Taylor Swift’s Iconic Red Lip Almost Didn’t Happen, Makeup Artist Says

Taylor Swift’s signature makeup look almost never happened.

On the April 2 episode of Today with Hoda and Jenna, celebrity makeup artist Gucci Westman revealed that she created the 34-year-old singer’s iconic red lipstick for Allure‘s April 2009 cover.

“I remember I really wanted to do a red lip on her because I hadn’t seen her in a red lip before,” Westman told hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. “And her mom, if I’m allowed to say this, was like, ‘Well, Taylor doesn’t wear red.’ And I was like, ‘Please, can I just try?’… look at her now.”

Westman, who founded her own makeup line, Westman Atelier, in 2018, has worked with A-listers like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Anne Hathaway. Notably, she created Gwyneth Paltrow’s glowy bridal glam for her 2018 wedding to Brad Falchuk. She’s also responsible for Anne Hathaway’s vampy makeup look for her April 2024 Vanity Fair cover.

Added to her many accolades is her connection to Swift’s signature red lip, which has been a pillar of the star’s look, both on and off stage, for the last 15 years. 

Earlier this year, Swift mystified fans with her lipstick’s kiss-proof powers when celebrating with her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, when his team won at both the AFC Championship and Super Bowl.

Red lipstick has also been a part of Swift’s go-to stage look for her ongoing Eras Tour.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce at the 2024 Super Bowl.

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty


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However, Swift is always one to keep fans on their toes. At the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 1, the star appeared sans red lipstick via video message to accept the artist of the year award. Instead, she wore a pretty pink lip shade.

The singer uses a number of red lipsticks, but she’s previously shared that one of her tried-and-true products is Pat McGrath Labs’ bestselling MatteTrance Lipstick in shade Elson.

In a 2011 interview with Allure, Swift shared a makeup hack she learned for keeping her red lipstick perfectly intact.

“There are tricks I’ve learned from makeup artists on shoots. They put on the red lipstick, then blot it with a tissue, then they put powder over the tissue and sort of press it onto your lips. Then re-apply,” she said at the time. “It turns it into a stain that lasts much longer.”

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