Vanessa Kirby's Sharp, But Soft Matte Red Lip Deserves an Oscar

"She's fierce, badass, and a mega power, and I wanted to convey that in the makeup," says the star's makeup artist Jo Baker.

Oscars Red Carpet 2021
Photo: Getty Images

Best Actress nominee Vanessa Kirby's 2021 Oscars beauty look is rooted in duality.

"For me, the inspiration always stems from the dress, and I just absolutely loved Vanessa's soft, modernistic, futuristic, powder pink Gucci gown with a little cut out in the middle," the actress' makeup artist Jo Baker exclusively tells InStyle. "I found it to be so cutting edge, but Oscars elegant at the same time. I wanted to bring the same softness and severity to her makeup look."

While Baker eventually brought the drama and glamour with a combination of bold brows, porcelain skin, and a matte blood red lip, skin prep came first. Kirby was dealing with post-flight dryness after landing in L.A. for the awards show. (Who hasn't?)

"When Vanessa landed, she had texted me to tell me she forgot her skincare bag," Baker shares. "Luckily I called my buddies at La Mer to courier a messager over to her house with some products, so she was using The Concentrate and classic La Crème de La Mer a few days in advance."

Night of, Baker says she used La Crème de La Mer as a highlight on Kirby, pressing into the star's skin with the meaty part of her thumb for a lightweight, radiant finish. She also used the brand's Treatment Lotion on her décolletage and arms.

Vanessa Kirby Oscars 2021
Jo Baker

As the focus of the strong, yet soft makeup look, Baker used Gucci's Rouge à Lèvres Mat Matte Lipstick in 502 Eadie Scarlet and Crayon Contour Des Lévres Lip Line in Bordeaux to create Kirby's matte oxblood lip. She applied the color, blotted it with a tissue, and then applied another layer to achieve the "weighty, deep, intense" color with blurred edges.

"The hazy, dusty edge make the lips look a bit fuller without overdrawing them," Baker says, adding that she likes to use concealer or powder around the edges, or even blush or eyeshadow the same color as the lipstick.

Vanessa Kirby Oscars 2021
Jo Baker

Baker completed the look by curling Kirby's lashes with Tweezerman's Rose Gold Classic Curler, followed by a few coats of Gucci's Mascara L'Obscur, and then went over the lashes one more time with the curler. Next, she added a touch of Gucci's Éclat De Beauté Effet Lumière gloss on the star's eyelids, and filled in her brows to create a strong, full shape.

"I wanted to bring Vanessa's personality to it," says Baker. "She's fierce, badass, and a mega power, and I wanted to convey that in the makeup."

Mission accomplished.

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In the hair department, Kirby's stylist Adir Abergel played into the night's strong, but soft theme, too.

"I fell in love with the lines of Vanessa's dress and wanted to follow the same simple lines with her hair," he said. "I looked to early 90's minimalist photography and architecture for inspiration and decided on a center part, slicked back mid chignon."

He gave the actress a sleek, but undone bun created using Virtue Labs products, including the Healing Oil for extra shine, and ghd's Platinum+ Styler for a smooth finish.

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