Make-up artist to the stars Vincent Oquendo talks about his life in beauty products

Make-up artist to the stars and Shiseido colour ambassador Vincent Oquendo talks to Holly O'Neill about his favourite products, his expert hacks and how social media has changed beauty. 


WHAT’S YOUR FIRST BEAUTY MEMORY?
It was my mom getting ready. She was a beauty school drop-out – she was studying to be a hairdresser. She dropped out to support us and I remember her doing her hair and make-up and spraying Coco by Chanel on herself. When I smell Coco by Chanel, it makes me think of my childhood.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH MAKE-UP?
When I was in college and worked in Saks Fifth Avenue. I went in there to get the job spraying perfume and I didn’t get it, but I got the job in sunglasses, which was right next to make-up. I fell in love with make-up because I was in such close proximity to it. If you’ve ever been in a department store, you see how electric it is.

WHAT’S THE FOUNDATION YOU ALWAYS RETURN TO?
Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation has medium coverage and adapts to the skin. There’s a technology in it that it self-refreshes, which means that around your nasal labial folds, lips and eyes, where your make-up tends to wear, it refreshes itself. This adapts well to texture, so it’s for you if you’re acne-prone or have skin that is more mature, with fine lines or thinner skin, or for men with a beard; or if you have any kind of texture, it’s going to adapt to that texture and not accentuate it.

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WHAT’S THE FIRST PRODUCT YOU EVER LOVED?
When I was a broke college student, I took all my girlfriends’ old make-up that they didn’t want because I couldn’t afford anything. They gave me all the used compacts they tried once and didn’t like. You know that bag of make-up you’ve used once or twice, or that eyeshadow quad where you’ve used one colour down to the tin, and all the other colours are wild and you can never use? I had a big bag of those.

DO YOU HAVE ANY WEIRD MAKE-UP HACKS?
Use fluffy brushes to apply foundation. It’s good to get into crevices. I take a liquid foundation and just buff, buff, buff. Use a synthetic hair brush, though, because the liquid foundation is going to eat away at the bristle. If you’re using wet products with a natural hair brush, that brush ain’t gonna live so long.

WHAT MAKE-UP ARTISTS DO YOU LOVE?
I love Daniel Martin, Hung Vanngo and Sarah Tanno. These are my peers that I admire and respect so greatly, people that I’ve come up with and grown with.

HOW DO YOU THINK SOCIAL MEDIA HAS CHANGED BEAUTY?
What’s important to remember is that the image we put out on social media is curated. I’m not putting my whole life on my social media. Some artists retouch their photos as well. This is not absolute reality. Take it with a grain of salt.

IS THERE ANY BEAUTY TREND YOU’D LIKE TO SEE LEFT BEHIND?
Make-up is art now, more than ever, so there’s no real right or wrong. There are so many risks being taken, and what we’ve considered to be wrong with beauty ten years ago is now right – like navy or grey lips. It’s all about individuality right now. Everything that was wrong is right if it’s right for you, and it makes you feel good about you.

DO YOU FOLLOW RUNWAY TRENDS?
I do, and I love it because that’s my roots, from working with Pat McGrath. I love the avant-garde make-up looks, and I love interpreting it and putting it on the red carpet. I loved what Pat did for SS19 with Valentino with the feather eyelashes. I love when she incorporates unique textures.

WHAT’S THE STRANGEST BEAUTY TREATMENT YOU’VE EVER TRIED?
I’ve tried cryotherapy. I don’t like being cold. I’m from the Caribbean.

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DO YOU HAVE ADVICE FOR A MAKE-UP ARTIST STARTING OUT?
Be humble, but know your identity.

Photography by Shiseido.


IMAGE cover September 2019

This article originally in the September issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale now.

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