Zoe Saldana's Go-To Red Lipstick Is $17 (And You Probs Already Own It)

Updated 07/06/17

We've witnessed our favorite stars in full glam on the red carpet, in campaigns, and on set of our editorial shoots, accumulating tips and tutorials from their talented hair and makeup artists in the process. But we're still left wondering one thing: How do these celebrities approach their beauty routines on their own? In Byrdie's newest series, Prescribed By, we offer you exclusive beauty prescriptions from your favorite influencers, featuring their signature beauty looks and the tips (and exact products!) you need to pull them off.

On a typical day in Zoe Saldana's life, when she's not wearing 17 layers of green makeup for an action movie shoot or doing a long day of press, there's a 90% chance you'll catch her in red lipstick. We got to sit down and chat beauty with Saldana, and when we asked her what her number one signature makeup move is, she didn't even hesitate. "A red lip is my go-to if I'm having a bad day or if I feel like my skin isn't looking its best," she told us. "As women, because of our hormones, you might have one week of radiant, glowy skin, and then another week of dullness. A red lip always makes me feel good."

But fiery lipstick represents more to the 41-year-old movie star than just a fun look. "It makes me feel like I'm beautiful and bold and in control of myself," she told us. To Saldana, a red lip symbolizes a rebellion against the expectation that women are supposed to be quiet and demure. "A red lip was something that a lot of males in my life didn't like because they didn't like the attention, or they thought it was too loud or something," she told us. "But I'm okay with wanting to be loud for all the right reasons. I'm all about making bold decisions … and I think that a red lip is that sign, like, 'I'm here, take me as I am, and I'm sexy.'"

Saldana has a simple but specific way of applying red lipstick, and she was kind enough to tell us all about it. Keep scrolling to see the (surprisingly affordable) products Zoe Saldana uses to create her signature red lip.

Step 1: SPF

No matter what lip color she's wearing, Saldana makes an effort to protect her lips from the sun. "Living in L.A., the one thing I'm learning the hard way is that I have to use sunscreen on my lips because sometimes your lips are the one place that you forget to cover from the sun, and then you wonder why your lips are so chapped days later," she said. Saldana likes to apply a sunscreen-containing balm, like Nars's lip treatment with SPF 15.

Step 2: French Lip Ointment

Dry lips are a huge pet peeve of Saldana's, so she never applies her red lipstick without prepping with this genius product from this homeopathic French brand. "I buy this thing in Europe whenever I go, or whenever anyone I know goes to Europe, and you can get it on Amazon now, too," she told us. The product is an antiseptic healing ointment, which you can use on flaky lips, dry skin, or sunburns. Saldana swears by it as the ultimate hydrating lip balm.

Step 3: Classic Red Lipstick

Ultra-matte lips are not Saldana's thing. (She'd take a little sheen over dry lips any day). So her favorite red lipsticks all have hydrating formulas. She's a fan of reds by Nars, Givenchy, and Tom Ford, but her holy grail is MAC Russian Red. "It's so beautiful," she gushed. "It's my go-to, like, when in doubt, I use this one."

Saldana applies the product straight from the tube for high-impact color, and voilà.

Related Stories