Laura Mercier’s Tips for Lips (and More) on the Go

By S.S. Fair

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Laura Mercier is a well-seasoned traveler. The Provence-born makeup artist and aesthetic force behind a towering cosmetic brand, she is known for her vivid, stylish color palettes that seem to reflect the places she’s been: from the lush foliage of Tahiti to the somber, smoky ambience of Brussels, from the visual delights of Seychelles to the urban chic of Sydney, or New York City. After 30 years of "traveling non-stop", Mercier got so good at time-zone warps and climate changes that she could match her beauty products to whatever hard-water, high humidity environment she’d be in. So she offered us some very useful, plane-friendly tips for lips (and cheeks and skin).

"Should you wear makeup on a plane? If your skin is good enough to leave home without make-up, that is best. If not, choose what I call priority makeup… a concealer and some translucent powder to set it. Add a good coat of waterproof mascara for the same reason as the powder: so that nothing moves around your face no matter if the temps changes, or if you fall asleep."

"If you have to look dazzling when you disembark, add some waterproof eyeliner to another coat of mascara. And on board, keep on moisturizing and putting on lip gloss during the flight. It’s a misconception that continually misting your face is good on planes. It will dry your skin out unless you put moisturizer on directly after you mist.

"That last is a good tip no matter if you’re in a desert or rain forest: apply your moisturizer while your skin is fresh and slightly damp from misting or toning; dry skin does not absorb moisturizer as well, so massage the cream in after misting and it will easily soak into the skin. For oily skin, blotting papers are great, but avoid foundation. The idea is to refresh your skin so you feel fresh.

"During the summer when you are exposed to sun and salt water, everyone is different. I personally love the feel of salt drying on my skin, even mixed with whatever suntan protection I’m using. Salt water and sand are great exfoliators for your feet and legs, too. Obviously, the best thing after an ocean swim is to rinse off with clean water if you can, and the same goes in dry or desert climates. Drink a lot, keep yourself "watered," and then moisturize to death.

"In foreign climates use bottled mineral water for your face. Obviously you can’t do that on your body but the advice is the same, after a shower in hard water, pat yourself semi-dry and then moisturize to death! Put your makeup on with distilled water, too, if you find that the water as you travel doesn’t mix with your makeup.

"I find that the products they give you in hotel rooms have more to do with marketing trends than with formulations that are made for a particular climate. And I have never had much luck with hotel shampoos no matter where I was, but again, I think the trick to looking good when you travel is the same as when you are home: don’t over-do the blow drying.

"How do you put on make-up in a car? Honestly, it is impossible! Except for lip gloss. I hate to be a goody-goody but you have to be very talented to apply make-up at red lights. And if the car is moving at all, and someone else is doing the driving, well, good luck!"

Photo credit: Courtesy of Laura Mercier; Cosmetics via Shutterstock.

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