Friday, 10 February 2012

IMATS 2012... Lan Nguyen Beauty for Fashion and Editorial Part 1...

So you all know I went to IMATS (the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show) last weekend and had a fab time. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go on Sunday as I'd initially planned because of the snow and I was absolutely gutted :( However, I did make it to three out of four of the seminars which I had on my itinerary which I posted here and since there are so many standard 'IMATS Hauls' posts (which I love by the way...) I decided to do something a bit different and post a little about some of the tips and tricks I was able to pick up from industry royalty.

Without further ado, here is the first part of my seminar 'review' of the beautiful MUA Lan Nguyen (celebs she's done include the likes of The Sugababes and Ollie Murs amongst others...) on the theme of 'Beauty for Fashion and Editorial'.
There is so much to learn from such a beauty genius as Lan in just one hour, and when her team were running fifteen minutes late, I was worried that I might end up missing out. However, this is one lady who you can tell really loves her job as she made a big point of pushing the time limitations of the IMATS team afterwards, running about twenty-five minutes over. Plus, the seminar was rammed full of such fab info that no-one left the room feeling like the extra fifteen minute wait wasn't worth it!
So for a bit of background on Lan, she introduced her three models which were obviously in three different stages of the same look. The first had a virtually bare face with a high-rise messy wrap bun slicked back in order to draw the hair from the face making it easier for Lan to work. The second had a kind of Marie Antoinette crossed with geisha-inspired hair which was my favorite hair look and a relatively bare face bar an immaculate looking base. Also, her eye brows were kind of none existent which I'll get onto later. The third and final model had her entire face with a dramatic covering of metallic silver paint, and looking like something from a parallel-universe-film, her hair was arranged hanging from a bar horizontally placed across her head. 
Lan explained that she doesn't always have an exact vision of how the models are going to look, or how she will execute a brief which made the audience of make-up enthusiasts stir with excitement as we had no idea what variation on the look each of the models would end up with. 
As she prepped the first model's skin with POREfessional by benefit (apparently one of her favorites for giving a smooth-as-a-baby's-butt base for foundation application... she even said that her celeb client Ruby Wax is a big fan!) Lan began to give those of us who weren't completely aware of the amazing work that she's done somewhat of a star-studded overview of her career so far. As an MUA often working in high-def for fashion, film, television and more, Lan put her work with top brands such as L'Oreal, Tony and Guy, Vogue, Vanity Fair and more down to her 'editorial sensibilities'.
The work she did on this first model was most interesting to me as she used a couple of products which I didn't know existed. Firstly, she used tape in order to create lift around the model's eyes, making a more feline shape. Since the seminar I've see these types of tape used on America's Next Top Model, and they basically act as a 'temporary face-lift'. Next, Lan used plain cosmetic wax in order to conceal the eyebrows. She brushed them upwards with a mascara spoolie and applied the wax with her fingers (making it more pliable and easy to work with) and before I knew it, poof, the model's brows were gone! After dabbing on the setting formula to keep those invisible brows in place. Lan swears by using sponges in order to stipple on her foundation of choice, and she used MAC Full Coverage Concealer just to make those brows look even more neutral than before. Now the model's own brows were gone, Lan was able to map out the 'avant-garde 1940's-50's style straight brow' which she felt was right for the look with a bit of brown powder and a slanted brush. She made a big point of saying that these didn't NEED to be perfect at this stage, but need only give a general idea of how the face would be framed. 

After mixing a cooler and warmer tone of foundation* for the face, she dusted a very metallic white shade mineral make-up loose powder across the cheek bones in order to add to the porcelain effect of this look. It was at this point that Lan went back over the brows in order to reinforce the look that she was after.

Moving onto the lips, Lan used a lip brush in order to apply a mixture of MAC's Danger and Woo shades. She lined the lips before filling them in, and then surprisingly enough she began to pat a variety of neon-coloured loose eye pigments on top of the lipstick**. The effect of this was an almost velvety-matte finish which I'm definitely going to be trying out in A/W 2013, although probably not if I plan on kissing anybody as it might get messy...

In order to tidy the edges of the lips up a tiny bit, Lan applied some of the foundation mix I mentioned before, prior to dusting the cheekbones with the translucent white powder as before and applying a slather of The Body Shop's Radiance Highlighter which was again applied with the fingers.*** On the topic of contouring the face, Lan laughed and told us that she uses so many products in order to contour before a look is complete, and she wasn't joking! She mixes powders and creams in order to gain the best look. Using a mauve-ish colour, she used a flat-topped brush in order to pat the colour under the cheekbones before dusting to blend. Complimenting the darkness of this colour, a hot pink was blended slightly higher on the cheekbones although NOT on the apples of the cheeks as these were kept relatively neutral bar a sprinkling of gold which was then blended into a barely-there lush look across the entire face. The key to this is 'controlled contouring' as Lan says, and basically (as far as I can tell) is all about blending as much as possible and building as you go along. The end of this model's look was completed with a covering of white shadow under the eyes, really allowing them to pop and making fall-out removal once the eye shadow was began much easier to deal with.

And this is what Lan Nyugen refers to as a 'blank canvas'! Took her about twenty-five minutes to do, she must have used at least twenty-five products and this was her base!!! This is incredible to me, especially when considering that the majority of this would soon be covered in the final look with metallic paint. However, Lan feels that all these steps are vital in order to allow a good enough base to carry the heavier products and also to be aware of the shapes of the fact which you would like to prevail in the final look, and she's the boss! 
So this is the most 'wearable' version of the editorial look which Lan created and as you can see, even this is quite extreme! The eyebrows stayed as a simple straight line, there was no eye products applied whatsoever and the lip remained the boldest feature in the look, which I absolutely loved. Especially as this is a big trend for this S/S 2012, keeping a neutral eye but a bolder matte lip. It was really interesting to see how actual mainstream day-to-day catwalk beauty looks inspire the crazy beauty features we see in magazines! 
Tips and Elaborations...
*A tip which Lan thinks is totally necessary in achieving a balanced-looking base as the skin usually has a mix of tones. She mixes face and body, fluid and heavier creams and using different colours together for most models. If using tinted moisturizer one colour is fine as it naturally balances the skin-tone.
**Lan concentrated more on the middle of the lips with the loose pigments and there was virtually no fallout due to the finger-style application and the adhesive which naturally comes with lipstick! 
***Lan often uses her fingers and she insists that whilst brushes are undoubtedly useful, they are not absolutely necessary for creating great looks. She says that brushes are a 'luxury' and with the growing prices of make-up brushes these days, I must agree.
In my next post I will go into the looks of the second and third models, some more tips I picked up during the seminar and a bit of background info on how Lan Nyugen gained her success in the industry so far.
Hope you enjoyed this post and learnt a few bits and bobs if you're considering any kind of career in beauty!
Did you go to IMATS? What kind of beauty career do you want? Do you have a favorite make-up artist or tip I should know about?


  1. I am a qualified beauty therapist and training to be a makeup artist! I want to pursue both as a career! Grew post! xx