Interview: Make up artist to the Stars Spencer Barnes' ultimate beauty tips...

Interview: Make up artist to the Stars Spencer Barnes' ultimate beauty tips...

Spencer, tell us a little about how you became a make up artist?

As a child, I loved painting and drawing. I begged my parents to enroll me in outside art classes. Halloween was especially fun for me growing up, because it meant I could create monsters and creatures with makeup and costumes.

When I was a student, I loved working on student films, and regularly produced local commercials as part of my college film club. After seeing my first live stage performance, my interest in transformation and visual storytelling intensified - leading me to spend the next ten years immersed in acting in theatre, commercials, television and film.

The transformational tool of makeup was always key to completing any character and so it was always there, always a part of that world and it just made sense to me, though I never thought of it as a possible career at the time. 

Even if you had told me during my last semester of film school that in just one year, I would be painting the faces of some of Hollywood’s biggest starlets, I would have laughed. After graduating and moving to Los Angeles from Utah everything changed, and things just took off. 

You've worked on everything from TV shows such as House and of course done looks for the red carpet, what is the most enjoyable part of the job for you?

I have done many House promo shoots with Olivia, as well as numerous press interviews, red carpet events, editorial shoots, appearances, interviews, award shows and advertising campaigns.

Olivia is such a vibrant, smart, dynamic, and lovely person - not to mention drop-dead gorgeous - and I find it so compelling and fulfilling to  explore and express facets of Olivia's personality through makeup, giving visual radiance to her soul. Sure, a talented makeup artist can do a lot for any face, but you can't fake structure like hers.

In addition to the artistry, my job is to ensure that my clients feel confident, beautiful and ready to take on their work day. If I can help them relax, and get excited for work, while I help them put their best face forward, then I have succeeded. 

You work closely with the lovely Olivia Wilde on House series 7, soon to be released on DVD; her eyes always look so lush and stand out - how do you achieve this look?

Olivia's eyes are definitely my favourite feature. I focus on her eye shape and often extend it out. Lashes are key for her for more glamorous looks, but her incredible pale greenish-blue eye colour gives rise to choosing shadows that either complement or contrast them. I love using bronzes, purples or charcoal tones - they really help her eyes pop!

What looks have you loved this season?

I have loved the gorgeous bronze tones, luminous skin, sheer lip color, bright tropical tints for lips and cheeks, gray nail polish and pearlescent eyeshadow tones. 

What make up trends do you predict will be popular for autumn/winter?

Colour trends often vary based on what cosmetic companies are trying to pedal as the new "must-have" collections. But these often trickle down from fashion/runway trends and are influenced by pop culture and the media.

I'm guessing we will see currant, plums, burnished spice, smoky turquoise, velvet matte lips, creamy looking metallic shadows some vibrant (more jewel toned) some smoky and rich-coloured yet sheer glosses. Various lip shades of holiday reds will certainly appear as well as sparkling glosses and liquid eyeliner. 

You have such an impressive CV, working with some of the best of the A Listers - who have you enjoyed styling in your career?

I have been fortunate to work with many of Hollywood's top starlets some of which I have become quite close with over the years.  I especially love working with Olivia Wilde, Julianne Hough, Angie Harmon, Amber Heard, both Zooey & Emily Deschanel, Tricia Helfer, Emanuelle Chriqui and Brooke Burke.

Do you have any 'go-to' signature looks that work every time?

Though I love creating everything from red carpet looks, to fashion and the avant-garde, I am best known for my deceptively "clean beauty".  Women love it when the end result is about them looking enhanced, but effortlessly beautiful. That way it's more about their whole person looking great - not just about great makeup. 

Can you give us any tips on how to achieve some simple, stylish make up looks?

Try picking one feature to take the focus and let others work to complement it. Maybe it's a bold or sumptuous lip color paired with a clean, but defined eye. Or a dark, smoldering eye combined with a glossy pale-pink or nude lip. Perhaps it's glowing, radiant skin with creamy cheeks and lips. There are so many possible combinations, but remember by focusing on one feature, it keeps the look simple, fun, wearable and uncomplicated. 

Bold, bright shades and smoky eyes have been big hits this season, but do you have any favourite colours and shades that you like to use in your looks?

I love dimensional colour. For the eyes I love champagne, peachy-nudes, taupe, charcoal, bronze, gold, amethyst, lilac, purples, olive, both iridescent/shimmer and matte shadows can be impactful. Placement, shading, intensity and shape will also have a big impact on the finished vibe. 

What are your favourite products to use for a professional, flawless finish?

I'm obsessed with Chanel Glossimers, love  Benefit's Hoola bronzer, as well as NARS Casino bronzer, Makeup Forever's Face & Body makeup mixed with Scott Barnes' Body Bling makes a genius red-carpet glow on legs, arms and decollate; Ardell knot-free flare lashes are a must-have staple; KohGenDo foundations are some of the best/least noticeable (created specifically for HD film/TV); Lancôme’s Maquicomplet concealers are smooth, lightweight, provide excellent coverage and offers a great shade range.


We're always on the look out for new fab products, have you spotted any lately?

I love the hot-pink egg-shaped sponges called "Beauty Blender". They are washable and reusable and the egg shape gives such dynamic blending and smoothing for broad or detailed areas. Also Kate Somerville's Tan Towelettes rock and I anticipate the new Kevyn Aucoin colour launch. In the UK, I love the new Covergirl Mascaras, Guerlain Lip glosses, Armani Luminous silk foundation and Orgasm Blush by NARS

Do you have any beauty tips/secrets that can help to instantly lift a look?

-Properly hydrate and protect your skin.

-Avoid heavy foundation/powders because they tend to settle into fine lines/wrinkles, accentuating them. Instead use concealer/foundation only where you need it and only gently powder the T-zone if shine begins to pop through. 

-Use a pop of colour in your lipstick or rouge rather than bright or intense eyeshadows, which can look heavy.  Berries, pinks, corals and reds can evoke a youthful, fertile, alive and sexy vibe. Try crème rouge instead of a dry powder. 

-Focus your eye area instead on well-shaped/ maintained brows and intensify your upper lash line. Enhancing these natural features will do a lot more for the expressiveness of your face than say an ambitious or colourful eyeshadow probably would. 

Which other celebrities would you love to style/do make up for and why?

Natalie Portman because she has a dynamic career, is always working, and stunningly beautiful.

Kate Blanchet, because she is not afraid to embrace and explore beauty in many forms and her face is incredibly expressive.

Perhaps Lady Gaga - I love the idea of creating music video looks, album artwork and editorial images for this young, talented and sometimes controversial music artist who has a revolutionary quality to her music. Although Gaga can be avant-garde at times, it's her willingness to use her voice and celebrate, explore and even exploit her dynamic qualities that excite that little boy inside me who was first captivated by live theatre so many years ago.  

 Spencer Barnes is the make-up artist to Olivia Wilde who plays the smart and stylish Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley in House. Catch House Season 7 on Universal Blu-ray™ & DVD from 26 September 2011.

FemaleFirst Jenna Fordie    twitter: @Jenna_FAM