MISSBISH Archives | Kevyn Aucoin’s ‘Making Faces’ (1997)

Author: Fiona Dempsey
09.07 / Lifestyle

In 1996 when Kevyn Aucoin first entered the makeup publishing scene, there were no YouTube makeup tutorials or Sephora, him and his books were the only things guiding us through the complicated world of makeup and its power. Aucoin created the perfect guides, first with ‘‘The Art of Makeup’’ in 1996 and then with ‘‘Making Faces" and "Cooking with Joy;" but it was ultimately "Making Faces"  that turned him into an instant expert on all things makeup and beauty.

"Making Faces," the holy grail, 160 page, glossy beauty bible contained Aucoin's purest view that makeup is truly a form of self-expression, a tool allowing anyone to metamorphosize. Reading "Making Faces," teenage girls everywhere learned about the love-hate relationship that is false eyelashes, what face shape they had and how to bleach their eyebrows. The book greeted you with a page of Polaroids featuring some of the 90's sweethearts Aucoin worked his magic on, including the likes of Drew Barrymore and Courtney Love. Aucoin went on to outline his experience of growing up as a gay, effeminate, adopted child that never really fit in, ‘‘While the other boys in my school dreamed of traveling to the moon or winning the Super Bowl. I dreamt of glossy red lips and sparkling skin." Aucoin had a clear vision by the age of 11 that he wanted to be a makeup artist; aiming to ensure everyone could master makeup, that it was a game to be played, all you had to do was decide who you wanted to be that day.

Techniques were grouped under types, allowing you to create looks based on women we aspired to be, there was the Chanteuse, the Bombshell and the Gamine, each featuring a particular makeup application. Allowing women to feel like a movie star with the swipe of a brush. Aucoin's death at 40 left many without a mentor, however, 13 years later his legacy lives on, with his ideas still featured in Vogue today. Aucoin helped pioneer the biggest beauty craze in a long time, contouring. Contouring is a method that sees women chiseling out their face with shadow and light, and now an Aucoin contour book, which features a set of bronzing and luminizing powders, is available at Sephora.

Contouring is not something you should take lightly, as there's an extremely thin line between what is a chiseled cheekbone and merely just Zebra stripes on your face. Need a few quick tips? Apply your favorite foundation, then apply a cream or powder a few shades lighter than your skin tone to your forehead, cheekbones and down the center of your nose. Now the dangerous part,  apply a color a few shades darker to your jawline, hairline, the sides of your nose, and in the hollows of your cheeks, be careful to not go too intense though, and remember blending is your friend!

It's truly remarkable how Aucoin's legacy has lived on, showing the power that makeup has as an art. Aucoin's said in an interview, "My goal in life is to have women take over the world,’’ through the empowerment that can come from makeup, no wonder he is still seen as one of the most influential people of the last century.

 Source: New York Times

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