By Lindsay Whelchel
For Nicole Wells, applying makeup was not an area in which she had much expertise. Bright colors were foreign, and techniques equally unknown. So, several years ago, when Wells found herself seated in a makeup artist’s chair at a cosmetic counter, there was an undeniable feeling of fear.
But the artist got to work trying different shades and combinations, and Wells was stunned by the end result.
It just so happened that the experience would change Wells so greatly that today you will likely see the Oklahoma City resident strutting down the street with blushed cheeks, mascara-coated lashes and a whole new kind of confidence.
It’s her newfound knowledge that is integral to the overall success of makeup application, says Jacky Vincent, the makeup artist who first worked her magic on Wells.
“I think it’s about finding out your skin type, always getting professional help. You don’t have to hire a makeup artist to come to your home and pay lots of money; simply walk up to a cosmetic counter or a boutique and ask a professional,” Vincent says.
Taking the proactive steps to gain greater command of your makeup palette makes sense to Vincent.
“Women consult professionals on hair all the time. Why would you not consult people about makeup? Go to people who know; you can work together to find out your skin type and what works best for you,” she says.
Vincent has had many years to figure out the best methods for helping people with cosmetics. She began a passion for the art while studying theater in school.
“I realized the line for an actor was about eight miles long, but the line for a makeup artist wasn’t; so I got to work backstage, which I enjoyed as much as being on stage,” she says.
Now, 11 years later, Vincent works with a “prestige” brand of makeup, training fellow makeup artists and working with clients like Wells.
In this time, she has learned that there is not one size that fits all when it comes to makeup, but that there are proven techniques and very clear trends.
“The very first thing you should think about is: good makeup comes with amazing skin. You can’t have good makeup if you have not taken care of your skin,” Vincent says, and explains the importance of using sunscreen, moisturizers and cleansing to achieve the best possible result.
“Think about if you’re doing a painting – you wouldn’t want a bumpy, dry canvas; you would want a perfected, beautiful canvas. Even those who have acne problems, dry skin or fine lines and imperfections can still have beautiful skin if they’re using the right products and techniques to get them there,” she adds.
Surprisingly, it is Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler who proved this point for Vincent. She has worked with him several times on makeup, and calls his skin the best she has ever seen.
“I said, ‘Dude, your skin is like butter;’ he was like, ‘I know. I take very good care of it,” Vincent says with a laugh.
When it comes to celebrities and trends, Vincent says it’s important for a makeup artist to stay informed about what’s happening on red carpets and fashion shows worldwide.
“I think makeup artists where we are really have to dive deeper and know what’s happening at fashion week, what’s happening on the streets of New York, so we can bring that trend to where we are. Trends don’t really develop here, but I think we have incredibly fashionable people, especially when it comes to makeup. Women are just as fashionable here as they are anywhere else,” she says.
Currently, those trends mean neutral and natural tones, with the addition of one bold color, especially lipstick, Vincent says.
“I think the Oklahoma woman does this really well. If you look on the red carpet, it’s about beautiful makeup, that statement of color. Everything is not fighting each other. You want one thing, and you want to do that well. You saw it a lot at the Academy Awards a couple of months ago.” Vincent says, describing styles with an orange lip and a soft eye, or soft, subtle, smoky eye with a nude lip color. This is the modern makeup look.
“You don’t want too much,” she says. “Bronzes, champagnes and colors like that work on every skin tone, every age. It doesn’t matter who you are because they’re natural and they’re pretty. If you do want to branch off into color, pop that color,” Vincent explains, which is where the bold lips, bright eyeliner or cheeks come in.
“I think, at the end of the day, women just want to be pretty. They want to feel like the best version of themselves, and makeup should make you look like you, but perfected and fabulous,” Vincent says.
That’s what happened with Wells, the previously untried makeup student.
“I was totally not into makeup, not into colors or anything like that, and here comes this bright, bubbly young girl who literally just made me into an absolute princess. Not only did she make me look pretty, she made me so comfortable to even try a lot of the colors, bold colors that I would’ve just never thought to use,” Wells says.
And this is Vincent’s favorite part of her work.
“It’s amazing to hear whoever is in your chair tell you how great they feel, and to see them smile. You know that they like it whenever they can’t stop looking in the mirror. That’s my very favorite part – to see how happy my client gets,” she says.
In a more serious instance, Vincent tells the story of one client who came to her with a love of trying all kinds of lipsticks and glosses. This woman loved her lips – they were a favorite feature. She spent time with Vincent and splurged on a variety of colors. It was only at the end of their time together that the woman confided in Vincent that she had just come from the doctor and found out she had cancer in her jaw, which would require drastic surgery to treat.
It was the simplicity of a makeup that gave the woman a moment to embellish and enjoy her favorite physical feature.
“It’s such an easy thing, but at the same time it’s such a beautiful thing,” Vincent says, and adds that for every style, makeup is the icing on the cake.
“People spend money on clothes, shoes, hair and purses, all of these things, and don’t give much thought to their face; but the face is what people talk to. Most people aren’t staring at your shoes … they’re looking at your face. If my face looks like a million dollars, no one’s going to remember my clothes looked bad,” Vincent jokes.
To make your makeup efforts long lasting, it’s about transitioning a look from day to night, Vincent explains.
According to Vincent, the most important aspect of a daytime look is keeping it minimal and focusing on perfection, using soft pink and peachy tones.
Then, to spice your look up for night, make a strong impact with bold lips, or try false eyelashes for fun.
Vincent advises an application of powder to touch up any shine, and you should be good to go.
This summer especially, Vincent emphasizes the use of a hydrating spray.
“It’s like a drink of water for your skin,” she says.
With all this to consider, it seems that experimenting and educating yourself on these ingredients will put you on the right road to a perfect cosmetic combination. Just ask the expert!