The first time Nick Barose laid eyes on Oscar-nominee Lupita Nyong’o, she was on the small screen—of his cell phone. “I was headed on vacation, and a publicist friend of mine, who represents Lupita, texted me her headshot,” says Barose, a celebrity makeup veteran. “I saw that gorgeous skin—she barely had on makeup—and her face and those eyes. I said, OK, I’m moving my vacation around because I have to put makeup on that beautiful face.” His first look for Lupita at the Toronto premiere of World War Z featured a cherry red lipstick. Barose estimates that in the countless makeup sessions since, he hasn’t repeated a lip shade. “Lupita loves color. She’s an artist, so she encourages me to be one, too,” he says.
The makeup maestro caught the beauty bug as a little boy playing in his mother’s Dior lipsticks and blushes, putting on fashion shows with his cousins and nanny. His mother was a fan of starlets like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn and of the Motown act the Supremes. Barose’s appreciation for glamour followed suit. “I grew up in the late 70s, and there were a lot of women of color on the runways. Think of the Yves Saint Laurent fashion shows back then—it was Iman and all these beautiful women. That inspired me.”
After assisting the legendary Kevyn Aucoin, Barose’s big break came when he worked with Kim Cattrall for the 2003 Grammys. “I got a half page story in People after that,” he says. In the next decade, Barose beautified the likes of Sophie Okonedo, Alicia Keys, Emma Roberts, and Scarlett Johansson and has become renowed for his ability render celeb skin completely flawless.
With the Oscars only days away, and surely another strikingly beautiful Lupita Look on the horizon, Barose shared his favorite makeup products, tips, and tricks. Click on the slideshow above.