As I walked into the Reading Room of Claridge’s London, I see the immaculately made up Laura Mercier sitting elegantly ready for her interview. As a make up artist myself I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to meet one of my all time beauty icons. Acclaimed for her top cosmetic line and as the go-to make up artist of a string of celebrities such as Madonna, Julia Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker, the French born beauty with olive colouring exudes an air of effortless Boho chic which immediately warms me to her. She offers me tea and scones and starts off my telling me how she loves my make up – needless to say this immediately calms my nerves and gives me a sense of approval from the master of make up!
Nina: I understand you have a great love of Art and painting. How did you transition into Make Up?
Laura: ‘I grew up in the South of France and surprisingly make up is not what I envisioned as my career. My passion was to become an artist and I studied painting in Paris for many years which then lead to my interest in make up. I used to do my mothers make up which broadened my artist side and passion into beauty. I started teaching make up and freelancing for magazines.’
Nina: Asian women have difficulty in finding the right shade of foundation with good coverage, what advice would you give in making the right choice in terms of undertones as this seems to be a common problem within Asian skintone.
Laura: ‘Asian skin has a yellow undertone depending on their darkness. I have come across many Asian women with this problem and I always tell them to use products with less undertone and more colour to enhance their glow. The Laura Mercier Secret Camourflage is perfect for this as it has two shades to match the colour and undertone.’
Nina: There is a common misconception that Asian women do not need or want to tan. A lot of Asian women including myself use bronzers regularly to get a nice golden glow. Is there a certain tone of bronzer that you feel darker skins should steer clear of?
Laura: ‘Always go for a bronzer with a warm golden tone, this will enhance your beauty and make you look healthy. Darker skin tones should stay away from dark browns as this will only make you look darker rather than a healthy tan. Even a good foundation can be enough for a tanned glow. The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser is my favorite product for a healthy glow and I always carry this around with me.’
Nina: What is your PRO tip for skin, eyes and lips?
Laura: ‘Well, they are all important features and must firstly be looked after! Never apply make up on dirty skin. Always make sure your skin is clean and moisturized. Too much foundation is not a good look and then means you have to balance it out with heavier eye make up. A good base is important as your canvas before starting on your other features. Eyes and lips should be enhanced with colours that compliment your tone and a small amount can make a big difference to your look. Any shade can work for you, it’s how you apply it and how much of it you apply.’
Nina: From all the celebrities you have worked on, which is your favorite and why?
Laura: ‘For me, every face is different. I love making people feel good about themselves. Every celebrity I have worked with has a different face so I do not have a favorite but I see each face like a canvas and want to show them how they can enhance their best features. I get the same excitement for every face I work on, whether they are a celebrity or an ordinary person.’
Nina: I have to admit that I’m a perfectionist and a little longer than the average MUA to complete a look when making models or Bride’s up. Would you say it is important to be quick at creating looks?
Laura: ‘Take your time! I am also a perfectionist and take my time to perfect a look. You should see this as a quality to be a perfectionist as a make up artist. Back when I started as a make up artist, retouching and photography were not as advanced as now and unfortunately today artists rely on retouching and photographers. Retouchers sometimes change the original work and it no longer reflects your skills. Retouching a make up artists make up is not the real work or skill of the make up artist. It was much more difficult at the beginning of my career as people relied completely on your raw talent and skills, today is very different and not so much about real perfectionism, skills and talent. Take as long as you need to create something you are proud of.’