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Selena Gomez’s makeup artist, Hung Vanngo, shares 19 makeup tips that will change your life

Selena Gomez’s makeup artist, Hung Vanngo, shares 19 makeup tips that will change your life

Makeup magic

Text: Redzhanna Jazmin

The celebrated celebrity makeup artist shares his beauty wisdom, from how to properly overline the lips to his secret weapon for no-cake baking

Vietnamese makeup artist Hung Vanngo had been working as a hairdresser in his hometown in Canada (a place called Calgary; you may have heard of it) until he had the age-old realisation that, despite what the print said on his degree, hairstyling wasn’t his passion.

“I went to school as a hairdresser and they had a makeup station in the first salon I worked in. That’s where I realised that makeup was my true passion,” muses Vanngo. “It was hard, though. When I started out, I couldn’t make a living in Calgary. So, I moved to Toronto so I could start a full-time career as a makeup artist without having to work two jobs. Then, I decided to move to New York.”

That was fifteen years ago. Fast forward to present day, and we reckon it's safe to say that Vanngo has truly made a name for himself in the industry, with 2.1 million followers on Instagram and an impressive clientele that includes the likes of Selena Gomez, Kate Moss, and Deepika Padukone. Renowned for his playful creations that balance vibrant colour and effortlessly beautiful complexions, it’s clear why he’s so highly sought after.

With that in mind, it was an absolute privilege to pick his brain for some real pro-tips—if you’re looking for some great advice for your next full face (whenever that may be), Vanngo has you covered.

Ahead, find the artist's 19 tips to absolutely perfect makeup every time:

TIP #1: Keep your prep simple

I start with moisturiser, eye cream and lip balm, then I go in with a silicone-free primer. I just press it into the skin with a brush, mainly in the centre area of the face where the pores are most obvious.”

READ: It's prime time: 9 Customisable skin primers that will revolutionise your makeup routine

TIP #2: Strip back the base

“I think it’s a waste of skin if I cover it up with too much foundation and then add extra concealer over the top. For clients with good skin, I usually use a little bit of the tinted moisturiser, applying it mainly on the centre of the face, blending it outwards.

“If you need more coverage I would recommend using more concealer. If I had to pick the most important product in my makeup bag, I would choose concealer. It’s the most important product for us to feel comfortable. If you do decide to wear a full coverage foundation, take care not to put too much concealer on, I think both concealer and high coverage foundation together can make the skin look too heavy and cakey.”

TIP #3: Shade matching is the most important step in covering acne...

“The best way to cover pimples so that it doesn’t make it look too noticable is to choose a concealer that is the same shade as your foundation. When people try to cover their acne using the same shade that they used to brighten their undereyes, the pimple will be more visible because the colour isn’t matched to the foundation.”

TIP #4: If you’re trying to cover pitted scars or texture on your skin, powder is your best friend…

For covering texture, remember that shine exaggerates scarring, so you definitely want to keep the skin matte. For pitted scars, you should put a brightening (AKA lighter) concealer on top before powdering—anything that attracts light. Pitted scars go into the skin, so they need more light to bring them forward and even out the skin tone.”

READ: How to cover acne and scarring with makeup on all skin tones, according to Keke Palmer and a pro makeup artist

TIP #5: Use a lighter setting powder to brighten and a true match to set…

I set the under eyes using a light loose powder (though it also works great with pressed powders). It’s the same concept as the concealer; you should be using lighter powders to brighten and matching powders to correct. Or, if you can’t be bothered, then you can also just use [the] one (laughs).”

TIP #6: Reserve baking for the red carpet, or for when you really want an airbrushed look...

To be honest, I did not like baking until I started doing red carpet looks. Beforehand, I had only ever worked in fashion, where everyone was against both baking and heavy makeup. But now I’m for it—baking is the only way to give the client that flawless, airbrushed under eye. Especially nowadays, with things like the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, even if you bake heavily and then brush it off at the end, it really doesn’t look heavy at all. The technique really blurs texture to give a nice look under the eye.”

SHOP: Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder

TIP #7: Save your compacts for touch-ups...

