Paola Lamorticella

Olio E Osso is a small, Portland-based company that makes beautifully simple and versatile skincare and makeup products. The Balms are their hero products, and we can see why: everyone, from celebrities to pro athletes to beauty junkies, wants to collect them all. (They're like modern, grown-up, hip, non-toxic Juicy Tubes.) Olio E Osso’s founder, Paola LaMorticella, has been the go-to makeup artist and stylist for top athletes for the past 25 years. Here, she shares her favorite shades to brighten winter skin.


“My current favorite, favorite, favorite is No. 10 — Tea Rose. When I first made it, I was thinking about the great colors of the eighties, and No. 10 is my answer to the eighties neutral. Which is funny, actually, because in the eighties, I was super punk rock and ridiculous and belligerent. Our family was totally broke at the time, but every year, my mom would give me a $100 gift certificate to Nordstrom, and I have these wonderful memories of going there to buy one fancy lipstick. It would always be one of those neutral, dusty rose colors that made me feel really sophisticated.

"I’m so happy with that color; dusty rose is a great way to feel like you have more color in your face, but in a non-threatening way. It’s such a good one on almost all skin tones, and it adds a really natural hint of color, especially when you have that cold air wash-out happening. So it’s my go-to as far as that goes.

"And the new shimmer sticks are amazing this time of year. These days, I’ve been using a lot of clear with a little shimmer: I love No. 1 with No. 11 over the top of it. It gives me a sparkly, fresh, icy feeling that I love personally. I also love No. 12 and 13. They’re such a good addition to the colors; they’re great shimmers and highlighters. Those two are also childhood throwbacks — fancy-lady colors with a little bit of gloss. When I created them, I had pictures in my head of these really good British pop and punk rock stars wearing great, deep glitter and gloss. This lets you channel that, also in a non-threatening way. So you still feel like yourself.

"I also like No. 9, which is a nice, classic, pinky color. I always hesitate to say which skin tone a given color works best on because your skin can change color so much throughout the year: I’ve seen it look beautiful on people with very dark hair and fair skin, and also on people with very fair hair and dark skin. It’s more of a feeling than a look: it’s a brighter, happier feeling. 

"The psychology of the colors is almost more important, to me, than the tone. I think shade names can make people talk themselves out of a color: ‘I don’t look good in red,’ or ‘I don’t like raisins, so why would I want that on my lips?’ That’s why I use numbers for our shades. That’s especially important for shades like No 3, which is so beautiful. Not everyone thinks they want to wear red, but they can wear No 3.”


Isn’t she cool? We love what she says about the psychology of color (and we’re no longer kvetching about the numbering system that is sometimes hard for us to remember). You can read about Paola’s fascinating background here.