Sharon Stone In Basic Instinct: A Look So Effortless I Want To Barf

French twist, satin skin, lined lips, and strong brows. It's '90s beauty at its best.
Publish date:
July 16, 2013
updos, makeup, dry shampoos, muses, contouring, Basic Instinct, Sharon Stone, strong brows

I was six years old when Basic Instinct came out in 1992, and I am continually devastated by the 10 years I missed out on having this masterpiece in my life. Flash forward to my 16-year-old self driving to Blockbuster with my girl Roxanne on a Friday night, and randomly picking it. (We loved to pick a movie based on nothing but the cover. Suffice to say many times we succeeded: Basic Instinct (obvs), Pootietang (Sa Da Tay my Bammies) and Blue Velvet (ding ding ding--success, and changed my life forever. On the other hand, we endured many a flop such as B.A.P.S. and Freddie Got Fingered.)

At 16, we were obviously most interested in Michael Douglas’s perfectly sculpted ass, but also with how drop-dead-gorgeous Sharon Stone aka Catherine Tramell was. BABING. Like, so effortless I wanted to barf. I thought, I can’t f-ing WAIT to be an adult and look just like that. Still waiting. Tick. Tock. I mean I’ll be 30 in 3.5 years (YES I am counting halves--I am NOT trying to be 30 before I have to, na’ mean?), how long do I have to wait?!

There was one scene though, that really made me love Sharon/Catherine/Ellen Mirojnic (the costume designer), and it was THE scene: the crossing/uncrossing of the legs sans panties (sorry for the p word) while being interrogated. "Whaaaaat," we squealed, and then rewound and re watched it about 15 times. She. Is. So. Effing. COOL! And that dress. Minimalist '90s perfection.

Let's rewind to the scene before, when, after the cops came to her house to take her to the station, she opted for a quick change. Oh you know, just throwing on an amazing, sleeveless, mock turtleneck dress over just her bare babeness, and the most effortless French twist in history.

The '90s are back, y’all, and I can’t think of a better makeup/hair/clothes inspiration then Sharon in that scene. Perfection! Matte face (without a hint of cake), strong brows, a (half) smoky eye, and heavily lined rosy-brown lips.


Pulling my hair back in this fashion has never proved as easy as it was for Catherine, but suffice to say, it makes you look pulled-the-hell-together, even if you are being interrogated.

On wet hair, I started with a texturizing spray like Tigi’s Catwalk Session Series Salt Spray to give a little grit and hold to my fine hair (I’m sure Catherine had been swimming laps before she was so rudely barged in on), and rough dry.

Next, the part that is mega-important to give my hair height and staying power (without any little broken pieces falling forward--Bleach casualties) is to spray dry shampoo and then back-comb. Don’t go overboard with the back-combing, and break your hair. Start at the back of your dome and sort of shape your pomp by back-combing.

Next, since my hair is pretty short, I have to improvise my French twist. This gives me flashbacks to my sophomore prom (the one where I went to the tanning bed) and my hair was even shorter than it is now but I desperately wanted my hair to look like Paris Hilton’s (I’m sorry) on the cover of the March 2004 issue of Elle, so I rolled up to the Aveda Salon in Snider Plaza and showed my main man Jason a picture. They did a fabulous job, and you would have had no clue my hair was literally THREE inches long.

After the texturizing spray and crown teasing, I pull all my hair back into a ponytail and with my right hand make an inverted “V” like if I were to cut my hair off with scissors, with my palm flat on my head. Next, I wrap my “phony” left around my middle finger, tucking it under and securing with hairpins. There will be some hair spillage, so I use bobby pins to tuck those back. Spray thoroughly with Elnett, and rough with your hands a bit, and you should be good.


For Catherine’s look, we want to start with a face color on the matte or satin end of the spectrum. “Dewy” doesn’t seem like the look Catherine was going for, but she also wasn’t caking heavy foundation on her face.

Sunday Riley Effottless Breathable Tinted Primer is tinted but not at all shiny, and evens out your face without covering it up.

Next, I apply concealer as needed and finish with a dusting of powder my T-zone.

Contouring is essential to achieve that strong, '90s look (and to fake that your bone structure is like Sharon Stone’s). Using Tom Ford’s Shade & Illuminate, shade under your cheekbone down towards your mouth and blend in circular motions. Now shade both sides of your nose, and under your jaw.

For contouring your eye socket, you will need a slanted eye brush like Burberry’s Eye Shaper, and a neutral taupe shadow like Burberry’s Almond. Shade around where the top of your eyeball bulges when you have it shut. Don’t overdo! Catherine was subtle (well, with her makeup at least).

For cheeks, I applied a rosy pigment, YLS Rouge Volupte Shine in Rose Infininte, on the apples of my cheeks, which you can also use on your lips after lining them fully in MAC lip liner in Strip Down (Catherine would approve, duh).

Catherine’s brows are strong with a capitol S, so I used Anastasia’s powder duo in Ash Blonde/Taupe to fill them in before spraying a bit of Elnett on my (old) toothbrush. Her eyes are defined with out having too much of a “look.”

I lined the top of my eye right at the lash line with MAC’s Bountiful Brown and smudged it a bit with my finger. I then applied two coats of CoverGirls NatureLuxe mascara in black brown.

Finally, the dress. Believe me, I wish I could tell you I owned something similar, but my crusty ass’s white dresses consist of ones that make me look like a sister wife, or like I’m going to a Phish show.

You may not have Catherine’s wardrobe, bone structure (devastating!) or knack for ice picks, but you can cop her look, and cop you should, cause it’s fierce as all f&%k.