The Strength and Vitality of the Red Lipstick, According to Hollywood’s Most Trusted Makeup Artists

For thousands of years, red lipstick has acted as a powerful tool.

The vibrant, look-at-me shade coats the lips with the weight and fortitude of a strong piece of armor. Its packaging is just as intense. Not only is it encased in a sleek, slender tube the size of a pocket knife, but it swivels with the utmost precision like a Samurai slowly drawing their sword to reveal the weapon inside.

Red lipstick makes a statement without having to actually say anything,” KVD Beauty Global Veritas Artistry Ambassador Anthony Nguyen told E! News. “It’s a stand-out color that’s strong, sexy, bold, and exudes confidence.”

Out of all the makeup staples—mascara, eyeliner, blush and powders—nothing has stood the test of time quite like red lips. The intoxicating hue is so timeless Lady Gaga’s go-to makeup artist and Haus Labs Global Artistry Director Sarah Tanno perfectly summed up its allure, calling it, “the little black dress of makeup.

If anything, it’s become an icon in its own right.

I always signify red lipstick with something of great importance,” Tanno added. “You want to say something when you put on your favorite red lip.

Tanno couldn’t be more spot on.

Suffragettes armored themselves with the striking color as they fought for the right to vote. In 1912, beauty pioneer Elizabeth Arden handed them the bullets—tiny, but mighty tubes of red lipstick that were shaped like ammunition.

The bold move symbolized strength, independence and defiance all in one.

It wasn’t worn by everybody at that point,” Bésame Cosmetics founder and author of Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup Gabriela Hernandez told E!. “They were trying to say, ‘Hey, we’re independent, and we’re different and we wear whatever we want.‘”

The wild audacity of the suffragists showcased the ferocity of red lipstick, so much so that it became essential during World War II. At the time, beauty brands halted the production of its products, including lipstick, in order to use all of its materials for the war.

At first, they cut it out,” Hernandez noted. “But then they saw morale really slip—not only their morale but the morale of the soldiers who wanted pretty girls to come back to.”

Once again, Elizabeth Arden was linked to a historical moment. To help lift their spirits, she created a fire-engine shade called Montezuma Red—an homage to the Marine Corps’ hymn—and was given the exclusive right to sell makeup on military bases.

That color was marketed to women as a morale booster,” Hernandez explained. “You didn’t have pantyhose available. You didn’t have a lot of fabric. The only thing that stuck around were lipsticks.

Red lipstick’s popularity also skyrocketed due to Hollywood. Long before influencers hyped up (yet another) champagne-colored highlighter or life-changing eye cream, actresses like Claudette ColbertLana Turner and Rita Hayworth were the first to promote cosmetics.

Although women had emulated silent era movie stars in the Jazz Age—cutting their hair into boyish bobs and rimming their eyes with heavy kohl liners—Technicolor, which exploded in the late 1930s, truly revolutionized the industry.

Now that women could see the makeup the actresses painted themselves with—like the bright cherry stain left behind after passionately kissing their co-star—they clamored to look like them.

Reds were the shades that most actresses wore because it photographed well,” Hernandez pointed out, “And it was very definitive. You could see the lips.”

Back then, Hernandez said, actresses were assigned specific reds depending on the characters they were typecast as. In other words, Judy Garland mostly played girl-next-door roles, so she frequently wore soft and sweet rosy hues. 

A dark, vampy color was saved for the seductive types. As makeup artist Nick Barose, who works with Lupita Nyong’oWinona Ryder and Gugu Mbatha Raw, told E!, “It’s the color of blood, so when you wear it on your mouth, it adds a sense of femme fatale glamour.”

While the business model has evolved over time, it’s still a practice used today. Think of Euphoria‘s lead makeup artist, Donni Davy, who partnered with the creators of the hit HBO show and studio A24 to launch Half Magic Beauty.

Euphoria reignited people’s burning desire to experiment with makeup and Davy has supplied them with the tools they need to transform themselves. In the same way Davy maps out a character’s look to drive the story, her products are made with intention.

I named my classic red shade Self Help because I wanted it to embody that pick-me-up kind of dopamine effect that a red lipstick can have,” Davy told E!. “It gives self-respect.”

All in all, red lipstick is here to stay. As Barose so adequately put it, “The trends might change, but the very idea of red lips will always be timeless.”

Hernandez added, “Women will continue to wear red lipstick because it’s a defining feature on the face.”

