“French Women Don’t Have Bad Skin” could be a beauty guide penned by world-renowned makeup artist Laura Mercier. We’re kidding of course (sort of), but the much-in-demand, Provence-born Mercier has built a beauty empire on a French woman’s belief that flawless skin should be one’s ultimate beauty goal. To that end, she’s established cult-like followings for many of her high-performance products—like her Tinted Moisturizer which provides supernatural-looking and lightweight coverage, hydration and sun protection, too—so even if you’re not entirely blemish-free, you can look like you are. And without a heavy mask of makeup.
On the occasion of Mercier expanding her cosmetics collection at Holt Renfrew this fall with the much-anticipated launch of the brand’s Tinted Moisturizer Crème Compact SPF20, we asked the A-list artist to share her best beauty tips, her most inspiring celebrity moments and her favourite runway trends that will work for your real-but-refined life.
HR: Holt Renfrew is launching your new tinted moisturizer compact this fall. Can you tell me the impetus in creating this product and how it reflects your brand DNA?
MERCIER: Our original Tinted Moisturizer is one of most popular products because it provides even, flawless coverage without feeling heavy. The new compact form gives women the same great benefits as our original Tinted Moisturizer, but in a convenient compact that is perfect for a handbag and traveling.
MERCIER: The new Tinted Moisturizer Compact can be applied using either the custom sponge applicator that comes with the package or with clean fingertips. Start at the outer portion of the fact, and apply evenly working towards the nose. Make sure to blend well, and repeat until the desired coverage is achieved. It is buildable, just like the original, liquid version.
HR: Your Tinted Moisturizer has won awards at Allure, InStyle and Essence. Why do you believe it’s an award winner and a go-to item for women?
MERCIER: The feedback I often get from customers is that they love the product because it is lightweight, provides sun protection, and looks very natural.
HR: What is one thing you learned from Madonna? And one thing you learned from your experiences with Sarah Jessica Parker? Who are your most devoted celebrity fans that you’re aware of?
MERCIER: I learn things from everyone I meet. I must say that collaborating with Madonna was one of the most wonderful times in my career. Her creativity and forward-thinking pushed me beyond any limits I thought I had.
HR: You started off at art school painting. How is your approach to a woman’s face similar or different than how you approach a clean canvas?
MERCIER: I view the face as a living, breathing artist’s canvas. An artist isn’t going to create her most beautiful work on an uneven, rough canvas. Likewise, no matter the products she applies, a woman will not look like her best self if her skin does not look flawless. I created all of my face products with the goal of helping women achieve a flawless canvas for the face.
HR: Most inspiring beauty moment for you in your career?
MERCIER: The most meaningful moment for me was when women embraced my Secret Camouflage product. I created my line to fill the needs I had as an artist, and provide others with the tools to embrace my flawless face philosophy.
When everyday women were interested in learning the artistry application techniques of a professional, somewhat tricky product and actually took the time to learn how to use it and got it, I felt as though my decision to start the line was the right one.
HR: If you could issue one key rule for women to follow in their beauty goal to achieve a Flawless Face with great skin, what would it be?
MERCIER: Makeup should be used to enhance a woman’s features – not cover up or hide skin. Women should conceal imperfections, but their natural skin should still shine through.
HR: What did you learn from your mother/grandmother/aunt about beauty and beauty rituals growing up as a young girl and how has that impacted your approach to the Laura Mercier line?
MERCIER: The wonderful women in my family taught me many things, but beauty was not one of them!
I’ve always had an obsession with natural-looking skin. I think this was a result of my upbringing in France. In general, French women do not like the feeling of heavy makeup on the skin. When a woman wears a full face of makeup, it is perceived that she is trying to disguise her true personality and self.
This belief influenced my beauty philosophy, and led me to develop products and application techniques that allow women to achieve naturally flawless-looking skin without heavy products.
HR: What are the essential Laura Mercier products that you would suggest for a busy woman’s on-the-go daytime cosmetics bag that can take her anywhere, anytime?
MERCIER: She should carry compact versions of flawless face essentials, such as the new Tinted Moisturizer Compact SPF 20 and the Undercover Pot, which includes travel-sized versions of our Secret Concealer, Secret Camouflage and Translucent Loose Setting Powder. A Caviar Stick will allow her to create a smoky eye in one easy step. Additionally, a sheer lip colour in the form of a balm, lip gloss or sheer lipstick, is essential to any cosmetics bag. Sheer lip colours bring hydration and comfort to the lips throughout the day, and can be easily applied on the go.
HR: What’s is your favourite fall 2012 beauty look and how can one of your customer’s achieve it?
MERCIER: I love that red lips are in the spotlight. I recommend readers use their index fingers to gently transfer the colour from the lipstick tube to the lips. Using gentle pressure, they should build the coverage to their preferred colour intensity. I recommend using lipsticks featuring a matte or semi-matte finish, as they look modern and tend to wear longer than shiny finishes. If needed, a lip pencil can be used to define the shape of the mouth.
Laura Mercier products are featured in our Holt Renfrew Fall Beauty guide. Click here to browse the best in fall cosmetics and scents.
by Deborah Fulsang