11 beauty secrets from Sir John
What we learned during a master class with Beyoncé's makeup artist.
After working closely with Beyoncé, Joan Smalls, Naomi Campbell and Karlie Kloss, you could forgive Sir John Barnett for not being humble. Except humble is exactly what he is. At a recent master class for beauty editors and industry insiders, L’Oréal Paris Celebrity Makeup Artist Sir John (yes, it’s his real name) preached kindness in an industry that is sometimes perceived as being catty. “I am not in the business of makeup, I am in the business of people,” he told the crowd. “It’s less of how I am with a brush and more of how I am with people. If you make them feel good, they will want to work with you again.” Here are 11 other things we learned from the makeup maestro.
1. Beyoncé wasn’t mad that her 2016 Met Gala look wasn’t well received. “Fans wanted to kill me. [Laughs] I remember one comment, ‘Who did this to her!?’ We wanted to do a bit of a graphic liner. She was happy though, I saw her the next day and I thought she was going to be so upset but she was like, ‘Babe, I felt good, I liked it.’ And I liked it too, so that was it!”
2. Beyoncé’s favourite beauty look is all about the lip. “She loves a statement lip. She’s a girl who loves lips and minimal eyes. If you see she is wearing a crazy eye look, it is probably because I convinced her to do it. One time I talked her into doing a glossy lid for one of her music videos and she loved it so much that now she tries to do it on her own.”
3. Use a light hand when applying foundation. “[My makeup pet peeve is] when girls wear too much foundation.”
4. The makeup trend that he thinks is over: “Highlighting the tip of the nose.”
5. Reconsider your use of powder. “I never bake [makeup]. Never. The skin needs to be as natural as possible. Plus, imperfections give you swag. If you have oily skin use a mattifying moisturizer or foundation, don’t set with powder.”
6. Sir John looks for a “sense of urgency” in his assistants. “If I ask for something, I don’t want to see [them] walking over to get it. If I am feeling stressed out, I want to look over and see that [they] might be a little stressed out too.”
7. His favourite look is dewy skin. “It is the sexiest thing a woman can do.”
8. What he learned from working with makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury. “Be yourself, be unique.”
9. Joan Smalls is secretly amazing at makeup. “Joan Smalls is so good at makeup; she does amazing makeup on herself.” [Ed note: She also knows how to work her hair. I’ve seen her tweaking it backstage at fashion week.]
10. Take YouTube tutorials with a grain of salt. “While YouTube is great, we want to make sure it is not the blind leading the blind. Make sure you are seeking tips and advice from people who are out in the field and actually know what they are doing.”
11. He would love to work with Priyanka Chopra. “I saw her at the Globes and I was a little starstruck. I had to work up the courage to go and say hello. Also Olivia Wilde, she is beautiful.”
With files from Maryjane Peters.