Laura Mercier is a makeup brand known for its complexion products. Founder Laura Mercier was a fine artist turned makeup artist and was the first to create primers — a staple that all makeup brands now produce and acknowledge as a must-have for flawless skin. The brand is also known for its tinted moisturisers which have won numerous industry awards. We spoke with global makeup artist Michel Coulombe, who has been with Laura Mercier for 14 of its 20 years, to find out about the evolution of the brand and it's best-loved products.
Why do you think the brand Laura Mercier has remained so successful?
Laura's philosophy of flawlessness is timeless. Great looking skin is always in style. The brand is also a celebration of the uniqueness of every woman's features.
What is the signature of the brand and how does it adapt to different makeup trends?
Our creator is alive and she's very hands on with everything. She has a say in the development of products. And she creates products that look good on stage and on set —they're camera friendly for makeup artists — and they also look good in real life on the everyday woman.
Laura Mercier invented the primer. How did she come up with the idea?
Her background is as a fine painter, and she when you paint a canvas, you want to prep your canvas so the colour goes on better and the finish is better. Similarly, if you paint a wall at home, you use a primer so that the wall is smoother and it doesn't absorb so much of the paint... so you use less paint. It's the same with makeup, it prevents the makeup from going into the pores and fine lines and it prolongs wearability and provides you with a perfect surface for the application of foundation.
She transferred her art skills to makeup skills. And she sees a face in the same way that she sees a painting.
What is the Laura Mercier style of makeup?
The Laura way is looking at everything in its entirety. Your eyes should float around on all the features. It's about enhancing your individual features, but not any one feature standing out, so everything is balanced. So when you do your brows, it shouldn't look too boxy and should not jump out at you.
Who are the celebrities she's worked with?
She still works with Sarah Jessica Parker. She was Madonna's personal makeup artist for eight years. She has had long relationships with many celebrities... like Celine Dion and Julia Roberts.
What are the brand's most game-changing products?
For skincare, one of my favourites is the Perfecting Water. It makes any skincare more high-performance — it will work better and penetrate deeper into the skin. Use this straight after cleansing and before anything else. You can also spray this on cotton pads and use this as an eye mask. It instantly plumps up fine lines and wrinkles.
Another great skincare product is the Eye Serum — which is the number one selling SKU in the skincare line. Because of the brushed pearl extract you see instant luminosity around the eye area, but it still has long-term benefits on dark circles and fine lines.
For makeup, Laura Mercier has always been a complexion authority. The primers are all water-based and allow the skin to breathe as well, and comes in different finishes on the skin. For foundations, we have a wide range of foundations from lightweight ones to ones that offer more full coverage. Secret Camouflage is Laura's absolute favourite product. It is oil-free, but provides coverage wherever you need it and can cover everything from capilliaries to rosacea. The Translucent Setting Powder is all the rage on blogs and Instagram, even after 20 years. It's pigment-less so it doesn't add any colour to the face. It's great for trends like baking and it's easy to dust off as well.
What are some of the newer products that have done well?
The Caviar Sticks are extremely popular because of the ease of application and the fact that once they're dry they're crease-proof and waterproof. You can use it as eyeliner or eye colour. You can pop it in your bag easily and it never breaks. The Velour Lovers Lip Colour also breaks the cliché of matte lipsticks — there is mango butter that gives full hydration while silica powder gives that beautiful, matte finish. Even when it fades, it leaves a nice stain on the lips.
Does Laura Mercier have bright and vibrant shades in the range?
We do! It's a misconception, as we are skin ambassadors, but we do have brighter pinks and magentas in our lipstick category. For the eyeshadows we do have brighter, shimmery shades as well. We do show elements of colour in our campaigns, but it's always in a sophisticated, beautiful way.
What are the essentials for a flawless face in just four steps?
The concept of the flawless face has been the same for the last 20 years. The main thing is: skin that looks like skin, a woman looking like a better version of herself and learning how to enhance your own beauty.
After your skincare, start with a primer. This seals the skincare into the skin and provides the perfect base. Use your foundation — it can even be a tinted moisturiser just to even out your skin. Next use you Secret Camouflage or Secret Concealer if you have imperfections to cover. Last, set everything with translucent powder. With these four easy steps you'll have longevity with your makeup as well. After that, uou may want to add just one makeup product to enhance your features — whether it is mascara or lipstick — depending on your preference.
How do you make your makeup last longer in humid climates like Singapore?
Always use a primer. Pick one according to your skin type or the desired finish on your skin. Be mindful of your skincare depending on the climate or the season, and choose it accordingly. Use something like the Smooth Finish Compact foundation to touch up the skin, make it more matte or add coverage to your skin. You may want to choose a long-wear or sweat-proof foundation for this climate.
What are the makeup mistakes that you see and how can you correct them?
With a trend, you have to adapt it to your lifestyle or your own features. Everything is adaptable. Visit a makeup counter with real makeup artists and ask them how you can do trends like baking or contouring, so that it works in real life and looks natural. Take the aspects of whichever makeup trends you like, and customise it for daily use.
Also, go easy with the foundation and brows. Intense brows are fine, but make them more natural. When drawing them in, start your brows not in the inner corner, but slightly in the centre, so it looks more like a natural brow. We do complimentary brow shaping at Laura Mercier (you're encouraged to leave with the brow products that were used on you). For our makeovers, we do almost couture makeup tutorials where we customise looks for every customer.