Luigi Tomio, Estée Lauder Global Pro Makeup Artist, is the man from whom you can learn the biggest number of genius tricks for your makeup, but not only. He is a man who loves his work and puts so much passion into what he does, he loves cold tones, contrasts and he admires Victoria Beckham, who managed to use colors in a unique way.
Luigi is a man of great intelligence and passion, the inspirations for his work are many but he quotes Mondrian among the artists he feels nearest to himself. We interviewed him and asked him about the start of his career at Estée Lauder, his skincare routine and what are the products that should never be missing in his kit (and those essential for 5 minutes makeup).
How did your passion for makeup start and what was your path?
I have always had this passion because it goes hand in hand with my passion for color. Since I was a little boy, I enjoyed coloring rather than painting, and this means that I acquired the right mastery with the various types of pigment. The technique that I find closest to me is watercolor, which has a certain affinity with makeup because the colors can be diluted, and you can get different shades that only the watercolor allows to reach.
After several academic studies in makeup, I arrived in the real makeup world, we are talking about the 80s, when Milan was in full swing, and people had no problems finding work, you just had to want to work. I worked in multiple environments, even in some television productions that lasted for months: for example, “Drive in,” a format for which you had to deal not only with standard set makeup but also with makeovers. I also worked in places like the Arena di Verona, where I followed 2 productions throughout the Opera season, a lively and present experience. Not to mention the world of fashion, which gave me the opportunity to work with editorials and catalogs.
Then, one day, I had the contact of Estée Lauder from my agency and I landed in this world that was unknown to me because it was the first time that I approached a world that was not solely creative but also made of business. Initially, I was skeptical, but then I immediately understood that Lauder was able to give me the right position that allowed me to express myself.
“The technique that I find closest to me is watercolor, which has a certain affinity with makeup…”
The world of makeup and skincare is evolving more and more, especially in the last two years with women empowerment and inclusion: how would you like to see the beauty world in the future?
I must say that inclusion has done so much, not only because it opens doors everywhere but, above all, it does not exclude anyone. I see a projection of what the beauty world is in a positive form of globalization; for example, we are increasingly watching and copying the Eastern world. And also Japan is re-emerging to strongly face the Korean phenomenon. This globalization allows the world to experiment and use things that yesterday was considered local techniques from other cultures. Women, on the other side of the world, have been experiencing those techniques for years and we didn’t know about them. Above all, we see a beauty that is less and less homologated and more and more coming from the discipline in the cosmetic field.
Korea, for example, is where the phenomenon of BB cream was born, a product that remains very strong on the market, and that meant an abandonment of all products that had the purpose of covering and homogenizing, while the BB cream manages to protect and to achieve the right uniformity without weighing it down. Before the BB cream, we didn’t have foundations as good as today.
What are the must-have products in your kit?
I don’t like to use too many products; I’d rather take advantage of the action of a product with multiple uses. Undoubtedly, there’s the Advanced Night Repair, a fabulous serum that remains the protagonist of the brand and that becomes that kind of product that facilitates you in everything, not only in the skincare routine. Another Estée Lauder product that I consider fundamental is Double Wear Foundation, it gives you the possibility to choose between more than 50 shades to find the right color, the one suitable for your type of complexion, and this fact follows back to the subject of inclusivity.
As a bronzer I use the Power Bronzer, a simple, earthy tone that is brilliant because it allows you to make any kind of correction and contouring to the face, defining not only the right color but also the right proportions. It’s a product that can also be used as an eye shadow. There are four shades, which range from matte to slightly glittered and adapt to every skin tone. Then I use the Extreme Mascara to obtain, in a very short time, a beautiful effect perfectly embracing the lashes, giving structure but also elasticity, while keeping the lashes well separated.
I am very fascinated by the Pure Color Desire line: it’s a lipstick that allows you to get the maximum definition and pigmentation in a short time. With 25% more of pure pigment, it gives an immediate saturated effect.
“I must say that inclusion has done so much, not only because it opens doors everywhere but, above all, it does not exclude anyone.”
How much do you think it’s important to prepare the skin for a successful makeup?
Each case is a world apart. Anyway, before starting I dedicate at least 10 minutes to the preparation of the skin, it’s essential not to hurry because this is the first contact you have with the person before doing the makeup and it gives you the opportunity to enter his or her world.
Skincare products make you understand what the skin requires. There are skin types that make the job easier, others that need high-performing products. For example, when you treat oily skin, you have to mattify the face first: in this case, one of the most useful techniques is to heat the product as little as possible, also because otherwise you risk reactivating the sebaceous secretion. If you approach the skin in a softer way without massaging it too much, you are already at a good point and, also, laying the foundation with a brush will make this much easier. Before any make-up, the right attention must be paid to the skin and to the eye contour, using products that have a rapid effect. And it’s good to know how to mix well serums with creams when needed.
What’s your skincare routine?
