Taylor Swift and her girl gang stole the thunder at the VMAs. Even a barely-dressed Miley Cyrus couldn't compete with pure genetics (see Gigi Hadid and Lily Aldridge) and all that legginess, tousled hair and kohl liner. Here are the ladies that aced that VMA test: they got our attention without going the trashy route. Here's what we loved.
Taylor's fierce eye makeup
Swift and her #girlsquad came out full force and conquered. Her inky, navy liner was hard enough to make her look tough, but polished enough for pop's reigning princess. With not a permed ringlet or acrylic nail in sight, Swift has erased all vestiges of her country girl past.
Gigi's golden goddess glow
Like a vision from the 70s, Gigi Hadid did it all and in a big way: honeyed skin, honey tresses backcombed to perfection and a slinky mustard dress. Hadid's sexy, no makeup-makeup look played with the same flesh tones on her skin, eyes, cheeks and lips without looking boring.
Lily's sultry 60s redux
Model Lily Aldridge pulled off modern 60s with sleek sophistication. Think thick, spidery lashes, a cat-eye flick and pale lips. Note how she's expertly played with textures — the foundation is sheer, the cheeks and décolletage shimmery and bronzed, while her mostly-matte lips have just a hint of shine.
Ciara's sleek sophistication
Singer Ciara bucked the trend for overdone makeup, seen on the likes of Nicki Minaj and Rita Ora, and when with something subtle and almost demure. We also adore her clean and classic bob that's almost shockingly uncomplicated for a red carpet 'do.
Halsey's punk princess perfection
Up-and-comer Halsey may not be a household name yet, but the biracial beauty caught our attention with her fresh-faced charm. Look past the tattoos and green undercut and you'll see Halsey's done classic beauty really well — va-va-voom lashes, tomato red lips and lightly-freckled complexion.