The Art of Makeup by Kevyn Aucoin

Kevyn Aucoin: The Art of Makeup
Kevyn Aucoin: The Art of Makeup

You know how much we love the '90s (and late '80s)? Well, there are few figures that cast as big of a shadow in this industry as Kevyn Aucoin, whose meteoric rise to a fashion legend of that decade (and untimely death in 2002 at age 40) mean that we all clutch our contouring palettes a little tighter these days. He was 'discovered' by the beauty department at Vogue, going on to work with fashion luminaries such as Polly Mellon, Steven Meisel (they worked together “nearly every day for years'), Helmut Newton, and Richard Avedon.

The Louisiana native practically invented the type of definition that's back in a big way right now, working his magic on everyone from Christie (and Christy), Naomi, Linda, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Whitney Mother-F’ing Houston, and on and on. For this installment of ITG's Book Club, we’re going all-the-not-so-way back to 1996 and the frosted taupe lip-linin’ days of Kevyn Aucoin's The Art of Makeup.

Here, Kevyn Aucoin's “Ten Most Common Beauty Mistakes,” most of which we agree with, wholeheartedly. Lots to learn for the new year.

The Ten Most Common Mistakes:

1. Timidity: Allowing fear of what other people will think affect the way one thinks about oneself, and therefore the way one presents oneself to others.

2. Not blending: The art of makeup is blending... Failing to merge one color into another will cause the makeup to look like a paint-by-numbers painting.

3. Misuse of bright colors: Bright colors can look great, but they draw attention to the features they’re applied to and run the risk of looking like they’re just sitting on top of the face, rather than being part of it. They can also make the rest of the face look weak.

4. Not adapting makeup to one’s age and style: The same makeup cannot be worn at 60 as at 16. I’m not just talking about the aging process here, because one can look great at any age. But many things can change over time—choice of colors, haircut—and the choice of makeup should change, too. The same clothes aren’t often worn 20 years later, and the same should be true of makeup.

5. Incorrect foundation choice: Most people have predominantly yellow undertones in the skin—not pink as many people think. It’s safest, when choosing a foundation, to err on the yellow or golden side, not the blue-pink side. Foundation should match the color of the neck, not that of the cheek, because the neck and jawline are ultimately the areas that foundation has to blend into. The most wonderful makeup application can be completely ruined by the sight of a “tide line,” where the foundation ends and the true color of the skin begins.

6. Not waxing facial hair or tweezing the brows: The idea that hair will grow back thicker is a myth. Tweezing or waxing regularly will eventually dissuade hairs from growig so quickly. For those who object to waxing, using facial hair bleach is a mild and effective alternative.

7. Not curling the lashes: Many people think this isn’t necessary. In fact, applying mascara without curling the lashes actually closes up the eye rather than opening it up, as intended.

8. Applying a powder eyeshadow or powder blush onto a face without makeup or just foundation: The natural oils of the skin and the oil in the foundation will “grab” the color in the blush or eyeshadow, thereby darkening it in places and creating a blotchy look. Face powder must be used before applying other powder products, such as eyeshadow and blush.

9. Choosing the wrong tones: For people of color, using makeup with blue tones creates a very ashy look to the skin. I recommmend using golden-orange colors, which tend to brighten and warm up the face.

10. Smoking: Aside from the long-term damage to the body, cigarette smoke also can constrict blood vessels, deprive the skin of oxygen, and dry the top layers the way the sun can,”

You heard it here first, kids (not really, but you know what we mean). Go forth and be your beautiful selves.