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Not Fair: Laura Mercier’s 10 makeup dos & don’ts for darker skin tones
May 17th 2016
The world-renowned makeup artist and creator of Laura Mercier Cosmetics shares her top 10 makeup tips and tricks for deeper complexions with me
When it comes to brands with great shade ranges, Laura Mercier is one of my favourites for ensuring all bases are covered. The brand’s new Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation for example is the glow giver that just keeps on giving in my book and as a result, has taken up permanent residency in my makeup bag. So when the opportunity came up to interview the brains behind the brand, Laura herself, I couldn’t wait to talk all things beauty with her and find out her top makeup tips for darker skin tones.
Having just celebrated the brand's 20th anniversary, Laura has seen first-hand how the beauty industry has developed over the years. What though, have been the biggest changes in her opinion? “The greatest change would be in formulas, pigments and colour payoffs,” she tells me. “There are some really beautiful ingredients and formulas available today that allow us to produce true match shades and undetectable finishes.”
Shade choice has been a huge one in particular - rewind just 10 years ago and the landscape of the industry and our makeup counters looked very lopsided indeed. While some brands are still playing catch up, Laura Mercier has proven to be one of the most inclusive around, providing both variety and breadth in colour spectrum and coverage when it’s come to foundations and cosmetics. “I want everyone to enjoy my products, whatever their skin tone. However, perfecting a wide shade range is an ever evolving task for us,” she says. “We are a global brand and as we expand into new markets, we discover a nuance of a shade that we feel we need to capture. Being an artistry brand I feel we are able to detect if a payoff is too ashy, dull or too pink and can of course correct. I think this can be challenging for many brands if you do not have this knowledge or are tied to only producing a certain number of shades in the range.”
With a career that counts collaborations with some of the biggest celebrities, campaigns and publications around, what does Laura count as the ultimate highlight? “Launching the Laura Mercier brand was a dream come true. Seeing my vision come to life and helping women to feel beautiful is an incredible feeling.” From concealer cheats to the best eye makeup shades, here are Laura’s top 10 beauty tips and dos and don’ts for darker skin tones to help you find the perfect product line-up for you.
1. Do colour correct
“Selecting a concealer that covers darkness and neutralises discoloration is essential. If you have a deep purple to greyish cast under your eyes, choose a concealer that has a hint of red-orange colour added to it; this will ‘cut’ the darkness and prevent the need to add multiple layers to cover the darkness. My favourite ‘cheat’ is to add a ‘pin dot’ of a red-orange lipstick or crème blush to a concealer!”
2. Do test out a trio of foundation shades
“Foundation matching can be tricky so match the foundation along the jawline to confirm that it blends in; avoid the mistake of going too dark and try at least 3 colours in a side-by-side swatch. Ultimately you want the foundation to match your face and body so go for colours that have a slight orange undertone - they will add warmth and won't turn ‘ashy.’”
3. Don’t go super matte
“Avoid foundations that are too matte, even if you have oily skin because the very matte will look caked and unnatural; rather, go for a liquid or if your skin is dry, try a cream formula. Both will look more natural and not like a mask!”
4. Don't overload
“Less is more! I often see people cover their entire faces in foundation and concealer when in reality they only need to cover any imperfections, discolorations, dark spots and the odd blemish. Let your natural beauty shine through and use makeup to enhance your imperfections rather than masking your entire face.”
5. Do go for bold blushers
“Darker skin tones look amazing in rich saturated colours like cranberry, deep mauve and even orange. Don't let the bold colours scare you; once applied, the colours become more subtle and instantly add warmth and vitality to your complexion.”
6. Don’t go too pale
“What to avoid? Colours that have too much white pigment or are too pale. Both can sometimes create a grey cast which is unflattering.”
7. Do go for gold
“Eyes look best in gold, bronze or even jewel tones - they immediately brighten your eyes and complement your skin tone.”
8. Don't be afraid to experiment with your lip colour
“For lips, try a rich berry tone, bronze or copper lipstick or even a pink or purple tinted gloss for an instant ‘fresh’ look!”
9. Do swap between fingers and makeup brushes
“Both work well, depending on your preference and what product you are applying. When it comes to foundation, I prefer to use my fingers. Brushes can often lead to you applying more makeup than you actually need, while your fingers are the perfect tool for blending colour exactly where you need it. For any powders or creams, again it is a personal preference and I can use either a brush or my fingers.”
10. Do embrace what makes you different
“Do what feels right for you; if you love a bare skin finish; own it, if you prefer a perfectly contoured complexion; perfect it. What makes you unique makes you beautiful, don’t cover your imperfections, perfect them! Be proud of your unique features, they make you who you are.”
For more foundation tips, tricks and picks, download my new e-guide - 'The Ultimate Guide to Foundation for Darker Skin Tones' here.
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