So, you’re scrolling through the ‘gram and just spotted a makeup look from Hailey Bieber, Lily Collins, Kendall Jenner or Karlie Kloss that warrants a double tap and a share? Vincent Oquendo – Shiseido Makeup’s North America Colour Artist may very well be behind it. Recently in town to celebrate the brand’s Autumn/Winter ’19 Complexion Launch, we got the chance to speak face to face with the man himself to suss out the coolest celeb-worthy makeup trends and tips that we should get in on.

Oquendo on the top three makeup trends to try now

Good skin is always in, which means a lot of self-care and figuring out which complexion product is for you. I personally love the Shiseido’s Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact. The reason why I really like it – and the reason why it’s very good for those here in Singapore – is because it self-refreshes. It’s going to last all day because it has a 24-hour wear claim. Even if it’s really hot and humid outside, it’s not going to run. The second trend is to be adventurous with colour. Get nuts. Jewel tones are so beautiful on the eyes, so dress your eyes up and accessorise them as you would with jewellery, or even with your purse or shoes. You can really have fun with them. And the third is to find a neutral lipstick that works with everything. Find your everyday nude colour that works best for you so that you can always wear it with different looks, regardless of the colours.

Oquendo on the up and coming makeup trend to pay attention to

Now, everyone’s being very adventurous with colours and textures. It’s such a nice time in beauty because people are taking risks with colour – the colourful mascaras and eyeliners with the super fresh skin – and I love that. It’s a little bit more adventurous than what we’ve seen and now, brands are being hip with colours. They’re creating colours that you can combine or mix and match with to create interesting looks that you can showcase your best self with.

Oquendo on his favourite makeup hack

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I meeaaann #winnieharlow 💚💚💚 @shiseido

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I love colourful mascara because I’m a child of the ‘80s, and coloured mascaras were huge in the ‘80s. I did a video with Winnie Harlow where I used colourful mascaras on her and they were beautiful. You can wear two different colours on the bottom lashes, take one colour and go through the other. It’ll look like streaks of colours in between your lashes where you’ll get a lot of depth and dimension. One thing I do with my clients when I use coloured mascara is that I will tap the mascara on the skin near the bottom lash, so it almost feels like a mistake. Then, you smudge it out when it’s dry so it looks like a smoky, smudgy monochromatic look where your eyeliner and mascaras are of the same colour.

Oquendo on other cool ways to wear neon pops of colours on the face

You can do beautiful natural base makeup with neon glitter or neon highlights – just like what I did on Hailey Bieber when she sat front row at the Balenciaga Fall/Winter ’19 show. I used the archliner ink that’s very pigmented and smudge-proof to draw black eyeliner and neon orange accents on the inner corners of the eyes.

Oquendo on the best way to apply foundation so that it looks natural

I love to apply foundation with a brush, especially Shiseido’s Hanatsubaki Hake Polishing Face Brush. It fits perfectly into the opening of the Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Cushion Compact. Plus, it’s made up of four different brushes combined, so each brush maintains it’s own integrity. It feels almost like a kabuki brush, but it’s never going to fray out due to its individual binding.

Oquendo on how to shade match yourself to the right foundation shade

I would recommend going to the counters to speak to beauty professionals, sit there and swipe it on your skin. Since there are small differences between the shades, you might choose 210 for example, but if you don’t try 220 and 140, you’ll never know the right shade for you. You’ll want to swipe three shades on your cheeks and whichever disappears the most is the one that you should go with because complexion products should be invisible. It should make you wonder if you’ve even put on any product at all.

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Oquendo on how to shade match yourself correctly if your neck and face are of different shades

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Oh hay boo #bellahadid

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Since a lot of people use strong SPF on their face, that means that their faces are paler than their bodies. This is a problem that I face with a lot of my clients since they use very strong SPF on their faces – because they’re so concerned about premature ageing on their faces – but they tan their bodies. What I recommend to people who have tanned bodies but pale faces, is to pick the shade that’s in the middle. Then, you can use a bronzer to warm up the jawline, under the cheekbones and around the hairline – because that’s where you get the most sunlight. Then, go fairer with your concealer to brighten. If you go too warm with the foundation, it’ll look too artificial. So, you have to go in the middle, but keep it pale under the eyes. This is what Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid and Ashley Graham do as well.

Oquendo on how to best determine your skin’s undertone

The only way to go about determining the skin’s undertone is to go to the counter and try it. A lot of times with clients, I will think to myself “oh they’re definitely this tone,” but when I go and apply the foundation on them, I’ve got it completely wrong. 

Oquendo on determining your skin’s undertone through the colour of your veins

I think that it’s sort of cryptic and hard, especially if I was a reader at home. It’s like reading hieroglyphics; it’s so confusing. Just find your way to a department store and have the beauty advisors swipe (the foundation) on you. That’s the best way to see how the foundation reacts with your skin because. You might think that you’ve got yellow undertones, but if you put more yellow on top, you’ll look sick. So, what you need is to have pink on top of the yellow to counteract. All of our skins have pink and yellow in them – some just more than others – and you’re going to want to balance them out so you look healthy, which is the ultimate goal. There’s been a misconception for a long time that if you’re yellow, you’re going to have to pick yellow, but that’s when you look too yellow and sallow. Like anything else, if you think about the yin, the yang and how the opposites give you balance, it’s essentially about balancing your face out. And the best way to determine that is to go into the store, swipe it on your face and see which colour makes you look the most healthy.

Oquendo on three disruptive makeup products that he loves

I would say wilder colours like Future Shock from Shiseido’s VisionAiry Gel Lipstick line because we’re seeing adventurous use of colour now and I think that’s disruptive. Historically, it’s not something that has been mainstream, but right now there are so many brands that are doing it. We have Urban Decay, Fenty and I would never in my wildest dreams think that a brand like Shiseido would come out with bold colours like this, but here we are. A lot of the Buxom colours are wild and I think that’s really refreshing because it’s something that’s so new for the business. It’s opening the doors to a lot more interesting colours. I would say the Shiseido ColorGel LipBalm and the ControlledChaos Mascara as well.

I thought coloured mascara was done in the ‘80s, but now, the way that Shiseido has done it with the ControlledChaos technology allows you to have your favourite coloured mascara but also that furry, voluminous lash at the same time. That’s very important because one thing that I’ve noticed with coloured mascara is that it goes flimsy, and that’s not flattering.

The Aura Dews are also disruptive because it’s actually milled pearl, so it’s a different kind of shine from mica or glitter, and that’s something that we haven’t seen in the business. Plus, you can use them anywhere on your face. It can be on your cheeks, your eyes, your lips – anywhere.