Scott Barnes About Face: Celebrity Make Up Techniques Book Review

There are a few things that I love to buy, things that that I will plonk down cash for and you certainly don’t need to ask me twice which include:

1. Make Up
2. Handbags
3. Books
4. Smoked Bacon

Needless to say combine No. 1 Make Up with No. 3 Books = ImusthaveitandImusthaveitNOW!

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I have about 35 make up books from all around the world. It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand it, I look at the pictures.

Now – I am a Scott Barnes fan – I like his make up, I love his camp and chirpy videos. So of course I had to buy his new book, *About Face: Celebrity Makeup Techniques

First Impressions?

For less than a tenner, its a very thick, nice book to hold and flick through. I like the finish of the book, it doesn’t look like the spine will crease to easily despite it being a large paperback.

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Don’t be fooled by the rocks that she’s got

J-Lo graces the cover of this book, as she is Scotts client and I don’t know who inspired who when it comes to that J-Lo Glow look, but that sort of bronzy sexy look is apparent throughout the book.

So we have already said that the book is a great size and absolutely filled with stuff. One criticism I have of Japanese make up books I buy is that they tend to be a little thin for this price – Scott doesn’t seem to have scrimped on his knowledge here – he’s shared a lot of his tips.

So the book covers lots of different areas but on of the main ones is Transformations:

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Scott Barnes does, in my opinion, have a strong style to his make up, as all good make up artists do. Laura Mercier he is not. Bobbi Brown, he is not.
Scott is into glamour pussies. He blings ladies up, he makes them super glam but without too much Sunset Beach a la Alexis Vogel.

So each transformation is split into a format where there are 2-3 pages of images (how its done) a finished image (sometimes a before and after) and a page or two of text explaining how its done. There’s a lot of detail.

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I appreciate how much detail is there, although its quite a lot of text to take in.

I have a slight issue with the photography in this book. In the application pictures, the models are photographed from the side of their faces. Why?

Whilst it may look stylish, I can’t see clearly what is going on. Particularly with shading (something Scott seems to be amazing at) I’d rather see a front on image which clearly shows me where to shade.

Speaking of the contouring, somehow Scott manages to blend in vivid yellow foundation into black skin, he puts white and brown stripes on a models face and makes it disappear. I’d love to have seen more step by step on how this key technique is done, since its used on every model.

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Bling Bling!

As I said earlier, Scott Barnes’ style is full on glamour. I personally love this – I think its fun, I think its pretty but if you are used to the natural beauty or want to achieve that (a la Bobbi Brown) you may find Scott’s looks too full on.

The J-Lo influence is felt throughout. In a way, all of the looks followed quite a similar formula – I get that its a Scott Barnes formula but I would have loved to have seen some other creative looks too.

This make over for example…he seems to have turned the girl into J-Lo…

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Here is another make over- the look is extreme. I do like how different it is but how wearable it would be for the lady involved I don’t know but its a masterclass in shading and shaping the eyes:

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Pretty People

On another note, Scott seems to use models or ex-models a lot in the book. This is fine of course, what with their beautiful bone structures but I still would like to have seen perhaps, more ordinary faces. A models face after all, is certified photogenic so nearly anything he applies will only enhance that. I’d like to have seen greater challenges (like Kevyn Aucoin, rest his soul, did in his Making Faces book).


Scott also covers skincare in more of a wordy way – you will either like this or not. I found it quite interesting – he also interviews his dermatologist Jessica Wu, which I liked – he’s happy to take on and share expert advice.

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Nice and thick, like Alex Reid

Ah, I’m so sad but here is a picture of the book on its side – its nice and thick:

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I love books, I do.


I’ve been picky in this review but I hope I haven’t put you off this book – I’ve just seen so many make up books I can’t help but compare…

This is overall an excellent make up book and I would completely recommend it. Its comprehensive, its packed with information, it looks good.

You will learn things that are quite natural to Scott Barnes personal techniques and I think you can translate his tips into natural day to day looks too.

For £9.56 with free shipping (at the time of writing), *About Face: Celebrity Makeup Techniques
is a great purchase, a must have for any beauty junkie.

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  1. says

    Thanks for the book review. It sounds like an interesting book. It’s cute how you show how thick the book is!

    • Row says

      Hi Kuri

      Its all about value for money!

      I LOVE Japanese beauty books but sometimes they are so small and thin!

  2. says

    OMG I have to hunt down this book! amazing! The second before-after is stunning! That girl looks soooooo much better with makeup on! But how did Scott create such big eyes? It’s not like the waterline is white….or is it possible the girl smiling on the before pic makes that big of a difference? Hmm my eyes become crescent moon too when laughing, then it must be smiling….
    And I like how her nose is shaded so there’s light under and it’s darkened on the sides…looks like a perfect nose!^^

    • Row says

      Hi Mary

      the book is WELL worth the £10 I spent on it for sure. I love Scotts look its very glam!