The perfect red lipstick is a quest that can be so confounding, it’s basically only rivaled by house hunting and internet dating. But just like a dream home (or a dream partner), that ideal red lipstick is something you’ll never leave or abandon — and if you do, somehow, you always find your way back. Nicole Kidman’s love affair with red lipstick is well-documented but also always very well received, as was the case with deep shade she wore to a Dec. 6 premiere of Being The Ricardos. The best red lipstick for fair skin, like Kidman’s is bold, unapologetic, and tinged with a vintage sepia that adds both drama and timeless elegance to lighter complexions. Of course, looking great aside, it’s no surprise why Kidman opted for such a throwback shade for this premiere — in the film, she portrays Lucille Ball, another fair-skinned screen legend who never met a red lipstick she didn’t love.
For the occasion, Kidman’s makeup artist, Kelsey Deenihan, used a savvy combination of high-tech skin prep and a suite of Pat McGrath Labs makeup to bring the vaguely Lucy-inspired, vintage-tinged look to life. Before laying down any makeup, Deenihan first took the time to ensure Kidman’s skin was primed for ideal application.
“To prep Nicole’s skin, I used Seratopical Super Booster Serum with CBD,” Deenihan tells TZR. “This concentrated formula has collagen and keratin that help diminish the appearance of fine lines as well as brightening and tightening the skin.” After a layer of the Seratopical Day & Night Brilliance Cream with CBD to hydrate the skin (CBD as an ingredient can be great for soothing inflammation and redness), Deenihan used the SolaWave Advanced Skin Care Wand With Red Light Therapy — a TZR High/Low Beauty Awards-approved four-in-one tool that simultaneously helps circulation, vibrancy, hydration, and product absorption.
When it was finally time for makeup, Deenihan turned to some tried-and-true Pat McGrath favorites for an infallible finish. Kidman’s porcelain complexion was boosted by a combination of Sublime Perfection Foundation, its concealer counterpart, Light Loose setting powder, and a warm wash of Divine Rose blush. But the real star of this look is undoubtedly her Old Hollywood lip color, made from Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Ultra Lip Liner in Blood Lust and MatteTrance Lipstick in Forbidden Love.
To take a page out of Kidman’s book, look for a red that’s anchored by deeper, darker rust-brown undertones — that’s what will help secure the vintage vibe. For those with fairer skin searching for a red lipstick in general, it always helps to stick to the undertones trick: if you have warmer tones, seek out a red lipstick with hints of orange or pink (like NARS Dragon Girl, for example); if you run cool, look for a true red with blue undertones (think MAC’s Ruby Woo as a touchstone.) Of course, the only real rule of makeup is that the rules don’t apply — go forth and paint the town red with whatever shade makes you feel the most powerful.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.