Creating A Scene With Julie Hewett

Creating a Scene with Julie Hewett

by Vanessa Walters

Hollywood makeup artist Julie Hewett has been creating scene-stealing red lips in the film industry for more than 20 years. She has worked with award-winning actresses such as Annette Bening, Jodie Foster, Hilary Swank, Nicole Kidman, Kate Beckinsale, and Winona Ryder. And she’s made her beauty mark on such films as American Beauty, Ocean’s Eleven, Pearl Harbor, and most recently, Leatherheads, in theaters now. Julie has been honored for her work with membership in the exclusive Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.

Southern Beauty sat down with Julie to discuss her cosmetics line and learn some of her movie-magic beauty tips.
Southern Beauty: how did you get your start in makeup?

Julie Hewett: I started out as a fashion illustration artist in New York. I wasn’t really good at anything else, but I could draw faces. I was kind of obsessed with it. Everyone said I should become a makeup artist, and I just fell into it. I never had formal training-I just did it.
SB: How did cosmetics lead you to working in the movie industry?

JH: I started doing work for some album covers, and one of the record companies I worked with was getting into live film. From there, it just escalated to movies.
SB: What inspired you to develop your own cosmetics line?

JH: I was working on the set of Pearl Harbor, trying to find old-fashioned 1940s reds. I went to all the counters, and I would find fantastic colors, but they would come right off. I did use some commercial lipsticks, but I mixed them with pigments to make them last longer. I thought, “Why hasn’t anyone done this before?” It was my “aha” moment. I’ve always wanted to do a line, but I didn’t want to do it unless I had a reason to do it. I wanted to bring something new to the table.
SB: What inspired you in developing your line?

JH: The names of my products came from film. “Noir,” which is French for black, is also a type of filmmaking made popular in the 1940s that focused on highlights and shadows. The look was a bold mouth and neutral face, which fit with my collection. I’m also obsessed with aromatherapy, particularly camellia oil, which is very popular in China. It mimics skin’s oil. I use it in my products, which makes them very creamy.
SB: What can women expect from your line?

JH: My line is very simple with multi-use products. You can use them for the eyes, lips, cheeks, chest, etc. I follow actresses around all day, so it is my job to simplify.
SB: In all your years of working with screen sirens and on magazine shoots, what beauty secrets and tricks can you divulge to our readers that you’ve either created or picked up along the way?

JH: One product in my line that I especially love is “Cheeky.” It’s a cream blush that goes on top of the powder, unlike other cream blushes out there. This helps it stay on longer and is great for “freshening up.” You can just keep applying it all day. Plus, you can use it as a lip stain.
SB: Red lipstick seems to be your trademark. What are your dos and don’ts in creating the perfect pout?

JH: I always apply camellia balm to soften the lips first. Next, I apply a red that works for that individual. [To see which red you are, visit] I follow up with a nude lip liner, and for shine, I use my red-tinted gloss called “Harlow.” If you make a mistake, simply apply my concealer, “Omit,” as a reverse liner.
SB: What factors played into developing the “which red are you” style statement?

JH: It came after years of experimenting with red lipstick. Also, on the set of Pearl Harbor, I had to develop palettes for all the background nurses. I became color-obsessed. I pared it down to five or six reds that would look good on anyone. I also developed a few sheer reds for those who are somewhat afraid of red. And for those who are extremely afraid, I came up with “Harlow.”
SB: With spring on the way, most generally think of pastels and softer tones. How do you translate the color red for the warmer months?

JH: It’s still a pretty clean look with neutrals. It’s not as shiny. It is more matte and fresh. I don’t like too much shine, but I do like it above the cheek bones. I think that’s the prettiest part of a woman’s face.
SB: What do you feel is the most common misconception women have when it comes to makeup?

JH: A lot of women think they can’t wear red lipstick, when actually they can. I think you should be open to new things. You should re-evaluate and re-invent yourself. I also don’t do trends. I do what works for me.
SB: What do you consider must-haves from your line?

JH: Any of the red lipsticks, the camellia balm, “Cheeky” in peachy, and “Shimmy” for overall shimmer. [Sb]

You can see Julie’s work in the upcoming film, The Women, slated to hit theaters in September and starring Annette Bening, Candice Bergen, Debra Messing, Eva Mendes, and Jada Pinkett Smith. To learn more about her line or to purchase products, visit


Head shot credit: photographs courtesy of Julie Hewett Los Angeles

Other shots: Julie Hewett makeup event on location at ‘NVogue Spa, Birmingham, Alabama, 205.824.9920

photographs by Annette Hyche/’NVogue Spa