This is a great book to learn how to do several classic movie star looks from, which is why I am reviewing it. Some of the classic looks Kevyn Aucoin recreates are those of Marilyn Monroe, Barbra Striesand, Ingrid Bergman, and Jean Harlow, as well various inspired makeovers that are vintage influenced. However, if the lookalike makeup looks are the only reason you would consider getting this book, Face Forward is probably a better choice. I have not read it, but its focus appears to be more on real people's or otherwise very stylized looks, rather than the more general makeovers presented in Making Faces.
If you don't know the first thing about makeup, this book is a great start, and it should have a few tips that even a very experienced person would not know...but, it isn't phenomenal in that regard. If you practice enough with makeup you would probably learn much of what is said on your own. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is the way it teaches you how to formulate a look. Before I read it, putting on a lot of makeup meant putting on everything rather than highlighting certain features or sticking to a color scheme to acheive an effect. I realize now I was quite wrong, and this has been very helpful, and because of it I have found it easier to look at a picture and figure out what makeup is being worn. That is quite valuable! This book helps you see the makeup that goes into a look and makes it all seem as simple as "putting the right color in the right spot."
I did have problems with many of the looks though. Most of them weren't very flattering, and in many cases, as you may remember, my sister told me I looked like a dead bird. This happened so often there was a range, from dying bird to long gone, and it was discouraging that what looked so good on other people could be so ugly. Probably most people look best made up one or two ways, even though the attitude of Making Faces is anyone can do any look, and this book will help you find those ways, even if it is by showing you what not to do. You will never really know anyway until you try, but don't expect every look in the book to work for you. As long as you are aware that you look awful when you leave the makeup table, you'll be fine. It's when you don't realize it there's a problem.
The photography in Making Faces is gorgeous, and the before and afters are amazing. The level of glamour is comparable to a classic movie, with everyone looking flawless, heavily made up without looking like a costume. The interpretations of vintage makeup are warmer and more natural looking than many of the blue-tinged looks people go for, and this is refreshing. There is one thing about the cover, however, that nobody seems to have noticed, especially not the book designers. This is the book:
Does it remind you of anything? Of anything at all? Because it could easily suffer from association:
Okaaaay now, moving past that, Kevyn was a phenomenal makeup artist, and his transformations are miraculous. Take a look at these beautiful pictures:
The entire book is filled with similar shots. Some people say it's worth it just for the artwork.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Recommended for: Fans of Classic Style