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report by Heather of the Cosmetic Connection Product Panel
It seems like years since I did a report on my experience at a cosmetic counter. I recently attended a Laura Mercier Master Class with some friends, and thought it would be fun to share with you what it was like, and talk about the products they used and recommended.
I've been on the customer mailing list for LauraMercier.com for quite a while and have seen mentions of their master class series coming to cities other than Portland. I saw it enough times to wonder why there were never any classes here, so I emailed them. I said I knew quite a few women who would enjoy it and asked if they would consider hosting one here. I was so excited when they said yes!
I invited 9 friends to the private event, held away from the counter, outside the department store (Nordstrom), in a private meeting room. There were at least a half dozen artists waiting for us, including some national artists, the regional manager, and the counter manager. Time for some fun!
They started off introducing all of the Laura Mercier people, then asked for a volunteer to sit up front and be the "model". The rest of us sat at tables covered with makeup, skin care, the bath and body line, and brushes - all for us to use and play with. After talking about Laura Mercier and how she got started, we jumped right in to talking about the Flawless Face, her trademark way of beginning the makeup process. Each step was shown on the model, starting with the Foundation Primer ($28), then Foundation ($38), Secret Camouflage ($27) and Secret Concealer ($20), then finally translucent Setting Powder ($30). What a transformation! The best part was having the artists do each step on the rest of us - talk about personal attention.
Everyone was prepped with Foundation Primer, and all my friends asked me if I thought this was a necessary step. I can say that after using a few different brands of primers in the past, it seems totally and completely useless. I know they say it has antioxidants and all the other skin care buzzwords, but don't we get that from our skin care? I pass on this one.
For me, since I like a lighter feel, and I don't want makeup rubbing off on my kids' faces and clothes, I chose the Tinted Moisturizer ($38). Jason, the soon-to-be regional artist, selected the lightest shade, Nude, for my fair complexion. He applied it first by dabbing some on with his fingers, then patting it on with a sponge. The final step was to lightly buff it out with the sponge. He recommended not just rubbing the makeup, be it tinted moisturizer or foundation, on the skin, because it doesn't cover or adhere as well that way. Starting off by patting and pressing, and then blending it out, he thinks works better. The Tinted Moisturizer felt nice on my dry skin, and I like the SPF 20 sun protection, but by the end of the day it all seemed to wear off. I thought it might be because I opted not to powder over it (my dry skin hates powder), but who really wants to powder over moisturizer? I'm glad I followed my instincts and did not purchase this product.
Laura's philosophy about makeup is that the foundation should even out the skin tone, and concealers should be the spot treatment, to cover hard-to-conceal areas. She offers two choices in concealers: Secret Camouflage, a compact with two shades of thick, heavily pigmented cream for concealing areas of the face; and Secret Concealer, a pot cream concealer with an emollient feel designed for the delicate skin around the eyes. Personally, I see no reason for the Secret Concealer. If you need a more emollient concealer, just add moisturizer or eye cream to your Secret Camouflage and save $20. You have to blend the two shades anyway, so why not swirl a little cream in there while you're at it? I love the Secret Camouflage compact - the blendable shades and the dry, stay-where-you-put-it texture - so I did pick up the SC2 shade Jason used on me. Since you use so little, I think this is $27 well spent.
One aside: the artists push the Laura Mercier brushes very hard, but I have a ton of brushes and did not need to spend on these. One of the artists actually told one of my friends that the Laura Mercier products only work with Laura Mercier brushes! Please! Do we really look that naive? These are nice brushes, but don't get suckered into buying ones you don't need.
After my almost flawless face was complete, Jason added some color with their Cheek Colour ($20) in Rose Petal. Rose Petal is a nice medium rose shade that looked like a nice healthy flush on my skin. Jason favored this color for those of us with fair complexions, and chose Cedar Rose or Wild Bouquet for my friends with medium skin. This powder blush wore well and stayed nice looking for most of the day.
Next, we worked on eyes. Here is where I wondered where Jason had been all my life :) Hee hee! Seriously, he showed me the best technique for eye liner, and now it's a part of my everyday makeup routine. They call it Tight Lining, and here's how it works. Using a flat (or angled) stiff eye liner brush, you press a sharp line of cake liner mixed with water into the upper rim of your eye lids, into the lash line, instead of above the lash line as you would with most eye liner. It takes a little practice, and a little patience if your eyes flutter if you try to put anything close to them, but the effect is amazing - much more natural than above-the-lashes liner, but still incredibly defined and polished. If you want to learn more about this technique, it's worth a visit to your local Laura Mercier counter for a demonstration. I bought the cake Eye Liner ($20) in Mahogany Brown and have used it every day since.
Jason wanted to bring out the blue in my eyes, so he started with a base of Creme Eye Colour To Go ($19) in Shell and Shimmer Sand (a mix of mostly pale Shell with a smidge of Shimmer Sand for depth). He then added Eye Colour ($18) powder shadow in Caramel all over the lid, up to the crease (and concentrating more in the crease), with a bit of Rosé worked into the inner corner and blended into the center of the lid. The finished look was a caramel-gold shimmer with a hint of pink, and it really did make my blue eyes pop. I liked the look, but hesitated to buy any shadows because I find I just don't wear them that often. It wasn't until a repeat visit to the counter that I saw the Eye Paints palette ($50) loaded with shades that I would definitely wear, and I picked that up. The mirrored compact has five warm and five cool shades - Coffee Ground, Topaz, American Coffee, Caramel, Vanilla Nuts, Deep Night, Twilight Grey, Paris By Night, Mauve and Morning Dew, plus a mini Eye Colour Brush. I can recreate the look I got in the class by using Morning Dew and/or Vanilla Nuts (as a base), Caramel and Mauve. All the other colors really suit me as well, so I think this was a great find.
The final step of my mini-makeover was lip color. Misty, the artist who worked with me at the end of the class, helped me select a Lip Colour ($18) in Marquise, a see-through berry shade from their newest spring collection, for my lips, paired with a Lip Pencil ($16) in Red Chocolate. The two together looked amazing! I hardly recognized myself :) Misty also added a dab of Lip Gloss ($18) in Golden Glace as a finishing touch, but I actually liked it without better. I was very tempted to pick up the lipstick and liner, but I came to my senses when I remembered my two small children at home and how cute but incredibly messy they would look with mommy's lipstick smeared all over their faces :)
At the counter, I picked up the Secret Camouflage concealer and cake Eye Liner as my friends were trying to decide what they couldn't live without. I was tempted my the lip colors, but I'm glad that I only bought what I knew I would use. As a thank you gift for attending the class, I got a free Golden Glace lip gloss - cool! Maybe the color will grow on me...
You can see all the products and shades, and learn more about Laura Mercier cosmetics at LauraMercier.com. If you have a chance to take a Laura Mercier Master Class at a counter near you, I say go for it! It's a lot of fun, and you might just find a new technique or combination of colors that you've never tried.