Lupita Nyong’o’s Makeup Artist: “It’s Not About What Makeup Looks Like in the Tube”

Augusta Falletta
lupita nyong'o

Donato Sardella/Getty Images

While we’re constantly trying out the latest and greatest makeup products, we’re also looking for ways to use cosmetics to make each individual girl look amazing. Whether she’s a shy personality with a dark complexion or a brazen girl with porcelain skin, finding the makeup that will work best for you personally is a huge deal. Besides personality, mood, and facial features, finding the colors and textures that will work best with your skin tone is the key to figuring out your signature look.

Nick Barose, celebrity makeup artist for everyone from Lupita Nyong’o to Kate Mara, knows how to play up features and experiment with products like no one else. Naturally, when we caught up with him to chat about the new summer line of products from Votre Vu cosmetics, we asked about how he works with bright colors, experiments with textures, and helps his famous clients find their best looks possible. Read more below!

Beauty High: With a palette like this from Votre Vu [below], how would you use it differently for lighter, medium, and darker skin tones?
Nick Barose: With this eye palette in general, it would work on all skin tones because there’s a deep brown and like a neutral and then this sort of a bronzy green, so that in general would work on every skin tone. You can do a more natural day time look with it or you can do a smokier, more dramatic look with it for all the skin tones. The lighter color would only work for fair to medium because for medium skin, it actually goes lighter, so that would be more for like fair to medium.

votre vu eyeshadow palette

Votre Vu Palette Play in Nude, $42, Votrevu.com

If you’re doing a really bright eye makeup or something like a blue eyeshadow, what would you suggest doing with the rest of the look?
Depending on the person, I don’t really believe in rules because every woman is different. So, some people can wear bright lips and bright eyes, like for example I did something with Lupita [above] a while ago that I did a bright blue but then the lip was red. Of course not everybody can carry it, but that’s what I mean by when people say, ‘beauty rule: if you do a bright eye, you can’t do a bright lip,’ but that’s not true because some people can carry it, so I think it depends. In general if you do a bright eye but you want it to be more than that, let’s say you do a bright blue then a dark, but bold lipstick, that would be an interesting way to make a statement. It draws your eyes to the lid but at the same time it doesn’t clash with the bright colors because its more on the brown side. But I feel like depending on the woman you can do different things, and I think it’s really more about bringing out the personality.

MORE: Eye Makeup to Balance Bold Lipstick

The new Votre Vu line is packed with a mix of satin and metallic finishes. What’s the best way to work with metallics?
When it comes to metallics, I would keep it in small doses because you don’t want to look like the Tin Man. It’s really about using it in small doses to make a statement. I don’t want women to be afraid when they see a bad metallic eye makeup and get turned off, because if you do it in a small dose, it looks really amazing. You don’t use it all over, you don’t want to look like a disco ball. You use it in strategic places to highlight and shine.

In the past, celebrities would have a signature look on the red carpet, but now it’s a little hard because everyone wants the next big thing.
Yeah, you can have a signature look but you can always play around with different colors. You can have a new signature look every six months. I mean you don’t really have to stick with it because then that could get boring, too. I think every six months, or every three months, or every day, you can switch things up to be whatever you want. It’s so fun for me to do it on myself, because I’m like, ‘wow,’ then you realize how different colors make you feel differently, like a red lip versus a dark lip, it’s just a completely different feeling.

Why do you think people get stuck in one specific look?
It’s about experimenting. A lot of times what holds people back is that they don’t want to experiment. They see a dark color in an eyeshadow palette and think it’s going to look like that on their face, when actually, you can use dark shadow as a liner, or you can do a smokey eye, or you can do a wash with it. That’s the thing about makeup, you can manipulate it, you can have so much fun with it. You know, like the same eyeshadow can go a different way, you can wet it and make it into an eyeliner; a lipstick can be like a stain or full on, so it’s really not about what it looks like in the tube.

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