Says Catherine Zeta-Jones of the lipstick and lip liner, “To create what I want, for what my needs are, it’s been great”
The Oscar-winning actress and beauty icon first introduced her Casa Zeta-Jones makeup collection in partnership with beauty brand Wunder2 last summer with an assortment of eye products . For spring, Wunder2 x Catherine Zeta-Jones will unveil two new limited-edition lipsticks and coordinating lip colors.
With the launch of her “favorite” Burnt Crimson and Primroses shades, Zeta-Jones tells PEOPLE, “I’ve been made up by some of the best makeup artists in the world, and used a lot of magnificent products throughout my life. To create what I want, for what my needs are — just two complementary colors, one that would go day night, night day — it’s been great.”
For the debut, Zeta-Jones, 51, shares her makeup inspirations, application tips and more.
Zeta-Jones says her earliest memories of makeup date back to her childhood. “My love affair with makeup started very, very young. My mother [Patricia Fair] didn’t put the trash out without her face on,” she recalls. “I remember playing with her makeup. She used to put a little bucket [of products] together for me.”
The star’s mother also did her stage makeup early on, before Zeta-Jones began doing it herself.
“I was lucky, because she was never like, ‘What’s that on your face?’ She was like, ‘Do you like this color? You can have it if you want.’ So, I have always loved makeup, because it’s always been there to have fun and play with.”
Sharing her other beauty inspirations, Zeta-Jones says that while her friends flanked their walls with posters of one-hit wonders, hers were covered with photographs of icons such as Eva Gardner, Rita Hayworth and Elizabeth Taylor. “I always gravitated toward them, and I was fixated with Sophia Loren. In the golden years of Hollywood, a lot of the classic studio shots were black-and-white. But the shots were so glamorous, you just knew they had to be wearing a red lip. And when they were in color, the red was really red.”
For the formulation, Zeta-Jones wanted the lipstick to be moisturizing and to feel weightless. But what was most important is that it stay in place.
“When I go on a red carpet, I always get gifted a beautiful little purse I can barely fit my phone in. So I can never take a hair brush. I can only take one lipstick, and maybe a powder puff, but nothing more.”
She continues, “When I put my lipstick on, which is before I get in the car, I want it to stay on my lips until I am on-camera. I can’t be bothered to line up to go to the restroom, with all those gorgeous girls in dresses, to try to [re-apply it]. And I want to be able to have a little something to eat, without having it all over my face.”
With her criteria for the formula clear (“that it not be so glossy that it came off, but that didn’t make my lips look cracked because it was so smudge-proof it was drying”) Zeta-Jones perfected her colors.
“I feel like I’m awake if I’ve got my lipstick on,” explains Zeta-Jones, who chose two essential shades to start her lipstick and lip liner range. Up first: Burnt Crimson.
“Red is such an iconic color, and to me it evokes a classic look. My grandmother used to put a red lipstick on when she went out on a Saturday night,” she remembers. “And I very rarely wear red lipstick during the day. When I put it on, I feel like it’s a bit of an event.”
Having worn red lips “a lot, on camera, and in my real life,” Zeta-Jones knew creating the perfect red would take effort. “You’ve got to be really careful with the color, because if it has too much blue in it, I think it actually narrows your lips. I was very, very specific about the shade I wanted.”
This one, which has more of a brown than blue tone, is the “perfect” red in her opinion.
“After testing it on my friends, I noticed that this particular shade of red does look really good on different skin tones, as well as with different hair colors. It does the trick for a lot of people, not just me.”
As for her Primrose, explains Zeta-Jones, “the choice for that color really is trying to get close to a beautiful, fleshy color you put it on with everything.
Her inspiration? Her 17-year-old daughter Carys .
“To find that really fresh, fleshy color, my daughter’s lip color is what I was looking for,” says Zeta-Jones. “My daughter, who doesn’t wear a scrap of makeup, has the perfect lip color, without anything on. Don’t we all wish we had 17-year-old lips?”
Creating the perfect neutral tone proved challenging, she says.
“I wanted a color that would not just work on my skin tone and my hair color, but also on all ethnicities and with all hair colors. Some of them were too beige, kind of a Brigitte Bardot’s [iconic lipstick color]. Unless you’ve got lips like Brigitte Bardot, you don’t want to be wearing completely nude lips.”
While some shades came out “so beige or nude they might make your lips disappear,” some were a hint too pink (“Like my granny’s pink. They had a 1940s thing going on!”), and others were too brown.
To find the color she was looking for, Zeta-Jones says, “I spent a lot of time mixing my colors.” And once she got one she loved, she says, “I was able to go into the lab and go, ‘Okay, now we’re close.'” And this Primrose is it.
The packaging was just as important as the formula to Zeta-Jones.
“I have a plethora — when I say plethora, I mean bookshelves and bookshelves — of tears, scrapbooks, fabrics, everything, saved in anticipation of doing a lifestyle brand that incorporated so many of things I love in my life: makeup, shoes, clothes, interior design. So, when I was dreaming this concept up, the very first thing was packaging because for me personally, I like that as much as I like the product. I still save boxes, because they’re pretty. I put old notes in them or little keepsakes.”
Initially, Zeta-Jones wanted black-and-white packaging. “I love that monochromatic look, I’ve got black and white drapes. I’ve got black and white rugs. All my doors in my house, a lot of my walls my floors and my desk chair are black and shiny, like 1920s lacquer. I can’t help myself. And so, for the package, I thought, ‘It has to be black, white and shiny.'”
But her girlfriend suggested a splash of red. “A friend of mine, who is Chinese told me, ‘When I think of you, I think of red.’ And I said to her, ‘Maybe it was because I wear a lot of red, and I wore red lipstick in Zorro (below).’ People have this image of me from those movies, which has stayed with me forever. But, it’s not a bad thing because I love that look. It was very classic and romantic. When I told her, ‘I was thinking of black and white,’ she said, “In Chinese culture, red is a lucky color. You’ve got to put it in, even if it’s just for good luck.’ I went, ‘Okay!'”
Of course, after years of working with the best in the beauty biz, Zeta-Jones has a few lipstick tips of her own .
“I’m a big lip liner lady. I always line my lips, and put a good solid lip liner base on [all over them] before I put on my lipstick. With the liner, I always like to pencil on my lips a little bit bigger than they really are, just to give what I call my little French pout, or my Welsh pout! But I’ve always done that, just to plump them up a little bit,” she says.
She’s also big on blotting. “I always do that and then reapply, so it stays.” But even if you didn’t reapply after blotting, the results would still be pretty. According to Zeta-Jones, the moisturizing formula would just appear as a stain.
She even blends her two new lipsticks together. “I put the lighter one on the center of my lip to give a bit of a highlight.”
Though Zeta-Jones first lipsticks won’t be around forever, the process was a labor of love.
“It’s so much fun. To work on the packaging, and then to have the samples, and then see it in the packaging, and then to see it boxed, and then to see it available for everyone else, it’s really extraordinary. This creative part of my life gives me a lot of joy.”
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