Manila makeup with Justin Louise Soriano

Published July 3, 2020, 10:13 PM

by Nikki H. Huang

Do not forget, readers, that you have it in you to look and feel like your best self. Makeup is one way to get there

I first met Justin Louise Soriano at a NARS event while he was a contracted makeup artist. I was immediately struck by his strong character, witty sense of humor, and incredibly sharp eye when it came to makeup product choice and application. Justin is the type of artist who knows not only what makeup you should wear, but exactly why. He knows the science of aesthetics like he has a bachelor’s degree in beauty. 

Justin Louise Soriano

I have come to treasure Justin not only for his expertise, but for his candor and compassion, too. It is no doubt that he is one of my closest friends, readers, as I’m sure anyone who keeps up with the both of us on Instagram will know. This young artist, however, has done so much more than that. In a little over a year, he has grown into one of Manila’s most prominent makeup artists with regular clients most can only dream of. His makeup has appeared on multiple magazine covers, front row at fashion shows, and in countless high profile events. Read on to see his answers to some of your most pressing makeup questions. 

Justin and I haven’t seen each other for a while now, first by the fact that I moved to the US for university and then because of Manila’s incredibly strict lockdown protocols. Nowadays I find myself revisiting the many lessons he’s taught me over the last several months when it comes to glamming on my own. Unlike many a makeup artist who keeps the tricks of the trade to themselves, Justin has taught me to make myself up for every situation. Whether for a series of shows at New York Fashion Week, a first date, a lunch with friends, a night hopping from one bar to the next, on-camera engagements (hello, New Normal), or a day at the gym or the beach when all I want is a little enhancement, I have a pretty decent shot at looking presentable. From makeup shopping at our favorite brands—MAC, Nars, Laura Mercier, Tom Ford, to name a few, all of which are available locally—to hours spent in my room making kwento and practicing perfect application, I’ve truly learned so much. Because of Justin, I’ve found myself imbibed with a confidence from knowing I’m able to put my best, most appropriate foot forward no matter the occasion… I think this confidence is especially important for women, since society is structured that doubly high standards for our appearance can be roadblocks to getting where we want and need to go in life. Justin, thank you for bringing out the best, strongest “me!” It’s an honor to be on this journey with you. 

Sometimes, the confidence boost a person needs comes from a swipe of a lipstick or a stroke of an eyeliner

I know makeup, especially makeup that fits our tropical climate, is a mystery to many. This is why for today’s article, I wanted to share with you all Justin’s responses to some of the most asked makeup-related questions on our Instagrams, as well as the exact products to help you achieve the look that we love and use! It is a time rife with bad news and hardship, and it is my hope that this article makes for a fun reprieve into the world of beauty. After all, knowing how to do makeup that makes you feel confident and stronger as we face an unprecedented way of living is a simple but effective way to reclaim our sense of selves in the midst of this pandemic. (Of course, it’s a privilege that comes with access to the non-essential, luxury good that makeup is.)  Beauty is a luxury, yes, but confidence is a right. Do not forget, readers, that you have it in you to look and feel like your best self. Makeup is one way to get there.

Makeup hack that completely changed your life?

 I put on highlighter after 8-10 spritz of setting spray. This is so good, especially if you want to achieve that perfect and rightly placed highlighter glow. I love using Stila’s highlighter. It really mimics a natural glow without buh-linding people. 

Also, I always put foundation on my client’s ears because I like to see ears match the face. Sometimes you blush and it doesn’t show on the face but shows up on your ears. 

Smile like the happiest person in the world before you put on foundation, check for areas that crease or wrinkle and avoid putting so much product in the area to avoid cakey-ness.

I’ve learned this one from my muse:  Put a lot of lip balm on your lips, let it stay while doing your next makeup steps, then remove it using a cloth after. This removes dead skin and makes your lips rejuvenated and plumped.

Justin’s beauty look for the author

How do we keep our makeup on all day without having to reapply? Tips to make makeup last in Philippine humidity? 

You need to find products that match your skin type and condition. Find an amazing primer. I suggest Nars Smooth and Protect Primer. Use less oily foundation. Contouring is a diet for the face, so I layer matte cool tone contour stick with matte contour powder. I swear that you will look 10 pounds less! 

Set your contour with a very fine loose powder like everyone’s all-time favorite Laura Mercier Translucent Powder. This is called the “sandbagging technique.” I don’t normally use this technique because I don’t like to put extra products on my clients.  If you are going to a party or doing something else where you’re more likely to sweat and shine, do this and you’ll slay. Then finish everything with a powerful makeup spray that sets and holds everything in place. I suggest MAC’s Mattifying Setting Spray. It’s going to be your best friend! 

How to get ready in 20 mins? Maybe three to five most important products/steps everyone should know! 

It is so important to know your facial structure and your own beauty preferences very well. You want to know what to enhance and what to hide. Practice framing your eyebrows and doing your feline eyeliner flick, as both are steps that can take a lot of your time if you’re a beginner. Use a medium sized buffing brush for your foundation and set it. Contour your face, including your eye crease with the same contour powder. Make sure your powder is cooler toned so you can create depth in seconds.  I suggest Anastasia Beverly Hills’s contour cream and powder. Don’t forget to put on the right blush tone, a fine highlighter on your cheek’s highest point and your favorite lipstick. By the way if you can do lash extensions do it ‘cause it really makes so much difference.


Justin’s beauty look for Heart Evangelista

Make-up tips for Asian eyes? Morena skin?

I love to do feline, slanting eyeshadow for Asian eyes. It makes them naturally look lifted and sexy. Find the perfect nude eyeliner—I  suggest Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick in ginger—to line your waterline, which will make your eyes appear open and bright. Then use waterproof mascara on your lower lashes and put highlighter on the inner corner of your eyes. You’ll look so awake!

My ultimate makeup tip for morena skin is to find your undertone. Foundation will never identically match your skin but you can find your nearest match. If you are wearing clothes that expose the neck bring the foundation all the way down.

Men’s makeup, especially for those who want to look good for photos, have blemishes, etc?

Eyebrow grooming is one of the most important things in men’s makeup. Use a clear eyebrow gel to groom and comb all your hairs in the same direction, or even a light pencil or powder to fill in gaps. Make sure your products are waterproof. 

Use your favorite moisturizer for dry to normal skin, and use a mattifying primer if you have oily skin. Conceal any imperfections you have then set it with translucent powder, men always like to look chiseled aside from having good skin, so contour using one shade darker cool tone contour powder, and then use a matte natural tone lipstick. A lip balm will do but choose the matte one. I’m sure that you don’t like glossy lips. Set it with mattifying spray.

Top 3 must-haves in your makeup kit?  

Brushes that are multi-purpose, eyebrow palette, concealer.

Tips for on camera makeup, now that everything’s online? 

You really don’t wanna look so flat on camera/zoom meetings. I strongly recommend doing your eyebrows to frame your face and then contour your face. Use that contour powder as an eyeshadow too, which is my favorite hack for cutting down time and steps. Put your mascara on. Avoid putting shimmering products on, which will make your face reflect too much light and make it appear one dimensional and rounder. Use natural tone blush, put it on your cheeks and across your nose to look light and youthful. But don’t overdo it! You don’t wanna look drunk or sunburned. You can use liptint or lipstick—it doesn’t really matter—as long as your lips don’t look pale on camera.