Sofia Carson Knows the Power of a Bold, Rep Lip

Sofia sat down with Allure magazine to chat about her beauty evolution.

My mom and my grandma have always kind of been my…what would you call it? My beauty icons. I have my grandma’s nose and my sister and I both share her chin. One of my first memories is at my mom’s vanity, and she’d always wear this really beautiful crimson-red lipstick. I would wear my mom’s lipstick, heels, and bandanna, and I would sing songs from Evita and Madonna. I guess beauty and art and music all became one at that age.

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I grew up dancing in recitals and then national competitions. My mom started doing my makeup when I was younger. It was very specific: red lipstick and very pale, powdered skin with a dark gray eyeliner or just mascara. It felt like my armor. Then I remember sitting in the hair and makeup chair for the first time in Vancouver when I was becoming Evie [daughter of Snow White’s Evil Queen, in the Disney film Descendants]. She required a bit of a transformation — full blue wig and blue lashes. Or when I did the movie Songbird, which is set during the pandemic, it made sense that my character wore little to no makeup. But then there was a big shift in her storyline where she becomes less vulnerable, so we put her up in, like, this Tomb Raider-inspired slick braid, and that just changed everything.

“Being on camera is probably the greatest lesson in beauty.”

This character that I’m working on right now, Cassie, is extraordinary, all heart and strength. She’s survived almost the impossible, and she’s recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She has to work three jobs just to pay her rent, and that is not enough to pay for the insurance that she needs to pay for her insulin. She’s going to have tattoos and I wanted to make the tattoos incredibly personal to who she is. The story is called Purple Hearts. Not only because that’s the medal that [her love interest] receives in the military, but because to me the blending of a red and a blue heart is, I think, what the world needs right now.

Being on camera is probably the greatest lesson in beauty. When I first started, I only used eyeliner and a nude lipstick that washed me out. I remember walking my first carpet and I saw photos and I was like, “This is not working.” And then over the years you meet different makeup artists, you learn more about yourself. For instance, I know now that I love smoky eye shadow, being able to start small and build it up for bigger events. The tones that are best for my eyes aren’t blacks or grays, but oranges or pinks or reds. My lips have stayed pretty consistent. I’ve always loved either like a pink or a red, and I’ve always kind of bounced between those two lips.

I had the pleasure of being able to develop my own shades with my Revlon family [Carson is an ambassador for the brand]. We have a Sofia Nude and a Sofia Red, which I’ll mix with another shade, On Fire, and that’s my perfect red lip. One of my other favorite products is not a product, but a good, old-school trick: hair spray on a brow brush. And that’s how I keep my brows nice and up and in place. That’s how I always begin my makeup, with setting my brows so they frame my face. I love a specific lash: Ardell Demi Wispy. I’m very faithful to her.

In the morning, I take a cold shower. It gets my mind right for the day and wakes my body up when I have to be up at, like, four in the morning for a movie. I wash my face with cold water. If I’m shooting, I’ll also use these Zo Skin Health Complexion pads. I’ll do Zo Skin Health Daily Power Defense and then I’ll probably go in the car with undereye patches on, just to help with puffing.

I am very much a person who likes routine and who, when I like something, I stick to it. For example, for years my nails were always short, square, and dark blue. And then for years they were short, square, and dark, dark red. And for the last few years, they’ve been short, square, and Chanel Ballerina, the closest to looking like I’m wearing no polish at all.

I’ve been lucky enough to be in front of the camera, to have beautiful makeup done, to wear beautiful gowns on the days when I didn’t feel beautiful in my heart. I just think of the words that my mom would always tell me, which is actually like something that Audrey Hepburn said: “The happiest girls are the prettiest girls.” I’m a happy person. I think that’s the most important. — As told to Brennan Kilbane