Tag Archives: laura mercier

beauty buzz: top tips from laura mercier’s global artistry director

It’s been too long since we had a little beauty tutorial at SMC, don’t you agree? This edition came about as I was watching Awards Season this year, and was struck thoughout the season by the lovely makeup on Claire Danes, who just looked so fresh and beautiful. Her look was perfect for evening – light and classic – and it was such a refreshing change from the flood of red lips and smoky eyes!

{photos courtesy of bellasugar.com and zimbio}

Stunning, right?

As if by magic, I was chatting with the lovely PR people at Laura Mercier not long after, and they mentioned that their new Global Artistry Director, Matin Maulawizada, was responsible for Claire’s recent looks on the red carpet.  I instantly asked if he’d be willing to share a few tips for us, and they offered one better: an interview with the artist himself! Since he’s the expert responsible for the gorgeous looks of Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Liv Tyler, Maggie Gyllenhall, and a staggeringly long list of others (including, of course, Claire Danes), I couldn’t possibly be expected to pass that up.

SMC: What are your favorite makeup looks for spring? Any new color palettes or techniques you’re especially excited about?

MM: Color is big. Bright shadows and bright lips. Pinks, purples, fuchsia, coral…  A wash of beautiful color on the eye lids is the best way to brighten up a face if a girl is too shy to wear bright lips.

SMC: I hear from a lot of my readers that they use a light touch with makeup, because they aren’t really sure how to step things up without going too far. Any tips on small steps women can take to amp up their daily look?

MM: A kohl liner in color like black gold or turquoise can amp up a day look into a smoldering sexy look in seconds.  Rim your eyes with pencil and see the transformation.

SMC: What product or tool do you think not enough women use?

MM: Camouflage the right way. They only use a concealer under their eyes and then try to hide everything with foundation, which can look pasty and lifeless. It’s best to use foundation just to even out the skin tone, then camouflage the flaws only.

SMC: What’s your favorite insider trick to use when you’re doing makeup for a celebrity client?

MM: I use a lot of pencils and creams first and layer them with powders. For example, I smudge black pencil on the eye lids, then use a black or grey shadow.  Also, I always apply bright pink cheek color before translucent powder and powder blush. This way, the glow comes from within, and looks as if it belongs to their skin.

SMC: For a night out, I get a little tired of the same old smoky eye or bold red lip. Any fresh ideas for going glam in the evening?

MM: Yes! Use shimmery bronzes and golds on the eyes and lips, use bright cheeks (like I did for Claire Danes at the Emmys). I’m tired of smokey eyes or the pin-up girl red lip look too.

A huge thank you to Matin, and to the wonderful ladies at Laura Mercier for letting me chat up their expert!  I don’t know about you, but I’m suddenly ready to do a little spring cleaning in my makeup drawer.

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beauty buzz: my skin’s winter blues

looks like my wardrobe isn’t the only one ready to bid this blustery season adieu. readers, i’ve spent the last two weeks in a serious skin crisis. bear with me:

it all started a couple of weeks ago, when i ran out of my beloved skyn iceland cleansing cloths. it seems like such an innocent mistake now. but i foolishly didn’t order them when i knew i was running low, and by the time i was out, so was sephora’s website. since i was out of options until sephora restocked, i decided to return to an old favorite foaming cleanser, thinking it would work out just fine. readers, i could not have been more wrong. my skin reacted like i’d punched its favorite puppy in the face. i’ve woken up every morning since to a new blemish (or three), and it was steadily getting to the point that i was afraid people were going to start pointing and laughing when i left the house.

as you might imagine, a good (great, really) concealer suddenly became of the utmost importance. as always, i have to try every option ever created in the history of the world before i’ll commit. but when i found laura mercier’s undercover pot, the clouds parted. it’s made up of 3 separate “steps” of concealer…you can use one, two or all three for different types and degrees of concealing needs. on the left is their secret camouflage, which is oil-free and lighter in color, so it works beautifully to cover redness or dark circles. on the right is secret concealer, which has a softer consistency and works more like a traditional concealer (but so much better!). and underneath, there’s a translucent setting powder that you can dust on over the top to cement your concealer into place and help it blend into your skin. i’m telling you…the whole thing is genius, and works so much better than any others i’ve tried, it’s not even worth mentioning the misses. just take laura’s advice and dab, don’t rub…it’s slow, but works every time!

so, now i had the aesthetics under control, but we still had the underlying problem to address. and it was a serious problem indeed. i haven’t had this many blemishes since…well, ever! i skated through high school relatively unscathed in this department, but was starting to feel like nature had finally caught up to me. and i couldn’t figure out why a simple cleanser, especially one i’d formerly adored, could be causing me all this grief. after trying every drying acne remedy i could think of, i decided to go against everything i know, and add moisture to the problem. it’s a terrifying prospect when the issue you’re having is traditionally due to excess oil, but i threw caution to the wind, slathered on a thick layer of clarins hydra-quench cream mask, and crossed my fingers.

