Mary Greenwell's 7-Step Guide to a Flawless Face

Mary Greenwell applying makeup to a model's face at the Laura Mercier Flawless Face workshop

 Phill Taylor

A flawless face is definitely a beauty goal, and while perfecting our skin can take time, faking a great complexion with makeup is something you can do every day. Earlier this month, we teamed up with Laura Mercier to hold a Flawless Face workshop. Makeup artist Mary Greenwell lead the session and shared all her insider tips and tricks, including how to use Laura Mercier’s new Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation ($48).

In attendance were some of our favorite influencers. And once I’d soaked up Greenwell’s knowledge, I turned to three of them—Lesley of Fresh Lengths, Doina Ciobanu of The Golden Diamonds and Emma Hoareau of Lolita Say So—to find out what trick they rely on for a flawless face. Interestingly, they all had the same foolproof piece of advice. To discover what it is, and for Greenwell’s expert guide to a flawless face, keep scrolling.

Model wearing a full face of makeup by makeup artist Mary Greenwell
Phill Taylor

Prime Time

First, use a primer to ensure your makeup stays put. The Foundation Primer Radiance ($44) will pep up your complexion. “It adds a layer of gorgeousness,” says Greenwell. You don’t need to be delicate with primer. You can rub it in as you would your moisturizer as there is no pigment.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance $44

Good Foundations

Greenwell always applies foundation with her hands as the warmth of her fingers helps the product melt into the skin, but you can use a brush or sponge. It just comes down to personal preference. “The Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation is like lycra, it will move with the skin, and although it’s long-wearing, it’s not chalky,” explains Greenwell. Take time to ensure that you have blended your foundation down beneath the jawline so there are no telltale tide marks.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation $38

It's a Cover-Up

Next move on to concealer. The key here is to step back from the face and assess where the blemishes are before moving in and targeting them. Tackle dark circles with Secret Concealer ($28). Greenwell advises going paler for your under-eye concealer but only two to three shades lighter than your foundation—anything more and you’ll get that panda eye effect.

For blemishes and any redness around the nose, Greenwell uses the Secret Camouflage Brush ($26) to buff Secret Camouflage ($36), which she says is her “favorite product in the whole world,” into the skin. The idea is to combine the two shades housed within the compact to perfectly erase any blemishes. It works like a dream. “It’s like Photoshop in a box,” she adds. Both the Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation and Secret Camouflage are oil-free, so they last all day with little need for touch-ups.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage $36

Real-Life Contouring

When it comes to contouring, Greenwell prefers a more natural, realistic look. Using the Laura Mercier Flawless Contour Palette [Ed. Note: This product is currently unavailable], she applies contour from the ear down but then blends it into the skin in an upward motion. “The creams in this palette are grey-toned, which mimics the color of natural shadow,” explains Greenwell.

Apply a little highlighter onto the outer cheekbones blending up into the hairline and the temple. Want more sheen? Apply a slighted frosted highlighter in a V-shape around the eye from the outer cheekbone to the brow bone.

Audience listening attentively during to the Flawless Face Workshop
Phill Taylor

Intensify Your Eyes

A flawless face is not just about complexion. For the brows, Greenwell says the key thing is to have them shaped to make filling in on a daily basis easy. Between appointments? “Remove stray hairs underneath the brows, towards the outer corners, as this will lift the brows,” advises Greenwell. “Then use a powder and small brush to feather ‘hairs’ on.”

Greenwell then used the Caviar Stick Eye Colour Matte shade Au Naturel ($29) and applied it to the crease of the eyes before blending into the socket with her finger. She then took the Vanilla Kiss shade and tapped a little onto the brow bone to brighten the eyes.

For seriously full-looking lashes, Greenwell says to wipe the tip of the brush to remove excess product. Why? This allows you to ramp up the pigment at the roots without the tips looking too thick, which will make your lashes look fuller. Mascara mishap? “Q-tips are the most important thing you will ever have in your bathroom,” says Greenwell.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick eye Colour Matte in Au Naturel
Laura Mercier Caviar Stick eye Colour Matte in Au Naturel $29

Lip Tricks

“We all want the biggest mouth possible,” exclaims Greenwell. If you’re using a matte lip product, Greenwell advises you line just outside the lip line to accentuate the shape. Working with a less long-wearing cream formula? Line right on top of the lip line instead. Fill in the lips with pencil to provide a good base for whichever lipstick or gloss you apply afterward.

A spread of Laura Mercier products at the Flawless Face workshop led by Mary Greenwell
Laura Mercier

Finishing Touches

To finish the look and to ensure it lasts all day without taking away any of that glow, Greenwell dusted bronzer onto the face where the sun would naturally hit—around the hairline, on the cheeks, and across the nose. Next, she used the Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder ($39) and applied a light dusting all over. It instantly blurs fine lines and refracts the light to give a soft-focus finish.

A spread of Laura Mercier products at the Flawless Face workshop led by Mary Greenwell
Phill Taylor

If you want a seriously long-wearing makeup look (for your wedding, perhaps?), then use Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($39) and its signature micro-dosing technique, which sets the powder with the minimum amount of product to ensure the complexion still looks fresh. 

Step 1: Shake a very small amount of powder into the lid.

Step 2: Take your velour puff and press it into the powder.

 Step 3: Fold the puff in half and massage the powder into the puff.

 Step 4: Tap excess powder onto the back of your hand.

Step 5: Fold the puff in half.

Step 6: Press and roll the puff over the skin.

Influencer tips for a flawless face

Of course, makeup artist Greenwell is full of flawless face tips, but we wanted to find out from the influencers what tricks they rely on in real life every day.

“I always use primer,” says Lesley Buckle, of Fresh Lengths (pictured below). “I have oily skin, but I’m not a fan of powder, so I really rely on primer.”

Lesley Buckle of Fresh Lengths

Doina Ciobanu, of The Golden Diamonds (pictured below, right), told me that she applies oil and extra moisturizer before her primer. “My face goes really dry, so I need the added moisture.”

Emma Horeau of Lolita Says so (left) next to Doina Ciobanu, of The Golden Diamonds
Phill Taylor

“A glowy primer all over the face,” Emma Hoareau, of Lolita Says So (above, left), told me. “I get my skin looking super glowy, and then I tame it down with makeup.”

Next up, ask an artist: How do I apply eye makeup for hooded eyes?

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