids. “That really gave it a pop.”
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