Jerry Johnson, makeup artist to Renée Zellweger, Hilary Swank and Paris Hilton: ‘Let go of the fear’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

JERRY Johnson
JERRY Johnson

Laura Mercier’s global makeup artist Jerry Johnson was happy working in a ceramic shop in Soho, glazing and painting, until he was invited by a friend to help her out and do makeup for a fashion show. Hesitant at first because he’d only painted on cups, he nevertheless took on the challenge, and has been painting on people’s faces ever since.


The New York native has been practicing makeup for 20 years now—12 with Laura Mercier. He began as a freelance makeup artist for the company, then worked his way to the top ranks as one of the company’s global makeup artists.


Now, in addition to working closely with the brand, Johnson has made a name for himself with his very clean precision makeup, which has beautified the faces of big-name celebrities such as Renée Zellweger, Hilary Swank and Paris Hilton. He has also done work for global magazines Vogue, Lucky and OK! Magazine, among others.


“I like my lines very tight,” he says. “I don’t like anything to look washed. I like a very pinpointed look.”


Here, he shares beauty secrets that will change the way you put on makeup.


My makeup mantra… It’s always easier to add, so I always start off lightly.


Best advice given to me by Laura Mercier… When doing makeup, always take a step back. Then, you can see where you need to add something or where you need to tone down.


The big secret to having beautiful skin is… Proper moisturizing and proper cleansing of your skin. You just can’t get around that. You can even do it twice a day depending on how dry you are, but make sure you have good products that really work for your skin. Remember that a sunblock is your sun protection, but your moisturizer is for hydrating, giving the skin nutrients.


When it comes to lips… I like to put the lipstick on first, then the lipstick liner after, so you don’t see a lip line. I just shade and feather it in, never putting a visible line.


A tip to change your look is… Let go of the fear. Makeup is not a tattoo. I tell clients that all the time. If you don’t like it, you can take it off. When you use deep colors, you don’t have to

LAURA Mercier’s Ambre Vanillé Honey Bath

put them directly on the lips. For example, if you want to try rich red lipstick, instead of putting it directly on the lips where you’ll get a lot more pigment, use your fingertips and just stain it. You can start off lightly. Even if you’re wearing bold fuchsia or red, you can use it lightly. If you stain it, it will go on a lot sheerer.


A way to keep looking fresh even after long hours of work is… powder and blush. Throughout the day, you can start looking a bit greasy and unfinished, so again, I really like a finished look—just having a nice white translucent powder to touch up instead of a foundation powder. It doesn’t put any added texture. It’s like it’s weightless! You can pop in a little blush because it’s one of the faster things that sort of softens the look, and you can add a touch of lipstick.


My favorite makeup for the moment is… Primer Radiance Smooth Finish powder makeup, because it just blurs all types of imperfections, and it’s very lightweight. Also, our crème eye liner, because you don’t have to wet it or anything, you just use a brush and it pops right on. I’m loving Canard eyeliner right now. It’s a beautiful turquoise kind of color. It’s just fun and, again, a nice way to add color to the eye area. You don’t have to go crazy always with eye shadow. Sometimes, you’d just like to use eyeliner.  It’s a great way to pop the eye. Use it with our full-blown mascara. You can layer and layer it and it never clumps. I’m also all for Eye Canvas, it’s an eyelid primer to keep shadow on. You can also use it on the mouth area. It prevents bleeding!


A quick and easy way to change your look from day to night is… Eyeliner. Just more eyeliner.


Trend you can take to the street now is… The deep lip. You can use a rich lip color for this. Stain your lips to look sheer for the day. You can put the lipstick on for the evening. Don’t even use a lip pencil so it’s not too structured. I like using Laura’s shades, pink dust and pink pout, for a clean day look.


Tip to grooming your brows… Always comb them down first. The reason for this is so that you can see the gaps; then just fill in with color where you need it. Don’t color the entire brow, just where you see gaps. I like using Soft Brunette Brow Pencil. After this, you can brush up.


The bath and body products I’m loving are… Laura Mercier’s Crème Brûlée line. Once in a while, I venture into a pistachio body scrub and use the Crème Brûlée body butter or the Souffle cream. I like the Ambre Vanille, which is the latest, but I always go back to Crème Brûlée.


Top tip


SISLEY Super Stick Solaire SPF 30

Treat your skin with Jerry Johnson’s favorite products, such as the fragrance from Laura Mercier—Ambre Vanillé. The new collection combines the warm comfort of vanilla with the fresh floral notes of tangerine, tiger orchid and heliotrope. It’s also enhanced with almond, brown sugar, coconut and musky sandalwood. The effect is an intimate, personal fragrance that is rich, yet discreet.


Pamper your skin with the Ambre Vanillé Honey Bath (P1,950), Ambre Vanillé Body Scrub (P1,950), and hydrate with the Ambre Vanillé Body Butter (P1450).


For sunblock, try the Super Stick Solaire SPF 30 (P4,650) from Sisley, which hydrates and protects skin at the same time. Suitable for both men and women, it provides a matte finish in Colorless or Tinted versions. And it’s in an all-new pocket-size version, so you can carry it with you everywhere you go, and use without moderation as soon as the sun comes out.


Laura Mercier and Sisley are available at Rustan’s Department Store.

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