Makeup artist Vincent Oquendo recreates Vanessa Hudgens' look for our How It's Done video series

By Jackie Fields
March 03, 2017 03:12 PM

Awards season is officially o-v-e-r. And naturally it culminated on Oscars night with some of the prettiest makeup looks we’ve ever seen, from Taraji P. Henson’s two-tone eyes (one of many breathtaking eye makeup moments that evening) to Emma Stone’s old Hollywood-inspired look — and no fewer than ten exquisite lip colors that had us reaching for our wallets. But if after gazing at all that glamour, you’re more convinced than ever that it truly takes a village to look this darn fabulous, fear not: for we brought in Vincent Oquendo, the pro behind Vanessa Hudgens’ Golden Globes party glow, to break down the secrets to A-list makeup.

“You never go wrong if you go for a beautiful, natural look,” says Oquendo, who focused on enhancing Hudgen’s features. For a dewy complexion like Hudgens’, he emphasizes the importance of concentrating on your base. “I spent a lot of time on prep and application of foundation, blush and highlighter so that her skin really had depth.”

Oquendo begins by loading the skin up with moisturizer, then applying a luminizing primer. “Nothing is worse than a glowing face and a dry neck — it doesn’t match! This way there’s no disconnect,” says the pro, who warns against skimping on your product. “I use a lot of skincare products on the face because when the skin is properly prepped and primed, you can do any makeup. I say: Good skin, great makeup!”

Christopher Polk/NBCU

The makeup artist always mixes foundations together to truly customize the shade to his client’s skin tone. Among his favorites for a flawless canvas: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation. If necessary, then apply a highlighting concealer to brighten under the eyes.

Moving on up to brows, Oquendo combines warm and cool tones in the Anastasia Beverly Hills Bro Pro Palette to accentuate them. “Using contrasting colors creates dimension, making your brows stand out,” he says.

He next sweeps a cream shadow (Giorgio Armani Beauty Eye Tint Eyeshadow in No. 11) on the lids to set his base – and prevent creasing, following that step with a blend of brown and taupe shadow from the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in The Sophisticate at the lash line for a soft, smoky effect. “When I’m done, I go over the eye shadow lightly with the foundation brush to diffuse it,” he says.

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To boost radiance, he taps a cream highlighter on the brow bones and cheekbones. Then he warms up the skin concentrating Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer on the hollows of cheeks and just under the jaw line. A generous swirl of blush from this Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush palette adds a subtle glow. “This is not about putting on makeup to go to the corner store,” explains Oquendo. “It might look great in the moment, but it has to stay all night, so you have to build layers.”

Letting the skin settle, Oquendo returns to the eyes, angling a brush upwards at the outer corners to perfect the shape of his liner. He opts for a shadow because it’s “not as stark” as black pencil. “It’s okay if it’s not perfect! You can always even the lines out using a pointed Q-tip,” he explains.

To brighten the eyes, he applies Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Bare, a nude pencil, at the inner rim of the lower lash line.

Frazer Harrison/Getty

Layering several coats of mascara is key for the dramatic look – as is doubling up on your formulas. Oquendo uses Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes on the upper lash line and Marc Jacobs Beauty Feather Noir Ultra-Skinny Lash Discovering Mascara on the lower lash line because the smaller brush ensures he is able to enhance every single hair. 

After setting the look with Dior Diorskin Forever & Ever Control Loose Powder, Oquendo finishes with lips. He suggests lining and filling them with a peach-tone pencil, and uses Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil on tons of his clients because “it’s a good, universal nude that works on every skin tone.”

Concludes Oquendo, “There was a moment where it was all about full-on contour but a healthy glow is always going to be in style.”

Watch the video above for the full tutorial. Will you try this look? Sound off below.