Cynthia Erivo attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

When Tony award-winning star Cynthia Erivo turned up at the 2018 Met Gala with jewels in place of her eyebrows, we admittedly raised ours. Not only were we wondering what her seemingly Hindi-inspired brow art had to do with the evening’s theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, but though much more artfully rendered, they also vaguely reminded us of one our least favorite trends of 2017, “Christmas Tree” brows.

“I knew I wanted to do something encrusted,” Erivo’s makeup artist Giselle Ali explained to Allure after the gala. “And eyes and lips we see more often, so I thought brows need to be glorified.”

Frankly, the look read a little “Mrs. Which” to us (no shade to A Wrinkle in Time or Oprah). But with another holiday known for its sparkles now upon us, it begged the question: is this really a look that works outside of a fantasy film, let alone, off the red carpet?

Then we saw Lupita Nyong’o’s lower-key approach, as she rocked a few colored rhinestones around her eyes to match her crystal-encrusted Judith Leiber bag at the Accessories Council ACE Awards in New York earlier in June. Makeup artist Nick Barose told Vogue he wanted to create what he called a “cartoony” feel to compliment her colorful outfit. Seeing this more subtle and playful execution, we had to wonder: Since this look has crossed over to the red carpet, will—or should—we be seeing it on the streets soon?

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Out of curiosity, we searched YouTube for both “rhinestone makeup” and “bedazzled makeup” to see if our favorite vloggers were rocking any looks that didn’t make us look like we were either prepping for Halloween, auditioning to be a Vegas showgirl or on our way to the next major music festival. While Lord knows we love something sparkly, tellingly, most tutorials had the word “festival,” “carnival” or—you guessed it—“Halloween” in the title.

Do with that information what you will, but if you’re innately extra and absolutely can’t stay out of the crystal aisle at your local craft store—or just want to bring your own sparklers to the upcoming 4th of July holiday (if you celebrate)—there’s an art to applying them:

  • First, it’s ideal to lay your pattern out beforehand—and that includes your face. While your crystals should be planned out on a surface, you may want to dot out a light perimeter of the pattern on your face, using a non-waterproof eye pencil
  • Cleanse the area before applying. Even if you’re planning to wear makeup, you want to ensure the glue adheres. As Barone told Refinery29: “Be sure whatever you use underneath is not greasy, so that it sticks all night — and it should if you glue it well!”
  • Like Barone, we recommend using lash adhesive to plot out the pattern. “I apply it to skin with a toothpick so each spot [is] carefully selected. Then, with a tweezer, I apply the stones and press them in with my finger. It stays really well,” he told Refinery29.

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In short, it’s a look that takes a little work—at least, if you prefer the couture version. If we’re honest, the results remind us a bit of the makeup on our high school competitive dance team, but maybe that’s the point: makeup should be fun, and a little sparkle never hurt nobody. As Barone advises:

“Don’t overthink it. Just have fun. After all, you’re pasting rhinestones on your face!”