Red Lip Magic


Several people have mentioned from time to time, in the comments here, that as nice as it sounds when so-and-so chic-y-chicster says, “Oh, I don’t wear any makeup—I prefer the natural look,” it’s a long shot for them, personally. Well sure, if I looked like that it’d be a different story! seems to be the sentiment. And I totally get it. I’m pretty sure it’s scientific fact—and maybe I’ve thought so since devouring Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty in 10th grade—that every woman looks better with a little somethin'-somethin' on their faces... Whether or not you want to look a little ‘better’ (and what that means) is a different story. Even though I get the appeal of makeup for someone like Dita Von Teese, who relishes the transformative ritual of gussying up (despite the fact that people have told her the effect makes her look older than she is), there’s also something about doing very little—or nothing at all—that says, I’m cool. I’m chilling. Yeah, I could look better with some undereye concealer and mascara, that discoloration in my skin could stand to be covered up, some lip gloss would do wonders for this mug, but it’s me.

What’s also cool is being 16 years old and insanely gorgeous without a lick of makeup, like Esther Heesch (NEXT). The wide-eyed, bushy-tailed German teen just finished her first round of runway shows (Balenciaga, Céline, Prada, Jil Sander, check, check, check) and landed in the Big Apple for a few days last week. So, here sitting in front of me is this baby, basically, with amazing skin, bright eyes, the whole lot, but that doesn’t mean she can’t look totally different with five minutes worth of strategic makeup. So I got all Bobbi Brown on her with a handful of items that, in my opinion, are ‘look changers': Clé de Peau Concealer (around the nostrils, under the eyes, and on little spots), Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (on eyelids and tapped onto cheekbones), black mascara (Lancôme Definicils) on top lashes only, black eye pencil (Estée Lauder) in a thin line on the bottom only, and a BRM—Bold Red Mouth—courtesy of Giorgio Armani’s new Lip Maestro liquid lipstick in the brand’s famous rouge, 400. At some point, I had asked Esther, “Do you wear makeup?” She said no. But before she left, I held up the shiny red tube of Lip Maestro and offered it to her. “Do you want it? You can take it.” A humongous smile spread across her face—Sure!!! Ah, makeup. Brown doesn’t call it “pretty powerful” for nothing.

—Emily Weiss

Photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on October 17th, 2012.

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  • Guest



    mm want to learn how to make my lips perfectly red, I try but it goes everywhere

  • Lauren Ashley

    Beautiful, it's amazing what a sassy little red lip can do for you look and your attitude.

  • Jennifer Monforton

    I've always been envious of those who can "get away" with wearing very little makeup, while still looking pretty and polished. Definitely not me! But whatever your beauty regimen, I agree that a fabulous red lipstick and a good concealer can be totally transformative. I love how the perfect bold lipstick can instantly turn a makeup-phobe into someone who's suddenly quite curious about cosmetics :)


    • Beatriz

      When I was a teenager I could also "get away" without wearing makeup... in fact I don't remember wearing ANY until I was 30! Nowadays I hear quite a lot: "You look younger than ever!" Little they know it's God's grace allied to take-your-time expert makeup application...

  • Kitchen Afternoon

    Of course wearing very little visible make up requires lash tints, juicing, acupuncture, massage, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, and wearing a coconut masque and cupping while doing email. Then a workout!

    • JC

      Oh, honey, you forgot dry brushing, hot yoga, supplements, crainosacral therapy, Reiki, infrared saunas, Epsom salt baths, and regular sex with a super hot man (or woman) who loves you ;)

  • Lindsay Sue

    The 5th photo is so beautiful. I love a red lip/navy top. Or is it a black top? Regardless, bella bella bella.

  • VotreAmie

    BRL and a lick of mascara or two on the lashes is my FAVORITE look!!!

  • Nomadic D.

    That red is STUNNING!! I usually go for a more orange red, like Nars Heat Wave (my all time favorite), but that red is totally and insanely beautiful. Adding it to my shopping list right now.

  • Alison Bell

    I know she's German rather than Swedish, but, she reminds me so much of Frida Gustavsson!

  • Syvany

    Hi Emily,

    Is the Armani Liquid Lipstick is a matte finish liquid lipstick like the new hourglass one? or is it more shiny?

    • AIS

      i would like to find this out as well. please let us know. thanks

  • Dianna

    Ah youth!.. (where did you go?..) Nothing beats the plumpness of the "baby" skin, the luminous natural glow of 16 years of age. The confidence of it, the power of it. When i was that young I remember walking around actually feeling this power of youth and it was exhilarating, it gave an inner smile to my person, the lightheadness.

    Gorgeous girl and she looks smashing with that little somethin'.

