‘It’s all about the glow, not the glitter.’


flawless base and a pop of color, these are the two beauty trends carrying 2018 according to Laura Mercier and NARS, two of the world’s most recognizable cosmetic brands. While these brands embody different signature looks—Laura Mercier is always about a flawless face while NARS is all about having no rules and being bold—both brands insist that a good look always starts with a good base, and taking care of one’s skin is non-negotiable.

“Aside from makeup, we really teach our clients to take care of their skin. Prepping their skin properly makes the makeup adhere better and look seamless,” Mayel S. Bautista, brand manager for Laura Mercier Philippines, told High Life in an interview in July. Even if products might offer skin care benefits, she added, they are not substitutes for a good skin care routine.

In recent years, the Philippines has been taking cues from its Asian neighbors—namely Japan and South Korea—when it comes to cosmetics and especially skin care. “Because of the Eastern influence, we learned about the importance of skin care,” she explains. Both South Korea and Japan are known for their multi-step skin care routines, which include toners, serums, and moisturizers, among other products.

Living in a tropical country and having to deal with issues such as dryness and excessive oiliness have led Filipinos to becoming more adventurous when it comes to makeup.

“In the Philippines, we’re into trying new looks now and we’re not afraid of experimenting,” Marla Velez, brand manager of NARS, told High Life in the same July interview.

Previously, Filipinos shied away from anything that was not matte. When the dewy look and highlighters caught fire in other countries, the Philippines—with its newfound love for skin care— managed to get on the said train and make it work.

The dewy look has been around since 2017 and both NARS and Laura Mercier see it continuing through 2018, with the added detail of glossy lips.


NARS is a brand founded by and named after Francois Nars, the no-rules, boundary-pushing French makeup artist who created what is arguably the world’s most titillating blush: Orgasm, a peachy, golden pink shade that’s universally flattering.

“I love color, but I have moments when I hate colors and like to draw makeup in black and white, like black eyeliner or black smoky eye. I always try to find interesting colors because I think a makeup line should have both these sides—tons of colors and neutrals. I am against lines of makeup that only use neutrals or makeup colors. I think that’s a total bore. It’s like going to a jewelry store and there’s only one color of stone,” said Mr. Nars in a 2016 interview with The Cut.

The brand sees 2018 as a bold year bathed in gloss and full brows. “For the lips, it’s more about dimension and it’s all about glossy lips while the brows are all about being textured, brushed up full brows,” said Ms. Velez. “Filipinos tend to go more natural but are not afraid to be bold.”

Celebrity makeup artists are also seeing the comeback of the glosses. Mario Dedivanovic, the Laura Mercier brand ambassador who made his name creating Kim Kardashian-West’s signature look, told Into the Gloss in 2017 that the beauty community is “moving away from the matte lip.” “I’ve always loved a true creamy lipstick or a gloss and I think that look is definitely about to make a comeback,” he said.

One of the brand’s newest releases, the Full Vinyl Lip Lacquer, exemplifies this glossy, high-shine lip trend. Described as a having a “patent shine and high-octane color,” this line of lip products has a smooth, creamy formula that “drenches lips with intense color and mirror-like shine,” and is available in 10 shades.

Laura Mercier, established by another French makeup artist, is all about a flawless base for women of all ages and skin types—something Ms. Mercier has built her career on having worked with the likes of Madonna, Celine Dion, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Julia Roberts.

Laura Mercier is pushing a “glassy” look—the term was first used last year to describe skin that’s clear, luminous and almost transparent. It was first brought to global attention after Korean beauty companies promoted a multi-step routine, sometimes going as far as 11 steps, promising this kind of complexion.

“When we talk about flawless face, what we’re trying to do is trying to make makeup look like second skin: it’s all about the glow, not the glitter. A more dewy look,” said Ms Bautista.

The glitter of yesteryear has been replaced by highlighters that give a “wet” shine, emulating runway-flushed cheeks. “Before, the focus was more on the brows but now we have learned to appreciate the cheeks and blushes. It’s all about looking natural, less focus on contour and more on highlight,” Ms. Bautista said, adding that she uses blush to highlight her face and a bronzer for light contouring. “The focal point is the skin: to make it look glowy and healthy.”