EONLINE

History Of How MAC’S RUBY WOO Became One Of The Best-selling Lipsticks In The World

Some of the best things in life have been the result of happy accidents. MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, the brand’s iconic red shade that launched in 1999, also happens to fall under the accidental genius category.

The 21-year-old lipstick has been one of MAC’s best-selling lip colors since its debut. But the brand’s product developers never actually set out to create it; instead, they were trying to tweak the formula of the brand’s other well-known scarlet shade, Russian Red, which was the best-seller at the time. (Madonna wore it all throughout her Blond Ambition Tour in 1990, after all.) 

“In the late ’90s, MAC made the decision to make all of our formulas globally compliant,” says Gregory Arlt, the company’s director of makeup artistry. “So if you were in Japan or Germany, and you wanted to buy Russian Red, it would be the same formula [across the board], as opposed to what’s compliant for each country.” With this reformulation came an ever-so-slight change to the texture, making Russian Red a little less matte and a little more comfortable to wear. “Fans revolted, saying they missed that ‘drag your lips off’ dry, matte feeling,” recalls Arlt, who has been with the brand since 1993. “So we quickly ran back to the labs,” he says, and MAC returned to Russian Red’s original formulation, never touching it again. Lesson learned.

However, during the initial reformulation process, the new, slightly less matte version of Russian Red caught the eye of the team. “When product development showed [then-Creative Director] James Gager and Jennifer Balbier (who’s still the senior vice president of global product development) the new shade, they were both like, ‘Oh my God, that’s an amazing color.’ And that’s how Ruby Woo was born. The product development team really tried to match Russian Red. It’s the same combination of pigments, just put into a different base,” says Arlt. “But it was a little brighter and more dynamic, and it just became a standalone color.”

When Ruby Woo launched in the late ’90s, it was part of a line called Retro Matte Lipsticks, along with five other shades (which have since been discontinued). Ruby Woo, however, became an instant success. “Customers would flock to the counters, saying they needed Ruby Woo because they didn’t have another red like it,” says Arlt. “And they didn’t realize it was actually supposed to be Russian Red.”

Decades later, Ruby Woo hasn’t been tweaked since its release. It remains MAC’s best-selling shade in the U.S., and the brand’s second-best-selling shade globally (Chilli currently holds the top spot), with seven tubes of Ruby Woo selling around the world every minute.

I actually grew up dancing, and long before I began my career as a makeup artist, I was wearing Ruby Woo onstage and for performances,” says makeup artist and founder of Beautifoles, Brittney Foley. “From the time I started competing in elementary school, all the way through college, Ruby Woo was the lip color of choice of all of my directors and coaches.” These days, Foley still reaches for it when working with clients. “Other red lipsticks can definitely be more ‘trendy’ if they get too deep or bright, but Ruby Woo is able to transcend years of trends and always be classic and current. It can’t be defined by a time period.”

Aside from its legions of devoted customers and makeup artists, Ruby Woo is also a celebrity favorite, with everyone from Janet Jackson to Rita Ora to Taylor Swift (who allegedly reaches for a trusty tube of Ruby Woo before concerts) relying on the formula. “I’ve used it on Dita Von Teese and Angelina Jolie,” says Arlt. “I actually used it on Angelina for the September issue cover of Vanity Fair in 2017, and it created a little bit of a frenzy. Everyone was like, ‘What is that red lip?‘” Of course, “it was good ol’ Ruby Woo.”

So many celebrities started to talk about Ruby Woo, and it eclipsed poor Russian Red,” says Arlt. “It’s what we call in the industry a clean red. There are blue-reds, orange-reds and brick-reds. There’s no other color to influence the state of Ruby Woo. Like, if you’re looking at a color wheel, the red — which is a primary color — is basically Ruby Woo.”

FASHIONISTA

Cruella De Vil – The OG

In honour of the latest Cruella re-make…
Model: Yours truly, @ks.am


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Cruella De Vil – The Movie

In honour of the latest Cruella re-make…

Model: Yours truly, @ks.am


Products:

11 Of Sophia Loren’s Best Vintage Beauty Looks Of All Time

You will have spied Italian actor Sophia Loren in British Vogue’s April issue as part of the Hollywood Portfolio, which features 27 of the world’s biggest stars. Photographed looking as glamorous as she has always been, the 86-year-old silver-screen legend has long been a fan of a glamorous look and her attitude to beauty is refreshing. She once said:

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #45 series on my blog.