twenty-four hours later, my skin’s mood is so improved, i’m wondering if it went out without me last night and got lucky. all that angry redness is subsiding, and for the first time in three weeks, i didn’t wake up to a trio of new blemishes. that, my friends, is serious progress.

it hadn’t even occurred to me that my skin could be producing pimples because it was too dry…the whole concept seems so counter-intuitive. but my working theory is that the combination of switching from a soap-free, water-free cleansing cloth to a full-fledged scrub-and-rinse system, coupled with this ugly winter weather, sent my skin into a dehydration spiral it just couldn’t bear.

a huge thank you to laura mercier and clarins for literally saving my hide. that hydra-quench mask has earned a spot in my weekly skin regimen (a little tip: apply in the shower for maximum absorption). and the laura mercier concealer? well, that’s just never leaving my side. in fact, i’m thinking of buying a second pot to carry in my purse.

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beauty buzz: sizzling summer essentials

when the temperature climbs, my normally fastidious skin care and makeup routines go right out the window, along with every ounce of patience in my being.  i’m forced to pare down to basics, because i just can’t stand being cooped up in a steamy bathroom for any longer than absolutely necessary. so, i thought i’d take a moment and share my current shortcut routine for summer.

Picture 3

okay…well, that photo doesn’t really look like a shortcut, does it?  but trust me.  compared to the time i’m willing to spend when the weather’s cold, i’m downright neglectful of my face this time of year…when, arguably, it needs my help most!  fortunately, my shortcuts seem to keep my skin as happy as can be expected in this heat.

for face care, this year i’m hopelessly devoted to skyn iceland’s glacial cleansing cloths and that olay pro-x system i told you about last week.  and i’m still head over heels with skyn iceland’s SPF moisturizer for day – that tingly cooling sensation seriously lasts for hours. it’s the only thing that gets me through some of my mornings without a/c! i honestly wish all of my products came with the same chilly goodness.  (note to self: must start storing eye cream in freezer.)  on real scorchers, i top it off with clarins uv plus SPF 40…a fair-faced girl can’t be too careful, and this stuff sinks in beautifully, leaving no trace of oil.

as for makeup, my recent discovery of armani beauty‘s newest products simply couldn’t have come at a better time. i start with my old reliable, benefit’s lemon-aid (or my new, higher-maintenance love, laura mercier’s undercover pot, but we’ll talk more about that later).  from then on, it’s all armani for me this summer.  their face fabric ($48) is the lightest foundation i’ve ever tried.  the texture is incredible – it virtually disappears the moment you put it on, is perfectly mattifying, and truly doesn’t budge all day.  their soft lash mascara ($28) is utterly foolproof, curls lashes without forcing me to break out the lash curler, and doesn’t make your lashes feel like deadly weapons.  add a touch of their unbelievably cute “eyes to kill” eyeshadow palettes ($59) (i especially love the bronze coral set for summer, on just about any skin tone), and you’re basically done.  it works as a liner and highlighter (if i have that kind of energy), with perfectly pre-selected shades i don’t even have to think about.  i top it all of with my new favorite cheap beauty thrill: carmex’s new moisture plus.  $3 at your neighborhood walgreens, and seriously, it’s now all i’ll use. burt’s bees doesn’t live here any more!

when it comes to hair, i’m looking for something seriously simple – i want as little to do with my hairdryer in july as humanly possible.  i’ve told you before about wonders of living proof’s “no frizz”, and especially in summer, it’s a life-saver when i just can’t bear the thought of styling. plus, their new refinishing spray gives me at least an extra day’s life from my blow-dried styles, and works so much better on my perpetually dry hair than dry shampoos that are supposed to give the same benefits.

last but not least, i know this might not seem like a beauty essential, but it truly is.  while i’m horrible about getting my 8 glasses during the rest of the year, i’m like a camel in fill mode when the weather gets hot – i can’t leave a table without downing 4 glasses of water.  thankfully, i discovered this sweet little PUR built-in water filter when we moved (great new house, ancient fridge).  it was only about $45, a bargain i wasn’t expecting, and it was insanely easy to install. it’s been running nonstop in my house ever since, and saving me from my water snobbery (before this, i was about to resort to buying fiji water by the case!).  all that h20 has definitely been saving my skin this summer…my face doesn’t need nearly as much moisturizer when i’m hydrated, which means less to sweat off later in the day.  definitley a win/win.

so, now i’m wondering…other than a staffer feeding you frozen grapes poolside, what are your summer beauty must-haves?

