If you ever find yourself drawing a blank on who the world’s biggest stars are, just take a look at make-up artist Hung Van Ngo’s Instagram account: they’re pretty much all there.
From each and every Victoria’s Secret Angel to Kate Bosworth to Katy Perry, he’s painted the face of literally everyone to grace a screen, stage or runway in the past 18 months.
But the face he’s perhaps most famous for belongs to Selena Gomez. Every time she makes headlines with a particularly sultry smoky eye or killer eyeliner look, we can guarantee Hung Van Ngo (or Hung ‘Van Glow', as celebrity hair stylist Mark Townsend likes to call him) is the man responsible.
The newly minted Marc Jacobs Global Artistry Ambassador is in Sydney this week to teach us his magical ways with a make-up brush – read on for his expert tips and tricks (including the reason we’ve now sworn never to wear black eyeliner again).
Look closely at Van Ngo’s signature smoky eye and you’ll spot the difference: the complete absence of black. “I rarely use black liner,” he tells me. “I find it a little harsh. I always use brown liner, even inside the eye.”
Cue Selena’s come-hither smoky, all golden taupe and bronze tones. “Even when I do a dramatic black eye, I use a brown shade inside, because it doesn’t close up the eye at all and always makes the pupils pop,” Van Ngo explains. His eyeliner of choice? Marc Jacobs Highliner Matte Gel Eye Crayon in (Brown)ie. “It’s a warm brown, not a flat brown,” he says.
He smudges out the colour to double as an eyeshadow – a trick he uses “on all the Victoria’s Secret girls – the smudged effect is so sexy.”
Hung Van Ngo’s Secrets To A Killer Smoky Eye
1/ Prime first. “A little eye primer helps smooth the skin and makes it easier to blur the eyeshadow out. It really helps to blend the eyeshadow.”
2/Blending is key. “When you blend the eyeshadow out you get a sultry, sexier look. When you leave a harsh line, you lose that creamy effect.”
3/ Use at least two different shades. “It’s all about blending them together to create dimension and avoid it looking flat.”
4/ Invest in three eyeshadow brushes: a blending brush, a shading brush and a smudge brush. “Use the smudge brush to blend out your eyeliner.” Hung applies eyeliner before eyeshadow, blending it out to create a base.