Ask the Expert: Deanna Hagan

Long before Deanna Hagan was a makeup artist doing beauty stories for Violet Grey and Vogue Mexico, she was a singer, living the bohemian life in Rio. When she became pregnant with the first of her two sons, she decided to take up makeup. “I saw it as another way to express myself artistically,” she recalls. “And make some money.” If her path to beauty was unconventional, so is her approach to it. “I don’t worry about rules,” she says. Foundation, for instance, is not a necessity. Symmetry is passé. And color need not be restricted to specific areas. “I see beauty in a very different way,” she says.
So, what do you find beautiful?
I’m always trying to combat that Instagram face—to twist it. I like to pay attention to the woman in front of me, rather than try to transform her into this thing. And that begins with a focus on the skin. Skin always comes first. Then, when you have it where you want, you can focus on the eyes, the cheeks, the eyebrows.
How do you make the skin look as good as possible?
Some of my tricks are to wet a washcloth with warm water and gently rub the face—it’s a simple way to exfoliate. Then I use cold water after that to reduce puffiness. I press that into the eyes. There are techniques that nature has provided us that work beautifully. 
What’s exciting you in the world of makeup right now?
I’ve been interested in the return of color. For a long time it’s been the no-makeup makeup look, which for me, was fine. It allowed me to showcase the skin. But then I started thinking about how great it would be to throw some color in—but in a different way, in a painterly sense. I use color that’s almost like a paint palette, it has a creamy texture that can be mixed down. In that way, eyeshadow can be used almost like blush, or pressed into the lip.
Ian Melli, shot by Anna Palma & makeup by Deanna Hagan. Ian Melli. Photo by Anna Palma & makeup by Deanna Hagan.

You like to break the rules. 
I don’t worry about them. That eyebrows need to be filled in, or that foundation needs to be used to create a blank canvas… I don’t assume those things need to be done. 
Licett Morillo on the cover of the January 2020 issue of Vogue Latin America is a game-changer. Tell me about it. 
Yes, it is their sustainability issue, so I thought: Why don’t we do something special, and just use Costa Brazil face oil, mixed with some pigments, and that would be the makeup? No foundation. No concealer. I just cleaned her face with a skin essence. SKII makes a good one. Then, I put a mask on her for 15-20 minutes, and then massaged her skin with Costa Brazil face oil. I then mixed the oil with two pigments—a rosy coral and a bronze-y metallic—and used it as a kind of blush, and pressed it around the eye area. The oil not only hydrated the skin, it also worked as a kind of binding agent.  
Licett Morillo on the cover of Vogue Latin America's January, 2020 issue. Makeup by Deanna Hagan.
Licett Morillo. Photo by Hanna Tveite & makeup by Deanna Hagan.
She looks stunning. 
If you zoom in, you see imperfections here and there, and I think that’s beautiful. Beauty lies in our confidence to show them.
What is your own beauty ritual?
I start from a place of simplicity. I don’t normally wear foundation or powder on my face, so I don’t feel the need to do full heavy cleansing every night. Unless it’s summertime. I like products that don’t foam, as they can be stripping. 
What products do you like?
There are so many products out there, it can be hard to choose. I narrow the process by first asking what the quality of the ingredients are. If it has parabens or silicones, it should be automatically eliminated. Lately, I’ve been using just the Costa Brazil face oil night and day. Other days, I mix it with my 111 Skin Nocturnal Repair cream. Some retinol is good from time to time. Costa Brazil contains Cacay oil, which is a natural retinol. I’ve always felt that less is more. If we don’t overstress and overstimulate the skin, we’re better off.
What are your intentions for the year?
I’m trying not to jump at things, and instead take my time and do research and be informed. People need to be curious again. Curious about the natural world, curious about themselves, to posses a sense of wonder. It’s an incredible motivator.