Makeup is like motherhood. Everyone has an opinion about it – what it's supposed to be like, how to do it, when to do what, where to wear what, and endless more.
So when I sat down with Vincent Oquendo (@makeupvincent on Instagram), who's the go-to makeup artist for Hollywood celebrities such as Bella Hadid, Lily Collins, Suki Waterhouse, Priyanka Chopra and more, I was expecting him to tell me more makeup rules to keep to. Instead, I got very thoughtful answers on how he views the role of makeup in our daily lives.
In case you're wondering, Vincent is the North America Colour Artist for Shiseido Makeup and he is in town to celebrate the brand's F/W'19 Complexion Launch, a complete revamp of its base makeup range. The new collection utilises a new technology called Activeforce, that works with sebum and humidity to ensure you don't have to touch-up at all once you put it on. The products also claim to protect against air pollution by forming a protective veil on skin, and comprises six base makeup products – liquid foundation, cushion foundation, loose powder, pressed powder, liquid concealer and stick concealer – and two new brushes for seamless makeup application.
Here are seven unexpected things about makeup that I learnt from him:
1. Makeup is about self-care
Shiseido's Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact gives a sheer, buildable coverage that is perfect for the my-skin-but-better look.
When I asked Vincent how he thought makeup has changed since the introduction of social media platforms like Instagram, he said that because we constantly have cameras on us, there's a lot of attention to detail and textural nuances.
"Every cell phone has a camera. And the cameras take pictures in HD, so they pick up everything. That's why you want to make sure that you're always caring for yourself. Part of self-care is making sure that your skin always looks its best, which is why Shiseido's new Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation is perfect. It has long-wearing for 24 hours, and you don't have to maintain it (by touching up) because the technology used makes it refresh itself so your skin looks great all the time," adds Vincent.
2. You need to keep touching your skin
"Getting comfortable with touching your own skin, your face, is essential for any makeup application. You'll learn what works for you and what doesn't," says Vincent.
Practice makes perfect, so when you're comfortable with touching your face and putting on makeup, you'll be better able to recreate looks that you've seen on Instagram or TV.
3. Cosmetics has become a type of decoration and tool of empowerment
"There's a very adventurous spirit that's happening with makeup right now. People are using cosmetics to adorn their most confident self," says Vincent, who likens it to decorating your home for the holidays.
"Say it's New Year. You decorate your home because there's a sense of pride you get when you do it. You feel good when your home looks beautiful. It's the same with makeup. You do your hair, you put colours on your face, gemstones, glitter – like 'decorating' yourself. It's a very new way of thinking about makeup – something the Gen Zs are doing, instead of millennials who think of makeup as something you use to enhance your looks."
But either way, using makeup has become a way of empowering oneself and expressing one's individuality more so now than before.
4. You're in a defining moment – you just don't know it yet
"Gem colours in mascara and lipsticks, rainbow eyeshadow – these are looks that might well go on to define this generation," says Vincent. "It's fearless."
These extremely bold, fun and adventurous use of textures, with glitter, gemstone, and coloured mascara and eyeliners, with very nude, sheer and natural skin – it's a look. And it might just become the defining moment of makeup in this decade.
5. Makeup is about doing what makes you happy
"We all have that moment when we feel really good. For me, it's when I get a really good haircut and I feel like I can do anything today," says Vincent. "If you feel good putting on dark lipstick and eyeshadow, a vampy look – and that gives you confidence, people will think you look amazing, like a unicorn. Don't follow trends. Set the trend."
6. Makeup doesn't define you
"It's a tool that you use to help define yourself, your individuality," emphasises Vincent, who recalls the marketing campaigns in the '90s, which told you that you'd look good if you use a certain product. "But that's not the case now."
7. Makeup is a ritual that grounds you
It sounds cultish. But I realised how much truth there is in it after I heard Vincent recall how he used to watch his mum put on makeup when he was growing up. "It's a ritual, which in the good moments, helped her celebrate. And in the bad moments, helped her feel better," he shares.