Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Ask Mary: An occasional series begins


Mary Greenwell , make-up artist to Uma Thurman, Cate Blanchet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightly, Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen and who began her career in Paris in the 80s working with Christy Turlington, Stephanie Seymour, Tatiana Patitz, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford (enough already! do you want to make us feel totally insecure?) has graciously agreed to take occasional make-up and beauty queries from Thoughtful Dresser readers..

To kick off, I asked her if it was necessary to wear primer under foundation, what it did and which one she would recommend.

Here's her answer

I would rather someone spent the money on something MORE BENEFICIAL.
Yes, the primer will prep the skin but is unnecessary if the skin is cleansed, exfoliated, and moisturized properly. Daily maintenance of a good skin regime is the best primer. A bit like going to the gym, as then you do not need to wear support and lifting knickers and tights (maybe).

If you decide to opt for the primer route, go for Laura Mercier or Chanel.

If you'd like to post your questions to Mary, bang 'em out in the comments below and I'll pick the best (or most popular) ones and pass them on for her consideration.

Remember, this is like asking Einstein for help with your maths homework.

Re comments below - the make-up look we'd prefer to avoid

32 comments:

Bronwyn said...

How the hell do I apply eye make up now that I need [strong] reading glasses? I've tried all sorts of things, from glasses with one lens that flips from side to side, to a magnifying mirror, but they are all bloody impossible. You either have to keep one eye shut (try it), or the glasses get in the way, or only a tiny portion of you is in focus, and distorted at that.
I'm reduced to just wearing lipstick. Which is OK, but just sometimes I'd like to go all out!

Judith in Umbria said...

I've reached an age when my paling complexion looks grayish, but I am allergic to almost all fluid foundations. That has left me using mineral foundation and it's not good enough. I used to use AgnesB tinted moisturizer, which I could tolerate and then it just disappeared so that I couldn't even order it from the US.

My skin is very well cared for inside and out, it just is not colored enough and I look tired. What are some ideas for counteracting it?

Anonymous said...

There are conflicting reports about make-up suitable for an 'ageing' skin. What exactly should a woman of 56 put on her face and what should she leave off to stop her looking like a fright?

Geri

Anonymous said...

Does there a come a point in a woman's life when she should stop wearing black mascara? I'm in my early forties with fair skin and highlighted hair, is it time to switch to dark brown mascara?

eve said...

I am 47 and always troubled by how foundation (I use Stila or Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer)always highlights my dry flaky spots and recovering blemishes. Scrubs still leave those "edges" behind.

Anonymous said...

Due to a very mild case of Rosacea in the past, the pores on my nose are quite large and I have slight ruddiness of the nose and chin area which I feel the need to cover with foundation. I have tried Dermablend, etc. but end up with a nose that looks like an orange peel with the foundation settling into the large pores. La Roche Posay liquid foundation applied with a wet sponge goes on fine and I cover with powder to set but the coverage is a bit thin. I have tried so many foundations in the past, there must be a trick to it that I am missing?

Phyllis said...

My question is this: Are bronzers really worth it? Even with pale, large-pored skin?

Deja Pseu said...

Is there an under-eye concealer you'd recommend that doesn't look cake-y once dry? I'm getting that crepey skin around my eyes and don't want to emphasize it.

Toby Wollin said...

I have rosacea issues also, so I have this seeming permanent flush on my cheeks, nose and chin. Color correction?

metscan said...

To bronwyn:Have you tried using contact lenses? I have the same problem as you. I admit it is difficult for quite some time to learn the trick to place the lenses on, you have to have a magnifying mirror and good light for starters,but when you have them on it is really amazing when you can actually see yourself like you used to years ago. Placing eye make-up is like peanuts,once the lenses are on. Mine are the one day Dailies. I suggest you atleast try how it works with you.

Anonymous said...

What is the best way to deal with downy white hair on the face? You know the noticeable kind.

Anonymous said...

Ooooo. This is so much fun!

Dear Mary,

Can you recommend a hypo-allergenic sunscreen for the face? I use Clinique, but would like to find something to alternate with it. (Even the Clinique starts irritating and I have to leave off sunscreen for a few days. I do wear a big hat!)

-- desertwind (out here in the Mojave)

phyllis said...

Also - thanks Linda for posing that primer question. I've always suspected those products are mainly useful for studio photography sessions and TV news anchors.

cybill said...

