Instagram has helped launch the careers of plenty of makeup artists, but few have leveraged the power of social media as well as Nam Vo. She’s known as the queen of glow because her page is essentially a highlight reel of the dewiest skin you’ve ever seen. It’s hard not to get sucked into video after mesmerizing video of her flawlessly applying highlighter.
Her signature “dewy dumpling” glow has earned her celebrity clients like Chrissy Teigan and Kylie Jenner as well as countless editorial jobs, but the most eye-catching complexion on her page is her own. Even without a trace of makeup, Vo’s skin is as smooth and shiny as, well, a dumpling.
However, Vo is open about the fact that her skin is the result of some serious effort that began before she even started in the industry. “I’m high-maintenance,” she says with a laugh. “I’m Vietnamese, so I think that already kind of gave me a head start. Since I was a child, it’s been instilled in me the importance of good skin care and staying out of the sun. My mom had really bad melasma and bad skin, and she used to sit me next to her at the mirror. She grew up poor; she didn’t have skin creams and sunblocks and whatever. So I always laugh about it, because my mom used to chase me around with an umbrella because she was scared that I would get sun damage. And now I chase other people around with an umbrella. You know, they say that you become your mother.”
Vo’s skills with a makeup brush are undeniable, but when it comes down to it, she swears that skin care is the bedrock of her signature glow. “People are always like, ‘How do you create the illusion of this? How do I look like a dewy dumpling?’” she says. “But I actually think that it’s such a back-to-front way of thinking, because rather than using foundation, makeup, highlighters, this, that, and other things to create that illusion of glowy, dewy dumpling skin, I tell people to go get facials and spend that money on skin care, and actually work for the real thing rather than creating the illusion of it.”
In fact, for Vo, being a dewy dumpling is basically a way of life. “I have been diligent about my skin-care routine my whole entire life,” she says. “I think I landed in the right businesses, because I am just really obsessed with skin care. I literally have a facial every day. I get boxes [of skin care products] sent to me every day. I started early in my career working on celebrities and doing photo shoots. And I was always kind of known in the business, like, ‘Oh, God, book Nam an hour and a half, because she spends half the time on prepping the skin.’ So I eat, breathe, and drink my dewy dumpling lifestyle.”
Below, Vo shares all the products she can’t live without—including a $22 retinol and $2,100 LED mask—for Glamour’s Drop the Routine.
I love the Elemis Rose Balm Cleanser, I use that first. I also love the Then I Met You Cleansing Balm and the Pai Oil Cleanser—I’m a real oil cleansing whore. Then I move into a gel cleanser: I love the Peach & Lily Power Calm cleanser and iS Clinical Cleansing Complex.
$38.00, Soko Glam
$28.00, Peach & Lily
Then I go into toning. During the daytime, I use the new Elemis Superfood Fruit Vinegar toner. I also like P50 by Biologique Recherche and the Paula’s Choice BHA Exfoliant. I like my toner to do something like exfoliate.
$29.00, Paula's Choice
After that, I’ll move into an essence. I love the Amorepacific Essence. I don’t know what it’s doing, but I feel like it’s plumping my skin, it’s brightening up my skin. My mom always said, “Put on your body moisturizer right after the shower, while you’re still moist,” so it feels like it helps grab the next products. I’m not sure if that’s right or if that’s just something I made up. Basically, I don’t know what it’s doing, but I think it’s doing something good.
After the essence, I’ll use the Versed Retinol Serum. It doesn’t irritate my skin, and I feel like the next morning I wake up and I look refreshed. And I’m such a bougie person, but I actually like a product that’s inexpensive—I have a category of products called Save Money, Honey.
It’s inexpensive, but it’s still effective. I realized I live in a free cosmetics bubble land, I’m not used to buying things. And sometimes, when I give people something, I give them a $50 cream, and it’s like I’m cosmetics Santa Claus. I forget how much these cost, because I’m not paying for it. So I actually like to know there are companies like Versed who really do take time to develop products, they use high-quality ingredients, and I believe everything’s under $25.
My dark-spot solution
I have tiny, tiny little bumps on my face, and they get worse during summer. So I use the Versed dark-spot gel on a couple of spots. Dark spots are 100% my biggest concern. It ain’t the wrinkles, honey, and it ain’t texture. It’s discoloration!
Then I go into my bougie face creams. I love the Clé De Peau cream; it’s expensive, but it’s incredible. I also love the Natura Bissé Diamond cream—that’s really nice. And if you’re on a budget, I love the Biossance Squalene Cream. It’s basic, clean, and medium-weight. I use the heavier ones at night and then during the day, lately I’ve been using the Biologique Creme Pigm 400. It’s a pigmentation cream, and it’s opal-y and pearl-y, so it looks really pretty.
$550.00, Clé de Peau Beaute
$385.00, Natura Bissé
After the Biologique, I use Supergoop Glowscreen, so it’s opal on top of pearl. And then I’ll just put concealer where I need to. Most of the time, I won’t wear foundation unless I need to, or unless I’m going to an event.
My eye creams
For my eyes, right now I’m using the Caudalie Resveratrol Eye Gel during the day. And then at night…I sound so bougie, but I get it for free, so how am I not going to use it?! At night I use the La Prairie Gold Eye Cream. It’s so fancy and good.
My face oils
I use an oil from Tulura. I also love the Sunday Riley Luna Oil. I also love the Biossance Rose Vitamin C Oil. I use my oils for sure at night, but oftentimes I’ll also mix it in my foundation. It depends; if I want it to be more dewy, then I do a drop of oil and dilute it.
$105.00, Sunday Riley
I love Tatcha’s Luminius Dewy Skin Mist. I feel like it’s a sheer veil of dewiness. It doesn’t mess up your makeup, but it leaves a light veil of moisture, which I really like.
My lip balm
I love the Versed tinted lip oil.
My face masks
I love sheet masks. I love the good old SK-II foil ones for hydration. I love the Natura Bisse Stabilizing Cleansing Mask. Elemis has this new peel that I’m obsessed with, and I love the Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask just for moisture.
$65.00, Natura Bissé
$48.00, Summer Fridays
I love the NuFace. I’m an LED fan, so I just got this fancy helmet one and I’m obsessed with it. It’s from Korea. I’m a huge LED, microcurrent, and radio-frequency freak. I’m using the LED four times a week, maybe five. I do microcurrent whenever I can. I try to do it at least three days a week.
$2100.00, Angela Caglia
I do microneedling maybe once a week. I prefer to do it professionally, but I’ll do it at home too. I get microneedling done at Aida Bicaj. It’s really great for texture and pigmentation. I get radiofrequency, Forma, Thermage. Any chance that I get, I’ll do radiofrequency. And contrary to popular belief, I’ve never had any injections, threads, none of that. I’ve only had laser. I think I’ve been doing radiofrequency for so long that my face is frozen in time.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram.
Originally Appeared on Glamour