The Beauty Q&A with Mercedes of l'Amour et la Musique.

Have you met Mercedes Lyson? (Technically she's DR. Mercedes Lyson, but she's  too humble to throw that around... but I'm not! Ha!) She creates Beauty, Conscious Living and Sociological Thinking videos on both YouTube and her Patreon channel, and I highly, highly recommend you check her out!
I remember the day I discovered the YouTube channel L'Amour et la Musique. I was, pretty ironically, in Paris with my husband and son back in 2016, resting in our tiny hotel room when a notification popped up that Stark's CITY oil (then called Cypress oil) had been mentioned in a video. I was excited because a) Stark had never been mentioned in a video review before and b) here was an incredibly articulate Francophile beauty YouTuber just as I was in France, discovering true French beauty and all its intricacies. The timing was impeccable! But her videos? Blew me away. Not only is this woman super intelligent and gorgeous, but she is honest, thoughtful and so detailed in her reviews. Nobody, in my opinion, can review a beauty product quite like Mercedes.
I've been hooked on her since!

Stark: Are you a night owl or a morning lark, and does this affect your skincare routine?

Mercedes: I'm such a morning person! 6AM - 9AM is one of my favorite times of day - I find it so peaceful. However my PM skincare routine is definitely more stacked than my AM routine, for obvious reasons. I start my PM skincare routine as early as possible, sometimes 5PM or as late as 9PM+ (depending on Baby L'Amour!)

Stark: If you HAD to choose, full skincare routine and basic makeup OR all the makeup you want/love and basic skincare?

Mercedes: Definitely full skincare routine + minimal makeup. I'm a makeup minimalist anyway, and find skincare the really be the solid foundation upon which everything else is built.

S: What’s the most important part of your bedtime routine (what do you never skip)?

M: A proper double cleanse, including a warm cloth and face massage. Even if I've been out late (those days are long gone) or am totally sleep deprived because of the baby (my current reality), I always take the time to properly cleanse my skin. Stark's Aurora is such a beautiful first cleanse/skin massage product.

S: Do you have any beauty sleep hacks?

M: Liquid magnesium before bed is really helpful, as is gua sha as part of a PM skincare routine. Particularly if you take time to work on the third eye to crown region of your face and scalp, it's sooooo calming and relaxing.

S: What’s the first thing you do when you get up?

M: Make myself a large mug of English Breakfast Tea (Republic of Tea British Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, and Organic Assam are my favorites) with whole milk and a dash of sugar. 

S: If you have 3 minutes to get ready to get out the door, what do you do? (Or, do you have any beauty time-saving hacks?)

M: Pull my hair into a ponytail or low bun with an invisibobble (game changers!), quickly apply a tinted moisturizer with SPF (the Suntegrity 5-in-1, Sappho CC Cream, and Juice Beauty CC are all favorites), apply a tinted brow gel, curl my lashes, apply a cream highlight (recent discovery and love is the RMS Champagne Rose highlight), and lastly something hydrating on the lips - either just a balm, creamy lipstick, or non-shimmery gloss.

S: Do you have a special day for masks and other beauty treats? How do you create that ritual?

M: Before I had a baby I was all about Sundays as my day of beauty bliss (Sunday is my favorite day of the week) but now, it's a take the time when you can get it kind of thing. Now I only have the time mask while in the shower, and if my partner would keep practicing getting the babe to sleep I'd finally be able to take the baths I dream of taking (I have a whole slew of Pursoma products waiting in the wings).

S: What beauty habit do you wish you’d adopt, but just haven’t yet?

M: I'd like to find a professional to work on my brows, and I'm not sure what that would even entail. Tinting/shaping? MAYBE microblading but probably not? I've also always been attracted to lash extensions but I think it's a no go for me since I can't live without a skincare massage including all around the eyes. So I don't know if those are "habits" so much as beauty upkeep I'm interested in. I do always wish I could be a regular dry brusher before the shower, I just get too cold standing naked and dry brushing before getting in a nice hot shower : p

S: What are some of your first beauty memories?

M: Omg I love a good trip down memory lane. I vividly remember rummaging through the Caboodle makeup case of one of my Aunts who would come to visit us in upstate New York in the 90s. I was probably 9 or 10 and completely fascinated with pawing through all her products, mesmerized by her eyelash curlers and expensive creams. My mom wore makeup but was certainly not a product junkie - she only ever had like one foundation, one eyeshadow duo, one lipstick, et cetera at a time. So the Caboodle full of makeup was absolute magic to me.


S: Beauty YouTuber you follow religiously?

I really love the channel Cultivate Beauty, it's two sisters Bec and Amy from Australia and they're more lifestyle but they include beauty content. Lisa Eldridge because of course. Vintage ViviannaDoesMakeup GRWMs will forever hold a special place in my heart. I really miss SamAtHome's videos, she stopped uploading a few years ago. Of course Jess's Stark Skincare videos are wonderful, I love seeing products from the line spoken about in detail and demo'ed. Similarly I really love the Beauty Heroes channel which includes interviews with brand founders/formulators.

S: Do you have memories of some of your earliest beauty splurges or products you couldn't live without in your teen years? Do you have any products or brands you still use from back then?

M: I was all about the drugstore makeup when I was in high school, I didn't discover higher end makeup until college. Revlon nail polish in Vixen (an oxblood shade), Almay eye pencils, Cover Girl powder compacts (the green one!), L'Oreal Voluminous mascara, and Neutrogena SPF moisturizer were all my favorites. NARS was my higher end makeup gateway. I don't use any of the drugstore stuff anymore, but I do still enjoy NARS (the matte lip pencils are incredible).


S: How has your philosophy around self-care and beauty changed over the years?


M: As the green beauty/wellness community has changed SO much over the past 5-8 years,I tune out so much of the fear-mongering noise over ingredient/lifestyle perfectionism. I initially fell in love with green beauty because the products were so special, beautiful and unique, not because they upheld some false dichotomized notion of "purity." I do believe we can do better than petrochemicals and endocrine disruptors in products but "clean beauty" doesn't exist in a vacuum and there are many other sociocultural issues at play.

S: What beauty products do you pack with you for a weekend away? Any strategies when you don’t have your full arsenal with you?

M: Everyone hates on makeup wipes but I find them really necessary when traveling; I use them to remove a first cleanse. I have so many travel sized products and sachets of things to sample stowed away that I just rummage through before a trip and put a set of travel skincare together.

S: Which beauty trends do you wish would just go away?

M: Honestly, injecting things into the face. No judgement but I just don't feel it's a sustainable approach to caring for one's self.  


S: If you could choose a beauty look that could be your signature, what would it be?

M: Minimal face makeup, winged liquid liner with tons of mascara, and a matte bold lip. Oui.

S: Do you have a signature scent?

M: Not signature but I love fragrance. In Fiore's perfume solids are things of true beauty, and I also love single note scents like Escentric Molecule and Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume.

S: Do you have a self-care soundtrack?

M: Music has been such a tremendously important part of my life, and I have so many soundtracks for different moods, energies, et cetera. Sade, Miles Davis, The Future Beats Show, Jessie Ware, Marie Dahlstrom, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, liquid drum 'n bass, Everything But the Girl, the Lazy Dog compilations...I mean can I go on?