Kate Hogan
September 24, 2012 04:00 PM

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We didn’t see many smoky eyes or bold red lips at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards, but makeup artist Jo Strettell says that’s a good thing. The beauty pro, who did Girls star Lena Dunham’s Emmys makeup, thinks stars went a bit subtler Sunday.

“In general, the look was much cleaner and fresher,” Strettell tells PEOPLE. “Claire Danes had a stronger eye with a soft, stained mouth; Ginnifer Goodwin had a really strong eye with lashes, so there was a lot of that [eye makeup] going on. But in general it was more natural, which is really pretty.”

Strettell appreciates how stars either went for a “striking mouth” or a bold eye — but not both. “Go for the eye or go for the lip,” she advises.

Another noticeable trend was the presence of natural, healthy skin, Strettell says. “It’s really important to have a clean canvas before you start your makeup,” she explains. In creating Dunham’s look, that meant starting with some Simple skincare products — a facial scrub and light hydrating moisturizer — before going with a light foundation and some eye makeup.

“Sporting her pixie haircut, I wanted to give her a much more striking eye, to complement the whole look, make it edgy,” Strettell explains. “I did the eyeliner in a very structured shape to lift the eyes and drag them out, then blended to make it so the sharp edges [were] gone.”

Strettell recommends this blended, smudgy technique for fall — but predicts a few bolder trends, as well. “Really vibrant colors in eyeliner, like a hot pink, or a green or a blue” are in for this season, she shares. “It’s those splashes of color we’re already starting to see.”

And it’s those looks that made last night’s red carpet such a pretty place. When asked who didn’t make her makeup work at the Emmys, Strettell was at a loss: “I think everyone looked great!” Tell us: Whose makeup looked most beautiful to you at the Emmys on Sunday?

–Kate Hogan


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