The best hair and beauty looks from the Met Ball Gala 2014

There are two ways to do a Met Ball beauty look: go all-out or play it safe. There is NO in-between.

As with outfit choices for this particularly special and notoriously flamboyant red carpet, make-up and hair has to be carefully considered. You can't just dab on a bit of pink eyeshadow and hope for the best. Even the classic smoky eye can be a miss on the wrong outfit.

So without further a-(hair)-do, take a look at the best and most interesting beauty looks from last night's red carpet.

And - not only do you get to see the close up on all the best beauty - we bring you tutorials for how to re-create the perfectly styled hair of Cara Delevingne, Emma Stone, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica-Parker.

  • Alexa Chung's natural look

    Alexa's not known for going over-the-top with the make-up, that's probably because she doesn't need it, so she keep her skin to what she knows best: natural, dewy and utterly beautiful.

  • Cara Delevingne's side parting

    1. To start with wash the hair using a volumising shampoo and conditioner. Then dry the hair making sure it is completely dry throughout before you start styling.

    2. Prep the hair with a volumising spray all over the head.

    3. Apply heated rollers to the hair. Bring the hair out at 90 degrees from the forehead and wrap the hair around the roller ensuring it is flat then keep on wrapping to the ends, give it a turn to make sure the ends are flatly covered by the hair and roll back on itself.

    4. Continue to add the curlers throughout the hair. Leave the rollers for 20 minutes or until cooled and take them out. Create a side parting and smooth down one side and tuck behind the ear using a little wax to keep in place.

    5. Finish the look with a little hairspray and as Cara has done add your favorite accessory.

    (Instructions by Senior Stylist Rory O’Connell at Taylor Taylor London)

  • Jessica Alba's flawless contouring and dark eyes

    We love a bit of contouring we do (although probably not as much as Kim Kardashian). Jessica Alba's got it just right here with the highlights on her cheeks giving her the perfect sculpted look. The dark eyes add drama and glamour - ideal for the Met Gala.

  • Emma Stone's boho plait

    1. Prep the hair with a pea sized amount of hair mousse to create texture and volume. I would recommend the Sebastian Thickefy Foam.

    2. Using a curling tongs work your way around the head creating curls as you go.

    3. Once curled, create your side parting and pull the hair to one side of the hair.

    4. Now you want to start creating a rough plait. The idea of this look is for the style to be a little messy and playful.

    5. Once complete gently pull at each section of the plait to make it appear fuller.

    6. Continue to gently pull out tendrils from the hair line to create the done but undone look.

    7. Finish with hairspray to keep the look in place all night.

    (Instructions by Colour Director and Art Director Jenny Persson at Taylor Taylor London)

  • Janelle Monae's quiff and plait

    They said it couldn't be done, but singer Janelle Monae laughed in the face of beauty and fashion norms and made sure that she had a plait and a quiff for her red carpet outfit. We love this daring look.

  • Idina Menzel's old-school Hollywood glamour

    This is the ideal make-up for Oscar-winning singer Idina Menzel (or is it Adele Nazeem? We still don't know). The red lips, softly curled hair and minimal eye make-up creates a stunning look and perfectly matches her gown.

  • Joan Smalls purple lipstick and fishtail plait

    There are very few people in the world who look good wearing purple lipstick but Joan Smalls knows exactly how to pull this off. Bonus points for her fishtail plait too.

  • Sarah Jessica Parker's massive up do

    1. On freshly washed hair add a pea sized amount of Wella Luxe Oil to the hair and blow-dry until it is super sleek and straight. Use straightening irons if needed to smooth out any frizzy fly away hairs.

    2. Take a triangular section of hair from temple to temple at the front of your hair and section away to put up later.

    3. Pull the rest of your hair up into a high ponytail, smoothing out and lumps and bumps with a soft bristle brush and spraying with hairspray. When you are happy with the height tie with a hairband. If your hair is a little fine or not very long you can add extra hair into your ponytail with extensions. Now unclip the front section of hair, give it a little back comb and pin back in a soft quiff slightly to the side, wrap the end around the ponytail and pin.

