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Day In The Life: Mai Quynh

The celebrity makeup artist walks us through a day in her jet-setting shoes

Makeup artist to the stars Mai Quynh is a beauty boss on the go. From perfecting the faces of Jessica Chastain, Elizabeth Olsen and Chloë Grace Moretz on the red carpet to serving as a complexion expert for beauty brand La Prairie, she makes makeup dreams come true worldwide. Below, a day in her crazy, travel-packed schedule.

6 a.m.
Coffee, always, first! I take it iced with almond milk, no matter what the outside temperature is: quicker caffeine into the bloodstream. Once I’m pepped, then I try to hit a class at the gym. My favorite is a workout with my amazing trainer, Paul Brian, at Pauly Solo Athletics in Beverly Hills. I love to use this opportunity to clear my mind and jump-start my day. Health and wellness are a top priority, and because I work in the beauty business, I’m so fortunate to always know what workouts are hot and trendy, and discover what works best for my body.

8 a.m.
Home from the gym, first things first: Gotta walk my 9-year-old terrier mutt, Ziggy. I rescued Ziggy when he was about a year old. He has a funny personality! He’s usually a little aloof with other dogs, he loves to chase squirrels, and he loves to eat (just like his mom!). Lucky for me, he’s patient and lets me finish at the gym before I walk and feed him.

8:30 a.m.
Shower using my favorite products from Davines—I’m really into the Love shampoo and conditioner. They smell so fresh and make my hair so soft and shiny.

9:30 a.m.
Because of my freelance career, every day is totally different. My call times vary and could start as early as 4 a.m.! Or my client may not need me until closer to 6 p.m.

Sometimes I’m on set all day on location—and this is when my skincare routine is really critical. If I’m outside, I need to make sure I have good, strong SPF protection (even if it’s cloudy), and I am loving La Prairie’s Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil. Before I get to the sunscreen, I always start with my La Prairie Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion. This is an amazing pre-serum that prehydrates and treats my skin to make sure all my other products absorb and activate efficiently. Then I use the Skin Caviar Liquid Lift. I love this serum and its gravity-defying component—a lifting and firming effect. It’s like magic!

After those products are applied, then I use my UV Veil. It’s SPF 50, goes on totally clear, absorbs easily into the skin, and is lightweight—and I know I’m being protected from both UVA and UVB, so I never have to worry about sun damage.

La Prairie Skin Caviar Loose Powder


2 p.m.
If I’m in-studio or popping in for a “do and go” with a client, I always keep my own skincare and makeup routine minimal. I will use La Prairie’s Skin Caviar Essence-in-Foundation cushion compact, which is portable and offers just the right amount of coverage. I also make sure to carry the travel size of La Prairie’s Skin Caviar Loose Powder for touch-ups on the go for any unnecessary shine that occurs throughout the day. I curl my eyelashes with Surratt Beauty’s Relevée Lash Curler, and I use my favorite mascara by Clé De Peau: Perfect Lash Mascara in black.

La Prairie Skin Caviar Powder Foundation

Everywhere I go, I have many, many lip balms. I never leave the house without them coming out of my purse, pocket, wallet, and car.

6 p.m.
Depending on what time my workday ends, I love to go out to eat with my boyfriend. One of our favorite spots these days is Nightshade Downtown for the congee—it’s a traditional rice porridge from China that’s hard to find here. My friend [Top Chef winner Mei Lin] is the owner. Another place we love is Sushi Fumi in West Hollywood—it has interesting, fun, and exotic rolls. The sushi is so fresh and delicious.

For a look that’s a little more special, I will amp up my own makeup routine and use a mix of La Prairie’s liquid and powder foundations. I’m especially loving the new Skin Caviar Powder Foundation for its luminous yet mattifying properties. The foundation is medium coverage but can be buildable depending on how my skin looks and feels. I apply the pressed powder with La Prairie’s Powder Foundation Brush—I like using the brush to apply the foundation, as it buffs the formula smoothly and naturally onto my skin, and I can also sculpt with it.

La Prairie Powder Foundation Brush

I will often apply a little shimmer or sparkle to my eyes. I love Jill Stuart Beauty’s eye jellies: They are really light and easy and quick to apply, and offer a lot of shimmer.

9 p.m.
When I’m getting ready for bed, I always do a good, thorough job of washing my face and removing all traces of makeup. I use La Prairie’s new cleansing balm—I love a balm because I can travel with it. It breaks down everything, even waterproof makeup, and when I wash it off, my skin is extremely hydrated and totally clean. I have to get my beauty rest, and after a long day working, I’m usually down for the count!

Main photo by: Jung Kim