It only goes to show that Loren feels as good on the inside as she externally looks. Her penchant for Italian glamour has always been a whole beauty mood – it is timeless. There is the trademark feline flick and voluptuous eyelashes; the bold lipsticks, from red to pink; glamorous blow dries; and her bold eyebrows, expertly filled in. These are looks that many of us still imitate today and she is regularly name-checked backstage at fashion shows. Here, let’s take a look at some of her most show-stopping vintage beauty looks over the years.

A pink-flushed lip and excellent brows make for an excellent Italian countryside look.
Killer eyes and hair wrapped in a bath robe – what’s not to love?
The ’50s bob to end all bobs. 
Diamonds, immaculately coiffed hair and the ultimate feline flick.
Loren elevated her beautiful eyes with lashings of mascara and eyeliner.
Like she previously said, happiness – and a big smile – is where true beauty lies.
Consider her the ultimate brow goals.
The glossy peach lip! The eyeliner! The wispy fringe! And, of course, the marabou feathers.
Loren wears a peach lip once more for a day outside.
A masterclass in the bold, red lip.
From the red lip to the bold eye, she is glamour personified.

VOGUE article

A Hollywood Classic

Model: Katie Noskova

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(Disclaimer: I do have Katie’s consent to post the images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)

6 Holiday Makeup Looks From Peter Philips

This year’s holiday season will look unlike any other, but according to makeup extraordinaire Peter Philips, that’s no reason to skip indulging in a touch of glamour above the neck. “I don’t think people should let go of makeup,” the creative and image director of Christian Dior makeup declares on an afternoon in Paris, as models Amrit, Assa Baradji, and Jade Rabarivelo—their complexions adorned with a light-catching glimmer or a sweep of jewel-toned pigment—shine brightly on the set nearby. Rather, he continues, “It’s more about subtle beauty.”

With light-as-air foundations, shimmering glosses, and quietly chic palettes spread before him, Philips has just dreamed up a handful of holiday makeup looks for our new socially distanced era. Gone are the perfectly drawn pouts, the out-to-there eyeliner etchings, and the faces seemingly dipped in glitter. Here, instead, is beauty for beauty’s sake: There’s rich, glowing skin; luscious lips; and lids layered with mesmerizing shades of shadows—all topped off with a bit of whimsy, of course. (It is still the merrymaking season, after all.) “Makeup is one of the little pleasures in life,” Philips muses with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye—and who are we to refuse some joy? 

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #32 series on my blog.

Below, six holiday makeup looks for an instant winter pick-me-up.

“I wanted to bring in some shine,” says Philips, who treated runway regular Amrit to a touch of shimmer at eye level and an ultra-shiny pout, courtesy of Dior Addict Lip Maximizer in Shimmer Nude. Take note: “Festive makeup doesn’t always have to be a red, dramatic lip,” he says.

Nevertheless, a crimson-color mouth is a holiday classic for a reason. Pair Rouge Dior Lipstick in color 743, Rouge Zinnia, with metallic shadow and a sweep of complexion-perfecting powder, as shown by newcomer Jade Rabarivelo.

While the season’s Champagne-fueled celebrations are on an indefinite hiatus, you can still channel your inner party girl with a dramatic swipe of sapphire-hued shadow (found in the 5 Couleurs Couture palette in color 279, Denim, and seen here on Assa Baradji) befitting of a spot on the Studio 54 dance floor.

Nudes need not mean boring, especially in the hands of Philips, who complemented a fresh-faced complexion with shades of russet and gold, and Dior’s limited edition shimmer-inflected bullet in color 070, Dazzling Beige. Consider it no-makeup makeup—with a requisite festive twist.

“I call it effortless glam,” Philips says of this two-toned eye shadow look, which can be achieved with a flick of the wrist and Dior’s palette in color 089, Black Night, of bold burgundies and coruscating charcoals. A layer of light-catching lip gloss will seal the deal.

Door knocker earrings meet their match with this baby pink pigment, which was drawn over and around the eye to head-turning effect. Word to the wise: Skip the mascara. “It’s the unexpectedness that makes it new and cool,” Philips says.

