The Red Lipstick In The New Dickinson Series Is So Good


Of all the things Emily Dickinson is remembered as—a poet, a writer, a woman ahead of her time—beauty icon never made the list. And yet when I watched the version of her dreamed up for the new Apple streaming show Dickinson, I just had to know…what the heck was she wearing on her lips?

Or at the very least what was Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Dickinson in the show, wearing? Appearing in the first episode during a fantasy sequence, it was a perfect red lipstick—strong, vibrant, a statement of its own. As flattering as Ruby Woo, but dare I say better? Excellent enough for me to glaze over the show’s chaotic plot (the word “dude” finds a place in Dickinson’s vocabulary and Wiz Khalifa plays Death itself) and keep watching. “From Emily’s writing, you can imagine that her fantasy life was beautifully rich and vivid,” Dickinson’s season one makeup department head, Ande Yung, told me when I shot over an email to learn more. “We wanted to convey that.”

The required tools were a lot more than lipstick, however. Yung first prepped Steinfeld’s lips with a little concealer and powder, and then filled in her entire lip with Laura Mercier’s Redwood lip pencil. “Once we had the shape we wanted we applied MAC Russian Red straight from the tube and blotted it down with tissue,” Yung explained. “The more subtle liner helped give some dimension and contrast to the bright and slightly cool undertone of the lipstick.” Yung wanted to let the lips make the statement, so she finished the look with a touch of Anastasia Brow Powder (“My trick,” she said, “is to brush the brow hairs straight up with a dry, clean mascara wand, and lightly add powder with an angled brush to fill in any gaps”), curled lashes, and black mascara from Blinc.

Yung told me she never wanted the makeup looks—even in the dream sequences—to look “too modern.” And sure, the lipstick doesn’t scream 21st century per se (that’s a job maybe for lipgloss). But it does communicate something quite convincing—so convincing that I just added Redwood and Russian Red to my cart.

—Tanya Ghahremani

Photo via Apple.