“For all skin types, a compact is great for touch-ups. But while I’m doing makeup, I'll mostly use a brush and a loose setting powder, or I’ll go in with a really small puff and a pressed powder and I'll set around the areas that crease and leave the rest natural.”

READ: Laneige's new cushion compact is the first in the world that offers blue light protection

TIP #8: Don’t just slap bronzer on anywhere and everywhere...

I usually apply bronzer on the perimeter of the face. If you use it everywhere you lose the dimension of what you’ve created with the brightening step. Bronzer is just for adding warmth and for sculpting.”

READ: Are bronzers made for everyone? Here's why it deserves a spot in your makeup bag

TIP #9: If you want to add a subtle dimension to your face, use two shades of blush...

“I like to keep [my looks] more dimensional, so I’ll use two colours that are very close in shade to each other. I’ll put the darker blush high up on the cheekbone while I use the lighter blush on the apples of the cheeks. It’s more of a personal preference but I think it makes a difference to the shape of the face.”

READ: Iris Law shows us three new ways to wear blush

TIP #10: While you’re at it, make sure you’ve got two bronzers on-hand too…

“I use two different powders to create a little dimension on the face. I usually find that people need a lighter colour under the jaw.”

TIP #11: Don’t freak out if you’ve overdone it on the blush…

“Just go back in with the same foundation brush or sponge that you used and blend it out. That’s going to take out some of the colour we just used.”

TIP #12: Always use a brow gel...

“I always use brow gels. I think it’s a must after I do a brow. I think a lot of people don’t realise this, but you can train your brows! Every time you do your eyebrows, you should gel them into place.

READ: Brow Guide: Everything you need for your best brows ever

TIP #13: Save the tinted brow gel for fair hairs…

“I’m more of a clear brow gel person. I like to just create what I want from just the brow pencil and powder, then I use a clear gel to set them to avoid adding any more colour. I only use tinted brow gels on people who have really fair eyebrows if they want more dense-looking brows without them looking heavy.”

TIP #14: Don’t feel pressured by the soap brow trend...

“I always say that makeup is personal. What I like may not be what you like and that’s why we’re all sharing our experiences. That said, I like when brows look natural. I like a life-like brow whether the makeup is heavy or light; I like it to still have soul. I feel like when you have soap brows it becomes set all feathered out, which doesn’t have much life for me.”

TIP #15: Don’t highlight the inner corners of your eye...

“I’m the type of person who doesn’t usually put highlighter in the inner corner of the eye because I find that it shortens the eye. Instead, I usually like to put eyeliner all around the eye; I especially love eyeliner in the inner corner of the eye. I think it really elongates [the eye].”

READ: 8 Ways to recreate the Rihanna-inspired inner corner eyeliner trend

TIP #16: Avoid the dreaded racoon eye by using the right eyeliner pencils...

“Try to use a longwear pencil for the waterline to prevent smudging and transferring. For blending, Kohl works well.”

TIP #17: Smoothly transition from a day to night look with the right makeup textures...

“You have to be mindful of planning out your looks. In the morning or day time, use lots of creamy textures. Then, in the evening when you want to touch-up your makeup, you can layer the product with a powder shadow to get a more intense look without having to take any product off. I find that if you start the day with a powder eyeshadow, you really have to take it off if you want to go a little darker, which takes a lot of time.”

TIP #18: You don’t need both mascara and fake lashes...

“There’s no point in using a volumising or lengthening mascara if [you’re] just going to cover it with lashes anyway. Sometimes the look needs it, like if a musician performs onstage. But for normal day-to-day life, I think a heavy strip lash can cheapen the look. That’s my own opinion.”

TIP #19: Heed these simple rules to overlining small lips and keeping them natural-looking...

Draw right above the natural line, not directly on the natural line. That will help make the lips look a little fuller. If you cheat the lips, it’s best to cheat in the middle portion of the lips—never the side. You can also contour around to add some extra plumpness. Plus, keeping your lips hydrated and exfoliated helps make the lips look more full.”

So, there you have it—a full face of makeup that looks better than ever. For more great tips by Hung, follow his YouTube channel here, or find him on Instagram here.

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