Yes, I'm old and I need a glow! how do I get one? + what Deja Pseu said

Susan said...

I'm with Geri--I want to avoid the Baby Jane look.

Also, what's the best way to keep my lipstick from bleeding?

Anonymous said...

what foundation would you recommend for dark south asian skin?
Chiara

Bronwyn said...

I would have thought that the make up would have got all messed up when you then removed the contact lenses? I can't wear my closest prescription for even eating!

Anonymous said...

Baby Jane look! Love it, Susan! (the expression, not the look, obviously!) That's exactly the look I want to avoid as I head towards my sixties. Otherwise known as the 'care in the community' look.

Geri

metscan said...

To bronwyn: I have progressive contact lenses,which are meant to be kept all day. I myself need +correction so that I can see close and a bit correction to see far too. These lenses,mine left eye +2.25 and right eye +1.75 make it possible to see quite ok near and far. I first put on the lense to the left eye and next to the right eye. In the evening,before I wash my face, I take the lenses off . This all might sound tricky ,but practice makes you a master. It is so much fun to be without normal eye glasses occasionally,especially if you are all dressed up for a party and if you doing some sort of sports.

Linda Grant said...

I'm having lunch with Mary later in the week and will discuss which question/s she'll be answering, so keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

This is so not the look I'm after. Geri

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/Bette_Davis_and_Joan_Crawford_in_Whatever_Happened_to_Baby_Jane_trailer.jpg&imgrefurl=http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Bette_Davis_and_Joan_Crawford_in_Whatever_Happened_to_Baby_Jane_trailer.jpg&h=102&w=136&sz=49&tbnid=xs4QnLsBZMwJ:&tbnh=102&tbnw=136&prev=/images%3Fq%3DImage%2BBaby%2BJane&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=1&ct=image&cd=3

Anonymous said...

Oh, didn't work! It was a picture of Bette Davies from the trailer of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Geri

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous about sunscreen...only La Roche Posay sunscreen. Was first recommended to me by an Italian dermatalogist, and my aunt in France was recomended it by her French derm as well. Only and ever, better than anything else on the market, everything else gives me little spots.... I get my supplies in France, maybe the internet?

Sheila

metscan said...

Uups -Sorry bronwyn, a correction.The lense for the right eye is +1.25 making a total correction+1.75 for both eyes. I know that this info is meaningless for you,but I had to do it for me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks Linda, for getting that picture of Baby Jane on! I reckon every woman d'un certain age should have that stuck on her mirror to remind her of the pitfalls of too much slap!

Geri

Anonymous said...

Are all the chemicals we put on our skin everyday doing us more harm than good - aren't we eating a pound of lipstick a year or something? Joking aside, are the so called natural or organic cosmetics such as Dr Haushka and Lavera any better?

Maree said...

hello from Australia. I am now in my late 40s and having grown up in the subtropics hatless with endless sun sun I now have sun damage. On my neck it is evident as broken capillaries, large patches on each side. I currently leave it be. Is there a foundation or product I can use to help disguise the area without looking obvious.

... re sunscreen queries. I have bought every product on the pharmacy shelves over the years in an effort to buy 30+ that does not give me spots. A new product from an established Australian skincare company EGO is excellent - SunSense Anti-Ageing 30+ - contains AHAs which may help reduce clogging. hope this helps. ..and thanks.

adele said...

This is a fun strand! I look forward to reading more of Mary's wisdom, but must say, re primers, that I wouldn't be without DIORSKIN ICONE. It is brilliant and makes a great deal of difference.

A question for Mary: what does she think of mineral foundations and what kind of coverage do they give?

musette said...

I'm seconding the deja pseu question about under eye concealer! This is my main problem right now. Help! Cakey concealer and it makes my skin under my eyes look quadruple my age. I use Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage but it seems too drying now. What to do?

Anonymous said...

I keep seeing recomendations to exfoliate daily, but I'm not sure what sort of products to use. What do you recommend for a fifty+ fair skinned, freckly redhead with super sensitive skin?

Marti said...

Okay - here is my #1 problem. I always had small eyes, and now that I have reached a certain age, my eyelids have totally disappeared. Should I just abandon eye shadow?

Deja Pseu said...

One more - does Mary agree with Charla Krupp that we women over 40 should stick with sheer, pink lip stick or gloss?