Leave it to Lady Gaga to pull off one of the biggest beauty surprises of the 2023 Oscars. Shortly after posing for photos on the red carpet in a Black Swan-esque smoky eye and red lip, the musician and actor took the stage to perform her song “Hold My Hand” from the Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack without a stitch of makeup on. But how did she manage to pull that off mid-ceremony?

Gaga ditched the gown and the glamour in favor of a pair of ripped black skinny jeans, a black T-shirt, and black Converse for the intimate, moving performance of the nominated ballad; not only did Gaga simplify her outfit, but she also stripped down production on the song so its message was clear. “It’s deeply personal for me,” Gaga shared of the song. “We all need each other. We need a lot of love to walk through this life. We need heroes sometimes. There’s heroes all around us…. You might find that you can be your own hero, even if you feel broken inside.”

While the star kept her braided updo for the performance, she completely removed every bit of makeup in keeping with the “back to basics” vibe of her stage setting. In close-up shots, you could see the texture of her skin sans any foundation or powder, and her lids, lips and lashes were equally bare. It was somewhat shocking, of course; to go makeup-free at a high-profile event like the Oscars is a pretty big deal, but Gaga knows what she’s doing. The no-makeup moment was the perfect match for her raw, heartfelt performance.

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