luminous lupita

The Secret Behind Lupita’s Perfect Red Lips at the SAG Awards

At tonight’s SAG Awards, Lupita Nyong’o continued her second-year reign of red-carpet luminosity with an easy red lip (Lancôme’s L’Absolu Rouge in Caprice and Le Crayon in Garnet). Makeup artist Nick Barose told the Cut her look was “Scarlett O’Hara–inspired.” Then he explained that the key to getting Lupita-level effortless is getting things to 75 percent finished.

Photo: Nick Barose

Barose explains: “The big picture is important. I usually finish to a certain point, like 75 percent, and then let Micaela [Erlanger, Nyong’o’s stylist] put the jewelry on and dress her, and then it’s the final tweak. Then the lips usually get changed. The magic usually happens in the last few minutes.” 

To make your own red-lip magic, Barose advises, “When it comes to red lips, it’s less complicated than people think. You put on red lips to get noticed, so there’s nothing natural about the look. Lupita’s red is a bit matte to give a slightly retro look. The best way to get the most pigment is to apply it directly from the tube. Always start in the center and swipe out toward the outer corners to ensure symmetry. Use a lip brush to clean around the edges; you should never layer a lipstick with more than two layers (it will start to look cake-y). In general, fair skin can go more with a pinky red; medium skin with a more golden orange-y red; and dark skin with a rich, garnet red.”

The Secret Behind Lupita’s Perfect Red Lips