Makeup artist and cosmetic brand developer, Vincent Longo was born in Swan Hill, Australia, and spent his childhood amidst the majestic beauty of the outback. The light, colors, textures, sounds and purity of wild nature made a life-long impression and deeply stimulated his exceptional “eye” for color.
While in his late teens, Vincent’s family immigrated back to Italy, and he enrolled in B.C.M. – the Beauty Center of Milan. With effort and passion, Vincent soon mastered the art of makeup application through working with Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Dolce and Gabbana and Gianfranco Ferre.
His career took off when he was booked to work on Cindy Crawford for the cover of Italian Vogue. Shortly thereafter, Vincent made his professional debut in New York in the 90s. Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour, Claudia Schiffer, Heidi Klum, and Elle McPherson are among the many models Vincent has worked with in his career.
In 1995, he launched Vincent Longo Cosmetics, which is sold at Bloomingdale’s as well as boutiques and spas across the U.S. Read on to learn more about his brand and how his experiences have shaped his passion for beauty.
What led you to develop your own line of color cosmetics?
While working with all the super models and celebrity clients on photo shoots and red carpet events, I could never find the right shade of foundation to match their individual skin tone so I would find myself mixing the exact shade for each one. This became such a regular part of my work that on the night before each gig I’d mix the colors in my kitchen. This, over a brief period of time, became the first step towards creating the Vincent Longo brand name of cosmetics.
How have things changed since the “supermodel” era of Claudia, Naomi, and Cindy?
Beauty was more glamourized during the supermodel era; now, beauty is more individually-driven, perhaps because celebrities today are less idolized for their beauty as they once were. There are far fewer beauty idols now and we idolize far less now with reality TV. That’s where the dream element of celebrity died. There’s no more magic. Celebrity now is defined in terms of mass appeal rather than star appeal. The taste of the trailer park trumps the taste of the tastemakers.
What is your favorite part about working in this industry?
I love the changes that happen perpetually from one season to the next and being able to create new products that suit the times. The best thing is being inspired by an experience, or a place and then creating a product, or shade that goes with that experience. For example, I was once on the coast of Sicily near Taormina with a group of friends, and we joined some locals for a swim on a late spring morning. The water was still pretty cold and the Mediterranean was a rich blue color. As the local girls came out of the water, the girls’ skin and lips were practically stained by the reaction of the warm skin to the still cool water. I thought it would be very cool to have makeup that close to natural skin–a stain, rather than a cover, like the colour of Sicilian girls’ lips just bitten by the cold water.
What are some beauty tips for women on a tight budget?
Multiuse and re-purpose: the more ways one can successfully use a single product, the less one has to spend on different products, and the less space one needs to carry and store them. Technology has not only made things smaller, but also much more efficient. A big part of our R&D concentrates on adapting new technologies and innovations to make multiuse products, like our Lip/Cheek Gel Stain, Duo Lip/Eye Pencil, and incredibly versatile Olive Oil Fix Tip–not just corrective but a remover/cleanser.
What are the most common complaints/concerns you hear about from clients and what advice do you give them?
That colors are always different when they take them home. I recommend that before buying a product make sure to try it on and look at how it looks on the skin in natural light. The inside of the forearm is a good place to judge look and feel. Try to not be in direct sunlight.
What products can we give our husbands/boyfriends/male friends that they’ll actually enjoy using?
I have a Water Canvas Face Primer that is marvelous on men–takes fine lines and wrinkles right out by filling them in with water molecules, and has no colour or fragrance. It’s a great skin hydrator, with none of the goopiness guys hate and the freshness girls like to see. Also, our SPF-20 Cushion Lips contains the naturally antiseptic Tea Tree Oil–and definitely improves kissability.