Samurai Shopper | Shooting Stars

Laura Mercier (at left) with her namesake brand's Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, $42, Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour, $24, and Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colours, $24. Go to lauramercier.com.Laura Mercier with her namesake brand’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20, $42, Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour, $24, and Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colours, $24. Go to lauramercier.com.

The Samurai Shopper is not used to being a fly on the wall, but sometimes it’s a real buzz to be one. Recently I hung around the Chelsea Piers watching the photographer Patrick Demarchelier, the hairstylist Serge Normant and the beauty entrepreneur Laura Mercier put together Mercier’s “look” for her spring 2013 cosmetics collection. It was fun traipsing over wires and riffing through racks of tastefully curated coats, ornate necklaces and bales of tulle. And it was an education watching Mercier transform two gorgeous models into even more gorgeous models with makeup on. When makeup personnel at department stores have a go at me, I end up looking like RuPaul, only half as good.

Mercier was creating faces that seem “natural” and “everyday.” It’s difficult to achieve that effect, even if we aren’t trying to look as delectable as the pair that sat before me. Mme. Mercier began her career as a makeup artist in the 1980s before becoming a global beauty brand, but this was first time she’d picked up her brushes in some time. Apparently, it is like sex, or riding a bicycle: she wielded her brushes with a seasoned technique while the fly on the wall took notes.

Working in natural light, Mercier dabbed a little concealer here, gently filled in a fading eyebrow, swabbed pinkish circles on already flawless cheeks and added some shine to well-shaped lips. By the time the models were camera ready they looked exactly like themselves, only more so.

The Samurai had a few questions. First, what to do now? “In spring you can go lighter with your makeup, maybe use a tinted moisturizer instead of foundation,” Mercier advised. “You know, I’m French, so I’m not obsessed with sunblock the way people are here. Most makeup has an SPF of 8 to10 but if you need more than that, of course use it; apply under your makeup and over your moisturizer.” (L.M.’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer, SPF 20 is excellent.)

“Why does my mascara flake?” I asked. “Because,” Mercier said, “you’re using flaky mascara! Seriously, sometimes waterproof mascara crumbles, or products that extend your lashes, with tiny fibers on the wand, they also can flake. They’re not emollient enough. Eyelash base and primers tend to give a clumpy look, but the technology is improving vastly, and at some point I could probably recommend you use them.”

“The eyebrow is very important too,” Mercier continued. “Most people overpluck their brows at the part closest to the nose, which is a mistake. Or they use an eye pencil instead of a more neutral brow pencil, which has a different consistency. I do recommend seeing a brow specialist who can work with you, especially if your eyes are too close together or too far apart. An expert can help you get the right proportions.

And just how do I get blush to stay on? “First start with a cream blush, set it with some translucent powder, and then use a powdered blush on top and it will stay all day. No extreme colors, no baby-doll pinks or intense fuchsias, try a rose/brown blush in cream and powder; that works on all skin types. And don’t make the mistake of using blush like a bronzer; they are different. The bronzer can be applied anywhere the sun hits you; it should mimic a tan. If you do that with blush, well … don’t.”

Should day makeup be altered for nighttime? “At night you can push the intensity levels up with purples, navy, eye colors that are deep. In the daytime your eyes should have a sheer wash of color.” L.M.’s Caviar eye sticks in deep jewel hues are indispensable.

The models were fresh and dewy, and Laura Mercier didn’t look too bad herself. I wonder what she uses. …


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