Crossing the stage soon? Sephora PRO artist Chris Sams selects his favorite picks to graduate your beauty bag.
How would you describe your personal beauty style?
“I describe my personal beauty style as ‘Modern Dapper Dandy.’ I’m obsessed with vintage everything and always try to incorporate some element from bygone eras into my style. To keep my look fun and fresh, I love to experiment with color in my hair and makeup. Whether it’s lavender locks, a bold blue liner, or both, I always want to present myself in a way that feels unique…and maybe even a little rebellious.”
What was your beauty style like as an adolescent, and how did you elevate it into adulthood?
“It was all over the place. Like most people, I was trying to figure out who I was and where I fit into the world at that age. I very much felt like an outsider in my small southern town and my style reflected that. Crazy ever-changing colorful hair, poorly applied liquid liner, and baggy skater threads were my signatures, until sophomore year of high school, when I boldly declared to my mom that my new style would be blazers and bow ties. The more comfortable I became in my own skin as an adult, the more I solidified my aesthetic. You’ll still find me in blazers and bow ties. But now, the liquid liner is the bee’s knees!”
What inspired you to become a makeup artist?
“I have always been an artist. I studied drawing, painting, and sculpture all through school. My focus was always portraiture. I will forever have a fascination with the human form. I was inspired to choose makeup as my medium when a friend asked me to paint her face for a formal. I had no idea what I was doing, really, but the way she lit up when I was finished really touched me. From then on I have been obsessed with the transformational aspect of makeup.”
“Let’s start with the skin! The hydrating formula blurs imperfections and evens out the skintone with a natural finish, and can be applied quickly with a beautyblender, brush, or fingers. The formula also contains peptides and vitamins to give long-lasting results as well as instant gratification. The shade range is great for all skintones, and it’s perfect for grads because it’s so simple, fast, and effective!”
“For eyes, I have a couple of must-haves, and they’re both from tarte. The Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette has 12 matte shadows, which can be used on the lids, on the crease, or even as liner. Matte shadows give a softer, more natural-looking finish to the eyes, and these work for any look—from the interview to your first fancy dinner meeting. It’s perfect for any grad because it is truly an investment that will last for years to come.”
“No eye look is complete without mascara, which brings me to my other must-have from tarte. The new Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara is one of the blackest mascaras I have ever used. The wand is also amazing. Its uniquely molded bristles are designed to grab every eyelash and deposit just the right about of pigment to create maximum impact with minimal effort. Any time-saver helps me tremendously on set or backstage, and that’s exactly what the grad clients I have worked with look for too.”
“This is the perfect product to enhance your pout while providing hydration and protection. The new gel formula is really comfortable on the lips and easy to apply. Swipe on for full color payoff with a satin finish or tap on and pat with a finger for a sheer wash. The best work-appropriate shades are Enchanting Blush 03 and Bashful Beige 07, because they both bring out the most of your natural lip tone.”
“Your sense of scent is strongly tied to memory, so you’ll want a special fragrance to mark this exciting time in your life. You could even treat yourself to one as a reward for your first job offer. Citrine by NEST is a beautiful bright, fresh perfume that just smells happy. With notes of lotus flower, lemon blossom, and precious woods, I find this well-balanced fragrance to be perfect for everyone. Since it launched, I have been layering it on top of my typically deeper, more masculine colognes to create a fresh new summer scent that is totally unique to me.”
THE GRAD TIPS
What’s a sophisticated look for a job interview or an important business meeting, and how do you create it?
“When it comes to makeup looks for a job interview, less is more! Focus on defining and enhancing your features in the most natural way possible. With that said, start with the skin. Create an even, clean base using your favorite foundation or tinted moisturizer, applying it only where coverage is necessary. If there are any spots or breakouts, correct by layering on a concealer with a small, precise brush and tapping out the edges with a beautyblender or finger. This is also when you want to conceal any darkness under the eyes. Set everything in place with light layer of powder using a loose, fluffy powder brush (SEPHORA COLLECTION Pro Precision Powder Brush #59 is my favorite) using a press-and-roll motion.
"Now it’s time for eyes! Apply an eyeshadow primer all over the lids and along the bottom lash line with your ring finger. This will create a smooth, even canvas for your eyeshadows. Sweep a matte neutral shadow that’s similar to, or slightly lighter than, your skin tone all over the lid from lash line to browbone. This will neutralize any discoloration on the eye area and ensure a smooth, even blend with the rest of your shadows. Next, sweep a medium matte shadow two to three shades deeper than your skintone through the crease and along the bottom lash line to enhance your eye shape. Make sure that the shadow is blended and seamless. No harsh lines! To define the lash line, apply a deep brown or black matte shadow right into the roots of the lashes. Tap the edges of the dark shadow to soften. Finish the eyes with one to two coats of mascara.
"Add a little life back into the skin with a neutral blush applied to the apples of the cheeks and blend back and upward along the cheekbone to lift. Pro tip: Once your blush is applied, go back over it using the tool you used for your foundation with a gentle patting motion. This will not only seamlessly blend the blush, it will actually make it look like it’s coming from under the skin instead of sitting on top.
"Pop a satin lipstick or tinted balm in a color similar to your natural lip tone all over the lip. The lips should be perfected and plump without being distracting. Avoid goopy, pigmented glosses that have a tendency to migrate, since you will be doing a lot of talking in your interview. You don’t want to have to worry about touch-ups.
"To finish the look, spritz yourself with a setting spray to lock in all of your hard work. This will also help remove any powdery texture that may still be sitting on top of the skin.”
How do you incorporate fun colors and trends in your look in a professional setting?
“A pop of colorful liner is a perfect way to add some fun color to a look for a professional setting. Blue liner is universally flattering, so opt for a navy, cobalt, or indigo instead of black. SEPHORA COLLECTION Contour Eye 12hr Wear Waterproof pencil in Surfer Babe is one of my favorites. Fun fact: blue liner makes the whites of your eyes appear whiter and more awake!”