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Dublin: 22 °C Friday 7 August, 2020

Skin Deep: Here are the makeup mistakes a top makeup artist told me Irish women are making

James Vincent has worked with Rihanna, Courtney Love, Lady Gaga and everyone else you’ve ever tried to emulate.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.

As I said in my first column here, I am a lover of makeup. I have spent years of my life practicing my skills, and thousands of euro on my beloved product, but I am not a professional. Thus, when I had the opportunity to speak to a professional on your behalf, I jumped at it.


He’s not just any professional, either. I mean, if you’re going to be taking advice from a professional makeup artist, you want it to be someone who has worked on the set of Sex and the City, painted eyeliner flicks on Amy Winehouse’s face, helped Courtney Love cultivate her signature looks from grunge to sophisticated and held Rihanna’s luminous, beautiful face in his talented hands.

James Vincent has worked with all of those people and more, and earlier this week he was in the Makeup Forever Pro Boutique on Clarendon Street in Dublin, and I got to ask him whatever I wanted on your behalf!


What do you think of Dublin?

I love Dublin, I lived here for almost two years about a decade ago, but now Dublin is influencing so many people with its music, its food and its fashion. We went out for dinner the other night and every girl was gorgeous and working a look.

Irish women naturally have a sense of individuality, and are so beautiful, but there’s a sense of style and fashion here that I don’t think people appreciate. Beauty and fashion here doesn’t get the respect that I think it deserves.

So we’re doing something right, but what are the biggest mistakes Irish women are making with their makeup?

I think one of the mistakes is really down to Irish socialisation. Women here were raised to think that if they wear a foundation that’s four, five, six, seven, EIGHT shades darker than their actual skin that they’ll look tan or that they’ve just been on holiday, and we know that isn’t true. It drives me mad. But I think that’s getting better with the younger generations and one of the main reasons is that there was no choice before! It was very difficult for Irish women to find complexion product that worked for them but now we’re spoiled for choice, there’s so much makeup available.

The problems now is that there’s a heavy hand in Irish makeup and I think sometimes, just like America, people aren’t looking and saying ‘What are the needs of my face?’. Instead they’re saying, ‘I’m going to do this because Kim whoever does it.’ I went to a department store the other day and there were girls with these brown lines on their face. Beautiful, beautiful women whose makeup was so distracting, I thought ‘Why would they do that?’

I think reality tv, I think social media, I think an obsession with celebrity culture has kind of created a moment in makeup where people are trying to look like the people they admire and copy the exact look instead of crafting it to their own face. That’s why Makeup Forever is a great resource, because you can say ‘I love how Rihanna looks’ and come in and an expert can show you how to make it work for your face, for your skin and for your lifestyle. Because I think the problem with YouTube is that people are just doing what the person does and then not understanding the why, the when, the how, they’re just saying they want that look.


Redness of the skin is a common problem among Irish women. What’s the best way to counteract that?

Colour correction is the key. The mistake that people make here is that they use foundation to cover. A lot of women think ‘I have this redness so I’ll just layer on foundation.’ Full coverage foundation or concealer is using a dense opaque product, and you have to layer it up to camouflage which can start to look heavy. The better way to work it is through colour correction. A sheer green primer under a sheer coverage foundation will still neutralise the red. 

So are you a believer in primer? 

No. I am not a primer person. I believe I can prime the skin with whatever moisturiser I’m working with. I use like with like, if I’m using a water based foundation I use a water based moisturiser, if I’m using an oil based foundation I use an oil based moisturiser. If I’m using a silicon based foundation I will use a silicone primer, though. The problem with most primers on the market is that they have so much silicone in them that they always look heavy and a bit grey and they look shiny. A lot of women will come to me complaining that they’re oily, and they’re not oily, it’s the silicone in their primer starting to shine through. So I’m not big primer person for all over the face although I accept that primer works for some people or in some climates.

Are there any trends in makeup that you think are off the wall?

I don’t understand the thing they’re doing where they draw a line of gold down their nose and put a little gold ball on the end. Why would you want to make your nose more shiny? It’s such a weird place to pull focus.

Contour is on it’s way out, that kind of wore me out. We recognise at least eight face shapes, and yet everyone is contouring as if they’re an oval, so you’ve got these people walking around looking insane.

I also don’t understand the block of concealer around the eyebrow. I don’t understand why you would take a lighter colour, a lighter colour is going to open something up and pull something out, I don’t understand why you would put light all around your eyebrow to pull your eyebrow even further out, because that’s such a masculine aggressive trait. I think what happened is all of these guys on Instagram did their eyebrows with concealer and then girls just copied. It’s just crazy to me.


What product do you think is overrated?

I’m not a big fan of powder, I think it can highlight mistakes in your makeup and really age people. I like a setting spray like Makeup Forever’s Mist and Fix, it’ll hold everything in place but it keeps your makeup fresh. You can spritz throughout the day, or I actually do it several times through the application. I do moisturiser – spritz. Foundation – spritz. That way I know my makeup will set without looking heavy.

Also, most people dampen a beauty blender with water, but I dip it into Makeup Forever Aqua Seal and then use it which adds staying power. I also mix it into lip product and concealer, my clients can swim in it and it’s not going to move.

If you could give makeup wearers one tip, and one tip only, what would it be? 

Put your blush on under your foundation, and your bronzer. Sculpt your face, then do your foundation. The flush will look like it’s coming through the skin rather than sitting on top. You can do that with a cream product, and then if you want to or need to add a powder on top. It’ll kind of sandwich everything together so that not only will you get a longer lasting colour, you’ll get something that feels like that sexy glow that we all want. Blush is so big this season and a lot of women don’t know how to wear it and are scared of it.
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