VB on Spice Girls-Era Lip Liner, Becoming a Nude Lip Master, and Learning that Less is More

I’ve always loved a nude lip. Of course it’s evolved over the years and I’ve learned so much from working with some of the best makeup artists in the industry. But what I do know is there are different nudes for different people. What's your perfect nude? VB

If there’s one thing that VB has consistently said she can’t live without, it’s lip liner. From the Spice Girls—“boy did we have a lot of makeup on!”—to today, it’s been the one staple VB swears by. Therefore, on the eve of an upcoming Victoria Beckham Beauty release, it’s the opportune time to revisit some of the beauty moments that have defined her career.

In the slideshow below, VB shares anecdotes and breaks down her look of the night, starting with the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City, when VB was still favouring a more is more approach, to the one beauty rule VB broke while still in the band.

September 6, 1997: MTV Video Music Awards, New York City (Photo: Getty Images)

I do look back on my Spice Girls days with fond memories. This is probably our worst—collectively—makeup look. It was the MTV Awards in America and Zoë Kravitz was sitting in my lap watching the awards. Boy, did we have a lot of makeup on. But it was the 1990s and the more tired we got, the more makeup we plastered on. I’ve always said I’m addicted to lip liner and in the Spice Girls, more is more.

December 2, 1997: "Too Much" music video

This is my favourite look with the Spice Girls. This is the epitome of a smoky eye. I’m breaking the rule here that if you have a strong smoky eye, you should go for a more natural lip. But it’s ok because I was playing Catwoman.

October 20, 2000: VH1 VOGUE Fashion Awards, New York City (Photo: Getty Images)

I cannot believe how much I straightened my hair! That hair was straight and flat. It was a nude lip and a little bit of a smoky eye. The brows were the result of too much plucking in my Spice Girls days. My brows have grown back. At the time I wasn’t doing a throwback thing, but it looks that way now. Overtanned, no eyebrows, and straight hair. It’s a journey and it’s made me who I am today.

June 2, 2008: CFDA Awards, New York City (Photo: Getty Images)

This was at the CFDA Awards and I was wearing a Marc Jacobs dress that he designed for me. I had short, slicked hair and a smoky eye. Not a lot of brow as it’s still growing back. And a nude lip. I’ve always liked a nude lip. It’s evolved over the years. If you’re tan you need a different type of nude lip. Sometimes I’ll do a matte nude, sometimes I’ll do a glossy nude. The one thing that has stayed throughout has been the smoky eye. Sometimes it’s more dramatic.

I’m wearing Alaïa here for the Chanel show in Paris. I went with Katie Holmes and we had a lovely weekend together. We stayed at a fantastic hotel and had a lot of fun. My lip is more like a berry colour. On a darker skin tone this is going to read as a nude. Everyone’s take on a nude is completely different and I was changing it up a little bit.

This was at the Marc Jacobs fashion show in New York. I love this outfit and look. Smoky eye, nude lip. Except, I was more tanned back in the day.

I was at a fundraiser in New York for breast cancer supported by Estée Lauder. I was wearing SJ Phillips earrings and my brand. What I loved about my look and the night was that I had very glamorous makeup and very glamorous earrings, but everybody else was in long gowns and I was in pants and a top. But it still felt very red carpet and very elevated because of the simplicity of what I was wearing and throwing it off with glamorous makeup and hair. It was quite a strong eye.

This was my favourite hair and makeup that I’ve ever done. I think it’s because I’d just gotten back from a spa so I was well rested. I was a little sun kissed. Wendy Rowe did this makeup. Wendy taught me to have your eyebrows straight. It’s much more modern than having them arched. It was summertime in Paris and hot. The show was during the day and was sunny. We always like to keep the base light and natural. Smoky eye but not too heavy. And then more of a pink take on a nude lip which I think is really nice. I’ve always been scared of pink but I think pink is quite youthful and fresh. I normally put a stain on my lips and go on the outside with the liner and then put a little bit of pink in the middle. For night, I’ll add a little bit of Lid Lustre just so it’s a little bit more intense.

Here I am at the Fashion Awards and Wendy did my makeup here as well. She never ever gets it wrong. She’s great. She contours but not too much. She keeps the base light. Wendy will also tell me when I go to reach for the lipliner to put more lips on, "No! Enough!" It’s important that a makeup artist will tell you no. They understand what happens to makeup under flashes on the red carpet. In my bag, I normally have a lip liner, lipstick, and little powder. But it lasts. I always apply my lips dry. I don’t like to have too much lip balm or moisture because I feel if you apply lip liner or lipstick to dry lips what it does is grab onto the product and the stay is longer. Lip balm is good at night but if you’re going to an event it can make lip liner bleed or appear quite orange.

For the National Portrait Gallery gala we used my normal smoky look with a straight brow, but we did use a little bit of navy blue in here as well. A combination of my Signature palette, the Tuxedo palette, with a little bit of blue and our Midnight Lid Lustre. You just got a little bit of the blue. It’s important to try new things and that felt quite fresh.

I barely had any makeup here. I was at the GQ Awards and just got back from holiday. I was quite tanned and keeping it super light on the foundation. Minimal amount of contouring and we used the Tuxedo and more grey tones where normally I’d go for black and brown. I like to keep the lips quite natural making them look quite full.