    4. Split your ponytail into 3 or 4 sections, depending on how thick your hair is. Back comb each section and smooth out one side then roll each section over your hand to create a big twisted kind of bun and pin to create lots of volume and height. If your hair is long enough roll each section more than once to create multiple rolls.

    5. Once you have rolled all of the hair in your ponytail and pinned it give it lots of hairspray to hold it in place.

    6. To finish off the look adorn your hair with big flowers around the back of your head

    (Instructions by Technician and Director Ashley White at Taylor Taylor London)

  • Gabrielle Union's cute braid

    Braids were big on the Met Ball red carpet this year and probably one of our favourites is this Heidi-style version as worn by Gabrielle Union.

  • Mary-Kate Olsen's brown lipstick

    The 90s "vintage" trend continued on the red carpet with Mary-Kate Olsen's nod to the decade by wearing a shade of brown lipstick.

  • Anna Kendrick's black eyeliner flick

    The Twilight star's classic black eyeliner flicks looked incredible next to her pale skin and worked well with her elegant earrings and necklace.

  • Zooey Deschanel's 60s-style hair

    A bouffant hair-do can go wrong and make you look a little Stepford Wives. That said, New Girl star Zooey Deschanel side steps that pitfall by keeping it loose and not too hairsprayed.

  • Lena Dunham's purple eyeliner

    Lena Dunham's perfect purple eyeliner is so amazing we're going to go out and buy one RIGHT NOW.

  • Zoe Kravitz's red eyes

    Red eyeshadow is possibly one of the hardest beauty looks to pull off. Somehow Zoe Kravitz manages to make this work for her and appear completely sexy, without seeming like she's got a horrible disease. Top marks!

  • Victoria Beckham's dark eyes and nude lips

    VB is one to stick with a classic look, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The dark eyes and nude lips scream she's part of the fashion establishment. Well, every designer needs a signature look.

  • Reese Withspoon's Marilyn Monroe-esque hair

    1. Smoothe the hair out using some Nicky Clarke Great Body Ultimate Mousse to help keep the hair supple and give a great hold. Create a side parting and bring the hair behind the ear.

    2. Apply heated rollers to the whole head concentrating on the bottom of the hair this is called ‘drag setting’ and is used when you don’t want to give too much body to the hair. For more volume at the front of the hair add more rollers to give a slight bit of body and movement.

    3. Once cooled remove the rollers and using a large paddle brush, preferably a Mason and Pearson brush, gently brush out the hair to create this gorgeous look. Spray in a little Nicky Clarke Hold and Shine Ultimate Hairspray to finish.

    (By 3rd Senior Director Lee Radley at Nicky Clarke)

  • Blake Lively's bright pink lipstick

    Hurrah! Blake Lively is back on the red carpet. Here she's opted for classic soft curls, paired with pink lips and long eyelashes.

  • Marion Cotillard's extreme side parting

    Marion's not one for sticking to the book, so it's no surprise she's gone for an extreme hair-do. We love the rolled over fringe with the bright red lips. Magnifique.

  • Amber Heard's metallic eyeshadow

    Cara Delevingne also opted for metallic eyeshadow although we have to say we preferred Amber Heard's brighter silver version, which made her skin look flawless and really showed up that deep-red lipstick.

  • Lupita Nyong'o's purple eyeshadow

    More purple, this time from red carpet queen Lupita Nyong'o.

  • Nicole Richie's purple hair

    While this has been her hair colour for some time now, we're still applauding Nicole Richie for this brilliant but daring look.

  • Kate Bosworth's pretty in pink blush

    Kate Bosworth's skin is deliciously flawless here, with just a touch of pink blush and lipstick. It's one we'll be aiming to copy this summer.

  • Lily Aldridge's minimal look

    It's almost as if Victoria's Secret model Lily Aldridge has turned up with no make-up on and has still managed to look gorgeous. She probably hasn't though but this minimal make-up look is something we aspire to every day.

  • Rita Ora's slicked back hair

    This slicked back hair style has a decidedly 80s vibe to it. Rita Ora manages to keep it looking modern with the red lips, incredible skin and black eyeliner.

  • Rihanna's curly up-do

    True, you could argue that Rihanna looks a little like she's been dragged through a hedge backwards but that is all part of the charm, isn't it?