    • Kat

      Really? Man, I HATED being 16. It was horrible. I feel so sorry for teens when I'm reminded 15-17 exists. Good skin (for the rare few), and complete misery. NO.

    • Sarah

      You were lucky to have felt that power and confidence at that age. I have a 15-year old and a 16-year old and I can say that neither of them, nor many of their friends, seem to feel that way – nor did I, at 16, as I recall.
      Now, in my 40’s I do feel powerful and confident. Although, I’m sure, that I don’t look as great as I did at 16, I feel a lot better now. I would only want my 16 year old face back, if I could keep my 40 year old head.

  • Sam

    You articulated all my thoughts and neuroses about makeup in two paragraphs. The only thing I wanted to add is that I had pretty bad skin at 16, it was only after two round of Accutane that I had skin that I could wake up in the morning and feel good about (also at 16 I had all these 16-year-old obsessions: thigh gap! Being short! etc.). I'm happier with my (generally bare, barring special occasions) face now than I ever was, and I think getting to that comfort zone is more important for me personally than anything.

  • JustinaVeraMaria

    That's just brilliant. Loved this article.

  • Alice Dennard

    Bobbi Brown's Teenage Beauty was my everything growing up... I even had two copies! One of the best things she says in there is about having fun with your make-up because "the worst thing that could happen is that you have to wash your face." Brilliant.

  • Millie Cotton

    What a stunning girl. Fantastic lipstick. It makes all the difference.

    It's a LDN Thing

  • Megan Carr

    I absolutely love this blog so wonderful, you're such a talented writer. Esther is beautiful.

  • monica noir

    About the Dita " you look so much younger without makeup comments" why the Heck are women who are over 30 wasting energy and money trying to look like teenagers?
    Why are we falling for the advertisers "okie-doke". Why should women spend 50+ years of their life trying to look like a kid? There is no injection , injection, or cream that can make a 40 year old look 15.

    IMO, I think women should wear what works for them whether it's the Paris Vogue editor look, the Dita look or a more eccentric look(Anna Pigall & Lynn Yaeger)i and I think it's more important that a woman looks well rested , happy,neat&clean, and comfortable in her own skin.

  • Linda

    she's a wonderful hybrid of frida gustavsson, sigrid agren, and lindsey wixon. beautiful!!

  • Beatriz

    BTW, you forgot to mention the eyeshadow that was used... unless the young lady is a rare and advanced human type who was born with ombre` eyelids... not impossible, considering I never had wisdom teeth.

  • Mabelandmatilda

    I love red lips, I have a few drugstore lipsticks that I love for the winter time!

  • Joy Of Stranger Sensibilities

    always can make do with a good red lip. that's all a gal really needs anyway!

  • Bonnie Clyde
  • Kimari Jai

    I love that red!

    Doing a giveaway on my blog check it out!

  • Lily KG

    Esther is my new favourite model of the moment! She is just perfect. Love the bold red lips with a hint of shine
    Lily KG

  • Melle Eloïse

    Love your blog!

  • jaded

    Yes indeed. That red is magic.

  • Diana

    Good point. I love this Blog

  • Guest

    I think it is tricky when you are past 25. In my opinion, as you get older wearing less makes you look younger, especially foundation. I think this Blog does an awesome job of not making it about some set routine. Keep doing stuff on skin care!

  • Bunny_V

    Very nice and very interesting post and reactions! First of all, yes that girl looks amazing without the make-up and with it. Ive started to notice my ageing (30 now), haha, I was also one of the persons that never wore make up, Id curl my eyelashes when id go out and thats it, if Id wear more Id feel too made up. Now my face isnt that plump anymore, Ive got dark circles, irritated skin and it just takes a little bit more to look your best. One positive side is that Ive discovered my love for cosmetics, and I love the routine of applying make up and the transformation when I get ready to go out that really makes me feel special and confident, more then I ever was aware of as a teenager.

  • Anna Burch

    A beautiful girl regarless of whatever is on her face, and a fantastic make-up job, I still think she looks way more fabulous without make-up. Her eyes are brighter and contrast in such a delicate manner to her more naturally fair olive-skin tone. Her lips seem fuller, more supple, and more feminine... and she looks more unique because her "imperfections" add this dimension of beauty that make-up takes away.

  • Dana

    you guys - I have the armani lip maestro. any tips for keeping it from bleeding around the edges? it is so, so gorgeous, the texture heavenly, but I truly can't imagine leaving my house/going anywhere with it for fear of looking like a water color painting! what's the good word?!

    • Elizanne

      try putting some petrolum jelly around the edges to keep it from bleeding. it also naturally softens your lips!


Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro
Bobbi Brown
Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty Book
Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Lancôme Definicils Waterproof High Definition Mascara