Admittedly, as a fashion and style writer, I don’t often get the chance to interview beauty experts. But when I heard that Scott “Body Bling” Barnes was releasing About Face – Amazing Transformations Using the Secrets of the Top Celebrity Makeup Artist, a new book 240-page coffee table book featuring 20 dramatic makeovers, I was immediately drawn to check it out. After all, this is the makeup guru–artist’s artist is more accurate–that was responsible for Jennifer Lopez’s stunning looks in the movie “Maid in Manhattan” and music video “Jenny From the Block,” two of my all-time favorite on-screen productions. In advance of the book’s official debut next week, when longtime clients Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian and Mariska Hargitay will host a party in Barnes’s honor in New York City, I chatted with the beauty expert on a bevy of topics. Herewith, his thoughts:
-What’s your personal makeup resolution for 2010?
“Honestly, I’ve been really getting into more fantasy stuff. I’ve always had a love for that but at this point in my career I feel like I can break into it a little bit more, which is fun. I’ve gotten a lot of people calling me for [work on] videos!”
-What should be the everyday woman’s makeup resolution for 2010?
“I always tell people to really find out what looks best on you–it’s like finding that perfect little black dress or that perfect shoe. Sometimes, if it’s a classic thing, it becomes a staple within your wardrobe–and I look like makeup much like a wardrobe. Trends come and go, and you want to implement a few trends here and there, but you don’t want to be a walking trend report. Sometimes too much of a good is too much. Sometimes simplicity is sexier. A beautiful woman never goes out of style.”
-Why did you want to write this book?
“The whole point of why I wrote this book is that it’s not new information–it’s just lost information. We’ve gotten to a place where everybody’s about being too thin or not thin enough or all this plastic surgery and I think it’s ok to embrace what you have inside of yourself and here are some tips on how to make the best part of yourself come out. It’s about beauty for purpose. What are you going to do once you have the whole world’s attention–or just your office’s? It’s about putting yourself together and having confidence and strength. It’s about using the power of your beauty properly and be able to go after one’s goals in life.”
-In terms of a personal connection, the book is dedicated to your brother.
“My brother, John, unfortunately passed away of melanoma two years ago. He would’ve been 32 this year. It’s one of the most curable cancers in the world if it’s caught early enough–but if it’s not caught, it can be one of the most aggressive cancers. That’s the reason why I create really great products for bronzing; I’m really known for glowy, bronzy skin. I tell people to stay out of the sun, and it’s ironic my brother would die of skin cancer. You can fake your hair, your boobs–so fake your tan!”
-What’s the biggest misconception about makeup?
“It’s funny–I always have women go ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I’m afraid of it’ and forget that it’s not permanent. Makeup comes off. It’s a lipstick; you’re not buying a car. Women tend to get uptight when it comes to makeup, but you just need to play with it to get it right. I answer questions all day with women saying, ‘I don’t look as pretty as Jennifer Lopez or Penelope Cruz,’ but I remind them that they’re real people to. You just take what’s really beautiful and accentuate it!”
-Speaking of J.Lo, how did you fortify her makeup during her recent New Year’s Eve performance, when she performed outdoors in Times Square in the freezing cold with rain and snow falling?
“There were so many variables going on that night! The makeup had to be much more dramatic and impactful because there’s an ensemble accompanying her. It can’t get lost in translation. Jennifer was performing so she’s heating up and sweating–but I have this secret product I developed that I can’t reveal but I put it underneath her foundation and nothing moves. You could go swimming and nothing would change! The trickiest part was when she had the catsuit on, what to do with the eyes. I didn’t want her eyes to look puny but I didn’t want her to look like a drag queen either! I did her makeup at the hotel and then during the rehearsal, she sang in ski clothes and I realized she needed more makeup so I turned the dial up on her makeup by 100!”
-What are some of your favorite beauty products out there right now?
“As far as skin care, I use primarily La Mer for the body and La Prairie for the face–they’re fantastic. I’m also a big fan of François Nars; he has really amazing products that deliver. I always tell people there are four things you have to have in your life: a Shu Uemura eyelash curler (it curls the lashes really well and rounds, not creases, the eyelash); some eye drops; mascara and lip gloss. You can go anywhere with these four things and look awake!
-Does spending that extra 5 minutes each morning truly make a difference?
“Huge difference! We’re faced with pressure everyday, everywhere we go, so when you take those 5 minutes to feel really good about yourself you feel empowered–and it’s infectious. It’s very much a pay-it-forward situation.”
-How important are hair and wardrobe when it comes to your beauty regimen?
“It’s really important because if your face is done right, sometimes the hair may be off but it’ll still work. Look at Audrey Hepburn–for years all she wore was jeans and a turtleneck and she was stunning. Your face is what everybody connects with. Wardrobe is important but it’s not the deciding factor.”
-You’ve worked with so many celebrities at so many memorable moments in their lives. What is your most memorable to date?
“Recently I worked with Celine Dion on a Christmas special and I loved her. It is the craziest to be in the room with somebody who, when they warm up their voice, the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up! We flew down to Orlando for this special and they let us use the inside of Cinderella’s castle for her dressing room! There were Disney employees who’d worked there for 14 years that had never been in there. We worked inside one of the castle’s peaks and you could see the entire kingdom! It was stunning! We were just waiting for the ‘mice’ to come out!”
-Are there certain makeup techniques you won’t use on specific celebs?
“It varies, but the great thing about makeup is that if it doesn’t work, you wash it away. That’s the fun of it: there are no rules! Ten people can pick up the same eyeliner and work it ten different ways.”
-What beauty advice do you have for women who have lost their job and are looking to get back into the job market?
“With the Body Bling, I originally had it for $48, but with the economy, I repackaged it into a tube for $38. Since the packaging was less expensive for me to manufacture, I was able to drop the price $10. I’d rather people enjoy the product than charge them extra for housing the product. I tell women they’re going to be ok and that we’re all going to stick together. It’s about keeping a positive attitude and feeling beautiful because that inner glow keeps you strong. You don’t want to be overlooked; maintain your strength, beauty and grace.”
-What one makeup idea or trend you hope died with the end of 2009?
“I always hated the brown lip liner thing. That, for me, and the really penciled-in eyebrows, I truly hated.”
Limited edition signed copies of the book are available at www.scottbarnes.com