Song Saturday: “Magic’s In The Makeup”

For this week’s edition of #SongSaturday, we’re featuring one of No Doubt’s most memorable and beautiful ballads from the Return of Saturn album, “Magic’s In The Makeup”.

Once an early contender for the album’s title, “Magic’s In The Makeup” was revealed as a new song for their upcoming record in August 1999 (along with “Everything Always”, “You’re So Foxy”, “Waiting Room”, “Too Late Now” and “My Big Distraction”). A slightly different version of the song appeared on the album sampler featuring less synthesizers. No Doubt debuted the song live in London on February 28, 2000.

Gwen says this was one of the first songs written after the Tragic Kingdom tour and she already had most the lyrics down in her journal.

It was rumored that “Magic’s In The Makeup” was once a single contender for Return of Saturn (also being included on the album’s promo artwork).

Fans may also recall “Magic”, a remix of the song (produced by The Neptunes) which featured Beenie Man. The remix was supposed to be featured on The Bridget Jones Diary soundtrack in 2001 but was later refused by the soundtracks’ music team. Tom spoke about “Magic” saying: “The Neptunes did a remix of our song “Magic’s In The Makeup” with guest vocals from Beenie Man. But at the last minute The Bridget Jones movie people decided not to use it. So it’s never been released.”

Gwen has always expressed her love for the song in which the lyrics are a direct take on her self-image. Many fans consider “Magic’s In The Makeup” a favorite and No Doubt continued to play it consistently throughout the Rock Steady tour, which wrapped in the Fall of 2002.

No Doubt treated fans to a special reggae-tinged acoustic version to the ballad during the Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, California on October 24, 2009, that was later released on a deluxe box set for purchase.

Per a lucky fan’s request, the band also attempted the song during their seven night stand in Los Angles in December of 2012.


“Magic’s In The Makeup” (Return of Saturn Album Sampler Version)


“Magic’s In The Makeup” (Live in Amsterdam, 2000)


“Magic’s In The Makeup” (Live in Hollywood, 2000)


“Magic’s In The Makeup” (Live in Irvine, 2000)


“Magic’s In The Makeup” (Live in Long Beach, 2002)


“Magic’s In The Makeup” (Live in Mountain View, 2009)



“Magic’s In The Makeup” (Live in Los Angeles, 2012)

6 Replies to “Song Saturday: “Magic’s In The Makeup””

  1. Wasn’t it announced as the last single of the ROS album and didn’t they shoot or planned to shoot a video for this song?

    1. Karo, yes, I had heard that it was planned as the last single from Return of Saturn and maybe something about Interscope didn’t want to invest any more money into it? Not sure if it made it to the video planning phase. It would have been incredible though.

  2. Ok I remember now the Bridget Jones thingy. I hope we can hear it sometime… probably for their 30th anniversary!?

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