Such were the words of Laura Mercier’s Global Creative Director, the skilful and sassy Benjamin Ruiz. The Mercier mentor has quite literally become part of the furniture, working alongside Laura since the brand’s inception in 1996. Boasting a drool-worthy resume, he has worked alongside photographic virtuosos Patrick Demarchelier and Michael Thompson, at New York Fashion Week for fashion houses like Jenny Packham, on the celeb faces of Marion Cotillard and Christy Turlington, and for the Golden Globes and Emmys.
So when he told us about his secret tips for achieving the perfect complexion, we were all ears (and face).
Have a Wardrobe of Primers
“Did you know, Laura Mercier created this whole category? Primers not did not exist before, and now it’s a mainstay for every brand. It’s even a step further – she created primers for every skin type, for every occasion, so you can have a wardrobe of primers. So if you’re really dry in the winter and need hydration, you would use the Hydrating Primer. But let’s say you’re going on a holiday and your skin is going to be little dewy, maybe through the t-zone – you can use the Oil Free. If you’re going out at night, and you really want to boost that radiance and red carpet glow, you would try Primer Radiance. You should use a different primer for every scenario – it’s not about just one primer, it’s about wardrobing the primer that’s right for you. You just want to massage it into the skin quickly.”
Tint Like the French
“Tinted moisturiser was a French trade secret that you could buy in an Apothecary. This was something they already had and women in France did – they put a moisturiser on and it had a tint of colour and a little SPF. Laura didn’t invent this technique, but she’s responsible for taking it to the world. You either apply with your fingertips or with a sponge; pressing and rolling it into the skin. I create a second skin, by taking the tinted moisturiser and pressing it and rolling it in again. The beautiful thing about tinted moisturiser is it can be worn alone or mixed in with you foundation for more coverage. It can be your everyday or your weekend, and just like you wardrobe your primers, you can wardrobe your tinted moisturisers.”
Build It Up
“The best thing about all the foundations and tinted moisturisers is, you can build them. So instead of feeling obliged to cover the whole face with the same amount of foundation, do one pass, and then wherever you need a little bit extra coverage, come back with the foundation and build only where you need the extra coverage. The whole goal is to preserve the integrity of the skin – where you can let skin come through, let it come through.”
Don’t be Afraid of the Powder
“You want to lock in your makeup, you want to set it in all day. The Secret Brightening Powder is Laura’s answer to that problem. You can use a translucent, but you want something that’s super fine and light-reflected – this has that light reflecting quality that creates a soft focus effect. If you’re afraid of powder, don’t be afraid of this product. You want to load up your brush, and work it into the fibres – so this way it stays on all day long. Just before you set it, make sure you do a little pass with your fingertips and make sure everything is smooth and press the powder into the eye area. You can also reinforce areas around the face as well. We use a flat synthetic brush to set the powder rather than a fluffy brush, as this is the same principle as a sponge; it’s pressing the powder into the skin, so the powder doesn’t sit on top and really sets the concealer in.”
Try Powder with a Sponge
“Something that Laura does that a lot of brands don’t do – because they want to sell you a brush because they have a high price point – is use a sponge for powder. If you use it this way you will like it, because it’s not heavy and doesn’t look like powder on the skin – it takes a few extra seconds but the pay off is all day longevity. I pick up the powder that I tap off into the lid and massage it together. Then I fold it like a taco, and press and roll it into the skin. This way you get a marriage of the powder to the foundation. When you use a brush, you just superficially apply powder to the surface, the powder catches on the hairs. This doesn’t take away the glow or dewiness, it just kind of sets everything, so when you touch the skin, it’s not tacky or sticky.”
Texture Attracts Texture
“If you wear bronzing powders or you wear powder blushes, you want to make sure you set the skin. I hate rules, but there’s a rule out there and it’s a really good one: textures on textures. Powder looks better on powder, creams on creams. The moment you take powder blush that has colour and you put it on the skin that is still slightly dewy or tacky from the foundation, it locks it in and you get blotchy. Lay down powder in a very sheer way and then when you bring colour in powder, it just glides on. Conversely, if you want to wear cream blush, the best time to apply that is directly on top of foundation before you powder, because creams go better on creams.”
It’s how you start and how you finish
“What’s the secret to making makeup stay all day long? It’s about how you start and how you finish. You start by applying your primer. If you have problems with your foundation lasting all day, and you start to perspire and glisten your foundation goes away – powder – this is just as important at the primer at the beginning.”