Zoe Kravitz is no professional makeup artist, but the the actress, model, and perennial cool girl knows her way around a makeup bag. Her expertise? Bold, vibrant lipsticks. When I walked into my interview with Kravitz on a sunny summer day in NYC at The Plaza Hotel, she took one look at me and said, "I think a bright color lipstick would look really pretty on your skin tone." As a typically color-averse lipstick lover—nude lipsticks and glosses are my area of expertise—I was pleasantly surprised when she reached for a stunning bright red matte shade with an subtle orange undertone. "Yep, Scout's Red is the one. Really bright poppy reds look great on brown skin."
Scout's Red No. 124, named after her dog Scout who wears a red bandana, is one of three reds in Zoe Kravitz new collection for YSL's classic Rouge Pur Couture lipstick collection. Kravitz designed six exclusive shades for the line. Scout's Red can seem intimidating at first, as with most bright red lipsticks, but Kravitz assures me the nerves will shake off because there's just "a certain oomph to a red lip that we all need some times." I ask her what that "oomph" is.
"I think it's a wonderful combination of sexy and playful, and also just so chic. You
feel confident," she explains, adding that Wolf's Red is named after her brother, Wolf, and Lale's Red is named after her mother, Lisa Bonet, whose nickname is Lale. "Red lips are timeless. Think of all our favorite icons from back in the day like Audrey Hepburn. It just never gets old."
Kravitz found herself journeying back in time a lot as she developed the colors and names for her six-piece collection, all of which are named after her loved ones. For the nudes, Kravitz designed the shimmery, soft-pink "Honey's Nude" as a nod to the nickname of her godmother, Cree Summer, who was affectionately called Honey Brown; "Arlene's Nude"—which she wore on her lips the day we met—is a rosy hue with a satin sheen, named after her grandmother who had a very "simple" no-fuss approach to makeup; and "Maris' Nude," a warm brown shade with a matte finish named after another godmother.
"I think the thing with makeup is it's meant to make you feel good and to make you feel inspired," she tells me. "And these are all people who make me feel good, they make me feel inspired."
The Big Little Lies actress had complete freedom to design whatever colors she wanted, but wanted to create a line that accurately represents the colors she uses on herself the most, and colors that look flattering on all skin tones, so she tested her shades on friends and family members first.
"It is so much easier to do your makeup when you're not trying to cover up all the shit your body's trying to get out."
"I think I just wanted to start simple and classic, and to me red and nudes are the lipsticks I go to the most. The idea behind this was creating shades that people can wear on a daily basis, not that you can't wear black or blue, or whatever every day, you can but I wanted to make sure there was something there for everybody." Each lipstick dries down to either a matte or shimmery satin finish ("I love a good matte but I don't want it to be too chalky. I don't want it to feel dry, it needs a little hydration.") and arrives in black glittery packaging, inspired by the packaging of Zoe's favorite perfume YSL Black Opium (she is the face of its campaign), that runs for $38 a pop.
"Simple" and "classic" is exactly how Kravitz would describe her own beauty routine, which she says is more about how she feels when she puts on the products than looking good. "It might sound corny but beauty really starts on the inside," Kravitz added. "And I mean that emotionally, physically, and mentally. I think eating right and sleeping well and drinking water, all those things are so important. It is so much easier to do your makeup when you're not trying to cover up all the shit your body's trying to get out."
Shop the entire YSL x Zoe Kravitz collection below.
Rouge Pur Couture YSL X Zoë Kravitz – Wolf's Red 122 Yves Saint Laurent yslbeautyus.com $38.00 SHOP NOW Rouge Pur Couture YSL X Zoë Kravitz – Arlene's Nude 121 Yves Saint Laurent yslbeautyus.com $38.00 SHOP NOW Rouge Pur Couture YSL X Zoë Kravitz – Scout's Red 124 Yves Saint Laurent yslbeautyus.com $38.00 SHOP NOW Rouge Pur Couture YSL X Zoë Kravitz – Maris' Nude 123 Yves Saint Laurent yslbeautyus.com $38.00 SHOP NOW Rouge Pur Couture YSL X Zoë Kravitz – Honey's Nude 125 Yves Saint Laurent yslbeautyus.com $38.00 SHOP NOW Rouge Pur Couture YSL X Zoë Kravitz – Lale's Red 126 Yves Saint Laurent yslbeautyus.com $38.00 SHOP NOW Nerisha Penrose Assistant Editor Nerisha is the assistant editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty and fashion.