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happy july! and a must read: vogue living

ed. note:  tomorrow, we’ll be kicking off our july giveaway.  stay tuned…you’re going to love it!

welcome back, everyone!  i hope all of my US readers had an amazing holiday, filled with barbecue, sun and beer!  mine definitely had its fair share, and i have learned a new appreciation…no, a love, really, for laura mercier’s night nutrition renewal cream for dehydrated skin.  after a day (or three) in the sun, my skin was predictably parched, and showing every fine line and mark it could possibly come up with.  but the laura mercier cream saved me: my skin is now plumped, bright, and happy.  can’t say enough good things!  if you’re a dry skin victim like me, you’re going to want to roll around in a giant tub of this cream.  it’s that awesome.

aside from three lovely days with the hubs, the highlight of my weekend arrived at my door friday afternoon.  after months and months of anxiously waiting, my review copy of vogue living: houses gardens people arrived on my doorstep.  and i can tell you, as someone who has been suffering serious shelter mag withdrawal (having lost blueprint, domino and even the vogue living magazine in the past year), this book made me way more happy than a design book ever should.  i spent most of my weekend curled up in a chair, oohing and aahing at every page.

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(pardon the photos…iphone meets beautifully-illustrated book, inevitably goes awry.)

the book is essentially a compilation of the very best photos and articles from editor hamish bowles’ years at the magazine, as well as a few spreads that never made it into print.  the end result is a gorgeously gluttonous look at some of the most fabulous homes you’ll ever see.  christian louboutin’s retreat on the nile, a huge retrospective on karl lagerfeld’s various residences, and countless homes of socialites and other VIPs.  the end result is serious eye candy, with just enough potential for inspiring your own home design to keep it in the realm of reality.

my favorite thing about vogue living is that it showcases more than empty rooms. it shows real people actually living in their home.  dogs jumping up on tables to steal food, the incredibly disorganized office of sofia coppola, and so many other “real” living spaces.  it’s an incredibly welcome change from the stark, over-styled images i’m forced to suffer through with mags like architectural digest.

vogue living is definitely my new front-and-center coffee table book, if only so that i can continue cuddling with it on the sofa for a few more weekends.  if you’re as design-obsessed as i am, this is a must for your shelf…trust me.

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beauty buzz: the flawless face


i’ve never been a big fan of foundation – or, for any matter, any cosmetic that adds a new step to my morning routine.  i’m pretty lazy before 8 am.  but lately, it’s become clear that maybe it’s time to put aside my bias.  and so, i set out to find a few options that made enough of a difference that it was worth the extra effort.

my first stop was laura mercier, whose tinted moisturizer is the stuff of beauty legends.  i had a hard time believing it could live up to expectations, but i was dying to find out.  so, i tested each of three formulas:  original, illuminating and oil-free.  the original version was good, and gave a decent amount of coverage, but i’ll admit, i wasn’t hearing violins and seeing rainbows (yes, my standard are unreasonably high – is this news?), so i moved on.  i wasn’t a huge fan of the oil-free – the product just didn’t blend the way i wanted it to – but that could have been because i wasn’t a great match for any of the colors.  but the illuminating!  violin city!  when i applied it, i honestly thought it was maybe a little too high on the shimmer (i’ve since been told by the laura mercier authorities that mixing it with your daily moisturizer alleviates that problem).  but during my testing, i had people i barely knew asking if i’d been on vacation recently, commenting on the glow my skin had, and generally telling me i looked awesome.  which is, after all, the point, right?  sadly, both the original and that amazing illuminating moisturizer caused my overly particular skin to rebel via acne, and so i was forced to abandon ship.

but, i was not about to give up!  i called my fabulous friends over at benefit to see what they had that would fit the bill, and they instantly exclaimed they had just the thing. perfect!  and before i knew it, i was testing their latest powder foundation, “hello flawless.”  now, because my skin tends toward the dramatically dry, powder foundations tend to be an awful idea – they make my skin look drier, they settle into wrinkles…it’s bad.  but “hello flawless” did an amazing job of gliding over my skin, making it generally more even-toned and clean-looking, without any of the aforementioned side effects.  in short, i looked pretty awesome!  plus, the coverage is designed to be layered – so i used a brush to get light coverage all over, and then applied with a sponge to areas that needed a bit more TLC.  it worked perfectly, and i haven’t needed a drop of concealer since i started using it.  i have, however, needed blush and/or bronzer – the coverage is very matte and uniform, so unlike with the laura mercier, you have to put a little dimension back into your skin.

so, the results of this exhaustive testing?  if you’re not terribly acne-prone and/or have a pretty good handle on your skin’s moisture balance, laura mercier’s tinted moisturizers are most definitely the way to go – particularly the illuminating formula.  and for the more sensitive among us, benefit’s “hello flawless” is the miracle cure du jour.  plus, both provide SPF, so they’re perfect for summer.

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