Andra Day stuns as the soulful blues crooner Billie Holiday in Hulu’s newest biopic, The United States vs. Billie Holiday. But even as she mesmerized with her poignant, heart-rending pipes, we couldn’t quit looking at her candy apple red lips.
Wondering how to get this stunning at home? We asked the movie’s makeup department head, Laini Thompson, how she settled on Day’s look, and what products she used to create the singer’s shiny pout.
“Most of the research I turned up on Billie was in black and white, but what I noticed in all the pictures was that her lips were perfectly lined and defined,” says Thompson. So, the first thing she decided on was Mac Lip Liner in Ruby Woo, $18. “We knew we had to keep outlining and going around her lips to get the right effect.”
In an effort to keep in tune with this look, Thompson began her journey to find the perfect red lipstick—testing between 25 and 30 different colors in every name brand. Finally, she came across Julie Hewett’s line of Film Noir lipsticks, and decided on Rouge Noir, $28—which she says harkens back to the days of old Max Factor colors. “And you don’t paint it on with a brush. You have to apply it right from the tube to get that color right.”
The final touch, to bring out the shine, is the unassuming Kiehl’s Lip Balm, $13.75. A workhorse for damaged winter lips, Thompson says the secret lies in tapping the balm on top of the lipstick for a perfect finish, not rubbing it on–and staying away from lipgloss.
In the end, Thompson was thrilled with the look she created for this iconic role over three and a half months of shooting. Standing backstage with a mirror and all of these products, Thompson touched up Day after every single performance to pay homage to Billie’s perfectly lined lips—from Café Society to Carnegie Hall.
“I used a whole tube of lipstick on her! That has never happened before. This should have lasted a year! We put so much product on her lips, but that’s what made her pop.”
Buy Mac Lip Pencil in Ruby Woo at Ulta Beauty
Buy Julie Hewett Rouge Noir Lipstick on Amazon
Buy Kiehl’s Lip Balm on Amazon