I got this book after a disastrous run-in with Bobbi Brown's advice. Brown is a talented make-up artist and I believe she did makeup for a lot of Hollywood stars who have this "golden glow." She also has "rules" and all the girls in my school growing up assiduously followed them. The problem is of course, with makeup there aren't any rules as everyone's face is different. Also, you can use makeup to change things up and innovate in all sorts of ways. Rule wise, I'd only say that you shouldn't use dangerous chemicals and practice. Just make yourself happy really. The "advice" that I took from Bobbi had to do with yellow toned foundations. She recommended that people (or the actress that she worked with really) use yellow toned foundation. So I went out to give it a go.
Oh.my.gosh. I had yellow face. I was a walking racist character. It was not good. Was it Bobbi's fault? No! I was a stupid kid who didn't really get marketing (Bobbi wanted me to buy a yellow toned foundation from her brand of course) and also I didn't understand color matching and makeup in general. It was also most likely advice more in line to her starlets and not dorky little middle schoolers. I don't want to sound like I'm hating on Bobbi, I think she's a fantastic artist and really the Queen of the neutral look. You can't go wrong with that.
Bobbi had a book at the time and I desperately wanted it. My mom got this book for me instead, and I'm quite grateful for a variety of reasons. I don't remember much from Bobbi's book but it was very much in the same vein "how to do makeup", this was pre-Youtube (we were on our own. It was a wild west of makeup looks y'all!). My friends and I would take this book (and Bobbi's) and do makeovers on each other when we were having sleepovers. I think my mom just went for variety. Whatever the reason, this was a win. It's been with me since that time and I've used it for reference to this day.
Title: Making Faces
Author: Kevyn Aucoin
Page Number: 160 pages (paperback)
Genre: reference, nonfiction
Publisher: Little Brown and Co
America's preeminent makeup artist shares his secrets, explaining not only the basics of makeup application and technique but also how to use the fundamentals to create a wide range of different looks. 200 color photos & sketches.
The first chapter of the book is about Kevyn, his life, his outlook on beauty and career. It's short and sweet but covers the basics of his life and career: his sexuality, his start in makeup, and some of his inspirations.
The second section is about the basics of makeup. From the simple sheer aspect of some smoothing to transforming the whole look of a person. Kevyn mostly explains how to highlight and enhance your features and how to define your face in the most natural way. Each section (eyes, lips, cheeks, etc) has it's own section with tools and techniques for application. Aucoin notes there are no hard "rules" and that beauty is always subjective. The sections he covers in some form are skin care and preparation (for makeup), understanding facial structure, foundation (types/coverage), powder, concealer, shading (contour), highlighting, browns, eye shadow, eyeliner, eye-lashes/mascara, lips, and blush.
He then goes on to discuss some basic aspects beyond the techniques, a subcategory of looks. Some examples are dewy, minimal/simple, neutral, shimmer/dewy, dramatic (smokey eye), colorful eyes, glamour (it's my standard Christmas/New Years look tbh) with diagrams and models that showcase the look. Sometimes the models are super famous like Naomi Campbell and Gena Rowland. And the minimal/simple look was perfect my me in school (back in the day).
The third section is a before and after section of "normal" people. I guess we could call it "glow-ups." This is where Aucoin takes the techniques that he outlines in the previous section and uses it on people. Obviously good lighting, hair, and clothes helps but the makeup does really enhance people's features here. There are also little bios of the people who are featured which is nice. I took a picture of Joy's page below. You can see how it goes step by step (with the before makeup and after makeup pictures) and has drawings to give more of an idea.
Aucoin doesn't drop names of brands he uses in the book. It's not Revlon Pink Lipstick or Charlotte Tillbury [insert ridiculously dramatic name] lipstick (they're really long!) but it's just soft pink blush, opaque brown lipstick. This leaves the exact shade up to the person and not a universal color.
It's pretty easy to follow and anything that takes more information than the blurb provides can look back to chapter two. I know they're easy to follow because we followed them all during the sleepovers. Different races, genders and ages are shown (including a great one for teens that can be matured up as a simple, 'glow' look).
The last section is really the most fun. While the first three sections are really good and set up this section....this is the celebrity makeover section. Aucoin takes his celebrity clients (and close friends as well) and turns them into iconic makeup looks. He also gives the step by steps like he did in the third section. The celebrities that are below are T-Boz as the Flapper, Lisa Marie Presley as the Bombshell, and, Shalom Harlow as the Anarchist. You can absolutely do them on yourself with pretty decent success.
I think it was great to see a Flapper makeup on T-boz. Most of the flapper looks on youtube and google are on light skinned people, which is me. It's nice to see the color choices here though. It's very Clara Bow and Josephine Baker (Aucoin has another "look" called the "Vamp" in which Demi Moore channels Clara Bow, but I got more shades of Louise Brooks. It's not important but there's similarity with the looks). I don't think I could go that dark without looking like Vampira but I'm loving it on T-Boz. I swear Lisa Eldridge made a lipstick that is that sepia shade and I didn't get it because I couldn't rock it but I liked how it looked.
I think you can see this variation to some degree in the newest Great Gatsby movie, especially on the Jordan Baker character.
The bombshell! It's very Marilyn Monroe isn't it? He also has a Jean Harlow inspired one (with Drew Barrymore modeling). I don't think Aucoin means this as a true Marilyn remake as he just used one color lipstick and doesn't create the multiple eye shadowing in the corners but it's passable. It also works as a simple, classic look (when scaled back) and as a holiday look.
I would never have guessed that's Lisa Marie, although I can see it now. I'm so used to her as a brunette.
The Anarchist looks has shades of Euphoria (and more) and Dumbo (blush placement) doesn't it? Not just with the super bright colors shown here but with the out of normal placement of colors. The model here is Shalom Harlow, one of the OG supermodels. I didn't recognize her at first but she's been on Vogue a bunch of times.