Oscar Beauty Chat with Celebrity Makeup Artist Matthew Vanleeuwen

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We caught up with Hollywood makeup artist Matthew VanLeeuwen (the makeup artist behind Marisa Tomei’s radiant Oscar beauty look) right after the biggest night in Hollywood. Read our Q &A below and learn his best beauty tips on the red carpet.

B: Hey Matthew. Did you notice any beauty trends that stood out last night?

Yes, it was all about simplicity and restraint—the focus was on the beauty. Simple eye makeup and sheer lip colors keeps things very easy. I think it’s a reflection of the time we’re in right now—the makeup was more real and natural.

B: Any favorite hair look from the night?

Hilary Swank’s hair was so classic and beautiful, and I loved the placement of the broaches!

B: How do you prepare your clients' skin before applying makeup for a red carpet look?

We’re often not given much time. A good artist needs to be able to make any skin type look amazing, even if it’s less than perfect. I rely on good skincare—great moisturizers and primers to ensure a flawless canvas. Some clients will also get hydrating facials prior to the makeup.

B: How long does red carpet makeup take from beginning to end?

For a red carpet event, the makeup usually takes me about an hour and a half in total to apply. You work with your clients during an intimate time so you never want to rush them, but in some cases it’s faster. For instance, Marisa’s [Tomei] look was very simple and only took 45 minutes.

In Hollywood, hair and makeup are usually done at the same time. An actress doesn’t have hours to spend being worked on--it’s really more of a simultaneous team effort. I actually prefer to do my work at the same time as the hair stylist now.

B: What are your favorite makeup brushes?

I actually have a new favorite that I’m obsessed with, the Elizabeth Arden foundation brush. I use the same brush throughout the whole process. I never have a ton of product on the brush and just work in layers.

B: Any tips to ensure that your makeup will last throughout the evening?

Well-applied makeup needs to be blended well using the correct brush and technique. The time spent blending helps guarantee that makeup stays stable and lasts all night. I love Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers, these gold flaked blotting papers take off excess oil on the face without disturbing the makeup at all. I make sure my clients have a few sheets of these tucked away into their clutches for personal touch-ups throughout the evening.


B: Where should we expect to see your work next?

I’m seeing Marisa [Tomei] tonight for her appearance on Conan and am looking forward to doing a royal wedding in London this Spring.

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