Next question? [Laughs]. I love to follow a rigorous diet and use soap bars. I’m old-fashioned. I use them in the morning and in the evening because it’s the moment when the skin needs us the most and because it needs more careful hygiene. I’m more tired, and therefore the skin must be pampered more; I always use these bars of soap in two stages so, in addition, to clean the skin, I also do a light exfoliation (I also lightly exfoliate the skin), so that when I apply the Advanced Night Repair the skin can absorb it better. Finally, I use 24h moisturizer.
What products would you use for a five-minutes makeup?
It’s very subjective. You need to understand right away whether to enhance the eyes or the lips. 5 minutes for makeup, for the real professionals, still gives you the possibility to do a base for the makeup structure. Never forget that touch of mascara and try to flatter the shape of the eye through a pencil or an eyeliner, then a touch of contouring to harmonize the shapes, also with a bit of blush to give color; I don’t always do the lips because they immediately define a signature.
“…, before starting I dedicate at least 10 minutes to the preparation of the skin, it’s essential not to hurry…”
Was there, during your career, an encounter that inspired your way of living makeup and beauty?
The one with Victoria Beckham: I think she is an icon, not only in the fashion world but also in beauty. I had the opportunity to work with her during the creation of her line with Estée Lauder. She wants to experiment with whatever product she launches on the market, and there were people who have remained in the Estée Lauder archives for days to find products and features capable of satisfying her and her customers’ needs. Her products are not only intended for marketing but to live throughout time. I’m very fascinated by this woman because she knew how to create her own color blocking, which means to combine two opposite tones of the chromatic wheel to create unexpected visual effects. It’s not a small thing: the color blocking immediately enhances the color at its best. She will come out soon with a more focused line, even with skincare products.
How would you define your style?
I would call it classic-contemporary because everything I have learned from the past is still a win. Certainly, one must know how to make everything more modern, fresh and immediate. I’m attracted to rational tidiness; I love everything that is essential and clean, I hate what’s too much, like the Baroque for example, I feel more Nordic because I love the soft and clean light. Michael Nyman, for example, is the kind of music that fascinates me, while if you ask me where I find the most expressive and chromatic form in art, I’d say Mondrian for sure, I like his style: so severe and essential.
Warm or cold tones?
It’s a very simple distinction: warm tones belong to us Mediterraneans, we wear them more easily, while cold tones are far from our world and take us far away. I prefer to distinguish between solar and lunar colors: when you talk about solar colors you understand that we use them more, but when you have to recreate some more icy looks, frozen colors give a better effect. When you use natural shades, you will have a natural effect, while when you use cold colors, the makeup will be the protagonist. I am often more satisfied with the cold colors.
“Victoria Beckham: I’m very fascinated by this woman because she knew how to create her own color blocking.”
A beauty trend you like?
The glass skin, that vitreous skin effect, very natural but artificial at the same time because it takes a very strict skincare routine to make the skin like that. Of course, this helps the makeup to become only the last tool of the skincare routine, used no longer to hide but to harmonize your base color.
The Glass Skin is not something easy to obtain but it’s essential to know how to dedicate the right amount of time to it when you have to do your makeup: to achieve these trends I recommend a course with a makeup artist, even the Estée Lauder’s beauty boutiques offer one.
What’s your creative process for editorial makeup?
It depends a lot on the magazine, depending on that and on the theme, I always try to put myself in the shoes of who will read this article, I try to find an answer for them, more than for myself. The main inspiration comes from the environment where I live and work because I have to deal with trends every day: I often take inspiration from working directly with the New York Research and Development department, thanks to which I’m already forward-looking, this helps me a lot.
You have been in Estée Lauder for 30 years: what is one of your best memories?
Every day is an adventure. It gives you the opportunity to travel a lot and to challenge yourself in everyday life. I would have three thousand moments to remember, but there is one in particular that happened back in 1998. During an event hosted at the Rinascente Duomo, when podiums were still a particular week in which companies presented their products at the Rinascente, I met a woman who caught my attention right away, so I said to myself, “You must not let her go,” and I did my best to involve her. Luckily, that woman is now the mother of my children: we’ve been together for 22 years and, in this case, Estée Lauder gave me the chance to meet the woman of my life.
Who is, for you, one of the most influential icons in the world of beauty?
Still, Victoria Beckham, I consider her a unique style icon. But also Mrs. Estée Lauder, who left us with values which have remained alive over time, the fact that she was always saying, “Every Woman can be beautiful” is proof of this.
Inspired by her, in the company we integrate values-driven model called “High-Touch.” This model is based on some key points that every employee in the world has to follow in their professional and personal life: providing customers with high quality, innovative cosmetic products, providing exceptional service by treating each individual as we would like to be treated, creating an environment that promotes personal growth and well-being and being responsible citizens in every community we serve.
What’s, for you, the best thing of being a makeup artist?
I wrote about it recently on my Instagram, through a sentence that comprehends the general meaning of “I love being able to make women feel the best version of themselves.” It took me a while to understand it, but this is the right answer.