The future of beauty is in good hands with Sam Visser. Since his elementary years, he’s been developing his makeup artistry skills, snagging his first gig at 12-years-old when he assisted makeup artist David Hernandez on the set of a David LaChapelle shoot. In the nine years since then, Visser has been on a continuous ascension to beauty stardom. Today, the California-native’s star-studded client roster includes names such as Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian West, Kaia Gerber, and Lily-Rose Depp. He’s even worked on a slew of beauty campaigns and music shoots (most notably, Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next album cover).
If you are looking to pinpoint why Visser’s artistry resonates with so many, we will propose it’s because of his extraordinary ability to be inventive and innovative with beauty. His dynamic makeup looks stop you in your tracks at first glance—ranging from his bold and gritty moments to soft vintage glam looks that transport us back to the ’90s. Ultimately, his unique approach aligns precisely with the current moment in beauty—a period where we’ve recognized there are absolutely no rules when it comes to makeup.
This year, Visser was named Dior’s newest US Makeup Ambassador, a move that further deepens Visser’s already remarkable imprint in beauty. To celebrate the launch of the prestige brand’s spring makeup collection, we recently had the chance to chat with the trailblazing MUA. Naturally, we asked him to fill us in on his product application tricks and spring beauty trends (spoiler: his foundation tips will take your makeup to the next level). But, we also took a deep dive into the things that have been sparking joy for Visser over the last year. Keep scrolling to read everything Visser had to say.
Sam Visser / Nadia Lee Cohen
What’s been the most significant beauty lesson you’ve learned over the last year? How has your beauty philosophy evolved?
Before the pandemic happened, we had this extreme surge of makeup consumerism and buying all these products, but we would never wear them. We’d get all these colorful eyeshadows and colorful lipsticks that we would never normally wear. But, I think now is the time to be experimenting and trying out new looks. I think some people believe they have one color that looks good on them. But honestly, everyone can wear many different things. It’s about being more fearless about what you wear on your face and allowing yourself to play.
Because we’ve been wearing masks, eye makeup has surged in popularity. Do you have any tips on how to create beginner-friendly eyeshadow looks?
You have to experiment with it and try new things. In the past, we had this construct where we said blue eyes look good with this color, brown eyes look good with these colors, and green eyes look great with these colors. But who’s to say that only one tone looks good with a certain shade of eyes. We can all wear these things. We should get this very single-minded way of thinking out of our minds and be open to trying new colors. For example, blue eyeshadow wouldn’t typically be put with green eyes, but I think it enhances green eyes because it’s a contrasting color. If you’re a beginner, I would say find a color you love and apply a wash of it all over your eye. It doesn’t need to be a complicated crease, shape, or anything—just follow your natural eye shape and accent your eyes with a wash of color. It’s so simple and super seamless.
Do you have any tips on achieving a skin-like foundation application?
Blending is the biggest thing, no matter the coverage of the foundation. I love the Dior Forever Foundation. When I’m using the matte version of that foundation range, typically, people think that it can’t look natural because it’s matte, but that doesn’t have to be true. It’s about moisturizing the skin before applying the foundation and buffing it in for a good 15 minutes. If you have that much time, spend the most time on that foundation and ensure that the skin is perfect. I also recommend using more than one shade. Using up to three shades sometimes is necessary for certain skin because you need to add dimension. Maybe the center of your face is lighter than the perimeters; you should follow that. Mimic the way your natural skin is with the foundation, and adjust the color accordingly, so it looks more natural. That’s how you get the most beautiful, satin, velvety, flawless skin.
When it comes to filling in brows, what are your tips?
Honestly, I think brows are different for everyone. Some people love full, dense brows. Some people love a very skinny, sparse brow. I think the rule of thumb is following your natural brows’ shape and mimicking it with the eyebrow pencil. I typically love to use a brow pencil and fill the brow in. Then, I try to blend the eyebrow pencil, so it looks soft. Having that very soft, halo-effect of the eyebrow is important, so it looks natural. I think having that kind of halo effect is very helpful. It works for a lot of different brows. Following the natural color of your brow hair is important as well. If you have black eyebrows, use a black pencil with a very light hand. If you have very blonde brows, use a blonde pencil. It’s about making sure that the color and the tone of the brows are right as well. The biggest rule of thumb (unless you’re a redhead) is to use a color that isn’t too warm. Using a color on the more ashy side for the eyebrows helps with creating that shape.
Are there any trends that you predict will take off during the spring?
Now, it is going to be the time of even brighter and bolder colors. I don’t even like to put specific makeup with certain seasons. But, I think that we’re coming into this time where things are starting to open up a little bit. We’re starting to feel somewhat better about makeup. I think we’ll see bright colors and metallic glitter shades during the spring and summer. It’s going to be like this revolution of color. I really think that being fearless with makeup is what’s important.
Where have you been turning for beauty inspiration over the last year?
I’ve been lucky enough to be in California over the last year, and I’ve had the chance to go on a lot of hikes, be at the ocean, and see the sun at the beach. I’ve seen a lot of things in nature. I think that’s what’s been inspiring me right now. Along with that, I love movies. I love cinema. So that’s another thing I’ve been turning to since we’ve been at home so much. It’s been a balance of seeing things that occur naturally in the world and the fantasy world of movies and cinema.
Has there been a project that you’ve worked on over this last year that you’re really proud of?
Honestly, being out here in Hollywood has been really interesting because I’ve had the chance to work on my own photographs, videos, and artwork. I still obviously love collaboration, but I really got to improve my work and my creativity and as a whole. I got to do the makeup, the styling, and the creative direction of it all. That’s been a real joy for me.
What are you looking forward to this year?
Truly, it’s doing more of that. I have so many projects in mind in terms of doing more pictures and videos of my own and things that I find inspirational because we have this time to be alone and focus on how we as individuals want to create. What’s coming is this new wave of people who are very self-sufficient in creating and outlining their artistic abilities. I’ve enjoyed having this freedom.