We chat to one of the leading makeup artists from team Laura Mercier, James Webster.
He shares with us his personal makeup tips, trends to try for fall and the new direction the famed beauty brand is taking.
How did you initially become interested in makeup?
Completely by accident, I actually studied law in college alongside photography. I was working with photographers on a beauty shoot and the makeup artist didn’t show up and the person I was with said I have to have a go. I never picked up a makeup brush in my life and the makeup was terrible, but I loved the whole process of it.
I love how makeup can make someone feel confident, how it’s transformative. So I got a job on a local makeup counter and I learnt so much. I went to college did a course, assisted a lot of established makeup artists and I studied everything they did. After I while, I would think to myself ‘I would go with that colour’ and then I’d see them reach for it and be like ‘I’m getting it!’
What do you think of the beauty scene in the Middle East?
Dubai ladies are definitely makeup savvy, they love beauty. The trends I’ve noticed are matte lips, glowing skin, very strong brows – but I think we’re coming away from that into natural brows. Base is key – concealers, foundations, powders – and that’s why Laura Mercier is such a great fit. You need to be cleaver with the makeup here as it’s hot, so use water based primers and longwear foundations.
Tell us about the new Translucent Loose Setting Powder Glow?
You’ll get all of the sheer 12-hour wear, but it infuses the skin with a soft focus glow, and it’s a grown up glow. It’s not shimmer, it’s like candle light on the skin. We do two shades, original and medium deep so it’s inclusive of all skin tones.
What was the thinking behind the new Laura Mercier logo?
We really looked at what made us famous and it’s really steeped in the heritage of the brand. Laura Mercier has her roots in Paris, so we have that effortless chic vibe going through the company, but also the energy and the fast pace of New York. Laura started out in Paris, then she went to New York and everyone wanted to work with Laura. She created flawless skin. We’ve looked at our roots and tried to encompass all that DNA into the brand, so you’ll notice the new logo, new shoots, and new products like the Blush Colour Infusion. It’s an exciting time.
What is the number one makeup mistake we are making in this region?
I understand it, but there’s far too much foundation and too much concealer. I think it’s phsycological, once you start wearing literally a mask you want to put that on all the time, and it’s the same world over. Our philosophy as a brand is letting skin look like skin.
How do we get that ‘perfect’ smokey eye?
The trick is not to go straight in with dark colours. You can do a smokey eye with soft browns and caramel tones. The darkest thing on your eye should be the liner and it should be as close to the eye as possible. From there it will gradually get lighter and lighter. I don’t believe in this heavy contour crease, it doesn’t suit every eye, it can be ageing. But if you keep the depth along the eyelashes, it will work and look contemporary and fresh.
Are there any makeup trends you’re looking forward to seeing next season?
Flash of silver eyeliner. To keep it contemporary, don’t use eyeshadow, keep a clean lid and then add a flash of cream silver liner. We have a beautiful shade called Moonlight, and it’s a warm silver which is flattering. Use it along the lash line. Berries and plump lips always come back, the difference this time is that they will be more matte and you can do a bitten lip – just use your finger and pat it on.
What should a woman always carry in her bag?
Secret Camouflage Concealer. It’s actually Laura’s desert island product. She created it for herself. She had adult acne and couldn’t find anything to hide it that looked like skin, so she created it for that reason. You have the two shades and you can customise it to you. And also, a good mascara.
What’s the easiest way to transition summer makeup into fall?
It’s all about tones. The skin needs a little bit more of a coverage as the cold air will make it redder. I’d go for cosier colours on lips and eyes like berry and plump, nice caramel nudes. And then textures. In bright summer light you can wear metallics, in winter I go for softer textures. Skincare is also a big thing, so you want use richer moisturisers.
Makeup wise, name three things you love and three things that annoy you…
I love glowing skin, smokey eye and I love freckles. I hate highlighter on a ball at the end of the nose, I don’t know any makeup artist that would do it. I hate heavy foundation, it’s distracting. You should see the person before you see the makeup.
Complete the sentence. Makeup should make you feel…
Confident. It should make you feel like you, but the most beautiful version of you.
You’re hosting a beauty dinner party, which makeup artists or muses do you invite?
Obviously Laura Mercier, she has taught me so much. I love Hung Vanngo, his makeup has an edge but it’s beautifully done. Val Garland, I think she’s on the great, and Pat McGrath.
Translucent Loose Setting Powder – Glow And Glow Powder Brush and Blush Colour Infusion will be available at Sephora from September 1.