Featuring: Amrit, Assa Baradji, and Jade Rabarivelo
DP: Alexandre Hertoghe
Bookings director: Felicity Webb
Bookings manager: Morgan Senesi
Hair: Joseph Pujalte
Makeup: Peter Philips
Set design: Sylvain Cabouat
Movement director: Jordan Robson
Dancer: Daniil Philippenkov
Production: Kitten
Graphics: Alice Gavin
Music: “Be Honest” by Kiddy Smile

VOGUE article

What Every Beginner Needs to Have in Their Makeup Kit

Moisturizer and Primer

Great makeup begins with great skincare. Prep your skin with CeraVe Moisturizer ($11; target.com), a lightweight daily moisturizer for normal to dry skin. Follow up with Estee Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer, ($38; nordstrom.com), a luminous face primer that hydrates and brightens skin for a dewy finish. The duo will ensure a flawless base that keeps makeup in place all day.

Concealer and Foundation

Beginners can eliminate the risk of caked-on foundation by adding an opaque concealer to their kit. L.A. Girl concealer’s ($3; walmart.com) creaseless formula camouflages imperfections, allowing you to use less foundation. When paired with Makeup Forever’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($43; sephora.com) no one will be able to tell where your skin ends and the makeup begins. Bonus: It lasts for 24 hours and comes in 50 shades.

Eyebrow Pomade and Spoolie Brush

Among the most important features on your face: Your eyebrows. Every beginner needs a tool like the dual-sided Anastasia Beverly Hills brush ($18; macys.com) to sculpt perfect arches. The brand’s Dipbrow Pomade ($21; sephora.com) is also a beginner favorite as it’s easy to apply, smudge-proof, and waterproof — so it’s great even for oily skin types.

Eyeliner and Mascara

For a beginner, skip the false lashes and go straight for an all-star mascara and liner combo. Tag-team Kat Von D Tattoo Liner ($20; sephora.com), which gives the illusion of thicker fringe, with a few swipes of Benefit’s They’re Real Lengthening Volumizing Mascara to add dramatic length ($25; sephora.com).

Nude and Red Lipstick

No kit is complete without a super versatile nude and red lip color that can take you from day to night. Try Chanel Rouge Coco Shine ($38; chanel.com) for a hydrating nude and MAC Lipstick ($17; maccosmetics.com) for a universally flattering bold red that stays put for hours.

Brushes and Tools

In order to put apply your makeup properly, you’ll need to use the right tools. The Beautyblender ($20; sephora.com) is perfect for effortlessly blending foundations, blush, and concealer. For precise eye makeup and dusting on powders reach for Sonia Kashuk’s brush set ($40; target.com).

Blush and Highlighter

Add healthy color and a subtle glow to your skin with a classic blush and highlighter. Nars and Becca have both created cult favorites that are must-haves for every kit. Nars Blush in Orgasm, $30; sephora.com. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, $41; sephora.com.

Eyeshadow Palette

If you’re experimenting with eyeshadows, this Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette ($42; sephora.com) is perfect for you. It offers a range of everyday nudes, plus a hint of bright colors to play around with.

Q-Tips and Makeup Wipes

Even pros make mistakes — and dabbing a Q-Tip ($3; target.com) into lotion is their secret for instantly erasing errors. And for those nights when you’re too lazy to wash your face, makeup wipes will be your best friend. Try Cleanse by Lauren Napier ($40; net-a-porter.com), which comes with 50 individually packaged wipes you can throw in your travel bag to use on-the-go.

Of course, these are the basics to help get you started. The more you work, you will realize the need for more products, textures, and colours. Some additional items to this list include:

  • Setting powder
  • Bronzer/contour products
  • Setting spray
  • Eyeshadow primer
  • (If desired) False eyelashes
  • Lip balm
  • Alcohol spray for sanitization purposes
  • Brush cleaner

INSTYLE article

From Day To Night

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(Disclaimer: I do have Aleis’s consent to post her images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)

8 Playful AW20 Beauty Trends To Road Test

High Drama

Though tough to recreate, the looks at Haider Ackermann’s otherworldly show were impossible to forget. It saw bleached brows and gravity-defying hair sculptures, courtesy of make-up artist Lynsey Alexander and hairstylist Duffy. Drama reigned at Rodarte, Anna Sui, Fendi and Roksanda, too, where lips were painted in gothic deep-plum hues. Lastly, at Moschino, the Marie Antoinette-inspired hair and make-up was more theatre than catwalk.

