Exclusive: J.Lo's Makeup Artist of 20 Years Tells Us the Tips He's Never Told Anyone



Scott Barnes isn’t just a makeup artist—he’s a makeup legend. The MUA’s work has been featured on countless magazine covers and runways, in hundreds of music videos, and, of course, all over the red carpet on celebs like Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé, and Gwen Stefani. He also happens to be Jennifer Lopez’s go-to makeup guy and has been for the last 20 years. This means Barnes is behind some—if not all—of J.Lo’s most iconic makeup looks, including her famous bronzed-all-over skin and pale, pinky-nude lips. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also the creator of Scott Barnes Beauty, his line of luxury, pro-approved products that include brushes, palettes, and more. 

With this in mind, we tapped Barnes to get the scoop on some of his best tips and tricks that everyday makeup wearers (like you and me) might not know. Keep scrolling to learn Barnes’s best makeup tips and tricks.

01 of 09

Prep with Moisturizer

la mer
La Mer Moisturizing Cream $95.00

Believe it or not, Barnes’s best makeup tip, especially for mature skin, has nothing to do with makeup at all. It has to do with skincare because at the end of the day if you haven’t properly prepped your complexion, makeup isn’t going to sit well on top. “Skin prep is really important because you want to make sure the skin is hydrated and plumped before applying foundation and concealer, or it won’t look right,” he explains.

As for his holy grail complexion product, that would be La Mer’s Crème de la Mer, of course. “It’s my absolute favorite moisturizer to use when the skin needs hydration before we start makeup—I love it because it’s light and never makes the foundation react weirdly,” he explains. Team Byrdie loves Moon Juice Cosmic Cream Moisturizer ($58) and Clark's Botanicals Jasmine Vital Cream ($85).

02 of 09

Use a Longwear Base

double wear foundation
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation $46.00

Aside from skincare, he also suggests using long-wearing products that are less likely to crease or get stuck in fine lines and wrinkles. Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation and Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Undereye Concealer ($27) are both foolproof options that work well on all skin types, including mature complexions. 

03 of 09

Try Waterproof Concealer

all nighter concealer
Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Full-Coverage Concealer $24.00

When it comes to long-lasting makeup—as in the kind that will last through sweat, blood, and tears, or you know, the Super Bowl—Barnes relies on two power players: heavy-duty concealer and powder. “[Choose] a concealer like Urban Decay’s All Nighter, which is waterproof, and then use light layers of powders on top,” he explains.

04 of 09

Press on Powder

original beautyblender sponge
beautyblender Original Beautyblender Makeup Sponge $20.00

Barnes also recommends using a powder puff or beauty sponge to press powder into the skin instead of dusting it on with a brush, as he says this step is what helps to ensure its longevity.

05 of 09

Mix Oil with Your Foundation

wander beauty
Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Illuminating Face Oil $42.00

To get gorgeous glowing skin like our girl J.Lo, Barnes recommends mixing an oil into your foundation to keep the skin super-moisturized and dewy. For this technique, we love lilah b.’s Aglow Priming Oil ($68) and Wander Beauty’s Glow Ahead Illuminating Face Oil, as they’re both lightweight yet still super nourishing and look beautiful on the skin. 

06 of 09

Apply Hydrating Facial Spray

tatcha luminous dewy skin mist
Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist $48.00

Another trick Barnes swears by for radiant face makeup is finishing the skin with a hydrating facial spray. A few we love: Tatcha’s Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist ($28), and Youth To The People’s Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist ($42). Using a facial spray is a fabulous trick because it instantly injects the skin with moisture, and in turn, makes it look more luminous—even if you’ve been wearing a full face of makeup for hours. 

07 of 09

Add Bonus Glow with Body Makeup

scott barnes body bling
Scott Barnes Body Bling Moisturizing Shimmering Body Lotion $42.00

"I also like to build in layers of light by using an illuminating body makeup, like my Body Bling Shimmering Lotion,” adds Barnes. You can either mix it into your foundation or wear it underneath for a lit-from-within effect. He considers the product a must-have in his kit "because it gives the skin a healthy, radiant glow without being too shiny,” he says. “I developed it specifically for photoshoots and red carpets for this reason.” Barnes has been doing red carpet makeup for more than 20 years now, so it’s safe to say he knows his stuff.

08 of 09

Mix-and-Match for the Right Highlighter Tone

scott barnes highlighter palette
Scott Barnes Glowy & Showy Highlighter Palette No. 1 $68.00

Barnes says he also uses his Glowy & Showy Highlighter Palette on the highest points of the face and over the Body Bling when he wants an out-of-this-world glowy effect. “I created this palette in a way that you can mix shades so you can make your perfect highlighter tone without overdoing any one color,” he says.

“I also specifically put pink and yellow tones in this palette because highlighter palettes ignore the yellow and pink hue of people's skin, and this limits the ability to correctly hue shift," he adds.

09 of 09

Contour Your Lips

scott barnes sculpting and contouring palette
Scott Barnes Contour Palette Sculpting and Contour No. 1 $58.00

According to Barnes, the key to Lopez’s legendary nude lip is contouring, which you can easily do with lip liner, as well as with whatever contour product suits your skin tone—yes, it’s that easy. “With Jennifer, we use my Sculpting and Contour Palette in the shades Diced and Snatched,” he says, adding that you should typically aim for a color that’s one to three shades darker than your natural lips, as this will help create a natural-looking shadow.

As far as application goes, it’s this simple: “I use a sharp, round, or square-shaped brush with the preferred contour color and go right on the edge of the lips to make them look fuller. Then I apply whatever lip color or gloss desired.” 

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