Fashion & Style

Nam Vo, Instagram’s Reigning Glow Queen, Talks Quarantine Skincare

Photo by Gavin O’Neill

Spoiler alert: She’s obsessed with skincare tools.

To follow Nam Vo on Instagram is to go down a rabbit hole of hypnotizing dewy cheekbones strobed to absolute perfection. It’s an endless parade of glass-like skin — whether on herself, a model or her celebrity clients, like Kylie Jenner and Chrissy Teigen — that will have you yearning for a serious highlighter fix. The New York-based celebrity makeup artist calls herself and her legions of Instagram fans (over 324, 000 and counting) “dewy dumplings,” a term she’s coined to describe the gleaming, glazed look she’s become Insta-famous for and that nods to the sheen of freshly steamed dim sum.

But the viral sensation’s “glow jobs” as she calls them aren’t just about faking an immaculate complexion with makeup. “I’m always asked: What’s your favourite foundation? How do I cover acne? How do I cover melasma? My view is that beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin,” preaches Vo, adding that she’s a big fan of K-beauty products, like skincare brand Dr. Belmeur, who she has partnered with this year. “I feel like the science, technology and advancements that go into K-Beauty skincare are the best. Whatever is happening in Korea, five years later it comes to America.”

The makeup artist is incredibly diligent about her multi-step skincare routine and a big advocate for regular facials, too. But with many in-salon professional treatments being no-go zones during this year’s shelter-in-place orders, we had to ask Vo how she’s been maintaining her radiant complexion at home during the pandemic.

Morning routine:

“I double cleanse and tone, use an essence and one to three serums. I moisturize, use an eye cream and then I close it all up with a facial mist.”

Bedtime ritual:

“I’ve been using the Dr. Belmeur Red Pro-Retinol Serum every night. It’s really, really good. I’ll first use the Cica Peptite Ampoule, which is good for tightening the skin, then I’ll layer the Pro-Retinol on top and finish with the Recovery Cream. The Recovery Cream’s texture is really special. It’s just this cloudy, fluffy moisturizer that’s great for right now with it being colder outside and my skin being drier. And when I’m working on models, I sometimes use the cream on its own, or I’ll mix in a drop of it into a foundation to give it that really frothy, buttery texture, which makes your foundation more glow-y.”

Anti-aging advice:

“I tell people, if you don’t have wrinkles yet, start fixing it before it’s broken. And if you already do, it’s never too late to get in there and start using a [retinol product]. And something to really keep in mind with all of your skincare products is to drag them down to your neck and hands, because they are also part of the whole picture.”

The power of tools:

“A lot of it is tools. At home I like to micro-needle, which creates channels in your skin so your products can absorb better. I also started using at-home radio frequency, which heats up a dermal layer of your skin causing it to contract and create more collagen — and we can never have enough collagen. And whether it be with a professional tool, like a Gua Sha stone, or my hands, another thing I’m really doing is massaging my skin to get into my pressure points and for lymphatic drainage.”

Skincare non-negotiables:

“Is it horrible to say all of it? Like, you should see when I travel! My clothing suitcase is a carry-on and my skincare and makeup are in a checked bag. But if I had to give up one thing, I might give up an essence because I use so many targeted serums. I’m Vietnamese and have been taught about skincare since I was child. A lot of my American friends always tell me, ‘Girl, I’m lazy and you have ten things going on.’ But I really don’t see it that way. When I open my medicine cabinet and see all of my serums and treatment products, they don’t only feel like self care, but like I’m treating myself like a queen, especially now that I’m sitting at home and have more time to marinate. It’s all luxury [to me]. My products are like my little treasures.”