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Scott Barnes Spills on Catherine Zeta-Jones's Flawless Oscars Makeup

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Courtesy Scott Barnes

Celebrity makeup artist and author of Face to Face Scott Barnes is the man responsible for Catherine Zeta-Jones‘s flawless Oscar beauty look, and he’s giving PEOPLE the inside scoop on how to recreate the actress’s makeup at home. Check out his blog below for a how-to, and his thoughts on the show!

If I had to pick one theme for Sunday’s Academy Awards, it would most definitely be ‘Everything that glitters is gold.’ Halle Berry! Naomi Watts! Catherine Zeta-Jones! Yowzers! There was a lot of metallic walking down that red carpet, and I loved every minute of it. If you ask me, it was the best Oscars event in years, from start to finish.

I thought all the women and the men looked amazing; host Seth MacFarlane was funny and charming and kept things moving; and the musical theme was unexpected and so dramatic — which is what Hollywood is all about. Awards shows can be so serious, and while yes, these awards are career-defining moments for many actors and actresses, this is also the entertainment business. It’s supposed to be entertaining. So I’m glad it was.

I was fortunate enough to be behind the scenes with the ever-gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones, who stunned audiences in two parts. First, she walked the red carpet in an eye-popping gold dress by Zuhair Murad, jewels by my good friend, Lorraine Schwartz, and makeup by yours truly.

It was a tricky job: Though the Oscars are an evening event — with endless photo ops — the red carpet starts at 3 p.m. Los Angeles time, outside and under natural lighting. That means makeup has to be substantial enough to hold up to flash photography, but still natural enough to not look like a mask beneath the light of day.

As I discuss in my book,
Face to Face
, the red carpet (or any other special occasion) is not an invitation to go overboard on your makeup. You don’t want the face and the dress — or even the face and the earrings — to compete. That’s why for her red carpet look, I kept Catherine’s makeup fairly neutral.

Catherine Zeta Jones Oscar Performance

Airbrushing can be an ideal technique to call on to create a flawlessly neutral face. Sending light to the center of the face — which is what airbrushing does — can brighten evening looks and help you take amazing photos. Though some artists use it all over the face, I tend to use airbrushing to highlight and contour. On Catherine, I used Dior Air Flash in shade 300 to highlight, even skin tone and fill in any creases. It’s seriously a miracle product. Because I wanted the focus to be on her eyes, I also used the airbrush to tone down her brows.

To Catherine’s lids, I applied a taupe shadow, with a darker brown shadow in the crease. You’ll notice there’s absolutely nothing metallic about her look, which was very intentional. The face and dress are working together, not against one another. Everyone gets along! I placed strip and individual lashes on her lids to create extra volume and length, and gave them a quick swipe of black mascara — only a coat. Her cheeks got that fresh, flushed look from NARS blush in Orgasm applied to the apples of her cheeks, to help brighten her skin for photos. And her lips are nearly bare. In fact, I toned down the natural redness of her lips using a base of cream foundation, and then applied a neutral, taupe lipstick topped with M.A.C Cremesheen lip gloss in Boy Bait.

For her performance singing “All that Jazz,” though, I went in a completely different direction. (And how insane was that, by the way? It had been 10 years since she had done that number for so many people.) I took the opportunity to use the drama of the situation to give Catherine a red lip, and I unleashed those big, bold eyebrows.

Not everyone can wear a red lip, and even those who have the lips for it might not always want to. I always say: There’s a time and a face for every red lip. “All that Jazz” — the drama of the music, the short, black bob — was one of them. My red of choice for Catherine was M.A.C’s Ruby Woo, a generally universally flattering red lipstick. And when you watch her on TV — or from side stage, where I did — it’s really a striking look. I like to think it also helped her get into character a little bit. Makeup is great for helping you feel like a slightly different version of you.

For your own upcoming special events, I hope you take some of these lessons to heart. Less is more — it’s not all or nothing when it comes to makeup, remember that — but fun is paramount. Great red carpet makeup should help you look your best, but more importantly feel your best. That’s when you’ll really shine.

–Scott Barnes

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