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Inside Octavia Spencer’s 20-Minute 2017 SAG Awards Makeup Prep — All the Details!

Valerie Noble and Octavia Spencer
Valerie Noble and Octavia Spencer Courtesy of MAC Cosmetics

Call it a comeback on the red carpet! “We went through the process five years ago, when Octavia won everything [for The Help], it’s just phenomenal to be back in this situation. It’s like lightning is striking again,” Spencer’s longtime makeup pro, Valerie Noble, raves to Stylish. 

Related: SAG Awards 2017’s Flashiest Beauty Moment: Hair Bling on Danielle Brooks, Millie Bobby Brown, Janelle Monae and Vanessa Kirby

Indeed, Spencer, one of the SAG award winners for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture along with her Hidden Figures co-stars Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe, wore a subtle yet striking makeup look that let her natural beauty shine through. 

Octavia Spencer
Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson Kevin Winter/Getty

“Octavia is very stylish. She has a very strong sense of what looks good on her. She worked with Tadashi to customize the gown. She knows what makes her looks chic; she knew she wanted her skin to look natural and look beautiful,” Noble, who has worked with Spencer for twelve years, tells Stylish. When they met at Spencer’s home before the January 29 awards show, the two decided on a “clean” look for the SAG Awards red carpet, with “smoked-out corners on the eyes,” barely there glossy beige lips and lots of color on the cheeks. 

Spencer’s picks, from left to right: MAC Powder Blush in Film Noir and Frankly Scarlet, $23 each, 

To create the Oscar-winner’s glowing cheeks, Noble used two shades of blush to contour. Since bronzers and contour creams can “make the face look muddy,” she applied a darker burgundy blush by MAC to the top of the cheekbones, plus a bright pop of red blush on the apples of cheeks for a natural flush “and then I add a little more,” says Noble. “She really likes a pretty cheek!”

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Spencer’s eyes were enhanced with three shades of MAC eyeshadows. Twinks, a mauve sparkle, was brushed on lids and then Noble used Black Tied, a matte black shadow to extend outer corners. Motif, a shimmery peach eye shadow shade highlighted brow-bones. A swipe of liquid liner along top lash lines and lots of mascara added subtle drama. 

Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer David Livingston/Getty

Spencer’s lips have a lot of natural pigment “so we just used sheer gloss without any liner or anything,” which makes it easy for Spencer to reapply her lip herself as the night goes on. “I always hand it to her on the way out the door. And then she gives it back to me. I guard the gloss — it just looks so perfect on her,” Noble tells Stylish of MAC’s Explicit Lipglass. But that’s not the only insider secret! 

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Spencer’s picks from left to right: MAC Haute & Naughty Waterproof Lash in Black, $23; MAC Fluidline Pen in Black, $23; MAC Studio Conceal and Correct Duo in Pure Orange and Ochre, $26; MAC LipGlass in Explicit, $18.50, all available at

Since Noble has been working with Spencer, 46, for so long, her entire makeup routine only takes 20 minutes! “If she’s talking and stretching or whatever, then it’s 25. We are no muss, no fuss, we keep it simple. She’s not trying to sit in the chair all day, she’s too busy!” According to Noble, Spencer was excited to get on the red carpet. “She loved her whole outfit and the whole look and she felt really pretty. She was really excited to reunite with the cast.”

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