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Friday, May 14, 2010

Book review: About Face, by Scott Barnes (pic heavy!)

A while ago I have ordered this book from Amazon, as I subscribed to Scott Barnes youtube channel, and found him great!
When I found out he is Jennifer Lopez's makeup artist, I thought this book was going to be worth every penny. Yes, Scott is responsible for the infamous "JLo glow", and also for those supersexy smokey eyes on gorgeous Hillary Duff! He has worked on many celebrities (many girls' favourite, Kim Kardashian amongst others), and this book explain the basic techniques he always uses on them. You can change the colours, you can change the styles, but the Scott Barnes technique is all there.

This post will be picture heavy, as I wanted to give you a good insight of the book, and also show the wonderful Jess from Ooh...pretty! that she can opens up her eyes a lot, and have a complete transformation without having to worry about her Asian-shaped eyes (which, by the way, I have always found intriguing). All you need to do is dare, honey!

The first thing I have noticed about this book, is that Scott is clearly an educated man. No, I'm not talking about make-up education, I am talking about general culture. In fact, the book opens up with a quote from Soren Kierkegaard (in case you're not familiar with his name, he was a Danish philosopher, theologian, and psychologist who lived in the first half of the 1800's) on possibility:
"What wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating as possibility?" ...that is the outlook Barnes has in life, and in his work, and he transferred that onto his book. It is not just about beauty, makeup, appearence...to him, makeup is about the possibility of transforming your own self into the inner beauty that you are. The possibility of revealing your beauty to yourself, not merely to others! And that is the true power each one of us has within!

That's not the only wise quote he inserted: along with the Danish philosopher, you will find quotes from Nelson Mandela, and one of the greatest writers ever, Edgar Allan Poe! And if you are not persuaded yet, there is a wonderful photographic quote from the Neo-classicism art movement:

Doesn't it remind you of a painting, and many statues from that period?

Now, on to the acutal content of the book: About Face is divided in 3 chapters, essentially. Each one of them has a different range of transformations, alongside with useful information on tips from Scott.
The Scott Barnes approach is a bit different from other makeup artists': he thinks in terms of light, so he works on the skin, and on the way lights hit it. This is why the main feature of his technique, reflected in all transformation, is skin: highlighting and contouring! You will see from the pictures below.

The first transformation - and most amazing one, in my opinion - I am going to post is for Jess:

Basically you have to make sure you have a good highlighting concealer, and a dark (bronzer-dark) cream foundation. You have to blend the concealer where you think light hits your face around the eyes, on the nose, on the forhead and on the chin.
Then you have to contour your face, drawing thick lines with your dark foundation. Only after this step you can put on your regular foundation, making sure you blend it in with the other two creams very well! Click on the picture above and you will see what the result is.

Then, to create the illusion of a larger eye, you need to get a black eyepencil and elongate your shape IN BOTH DIRECTIONS, so inner and outer corner. Start from the lower lashline, because that way, you will define a precise wing, following your natural (imaginary) line.
Second step is applying your eyeshadow. Now, he uses a black eyeshadow here, but you can really use this technique with other colours. What you need to do is, building it while blending repeatedly to create width and depht. Do go above your crease! Dare!
Now this will have opened your eyes a lot, but to open them a lot more, use false lashes. Half-lashes would do the trick too!
Please, click on the image and zoom in, you should be able to read all the steps too!

...And now that you are thinking "that woman is smoking hot"...look what she looked like before her transformation:
...amazing what that technique has done, huh?

More transformations:

(my fave)

How to turn pale skin into a natural sun kissed face!

And for all black beauties out there:

Yellow concealer will make your skin look amazing!!!!

So overall, I really loved reading this book, and I encourage you to read it too, and of course to watch Scott Barnes' videos on youtube. You will see the different approach he has on smokey eyes as well. I have tried his technique once, and I was so different!!!

I'll give this book a 4.5/5 just because I would have liked more eye makeup tricks! ;)

hope you girls found this useful, and if you need anything, just let me know!


  1. Bellissimo!
    però questi truccatori non ti dicono che per quanto loro dicano che hanno messo poco poco di tutti quelle modelle hanno kg di fondotinta in faccia che dalla foto è impossibile vedere. cmq quell'uomo è bravissimo e confermo di volermi comprare questo libro stupendo!!

  2. great review! the book looks fantastic x

  3. WOW.. I really want this book now. The transformations are amazing. Thank you for the terrific review.

  4. I have been considering this book for a while, now you've convinced me to pull the trigger on it :)
    Thanks for the great review!

  5. comunque anche le luci giuste e la foto fanno tanto...e chissà che non ci sia di mezzo anche photoshop!

  6. Tday I trialled out the contouring technique... I looked amazing!!! yayyyy
    @ filokakos...c'è sempre di mezzo photoshop!! ahahah però sono comunque belli utili ed ispiranti sti libri ed io li amo!

  7. wow! The before and afters are amazing!!

  8. Thanks for sharing this, Lydia!
    Oh my gosh, the transformations are gorgeous!

    Of course, excellent photography plays an important role too, but still great makeup! :)

  9. WANT! But how do these amazing MUAs manage to do such heavy highlighting and contouring but blend it to look so natural? It's amazing!

  10. Just googling on makeup and damn! I need to buy that book haha.