Makeup Artist Maestro: Terry Barber

Terry Barber

I remember the first time I heard the name “Terry Barber”. I was at MAC Basic Training (way back in ‘06) and as we sat in our desks, our Trainer Michelle (who’s now Senior Artist of MAC South Africa) showed us some slides of their meeting they had where Barber had demo’d a look for them. Instantly, I was hooked. His work is ultra clean and I’ll never forget when I saw him at a Masterclass in the V&A that good makeup is when your client can leave her chair at any time and look amazing. It’s what I’ve carried with me all this time and that statement pushes me to be a better artist every day.

It’s been pretty difficult to find any bio for Terry Barber online, so here are few snippets of what I could dig up (clearly my Google abilities aint that good, haha.

Terry Barber is M.A.C.’s director of make-up art for the United Kingdom and Europe. He has worked together with fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood and done print work for Harper’s BAZAAR , Vogue, i-D, Dazed and Confused. His celebrity clients include Pamela Anderson, Grace Jones, Mary J. Blige, Linda Evangelista , Naomi Campbell ,Annie Lennox and Dita Von Teese.

He started in 1992 and his first purchase was the MAC 217 blending brush. Ever heard the phrase ‘Only play up your eyes or your lips.’? Terry Barber is one of the pioneers of minimalist makeup. During his childhood in Wales where he was ‘painting the lips and colouring in the eyebrows’ of school friends, Barber trained as a make-up artist and joined MAC. Barber’s easy going manner and fantastic eye meant that he quickly rose through the ranks and built a portfolio of celebrity clients that included Grace Jones and Linda Evangelista. He also worked with the late Alexander McQueen. During these years, Barber worked on creating a natural, effortless and minimal approach to makeup that was a far cry from the heavy, overdone looks seen in the ‘80s. The theory was that once a woman had created a soft, fresh, beautiful and even complexion she would only need to apply an or a lip but never both. These days Barber spends a lot of his time perfecting the faces of models for fashion shows, and still practises what he preaches. ‘I apply make-up to look as if it hasn’t been done professionally, so it seems as though the model blotted on her own lipstick and smoothed her own eyebrows.

Let’s take a look at some of Terry barber’s work:

Images sourced from here, here, here and here.