Makeup artist Mai Quynh updates a bold ’60s eye look for today’s style icons.
Photography By GUY AROCH
Written By ERICA LOPEZ
Makeup By MAI QUYNH
Hair By JOHN RUGGIERO
Nails By ASHLIE JOHNSON
Styled By WILLIAM GRAPER
In Hollywood, as in beauty, anyone can be anything. Makeup artist Mai Quynh proves the point in her new story for The Violet Files, wherein she transforms a quartet of models and shares the secrets behind their dramatic looks.
Follow along as Quynh constructs an effortlessly cool graphic liner look for Los Angeles–based model Ayako Comte, below. Then study the inventive makeup tutorials she crafted for three equally inspiring LA ladies: Kenya Kinski-Jones, Lindsey Wixson, and Jane Moseley.
Mai Quynh | @storyofmailife
Shades of ’60s via Pat McGrath’s beauty looks from Anna Sui’s Fall 2013 runway show.
WHERE TO WEAR
Taking in the art scene at Wolvesmouth, LA’s most exclusive dinner party.
MEET THE FACE
Ayako Comte | @ayakocomte
I used two shades of the Luminous Silk foundation (5.75 and 6), focusing the lighter shade in the center of the face and the darker one along her hairline to warm up the look. I made sure to apply lightly—just enough to even out her skin tone.
I applied a light wash of blush on the apples of Ayako’s cheeks with Laura Mercier’s Camouflage Powder Brush. Its small, domed shape concentrates the product right where I want it, and the blush’s sheer color gave extra life to her complexion without stealing attention away from the eyes.
Ayako has the coolest rocker-chic vibe, which perfectly suited this graphic eye look. To make it more interesting, I opted for Cobalt Ink instead of a traditional black. Using Laura Mercier’s Smoky Eye Liner Brush, I drew a very wide line along the top lashline, winging it out into a cat eye in the outer corner. Next, with the same liner and brush, I drew small circles along the lower lashes.
The eye is the focus of this look, so I wanted to keep the lips neutral but defined. I applied Celestine directly from the bullet by tracing the outer edges first and then filling in the rest of the lip. This crayon is very close to Ayako’s natural lip color, and it added just the right amount of pigment without being overbearing.
Name: Mai Quynh
Known For: Dramatic eyes and dewy skin
Where to Find Her: Los Angeles
Clients: Saoirse Ronan, Daisy Ridley, Chloë Grace Moretz
Years in the Industry: 18
Beauty Essential: BeautyBlender Pro Sponge
Agent: Samantha Jeudy @ Starworks
Makeup artist Mai Quynh is a thoroughly ’90s girl. She grew up watching Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford sing with George Michael in “Freedom!” while flipping through issues of Vogue covered by Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer. “They were everywhere,” says Quynh of the models who inspired her to pursue a career in beauty. “There was a way that they were painted, a presence they had. They looked so powerful and strong and beautiful and confident.”
Thusly transfixed, the California native enrolled at Studio Makeup Academy in 1998 and established her craft assisting makeup artists Stéphane Marais, Paul Starr, and Frank B. on music videos, commercials, and photo shoots. In 2006, Quynh got her big break when she landed her first Harper’s BAZAAR cover with a brunette and pregnant Britney Spears. “It is quite a memory,” Quynh says.
Since then, Quynh has become a red carpet regular. Her work is readily on display at premieres and awards shows via the glowing faces of celebrity clients such as Saoirse Ronan and Chloë Grace Moretz. “I take everything into consideration—her hair, her dress, her accessories—and I apply makeup that is specific to that moment,” Quynh explains of her approach.
But some things never change. When asked whom she would love to get in her makeup chair for a dream appointment, Quynh’s answer harkens back to her ’90s fangirl days. “Naomi Campbell,” the artist says. “She’s so fierce.”
The stylist and model shares her favorite LA routines—and the secrets behind caring for that waist-length hair.