The 7 Most Iconic Makeup Moments In Movies

by Christie Drozdowski

I'm pretty sure I've gotten most of my makeup cues from two places: Watching my mother in the mirror and movie makeup scenes. Both have taught me how to make funny mouth shapes as I put on my mascara or at least gape in the mirror with my mouth wide open while applying eyeliner (see above photo).

I've learned from makeup scenes in films that it's more fun to put your makeup on while music is playing, too. And there's probably some scientific evidence somewhere to prove that dancing around to said music while applying makeup makes for a way better cosmetic job. (OK, there probably isn't scientific proof, but it feels incredibly true!)

Some of our favorite leading ladies over the years have given us a massive amount of beauty inspiration, and it's most certainly due in part to those iconic scenes in which we see the protagonist using their best makeup hacks right before our very eyes. I know when I first saw Breakfast at Tiffany's I adored how romantic and classic Audrey Hepburn looked as she made up her face to be the ever lovable Holly Golightly. Not that these women wouldn't be stunning, talented, and all-around badass had it not been for their makeup transformations, but the talents of MUAs and film directors are always worth celebrating in my book.

So here's to seven of the best movie makeup moments in history!

1. Tai Frasier's Makeover Scene In Clueless

Makeup and makeovers are oftentimes synonymous in movies, seemingly because viewers are fascinated by seeing the transformative qualities of cosmetics. Plus, whenever a good makeover montage shows up in a movie, it's usually paired with fun music and a general feel-good vibe.

Clueless is an iconic film for a variety of reasons, but this makeup scene is definitely near the top of the list.

2. Gracie Hart's Transformation In Miss Congeniality

MUAs have the power to transform anyone from one sartorial genre to the next, including Sandra Bullock as a feisty, slightly tomboyish police officer into Sandra Bullock as a feisty beauty pageant contestant. Both looks kill it, but the transformation is definitely one to behold.

3. Claire Standish's Lipstick Trick In Breakfast Club

If you've seen this film, I'm willing to bet that you might have tried sticking your lipstick tube into your cleavage and seeing if you could perfectly apply your lippy à la Claire Standish. If you haven't, well, it's time you go try. It takes a massive amount of effort and, well, let's just say your boobs have to be pretty sturdy. However, they accomplished it in the film and it's been a lasting iconic moment in movie history since 1985.

4. Makeover Scene In House Bunny

I'll never be able to get Shelley's words out of my head when she says, "The eyes are the nipples of the face," as she teaches the sadly "unfashionable" sorority girls of Zeta Alpha Zeta the basics of applying makeup. How I love that movie.

5. Jenna Rink's Makeup Scene In 13 Going On 30

There's probably no better makeup moment in movies to me than this one. Maybe it's Jennifer Garner's infectious rendition of a 13-year-old girl in a 30-year-old body that I relate to so well. (I'm currently 30 and in many ways still feel 13 — Shh, told tell anyone.) Maybe it's the throwback Whitney Houston's "Dance With Somebody" that makes me want to dance (see what I'm talking about?). But whatever the reason, her makeup is so cutely fabulous here that I have to wholeheartedly adore it!

6. Andy Sachs Applying Mascara In The Devil Wears Prada

Oftentimes in movies, the moments when we see a character putting on their makeup are moments of deep reflection. When we see Andy Sachs (as played by Anne Hathaway) applying her mascara solemnly, I cannot help but envision her thinking, "Who have I become, running around for Miranda Priestly? Becoming completely consumed by an industry I'm not even sure I like?"

7. Holly Golightly In Breakfast At Tiffany's

The above scene is just one of the many moments when we see Holly Golightly touching up her face. (The rest of video is filled with several more iconic movie makeup scenes for you to enjoy.) But the thing about Breakfast at Tiffany's that makes it so classic is likely the fact that we see this young woman being utterly bombarded by the cares of her busy, socialite, New York lifestyle. Yet the only thing she truly seems to want is love, despite her opposition to "Fred" at times.

Her beauty and lifestyle are really just cover-ups for something that she longs for deep inside. Even though I see the "makeup" motif in the film as a symbol of her longing for more, I say long live the iconic style that Audrey Hepburn became known for through this film.

Images: Columbia Pictures; Paramount Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures; Universal Pictures; 20th Century FOX; Giphy