Lisa Rinna's career — as a TV star, model, talk show host, designer, author, and beloved Real Housewives cast member — has spanned three decades. And according to Rinna, her famous lips have been something of a supporting actor along the way. "My lips have had their own career," she tells Allure with a laugh.
Now she's taken on the role of beauty entrepreneur with the launch of Rinna Beauty, and they, the job of living testimony to the fact that Rinna knows her stuff when it comes to lips. Her line will debut with three kits — each of which includes lipstick, gloss, and liner — in neutral tones. ("I wanted to make it very simple," says Rinna. "There are so many ways to mix and match.") And if you're a RHOBH fan, you might just recognize a few of the shade names…
But lip products are just the tippy-top of the iceberg when it comes to Rinna's vision for her new line. We caught up with the self-proclaimed "lip pioneer" to chat inspiration, formulation, and what comes next.
ALLURE: Congratulations on the line! How long has it been in the works?
LISA RINNA: It's been in the works a long, long time. It was something that seemed like the perfect fit, [to] start a lip line. I first wanted to do it… I would say at least 10 years ago, maybe even more. I kept getting close to finding the right partner, the right cosmetic company to work with.
Every single time, it fell through. The deal didn't work. Something happened. And that was, like, five times. I'm not even kidding. I felt like, "Gosh, maybe I'm not supposed to do it. Maybe I'm supposed to concentrate on clothes." But in the back of my mind, I was like, "I'm not going to give up. I'm just not." I never take no for an answer, and here we are.
ALLURE: Have you always been big on trusting your gut?
LR: Yeah, I really am somebody who trusts their gut. I got pretty frustrated at times because it seems like a no brainer, me doing lips. Right?
ALLURE: Right. What made you want to create kits instead of individual products?
LR: I always saw it as a kit because I saw it as what I use. I love to bring people what I use. My store Belle Gray [a fashion boutique] was this one-stop shop. It was about sharing what I love with everyone. This is basically the same thing.
I've had people ask me over the years, "What's your lipstick, what color are you wearing?" I've always done a lip liner, a lipstick, and a lip gloss. That's always my go-to. Of course I want to go into everything down the line. Rinna Beauty is going to be a lifestyle brand. But we started with three lip kits — in nude, nude-pink, and nude-coral, because that is what I wear.
ALLURE: How many lip products would you say you've tried over the course of your career?
LR: I think I've been in this business now, what, about 31 years? I've had a lot of time to try lipstick and lip glosses. [While creating my formulas] I was super, super picky and super, super hands-on. It took me a very long time because I'm very, very picky about the texture and the feel of my lipstick and my lip pencil and especially my lip gloss.
I swear to God, I drove everybody cuckoo-bird crazy because I kept sending back the lip gloss and saying, "OK, I love one and two, but could we now mix one and two together?" It really was a recipe that took quite a while because with COVID, going back and forth, it just slowed it down tenfold. But I said, "Listen, if I'm going to finally do this after a hundred years, let's get it right."
ALLURE: Did any of the people in your life serve as inspiration?
LR: Certainly my daughters are an inspiration. Every single second of every single day. I have so many great friends and so many beautiful friends. I mean, you just, you think of everybody and I'm so inspired by not only the girls on the show, Erika and Dorit and Kyle… all of my friends are beautiful, strong women.
I'm inspired by my 92-year-old mom, who's worn lipstick and won't go out of the house, by the way, without her makeup. I've actually never seen my mom go out in public without lipstick. [So] I want this to be all-inclusive. I want men, women, children — everybody! — to use Rinna Beauty.
ALLURE: Tell me about the shade names. Some of them made me laugh out loud!
LR: I mean, they're fun. It's got to be fun. I'm having so much fun creating this, that I want you to have fun getting it home, buying it, stealing it, wearing it, playing with it. The names are certainly fun and there's a sense of humor to absolutely everything. I've always called myself the lip pioneer, which is hilarious. Because I did my lip back in… God, I was 24. I think it was back in… when was I 24? 1984, 1987, whenever that was.
I've always joked about being the lip pioneer. I've always wanted to do something with these lips. I finally feel like we're getting to do it and have fun and have a sense of humor, and really bring quality items that I just absolutely love, that my heart and soul are in and part of.
Rinna Beauty debuts September 28 on rinnabeauty.com with its Lip Icon Kit in Birthday Suit, Legends Only, and No Apologies for $45 each.
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