Written by Kaya van der Horst
From the back, the 5 foot 2 inch sophomore blends into the bustling sea of students trying to make their way to class. From the front, however, it’s hard to walk past him without admiring his glowing skin and radiant aura: it appears as if a celebrity is walking among us. What sets Ben Truong apart from most boys are his wizard-like makeup skills—his extensive daily makeup routine includes foundation, bronzer, blush, highlight, brows and mascara.
Truong’s interest in makeup started with a rejected gift he gave to one of his friends at the end of eighth grade. “I got my two friends Kylie Jenner lip-kits and then one of them didn’t want her lipstick; she only wanted the liner, so then she gave it to me,” he said. “I started wearing it sometimes and that’s how I started getting into makeup.”
The experimentation with lipstick sparked his interest in trying new products, and led to a trip to Sephora with his mom. “My mom got me brushes, and then I also got contour,” he said. “At first I thought, ‘I don’t need contour or fake eyelashes’ but then I tried them and really liked them, so it kept building.”
Although Truong makes his natural-looking glow appear effortless, it can take him multiple tries to perfect the look. “Sometimes it’s a good brow day, and sometimes it’s not, so it’ll take me longer to clean them better with concealer which can be very frustrating,” he said. While some teenagers wake up with barely enough time to make it to school on time, Truong makes sure to set time aside for his makeup routine. “When I actually want to do my makeup, it takes around an hour or an hour and a half in the morning,” he said. “But a daily routine is more like 45 minutes so I wake up around 7 a.m. and then rush.”
Initially, Truong turned to YouTube for inspiration and tricks to perfect the art of makeup. “I just watched a lot of videos to improve my technique,” he said. “I really like Michael Finch, he’s my favorite YouTuber.”
Truong has had the opportunity to meet various famous YouTube stars, including Patrick Star, at a makeup convention this summer called Gen-Beauty. The convention consisted of multiple meets-and-greets and booths that gave out free or discounted makeup.
For Truong, makeup serves as a unique form of expression. “I see makeup as an art form where your face serves as a canvas,” he said. “It makes me feel a lot more confident.”