Beauty & Shopping, Makeup

Insider Tips From Celebrity Makeup Artist Lan Nguyen-Grealis – Vanessa Tai

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Lan Nguyen-Grealis

If you said Lan Nguyen-Grealis fell into the makeup industry by accident, you wouldn’t be wrong. True story: 12 years ago, she was working part-time as a receptionist at a London photography studio that also provided makeover services. One particularly hectic day, her shorthanded employers asked her to help with the makeovers. From there, Lan discovered she had a natural flair for makeup, and she started helping out with makeovers on a regular basis. One thing led to another and she soon found herself designing key looks for the various fashion shows across Europe and doing the make up for celebrities like American actresses Jena Malone, Michelle Williams and Kimberly Wyatt. Apart from being a highly sought-after makeup artist, Lan is also a published author who’s working on a new book slated for publication in 2014.

Lan was also the Head Makeup Artist for The Body Shop at London Fashion Scout, an international showcase of up-and-coming designers. She has also helped create many makeup tutorials on The Body Shop’s Youtube page. Lan was recently in Singapore to helm a team of makeup artists for The Body Shop at Digital Fashion Week 2013. With The Body Shop being the official makeup sponsor, Lan created the makeup looks for each of the 11 shows, demonstrated live makeup tutorials and did the makeovers for celebrity models such as Jessica Amornkuldilok from Asia’s Next Top Model and Devyn Abdullah from The Face. In between her whirlwind trip to Singapore, we managed to sit her down for a quick chat on all things beauty.

Tell us a bit more about the looks you created for DFW 2013’s runway shows.
Before creating a makeup look, I would speak with the designer and look through their collections to find out the type of woman they’ll like to portray. A running theme for this year’s shows seemed be natural, beautiful skin with just a tinge of colours – pinks, oranges and pastels.

The Body Shop 4-Step Smoky Eye Palette in Smoky Brown

The Body Shop 4-Step Smoky Eye Palette in Smoky Brown

You’ve won so many awards during your career. Which one are you most proud of?
Definitely the “Golden Mask Award” for Makeup Art, which I won earlier this year. This award is usually given to lifetime achievers so to be given to someone my age was a real encouragement boost. What makes me even prouder is how critics in film, fashion and theatre from all over the world choose the winner. Knowing that so many people appreciate my work makes me feel I’m doing meaningful work.

Where do you usually go to get inspiration for your work?
I enjoy visiting museums like the Tate Modern or National Portrait Gallery to get inspiration on lighting, colours and concepts. A lot of my inspiration also comes from theatre, fantasy films and old films.

What are some of the upcoming makeup trends for winter?
This season, it’s going to be all about the eyes. Think smoky, grungy, bold and metallic eye shadows and eyeliners that are either lightly smudged or strong graphic eyeliners. For the skin, you’ll want to have it lightly flushed with a matte finish. For your lips, berry and plum colours are right on-trend. You can easily create this look with The Body Shop All-In-One BB Cream for that flawless complexion; and The Body Shop Winter Trend Special Edition Makeup Collection. The collection comes with a 4-Step Smoky Eye Palette in Brown or Plum, and Colour Crush Lipsticks in berry pink and plum colours.

(From left) The Body Shop All-In-One BB Cream, $32.90; The Body Shop 4-Step Smoky Eye Palette in Icy Plum, $39.90 and The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipstic, $22.90

(From left) The Body Shop All-In-One BB Cream, $32.90; The Body Shop 4-Step Smoky Eye Palette in Icy Plum, $39.90 and The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipstick, $22.90

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain, $22.90

The Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain, $22.90

Any makeup tips for women living in tropical Singapore?
Don’t be afraid of colours – you can never go wrong with bold eye and lip colours. If you’re worried your blusher may melt off by mid-day, start with a cream blusher (Lan recommends The Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Stain) then set it with a powder blush. For a brighter complexion, go ahead and mix foundations to get the right shade for your skin tone.


What is one makeup item every woman should own?

Definitely a highlighter, like The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter. Even when you’re tired or your complexion looks dull, it’ll brighten you up immediately.

The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter, $26.90

The Body Shop Radiant Highlighter, $26.90

Finally, can you share with us one little-known professional makeup trick?
Before you apply your foundation, be sure to use a mattifying primer. It acts as a barrier between the makeup and your skin, locks in moisture in your skin and helps makeup last much longer too. Try The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Pore Minimiser. It’s made with organic tea tree oil to help smooth, prime and mattify your skin.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser, $32.90

The Body Shop Tea Tree Pore Minimiser, $32.90

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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