It’s no secret that one of our favorite areas of exploration here at Who What Wear is the magic that is Jennifer Lopez. From her impossibly cool style to her mastery of aging and her general badassery, we can’t get enough of Jenny From the Block. When it comes to her makeup, in particular, we’re in perpetual awe of the fact that she never seems to have an off day. It’s truly unreal, and that’s due in large part to her trusted makeup artist, Scott Barnes.
Two decades painting famous faces such as Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian West have taught Barnes a thing or two about getting the look right, every single time. So when we heard the veteran beauty guru was adding a range of face and eye palettes to his eponymous cosmetics line, we knew each offering would be something special. In an effort to get closer to our goal of putting our best faces forward, we jumped at the chance to ask Barnes his opinion on the makeup mistakes that are holding us back from looking like J.Lo (you know, aside from our pesky DNA).
Ahead, check out the five mistakes that make him cringe, and learn what to do instead.
“Hard contour lines are usually a sign that you are just following a trend and ignoring your own face. When I launched my second book with Kim Kardashian on the cover, who is widely known for contouring, I vocalized then that contour is about accentuating what is already there,” Barnes explains. “Instead of copying how others may contour, think of it like a surgeon would: Rounded faces can use some structure, and structured faces can use some roundness. Be honest with your facial structure, and that will help you to take command of the process like a professional would.”
The takeaway: Contour according to your own facial shape, not according to what you see others doing.
Barnes is an OG Hollywood makeup artist, and as such, he’s seen the rise and fall of many a makeup trend. “Unblended eye shadow is very 1999,” he says. “My solution is to blend so that your eye color and shape can pop! Your eye shadow shouldn’t be stealing that away. Think of eye shadow as the introduction to your whole look. You want it to be a smooth transition into the exploration of the other colors going on with your outfit and body.”
The takeaway: Blend, blend, blend (and then blend some more) so that your eye shadow fits seamlessly into the rest of your look.
“I can look at any skin type, dark or light, and see whether it’s shifted more yellow or red, and whether their cheeks need a smaller or larger blush area,” Barnes told us. “If you have a redder hue and you are pounding on a ton of pink blush, it can end up looking messy. Know your skin, and your blush will start looking more natural. And always put the blush more toward the front of your cheeks, not on the sides.”
The takeaway: Think of blush as a way to add youthfulness by shifting hues, and also consider the placement.
“Highlighting brings things forward, and shadows make things recede, so I can understand why some might give in to the temptation to pound their cheek hollows with half of their highlighter product. I think the best way to handle hollows of the cheeks is really about choosing the correct contour color, proper layering, and choosing the correct foundation shade that can lift your hollow area from underneath,” Barnes instructs.
The takeaway: Choose your contour and foundation carefully so you aren’t tempted to go overboard with highlighter.
“I love drama, but during the day, the harshness of heavy eye makeup can pull so much contrast that it actually does you a disservice. I’ve been doing makeup for 20 years on and off the camera, so one thing that I always bear in mind is the light. What you thought would play nicely suddenly doesn’t. My advice to anyone wanting to wear more dramatic eye makeup during the day is to reject the urge of just choosing a lot of blacks and grays or dark, thick colors. Instead, stick with darker shades of natural tones that match your skin. You’ll find that the contrast you were going for is still achievable with practice and experimentation,” says Barnes.
The takeaway: Be patient with perfecting your daytime drama, and take into account the lighting you’ll be working with and the colors you’re using.