Beautifully Flawed

The foil to sleek, polished moments of glamour? Lived-in make-up. The look was led by Gucci and its entry into the make-up arena – Thomas de Kluyver, Gucci Beauty’s global make-up artist, mixed the label’s new mascara with water to create a smudged, tear-stained effect. This was co-ordinated with chipped nails – the height of high-school cool. Pucci and Max Mara also favoured worn-in eye make-up, with the models’ black liner and mascara looking as though they had slept in it and woken up just in time to stride down the catwalk. At Lanvin, the two-day-old, chunky-but-neat lashes took the edge off the otherwise sleek look. Do note, imperfect make-up isn’t as simple as it looks – utilising remnants of make-up from the day before might be an easier way to tap into the trend.

Let’s Go Retro

“Hitchcock heroines” and “18th-century-inspired hair” were just a couple of the beauty references uttered backstage at the autumn/winter 2020 shows. In Paris, at Miu Miu, hairstylist Guido Palau created styles in homage to the 1940s, using an “old-school way of achieving curls” that were shaped into waves and flipped to one side. There was a similar theme at Chloé, with Palau crafting everything from boyish updos to set waves. In London, at Erdem, Anthony Turner’s lacquered S-shaped finger waves were set low on the side of the head with a severe side parting, for a modern take on the look. Meanwhile, at Shrimps, hair recalled a young Diana, Princess of Wales. It’s retro, but now.

The Mane Event

With the creation of colourful roots (at last, a way to conceal grey regrowth in a joyous spirit) and the return of the ponytail, hair became the ultimate beauty accessory this season. Slicked-back looks populated the catwalk. At Erdem, Burberry, Christopher Kane and Givenchy, Guido Palau pulled hair into strict middle partings or combed and gelled it into place, leaving the hair to hang loose at the back. “I’ve complemented the amazing clothes with some soft hair textures,” he explained at Christopher Kane. Bright roots featured at Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga, where there was a nod to pop star Billie Eilish’s penchant for two-tone colour. Sam McKnight improvised with feathers to create the illusion of colour at Dries Van Noten. For a day-to-day hair trend, the humble ponytail took centre stage (see Carolina Herrera and Brock Collection) – perhaps the most mesmerising being McKnight’s half-up/half-down version, complete with a Chanel bow. Butter wouldn’t melt.

Winging It

Winged eyeliner has had an overhaul. Yes, black remains a classic, but this season blues and metallics frequently featured, too. At Dior, Peter Philips, creative and image director of make-up, perfected a full-kohl look with thick outer-corner wings – it reminded us of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s own signature eyeliner, and was statement enough for the collection. Pat McGrath’s futuristic, cyber-esque take at Prada resulted in a block of metallic shadow that sat in and above the eye socket, extending out on either side, so as to expose a flash of molten colours. Whether you prefer a delicate flick, as seen at Missoni, or a more adventurous approach, such as Altuzarra’s, it was all about dressing the eyes for the runway.

Get Reddy

The return of red lipstick has officially replaced the past few seasons’ run of natural hues, and it was paraded down the catwalks in a variety of textures, from matt to glossy to balm-like. At Carolina Herrera, make-up artist Lauren Parsons used the fashion house’s new lipsticks to reimagine “Spanish baroque beauty”. Punchy matt-red mouths were among the looks, with lips silhouetted in a crisp red outline on a canvas of clean skin. At Oscar de la Renta, Tom Pecheux was eager to turn the classic on its head: “It felt like the right time for red again, so we created a very precise lip that’s glossy,” he said (he went the extra mile and colour-matched the shade to a swatch of red fabric from the collection). Diane Kendal painted perfect rouge lips at Lanvin, Jason Wu and Proenza Schouler, and Pat McGrath returned to the red pout at Givenchy and Marc Jacobs, cementing the trend for the season.

Clever Contour

As we dial back the chiselled contour in favour of a softer look, the runways inspired new ways of defining cheekbones. Subtle, flushed hues and bronze shading helped to create perfect skin. At Michael Kors, make-up artist Dick Page warmed cheeks with a creamy peach blush to give natural definition. At Tom Ford, the illusion of symmetry was created by playing with light and shade, and at Brandon Maxwell the make-up direction of “ultimately feminine” meant a blended cream to add warmth and highlight.

Heavy Metals

At Marni, there was extreme glitter application by Julien d’Ys, who painted over faces and hair. At Erdem, Lynsey Alexander created silver-foil strokes across the eye sockets to reflect the collection, entitled The Age of Silver. At Preen and Simone Rocha, broken-up textures in metallic colours abounded, while at Halpern, Giambattista Valli and Valentino, jewelled eye-halos and winged, crystal-encrusted crowns framed faces. It was a welcome touch of couture beauty creeping into the ready-to-wear runways.

VOGUE article