Cardi B speaks onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Photo: Michael Loccisano (Getty Images for MTV)

If there’s one event I look forward to every year, it’s the MTV Video Music Awards—I’ma let you finish, but hear me out on this: While the Grammys may be the highest echelon of music ceremony, rivaled only by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, no event has annually given us as many memorable performances and moments (controversial as they may be) as the VMAs.

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Plus, I grew up on MTV—back when they actually played videos all day. What can I say? Nostalgia’s a helluva drug.

While Monday night’s 2018 ceremony was markedly tamer than years past, it still gave us plenty of memorable lewks (and no, we’re not talking about Madonna’s scary shamanic ensemble). It notably also marked the return of our regular, shmegular, degular 10-time nominee and new mommy, Cardi B, who gave us several stellar style moments in her first post-Kulture appearance.

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Stunning on MTV’s hot-pink carpet in a “royal-inspired” magenta velvet, off-the-shoulder, wrap-style dress from Nicolas Jebran, paired with emeralds from Lorraine Schwartz and a fresh pixie cut by hairstylist Tokyo (using Exotic Hair), Cardi served new mommy elegance with a healthy side of snatch-back.

Within moments of leaving the step-and-repeat, she’d changed into another custom gown to open the evening’s festivities (with a baby bait-and-switch), wearing a custom strapless red gown from Azzi & Osta with a dramatic train—which would prove a bit hazardous when Cardi ascended the stage to accept her Best New Artist Award. Thankfully, she’d change into what may have been a custom black Christian Siriano minidress to accept her Best Collaboration Award with Jennifer Lopez and DJ Khaled.

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But throughout it all, Cardi was consistently serving face, glammed up for the evening by go-to makeup artist Erika La’ Pearl using cosmetics exclusively by black beauty mogul Pat McGrath.

Cardi B attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

For Cardi’s look, La’ Pearl used the upcoming Mothership V Bronze Seduction eye palette (available September 7) atop her lids, while underneath, La’ Pearl complemented the tones in Cardi’s pink carpet dress with the Mthrshp Subversive La Vie En Rose eye palette ($55). La’ Pearl defined Cardi’s almond eyes with the PermaPrecision Liquid Eye Liner ($28), and added flare with a pair of Lash Couture Triple Push-Up lashes in Teddy by Kiss ($6.99).

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To finish the look, La’ Pearl highlighted the skin with McGrath’s Skin Fetish Highlighter & Balm Duo in Bronze ($48), and gave Cardi a sensual nude lip using McGrath’s LuxeTrance lipstick in “She’s Heaven” ($38).

And while they may have on-and-off rap beef, Cardi and Nicki Minaj had one major thing in common last night, as both wore full faces of makeup from McGrath’s incredible line (now valued at one billion dollars).

Nicki Minaj poses in the press room at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Photo: Paul Zimmerman (Getty Images)

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In fact, Minaj’s makeup artist Sheiks used the exact same palettes as La’ Pearl to create the rap diva’s Queen-inspired look last night. And should you attempt the look at home, McGrath herself generously gave details on exactly what shades and techniques should be used to recreate Nicki’s flawless face (which stylist Brett Alan Nelson strikingly framed by a choker-necked bodysuit and sheer dress by Off-White):

Face

  • Apply Skin Fetish Highlighter and Balm Duo in “Golden” to the high points of the face with a finger
  • Apply Skin Fetish Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio in “Fine Gold 003" on top

For Eyes

  • Define the crease and socket using “Disobedient” pigment
  • Apply “Rose Risque” pigment onto the center of the lid
  • Define outer corner with “Blitz Flame” pigment
  • Pat “Skinshow Divine Glow” pigment onto the inner half of the lid with a damp brush
  • Define the lash line with Perma Precision Liquid Eyeliner and extend into a sharp wing
  • Highlight the brow bone with “Skinshow Divine Glow” pigment and “Astral Ghost Orchid” pigment
  • Finish with lashes by Eloralane

Lips

But while Nicki and Cardi may have been the biggest face-off of the night, they were far from the only ones rocking major looks on Monday. Musicians, models, athletes, reality stars and Insta-famous folk all converged on the VMAs carpet serving everything from high-end couture to kitten-with-a-whip realness (no, really; Amber Rose came dressed as a kitten with a whip).

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Some major themes at the 2018 VMAs? There was an abundance of silver, sheer gowns, and lots and lots of Versace—which climaxed in Jennifer Lopez’s epic all-Versace-everything performance in celebration of her acceptance of the Video Vanguard award.

But because we can show you better than tell you, we’ll just let you see for yourself:

Nicki Minaj poses in Off-White in the press room at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Pre-show host Winnie Harlow wears Zuhair Murad Couture to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Pre-show host Nessa wears Off-White at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
DJ Khaled, Asahd Khaled and Nicole Tuck wear Versace to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Amandla Stenberg in Prada at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Quavo and Offset of Migos attend the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Dascha Polanco attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Victor Cruz and Karrueche Tran attend the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Tiffany Haddish wears Naeem Khan and Chopard to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Video Vanguard honoree Jennifer Lopez wears Versace at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Kevin Hart wears Christian Dior to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
SZA in Rodarte at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Lenny Kravitz poses in the press room at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Chloe x Halle wear Iris van Herpen to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Pre-show host Winnie Harlow attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Christian Combs wears Sean John to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Shay Mitchell in Nicolas Jebran at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka’Oir attend the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Amara La Negra attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Jasmine Sanders wears Peter Dundas to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
21 Savage attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Erica Mena attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Amber Rose attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Bobby Lytes (L) attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Ja Rule attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Mona Scott Young attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Sky attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
KYLE attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Ashanti attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Bryce Vine attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Jasmine Luv attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Asian Doll attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Teyana Taylor attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Tyga attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Fabolous attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Blac Chyna attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Video Vanguard honoree Jennifer Lopez performs in Versace onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Algee Smith wears Moschino to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by
Teairra Mari attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Shiggy attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Travis Scott attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish speak onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Leomie Anderson attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Al Sharpton and Aisha McShaw attend the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Jillian Hervey of Lion Babe attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Sherrie Silver accepts the award for Video with a Message on behalf of Childish Gambino onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
DeJ Loaf attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Jennifer Lopez accepts an award onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
(L-R) Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, and DJ Khaled accept the award for Best Collaboration onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Mette Towley and JaQuel Knight attend the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Safaree Samuels attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Yandy Smith attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Chantel Jeffries wears Redemption to the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Hennessy Carolina attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.
Moniece Slaughter attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City.

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