We’ve all been there: standing in the complexion aisle, swatching one foundation or concealer shade after another trying to find the one that’s just right. Enter celebrity makeup artist Vincent Oquendo. As the pro behind Hollywood darlings like Tessa Thompson, Olivia Culpo and more, Oquendo knows a thing or two about creating a #flawless base, and he’s giving Us all his tips for finding the hue — ahem, hues — that are just right for you.
Oquendo is working with e.l.f. Cosmetics to launch the brand’s new 16HR Camo Concealer. Available in 18 shades ranging from fair to rich, the pro tells Us the full-coverage, matte formula is “buttery” and “fool-proof” thanks to an oil-balancing complex that works well on any skin type.
“Matte complexion products have gotten such a bad rap, but this is not your mom’s matte,” he says. “It has a satin, silky matte finish. It’s not chalky. The benefit to matte is, after a few hours, you won’t be greasy.”
The best part? It rings in at just $5.
The super accessible price point makes it all the easier to stock up on multiple shades, which Oquendo believes is the key to finding the perfect match. He recommends purchasing two hues — one warm, one cool — that can be used in different ways on different points of the face.
The warmer shade, he says, is best for the forehead, jawline and chin (read: anyplace you would contour), and the lighter hue is great for highlight and brightening under the eyes. Oh, and you can also mix the two when the seasons change.
According to Oquendo, using a backlight is the best way to shade match (so if you have yet to invest in one of those light-up phone cases à la the Kardashian-Jenner clan, get on it!), and it is important to remember that most formulas — e.l.f. Cosmetics included — dry down much deeper than they look.
“When you see the shade wet in the tube or on your face, it looks different,” he says. “With darker skin tones, choose a shade that’s a little paler than you think because it dries down deeper.”
Another note: “It doesn’t dry down as red as it looks,” he added. “That is important for a person of color.”
If you’re still stuck on a dewy finish — especially if your skin is dry — Oquendo gets it. “A lot of people think you should do luminous not matte because that will settle into lines,” he says. “If you do a luminous concealer and it doesn’t set, it will settle into lines, so do a luminous foundation with a matte concealer.”
So what if you are only going to have one product in your kit? Oquendo recommends opting for something that is full coverage because you can always thin it out.
“Sheer it with your favorite moisturizer,” he tells Us, noting the new e.l.f. Cosmetics Hello Hydration Face Cream has the perfect gel-like finish to layer with makeup. “Stipple the moisturizer with a fluffy brush on top of the concealer,” he says, “or mix the concealer and cream together for an all-over glow.”
After using that creamy brush to buff out the foundation or concealer, Oquendo likes to apply a powder blush on the cheek plane (think: cheekbones, not apples!) with the same brush (try e.l.f.’s $3 Small Tapered Brush) and put a bit of highlighter on top.
Take a cue from the sexy red look he created for Thompson at the Chanel haute couture show in Paris and finish things off with a color-coordinated eye and lip. “That is my ultimate look,” he says. “I love monochrome.”For the latest beauty and style trends, subscribe to our new podcast "Get Tressed With Us" below!
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