In simplest terms, she describes the evolution of the original characters and their approaches to beauty as follows: Carrie, “fresh and easy”; Miranda, “a little more done with a new sense of self”; and Charlotte, “expensive and very polished.” Then there’s Che Diaz (Sara Ramírez), the series’s first non-binary character, a standup comedian and podcaster,who “embraces their natural beauty” with custom-designed tattoos, Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury), a powerhouse real estate broker who appreciates “strong, old Hollywood glamour” with jewel-toned lips and winged liner, Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker), a documentarian and best dressed list-topper who is “very uptown, pristine” with a flawless, sculpted complexion, and Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman), a Columbia Law professor who goes for “earthy and natural” vibe with no-makeup makeup characterized by lit-from-within skin and nude lips.
“For most of them, we focused a lot on the skin,” explains Laurence of the universal emphasis on a glowing complexion on set. “With all of these women, we’re not trying to hide age, we’re just enhancing the beauty of who they are. Women at this age are beautiful. And I like the fact that we weren’t trying to make them look 30.”
While Parker, Nixon, and Davis all worked with their own makeup artists, there were a lot of widely-embraced product favorites on set. Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Soft Radiance Foundation was one such beauty hero. “It’s such a beautiful, creamy illuminating—without looking shiny—foundation,” says Laurence of the moisturizing, hyaluronic acid-laced formula, which offers medium- to full-coverage infused with just the right amount of light-diffusing pigments. “It’s funny because, again, I lived makeup then and I’m living it now too,” she explains. “There’s always new products out there that have shifted the look of things. They’re not as matte and powdery, they’re more illuminating without it being shiny.” In that spirit, sculpting cheeks, whether for a dewy rose or sun-kissed effect, saw a softer, lighter handed approach.“The blush isn’t as heavy as it was, it’s a little more flush,” she explains, name-checking the creamy, melts-right in formulas that were favored on set such as Tom Ford’s contour and blush duos and Patrick Ta’s Major Double-Take formula. In the same vein, lips were less ’90s and decidedly more 2020s. “The liners back then were a little darker on the lip,” she says. “It was more defined and you could see the liner a little more than you can now. Now it’s more just about an even blend to enhance the natural shape of the lip.” For a juicy wash of color, Dior’s Dior Addict Stellar lip gloss was a tried-and-true favorite, as were Charlotte Tilbury’s lip liners and lipsticks in your-lips-but-better shades.