It’s been a big year for Sam Visser.
The 21-year-old makeup artist has become a young prodigy of next-generation beauty working alongside some of the most iconic faces in the game such as Kaia Gerber, Kim Kardashian, and Bella Hadid, to name a few. To put it simply, he’s come a long way from his small beginnings shadowing a David LaChapelle shoot at the age of 12. This past January, Visser was given the title of ambassador for Dior Makeup bridging the sense of old world luxurious allure that Dior is known for with a youthful intellect into the beauty ideals of today’s modern It-girl.
The high octane glamour and dramatic expression that his looks are revered for has earned Visser a place in the hearts of the Gen Z audience who desire to see a sense of individuality in fashion and beauty ideals of today. “We’re in this time where there’s so many makeup tutorials and so many things telling us how to do things,” said Visser. “Let’s take all that information that we know and outlet it into what we have and use it in our own individual way.”
For any maximal makeup artist like Visser, a masked and makeup-less pandemic is the bane of one’s craft, however for Visser, he believes this time is a budding revolution in beauty. “I think that’s sometimes how the best things get created, is when you don’t have all the resources. It’s like–use the tools you have and make the best of them,” said Visser. He notes it’s a time of transition in the industry, going from working on big teams to being more self-sufficient when it comes to displaying his work. “I’ve been able to express the vision of beauty I’ve had through my images and through my videos,” he said. “Dior has really allowed me to convey the emotion that I’ve had, convey the feeling that I’ve had for beauty and has trusted me with that, and I think that’s something very forward-thinking of them.”
This period of autonomy has permitted Visser to explore the way his vision of beauty is best captured–through ’80s-era analog image formatting that contrives a sense of cinematic expression that is perhaps best described as Lynchian in their drama and fantasy. In essence, Visser is an old soul wise beyond his years, as if being plucked out of old Hollywood himself, and his work shows it. “I don’t live in L.A., I live in Hollywood,” said Visser. “I feel like I’m in my own version of school, teaching myself the history of cinema and the history of Hollywood and I think that it has brought this new air to my work, to what I like, and what I prefer in makeup too.”
From priming the face to editing the footage, Visser produces the entirety of his signature content that has worked its way up to becoming a viral spectacle on Instagram. “Often [times], makeup is not even the main factor of what I’m looking at in an image, it’s really the image and the video overall and what I’m trying to convey, and then the makeup gets created around the feeling of what we’re trying to convey” said Visser. He’s someone who appreciates quality control, a perfectionist in his craft as any true artist is. “I don’t wish it upon anyone because it’s actually a little bit of a torture for me,” he said. “I don’t retouch my photos, so what you’re seeing in my videos, in my photographs, is not retouched–it’s all real, so if it doesn’t look like that through the lens of the camera, then I’m crazy.”
Visser’s latest film, shot at the Chateau Rossmore in Hollywood, features his close friend Ella while highlighting Dior makeup’s newest products in what reads as glamour shots pulled from old screen tests. Though untouched, Dior’s remixed formula for the iconic Dior Forever Foundation gives the skin a flawless appearance in both glowy and matte finishes. Elsewhere, Dior’s Five Mono Couleurs Couture in 079 Black Bow paired with Diorshow Khôl liner creates an effortlessly intense smokey eye made for a Film Noir. Visser’s love of opulent packaging oft makes an appearance in his videos where the external aesthetics of Dior’s makeup products are spotlighted. Whether it’s the doe foot of an applicator or the chrome coating on a lipstick tube, the devil is in the details for Visser. “That’s why it’s so much fun to shoot–even just the products on their own–they are stars as themselves, you know?” he said.
His current star is Dior’s new Powder-no-Powder, a gel-based powder formula free of talc and mica making it appear like real skin without any dryness. “It’s a powder, but it works completely differently than any other powder that I’ve tried before–any pressed powder, any loose powder– it has that gel, creamy texture formula,” he said. Visser incorporates the powder’s delicate monogrammed stamping and chrome branding on the packaging posing it as the perfect accessory to pull out at dinner for touch-ups.
“Sometimes it isn’t even about the details, sometimes it’s the lack of detail, but that’s what is the detail,” says Visser. “It’s the nonchalance of applying a lip without a lip liner, without a brush. And sometimes it’s about the hyper precision of the way of doing an eye and doing every single eyelash separated and perfect.” Overall, experimentation and exploration of one’s personal look is what Visser preaches. “It’s almost like personal style. Some people will wear certain colors, or wear a shirt a certain way, or wear a certain amount or lack of jewelry, and that’s their look. I think that’s how it should be with makeup too, that freedom and that excitement to try new things and have no fear in wearing something” he said. While Visser might be categorized as a “trendsetter” of today’s beauty standards, in today’s trend-saturated world where cookie-cutter dipbrows plagued the beauty community, individuality and developing a trademark look by trying out new things reigns supreme for Visser. “I don’t even look at trends. I don’t like trends,” he says. “If someone’s doing something, I want to go the opposite way, I want to completely not do that.”
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