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Makeup Artist HUNG VANNGO On LA MER: ‘You Have To Try It’

You may not know the name Hung Vanngo, but you’ve definitely seen his work. With a client list chock full of award winners, Hung is a makeup artist known for creating red-carpet visages that look flawless and glowing—never overdone.

When we heard that Hung was an unabashed La Mer fan, we had to know more. Could his secret skincare weapon have us, too, looking like a movie star? Well, maybe not. But according to Hung, use it once and you’ll be hooked. While chatting, the one refrain he kept repeating over and over was “you just have to try it.”

Hung is what you might call an early adopter, having first sampled La Mer in 1996. “Over the years I’ve tried other products,” he says, “but every time I try something different, I see the texture of the skin and how the makeup is going on, and I say, OK, I’m going back to La Mer.”

As a child, Hung loved to draw and paint, but it wasn’t until he was working as a hairdresser at a beauty salon that he began playing around with makeup and “fell in love.” Asked what his favorite part of the job is, he said, “I get to meet new people every day, and I get to do makeup. I love faces. It sounds cheesy, but I love to make people more beautiful.”

Cheesy or not, this is one man’s advice we are ready to take.

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What’s the most important thing to consider when it comes to creating flawless skin?
My number one thing is that before you can have beautiful makeup, you have to have great skin. I spend a lot of time prepping the skin before I do the makeup. Like, if you give you me one hour for makeup, I’ll spent at least 25 minutes prepping the skin before touching the makeup. Because when you prep the skin well, you don’t have to use too much foundation, and the skin looks beautiful without appearing too heavy.

The best way to prepare the skin is to put the Crème on and let it sit for a few minutes, and honestly, it just melts into the skin. All the dryness disappears, and then you put some foundation on, and it doesn’t show at all.

La Mer has an ever-growing collection of products, so tell us, what are some of your all-time favorites?
I always have the four different moisturizers in my kit—which one I use depends on the season and the skin type. For instance, in the summer or for people with oily skin, I’ll use the Oil-Absorbing Lotion or the Moisturizing Gel Cream. Then in the wintertime, when skin tends to get really dry, I use the miracle cream, the Crème de La Mer. But I also use the cleansers and the eye creams and the body creams. With all of them, you can see the difference.

What is it that makes La Mer stand out?
When people come in with a lot of redness or dry, flaky skin, I’ll apply Crème de La Mer on the face, and you can instantly see the calmness—it calms the skin down immediately. When people ask me why I use La Mer, I say that it’s the only cream—and you have to try it to understand this—that when you apply it on your face at night, you wake up in the morning and before you even get out of bed, you can feel the difference. The first time you use it, you feel that the texture is different.

And what about the effects over a period of time? 
My skin looks amazingly smooth—I’m in my thirties now and I honestly don’t have wrinkles. Every time I come back to Calgary, my family thinks I’ve lasered my skin.

Do you ever meet someone and you can tell right away that they’re a La Mer user?
For sure. A lot of my celebrity clients are. Of course I cannot mention names, but a lot of my clients are fans. Even the younger ones. Because the thing is, if you’re having your makeup done a lot, with different makeup artists and brushes and products, the skin can react, but for some reason, when you wear La Mer underneath, it protects the skin. I think almost everyone uses it—well, not everyone, but a lot of them.

When I bring out La Mer with a client, it’s the only product where they don’t freak out—“What is that? What’s in that?” They know it, and they trust it.

Shop the La Mer collection at Barneys.com.

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