Bold, Balanced Beauty: An Interview with Celebrity Makeup Artist Nick Barose

Celebrity Makeup Artist Nick Barose flanked by Victoria’s Secret model Izabel Goulart (left) and Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima (right)

It’s not very often that you look at a celebrity and see the person in their real skin. Most of the time something is out of balance, and eye shadow, blush, or lips are used to make the only statement on their face. When celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose works with his clients, (a diverse list that includes Mischa Barton, Kim Cattrall, and Nicole Richie, to name a few) he allows their personality and true beauty to shine through, thus creating a truly holistic look. This isn’t surprising for a man who started out as a Parsons-trained interior designer and spent years working with Kevyn Aucoin. Nick is now making a name for himself as a master makeup artist with Victoria’s Secret.

Growing up in Thailand, Nick put on fashion shows with his girl cousins. Even back then he was concerned with what he refers to as “the whole package.” Through a combination of fashion and makeup the style of the girls arrived. The idea of balance is an integral part of his work today and a glance through his portfolio at the dewy, natural skin, barely flushed cheeks, clean, open eyes, and well-defined lips, which are sometimes bitten, sometimes glossy, but always polished, confirms that idea.

Speaking with Nick from Los Angeles just after the Oscars, where he was the exclusive makeup artist at the “Beauty and the Boudoir Getaway,” co-hosted by lingerie designer Chantal Thomass and hair guru Frederic Fekkai at Fekkai’s Beverly Hills salon and spa, I heard some themes emerge. These included making skin look like skin, working with the right shades and textures for every skin tone, and effortless-looking makeup.

And Nick learned from the best. While still a student at New York’s famed Parsons School of Design, Nick wrote a letter to legendary makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin, whose column in Allure he admired. Having decided that he wanted to pursue a path other than that of interior design, his designated field of study, Nick poured his heart and soul into his note to Aucoin. When Aucoin needed additional assistance during Fashion Week in the early 1990s, he called upon Nick. Those who knew Aucoin always comment on his genuine, kind, and down-to-earth nature. Likewise, Nick shares that temperament as well as Aucoin’s commitment to professionalism and being prepared. Nick embraces the light and fun elements of the cosmetic business, while also managing the myriad personalities by always being prompt and anticipating his clients’ needs. It is this unpretentious attitude that makes Nick one of the most sought-after artists for red carpet events. It is his ability to create timeless looks that allows him to work with clients such as Zooey Deschanel, Maria Bello, Amanda Peet, and Gretchen Mol (soon to star in a biographical film about Bettie Page, and Nick was very excited about and proud of her performance). (read more)

Nick’s signature is a natural, yet glamorous. It is a look that those watching the red carpet arrivals on television can recreate with the products they have at home. I like to call this “Retro Made Relevant,” and it’s evident in the small, pouty lips he creates for Zooey Deschanel, the subtle smokiness of Mischa Barton’s eyes, the defined brow and relatable red lips of Anne Hathaway, and the creamy, flawless skin he creates for all of his clients. Think of Veronica Lake, Jean Harlow, and Ingrid Bergman – sophisticated, inspiring, and always stylish.

Nick currently takes inspiration from classic films starring the women mentioned above, as well as the inimitable Mae West. Nick told me that the language of film brings beauty to life in way that few things can.

We discussed some of the stand-out looks at this year’s Oscars. Nick referred to Uma Thurman’s multi-dimensional take on the very popular monochromatic dress mimicking the skin look, favored by Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, and Jessica Alba. He also admired the gloss red lip worn by Michelle Williams: red + shiny = youthful and unexpected.

In terms of what to expect on faces this fall, Nick predicts that we will see unexpected colors applied on a more tan skin – coppers and reds versus burgundies and plums – and monochromatic looks with vibrancy. Fuchsia lipstick (like [b]NARS’s Schiap[/b], available at Sephora and on [url=][/url]) will be applied like a stain and mango lipstick will take the place of the usual berries and reds.

Some of Nick’s favorite products are available on the Victoria’s Secret website, an ever-growing beauty destination that offers brands like Kevyn Aucoin, Aura Science, Vincent Longo, Anna Sui, Tarte, and Boscia, along with the signature Beauty Rush items. Nick relies on a great makeup primer to smooth the skin’s texture and to fill in fine lines, pores, and mild imperfections. He champions the [b]Aura Science Airbrush Primer[/b] and for touch-ups during the day, [b]Beauty Rush Oil-Control Sheets[/b]. The genius of blotting papers is that they prevent one from depositing additional powder or product on the face throughout the day, adding layer upon layer of potentially unnatural-looking makeup. These sheets absorb oil where necessary while leaving makeup intact.

He uses [b]Beauty Rush Lip Gloss[/b] (available in 15 shades), which has a long-lasting, lacquer-like shine without being overly sticky. The entire Beauty Rush line, including Lip Gloss, Oil-Blotting Sheets, [b]Minty Lip Shine[/b], [b]Soothing Lip Balm[/b], and [b]Luminous Shadow[/b] (available in eight shades) starts at $7 so everyone can build their very own makeup kit, just like the pros do.

Learn more about Nick Barose and view his work at [url=][/url]. Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush products (and many other brands) are available at select Victoria’s Secret boutiques and on [url=][/url].