What would you do if you had the chance to attend a masterclass with one of today’s top makeup artists? If you said, “drop everything and go,” we would get along — because that is exactly what I did.
On Saturday, May 19, celebrity makeup artist Nam Vo hosted a sold-out masterclass in Los Angeles at Milk Studios — a three-hour session where she taught us how to recreate her signature dewy dumpling look. A “glow job education,” as she calls it.
My jaw dropped upon entering Milk studios — home of frequent Kardashian family photoshoots. Upon checking in, I am greeted by Vo’s nieces, who sport matching pink outfits, and Dirty Lemon Retinol beverages.
It is then that I, and 100 of my fellow makeup junkies, enter a brightly lit white room where a model is seated in the middle with a camera set up so the audience can see a zoomed in view of Vo in action. Once Vo enters the room, the room is awash in murmurs of how beautiful she is and how flawless her skin is. We all grab our notebooks in anticipation of the knowledge she is about to drop.
Beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin, and Vo teaches us how to take care of our skin properly and enhance our natural features.
According to Vo, the key difference between glowy and oily lies in the natural radiance of the skin — she believes makeup should appear as though a spotlight is shining on your face sans spotlight. And Vo says that you should think about the face like burnt toast. “There are areas to sculpt and there are areas to lighten and brighten,” she says. “I feel like the middle of the face is always a little bit lighter. [Like] burnt toast — the perimeter is always darker, so I contour on the outer perimeter of the face.”
She starts by prepping the model’s skin with a cleanser, essence, eye cream, and face oil — in that order.
Vo’s signature dewy dumpling look typically involves using a facial oil as a primer or mixing it into the foundation. While this concept may send you off in a frenzy, those with oily skin should not fret, as Vo says that it is perfectly OK to use oils even if you have oily skin. Applying a face oil topically has been known to help fade acne scars, protect against pollution, fight signs of aging and calm redness — and they have quickly become a favorite among the skincare obsessed thanks to their powerful benefits.
And each oil has its own benefit — depending on the type of oil and skin concerns. On the model, Vo uses Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil. “Turmeric and vitamin C are really good [ingredients] for brightening. [This oil] is really unique because the skin drinks it right up. I use a pretty generous amount, warm it up into my hands, and press it [in], especially [on areas] where I’m going to apply highlighter,” she says. “I want the skin to be really wet and moist. People always ask me, ‘What’s your favorite highlighter?’ but if you look at the highlighters I use, it’s like the finishing touch on the makeup. The makeup is already wet, dewy and perfect. By the time the highlighter goes on it [simply] finishes the look.” But if you are scared that you will look greasy when mixing oil into your foundation, Vo recommends introducing an oil in at night and seeing how your skin reacts in the morning. (She suggests sticking to 3-4 drops.)
Her first look is all about the highlight — her trademark. While you wouldn’t sport this look around the office, it is perfect for Instagram or an editorial shoot. Using five different highlighters, including drops, stick and powder, she amped up the look by adding metallic eyeshadow to the eyes. Careful to avoid shimmer overload, Vo tones it down by applying a matte velvet lip.
For her second look, Vo teaches us how to conceal acne by using a model who has acne on her forehead. After applying foundation, she contours the face in the hollows of the cheekbone by using long sharp strokes. And then she uses a beauty blender to “tap the living daylights out of it.” Followed by a khaki-glitter eye with glitter and a blend of neon and neutral blush, Vo moves to set the look with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette. But first, she applies concealer on the acne spots. By covering problem spots at the end, you prevent the concealer from sliding around.
While both looks were different, I definitely learned how to burn some corneas out on Instagram with my highlight. Sadly, furiously scribbling down notes didn’t turn me into a professional makeup artist overnight, but I definitely learned a thing (or thirteen) about makeup.
Makeup should appear as though a spotlight is shining on your face sans spotlight.
- Use the ring finger to tap makeup into the skin as it has the least amount of pressure.
- Eye cream helps concealer stay on longer.
- Apply your highlighter in a C Shape — toward your temples and above your cheekbones.
- Tap your Beautyblender for dense coverage. Slide your Beautyblender for sheer coverage.
- Move quickly when using cream products because they freeze up fast, especially when the face is moist with oils.
- Use an eyeshadow brush to apply powder. If you use too much powder you remove the glow.
- Use the same bronzer you use on your face as the base shadow on your eye lids.
- Add a drop of a darker foundation into your usual color to bronze up the skin.
- Concealer on the eyelid works better than an eyeshadow primer product.
- If you are struggling to figure out where the crease is when applying eyeshadow just massage your eyeball — that is the crease.
- A pink eyeliner in the inner lid will help brighten up your eyes.
- When using a lot of shimmer on the face, it is important for your body to match. Vo recommends using the Sol De Janeiro Glowmotions body oil on your neck and shoulders.
- Individual lashes always look more natural than lash strips. Vo recommends ordering them in bulk off of Amazon.
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