Laura Dern Looks Back On Her Best Beauty Moments

Laura Dern Looks Back On Her Best Beauty Moments

laura dern's best beauty looks


Welcome to Legends Only, a look back at the best beauty moments from our favorite celebrity icons. These are the stories behind Laura Dern’s glamorous career—and the glam that went along with each role. We start with her eighth grade portrayal of a punk bassist (alongside real members of the Sex Pistols and The Clash) to joining the Star Wars universe and end with giving up foundation (even on the red carpet) for good.

Some people instantly exude kindness. Laura Dern is one of those people—I could just feel it after spending less than a minute on the phone with her. From the moment we start chatting about beauty, the actress was all about giving props to the teams behind each of her legendary looks—starting with her debut at 12 years old as punk bassist Jessica McNeil in Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains.

She’s all about treating her skin with kindness, too. “My skin is really sensitive because my grandmother is Norwegian,” she tells “I’ve always had reactions to harsher products.” While on set for Big Little Lies she was introduced to True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil and amazed by, well, how radiant her skin looked. From there, Dern fell hard for the clean beauty brand.

Starting today, she’s taking that love a step further and partnering with the brand for the launch of the it’s first-ever retinol product, named Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster. “Everybody around me was always talking about how great retinol is, but I was so bummed because my skin was way too sensitive to use it,” Dern says. But True Botanicals’s vegan formula is gentle enough for her to use day and night. “I finally get to say my skin looks so much evener—just like people who use retinol say—but my skin isn’t dry. It’s just completely transformed.”

Ahead, Dern takes us through her style evolution and some of her brightest beauty moments.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains, 1982

“When I started filming this movie at 12, I looked like Alice from Alice in Wonderland. But half way through, they chopped off my hair, giving me a ducktail and dyeing the sides black for the character’s punk reinvention. This was my first experience of character creation. We had this amazing makeup team, which included Paul Sanchez and Steve Abrums, and this fantastic stylist Caroline Coon, who had a really amazing imprint on the punk scene in London. This hairstyle wasn’t an adopted cut for me, but I did love the grow out.”

Wild at Heart, 1990

“The role of Lula was David Lynch’s vision all the way. David knew that he wanted her to have pale skin, the classic red lip, a beauty mark. The makeup artist, Michelle Bühler, used a pencil to create the beauty mark because it was supposed to be subtle and more of a statement on the character, but not a caricature or something too costumey. It’s this unique kind of style that Lula would create for herself.”

Jurassic Park, 1993

“This is all me. No makeup, my hair. I feel really proud to have been part of Jurassic Park because it was one of the first few female action characters in a film—and now I am getting to return to the character Jurassic World Domination. This role was so physical, and I was doing a lot of running and my own stunts, but they have to make sure the sweat matches in each scene. So they are spraying you with a squirt bottle between takes for continuity.”

Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, 2017

“The director, Rian Johnson, and I talked a lot about what Vice Admiral Holdo should look like, given her character’s trajectory. There needed to be something powerful and a little bit otherworldly about her. Both of us are huge anime fans, so we took inspiration for the violet hair and eyes from that. It’s a wig, but we actually used a violet rinse on my hair, too, and treaded pieces through the wig to make sure it looked really natural. I’m also wearing contacts so the eyes could match the wig.”

The Academy Awards, 2020

“I’m not wearing foundation here, I don’t use foundation anymore. Just a little coverage, a cheek, some eye, some lip. It’s because of True Botanicals. I fell in love with it because it changed my skin in a way that even on camera with hard lights or on a red carpet, my skin just looked better, healthier, and prettier. Never made up.”

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