Published in IWC Ladies Magazine Middle East, October 2015
Beauty goddess Laura Mercier talks make-up, Madonna and the manic backstage world since the 1980s to date. Ladies finds what makes her tick, in ten questions.
By Priyanka Pradhan
You’ve been a make–up artist to icons such as Madonna and Sarah Jessica Parker, which is the single most memorable face you’ve ever worked on?
All the celebrities I have worked with such as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Sarah Jessica Parker were all wonderful experiences and challenging in their own way. The most demanding in terms of creativity was my work with Madonna. I had a wonderful experience working with Madonna for many years and the level of perfectionism was extreme doing different make-up looks from video to video. It was a very enriching experience.
You graduated as an art major and then went to beauty school in Paris. What turned you into a make-up entrepreneur?
Because I loved working with the skin I initially became an aesthetician which allowed me to learn quite a lot about it. When I started my career combining skin with make-up it seemed like a natural fit.
You started out as make-up artist in the 80s, when Photoshop touch ups for models were not available. Could you recall some of those times as a budding make-up artist and the challenges you faced?
In the 80’s photo shoots evolved quite a lot with fashion trends and were taking place more and more outdoors. I needed to adapt the make-up in a very invisible way even if the model was in a swimming pool, running on the beach or splashing water on her face. The make-up needed to be super natural but perfect. The challenge was to hide the flaws on the face without layering. I had to perfect the retouching secret. That is when I became obsessed with making the skin perfect and became known as the flawless expert.
What is your advice regarding everyday make-up?
The best advice I would give is to always do your make-up in a subtle way by choosing the right formula and texture for your skin. Don’t try to layer. If you have for example two pimples, cover them with Secret Camouflage and use Tinted Moisturizer on the entire face. Keep in mind showing skin is not a bad thing. Just cover the flaws where needed. Everyone can certainly benefit from a bit of make-up to boost their confidence. Take the time to do it for yourself.
What changes have you observed in the beauty industry since you started? How do you see the beauty market in the future? Product technology and textures have evolved tremendously. We have many more make-up options with more refined and sophisticated textures. Another change in the beauty industry is the new generation’s desire to sculpt and paint the face such as contouring. However, the goal in the beauty business remains to empower women and exhale sensuality and sexiness.
What would you say is your biggest achievement as an entrepreneur? What was the biggest challenge or even failure? My biggest achievement is that in almost 20 years I have very loyal customers that would never change their Laura Mercier products. That is my biggest reward. The greatest challenge was to bring to market make-up products I strongly believed in and put in place a structure which would allow the customer to enjoy and learn how to use the products as some required a lot of technique and teaching. These have now become part of our cult-following products.
Which is your favourite product from the Laura Mercier range and why?
I love them all of course. However Secret Camouflage is my baby. It is an amazing secret that when you learn how to use, the result is magical!
In today’s fast faced and time-strapped culture, what are the most essential items to have in a make-up bag for a quick beauty fix?
I am a big believer that everyone always looks polished with lips – carry a gloss, a lipstick, a lip balm for touch-ups on the go. Besides lipstick, if you are oily, carry a matte compact powder for touch-ups. Always matte down the skin before applying more product, so it doesn’t become blotchy. If you have dark under eye circles, use a concealer. In the make-up bag I would also suggest a mascara and a blusher such as the Bonne Mine Stick Face Colour.
What is the colour palette and the top three make-up trends for the season?
Colour trends are any oranges. From corals to bright orange to more pink undertone oranges. Another on trend colour is fuchsia, steel blue and greys. Fall will be about experimenting, playfulness and glamorous looks.
What inspired the Laura Mercier AW 2015 collection?
I love the steel blue and grey colour trend which I have used in our AW Colour Collection called Chrome Extravagance which is playful, sparkling and Glamorous. As part of the collection, The Eye Chromes Limited Edition Palette when applied wet delivers a high coverage metal chrome effect. When applied dry it delivers a shimmer foil effect.
The Eye Chromes palette can be used over the entire lid or as an eye liner for a more subtle look. The other key item from the AW collection is the Kajal d’Orient in Noir Suprême. I have always been a Kajal lover and wear it quite often. I am therefore delighted to have one part of the collection. Glide the Kajal along the inside of the lower eye lid, working from the outer to the inner corner of the eye. Smudge at the base of the lower lashes for a dramatic look.