Thanks for welcoming Scott Barnes to PEOPLE StyleWatch! The celebrity makeup artist has been hard at work lately, releasing his second book, Face to Face, and blogging for People.com. This week, he tells us how to translate red carpet looks into our own lives.
I know there was a lot of talk last week about Emmy Award beauty: who looked good and who — I don’t know — maybe took last week’s call to experimentation just a little too literally. In the coming months, we’re going to be hearing many more opinions about red carpet looks, because the Emmys are only the start of award season. If I weren’t so exhausted, it would be my favorite time of the year!
As a general rule, I never comment on other makeup artists’ work, so you won’t get out of me which stars I thought looked amazing, and which I think should reconsider their choice of artist next time around (I bet you can take a few guesses, though).
Getty; Berliner; PictureGroup; Berliner
I will, however, use this opportunity to talk to you about how to take what you see happening on the red carpet and incorporate it into your own life. Because even if you’re not a Hollywood actress, everyone has a “red carpet” event, whether your carpet leads to your wedding, your high school reunion or a special anniversary dinner.
What you want to remember, however, is that a special occasion is not an invitation to go overboard on your makeup. One important rule of thumb: Eyes or lips but never both. Which brings us to this week’s Scottism: Too much of a good thing is like Sharon Stone in Casino: a cracked out mess. More is not more. I can’t say it enough.
With that, I’ll give you some easy ideas for looking outstanding on your own red carpet:
Super-lashes, like Kerry Washington. I love false eyelashes, and use them all the time to make a woman’s eyes look bigger. And, of course, to add some drama! Always apply your faux lashes to clean eyelids and lashes. Ideally, you’ve used an oil-free makeup remover, so that there’s no chance any residue could cause your lashes to slip. Your faux lashes will adhere to both your lid and your existing lashes, so it’s important that both are clean.
Secret trick: Demi-lashes — half lashes — are a nice alternative for opening up the eye without going all the way. To do that, simply cut the strip eyelash in half and apply either one or both halves to the outside or inside corner of your eye.
The Red Lip, like Kat Dennings. The red lip can be one of most fuss-free ways to take your daytime look out on the town, or create drama for a black-tie event. (You never want to wear red in the daylight: too harsh.) But I have to be honest: I don’t always love it. Red lips are a commitment, for one, but two, not everyone can wear them. If your lips are small, red can make them appear smaller, like a little zipper. Red looks best, in my opinion, on a full lip.
Secret trick: When you’re finished applying your red lip, put a Q-tip in your mouth, press your lips together, and pull it out. This will get rid of any lipstick on the inside of your lips, which can bleed onto your teeth.
The Smoky Eye, like January Jones. A smoky eye is a great way to completely transform and glam up your look, while calling attention to the facial feature that most women say is their favorite. Absolutely any face can rock a smoky eye. Just be sure to remember that you can go dramatic on the eyes OR the lips. If you choose a smoky eye, keep the lips neutral. When they compete, no one wins.
Secret trick: Don’t let watery eyes ruin your look. To reduce tearing, inhale sharply through your nose a few times. It really works!
The Tan (faux, of course), like Julie Bowen. Being red-carpet ready isn’t only about your face. A nice glow can make skin look healthy and more toned, helping muscles and bones to stand out. And there are plenty of amazing self-tanners and body makeup products to give you color and change your skin tone without a trip to the tanning bed (don’t!). A good self-tan can also let you get away with wearing not a lot of jewelry. But don’t overdo it: You want to look glowy and well-rested, not like you’ve been playing in the dirt.
Secret trick: Work the tanner or makeup into your body like a moisturizer, rubbing vigorously and evenly. Don’t be afraid of it. Many makeup tanners will look dark right out of the tube, but will soon absorb into your skin. Rub until coverage is even.
(For more detailed how-tos on any of the above, check out my new book,
Face to Face
My parting words: A special event means you should look your best, but that doesn’t mean you need to call on every trick in the book. Remember that there may be lots of photographic records of the evening. You don’t want people to remember you for all eternity as the girl who looked like she spent the afternoon drowning in her mother’s makeup bag.
Now go forth and get glam!