I haven’t used foundation since my teens and don’t wear make up on a regular basis for the simple reason that I don’t like the feeling of it on my face. I generally do not like the look it gives me either. Therefore, visiting Cosmetics à la Carte was a complete revelation.
Given the lack of sleep ( since becoming a mum of two) and the consistent tiredness, I had recently promised myself to go for a facial, buy some “magical” skincare products and then buy a whole new set of make up that would help me look decent on an everyday basis. I also promised myself to make more of an effort everyday.
Isabella, must have been reading my mind from far because just a few days later I received a phone call from her introducing herself and explaining a little more about what they do at Cosmetics à la Carte; “We create bespoke makeup that can be flawlessly blended to each individual skin type, colour, age and taste. We can colour-match your favourite shade of lipstick, or create a collection of eye shadows, blushers and bronzers that perfectly suits you. Our bespoke foundations are hand-mixed by our professional makeup artist in-store, while you wait. Lipsticks, creams and compacts are mixed at our laboratory and delivered.”
This sounded too good to be true so when she continued the call inviting me to their flagship boutique in Sloane Square for a pamper experience with one of their make up artists, I didn’t hesitate for a moment and happily accepted and arranged within just a few days.
As soon as I walked into the store, the smell of fresh roses, beauty products and make up was overwhelming in the most wonderful way! I was excited by everything around me; wide ranges of stunning colour lipsticks, eye shadows, blush and different shades of liquid foundations ready to be mixed and matched for perfect results on different skin types. I felt like a child in a sweet shop.
When I arrived I was greeted by Isabella, business developer at Cosmetics à la Carte who then introduced me to Lynne Sanders, founder of Cosmetics à la Carte and Laura, their senior make up artist who would be doing my make up on the day.
They were all absolutely lovely, with big smiles and bubbly personalities. They offered me tea and we started chatting about all their products and services; I felt at home and in heaven at the same time. You could really feel their love and passion for their products and the work they do.
I must admit that when I walked in I look as closely as possible (without them noticing) to see if they were wearing make up and if so how evident it was. Strangely enough, it didn’t look like any of them was wearing foundation. They all had blush on their cheeks and I could tell Isabella and Laura both had eye make up on but nothing more. Their make up was impeccable and looked very natural but I was curious to know more but didn’t know how to approach the topic.
Lynne briefly shared her story with me which I appreciated and found inspiring “When Cosmetics à la Carte opened in 1973, my vision was to give customers a chance to trial colours and looks in a relaxed environment with dedicated experts before buying, offering a more personal and discreet approach to beauty than could be found in department stores. We strove to be original and individual in our approach to cosmetics from the start, pioneering product concepts we can now all recognise such as natural-look foundations and brightly pigmented eye shadows, and those which are still rare such as custom-blended foundation and truly bespoke formulations. I am still passionate about creating products and I dream about new concepts, colours and their ideal formulations. Empowering women to look and feel their best is a joy for me.”
I admired her work because she has spent much of her life searching ways to help other women feel and look fabulous.
Shortly after, Lynne had to leave and I was left in the hands of Isabella and Laura for my pamper experience. But just before she left, I had to ask my questions; “If I may ask, are you wearing make up?”
To my surprise, they were all wearing foundation as a base, blush on their cheeks eye shadow and mascara. It was possibly the first time I couldn’t tell someone was wearing foundation when they were. Their skin looked perfect and they looked so good without showing the actual foundation base. I was even more excited to get started.
My session with Laura started with her asking me about my skincare and make up everyday routine. She wanted to know what I use to cleanse, moisture and what kind of primer I used before applying my make up. I explained how I was after something new as I felt my skin was tired and that I needed a boost to help my skin and myself feel ‘human again’.
And then I went on explaining my ‘relationship’ with makeup. As she could see from the way I presented myself on the day, I hardly applied make up and was looking for someone who would be able to help me learn how to use foundation and other products without giving me a different face all together.
She gently removed what I had one, cleansed my face and prepared it for the fresh make up. She asked me my favourite colours, if I wore make up differently during the day compared to the night. All questions that got me thinking I should actually be more adventurous and definitely go out more.
The products she used to cleanse my face was a ‘creamy clean’ cleanser and Rosewater tonic followed by ‘Rose Drew’ to prepare my skin before applying make up which consisted of a moisturiser and primer all in one. It felt fresh on my skin and had a light scent of roses, which I adore! I very quickly felt as if my skin was taking a breath of fresh air. Since my visit at the boutique, I cannot do without my Rose water tonic in the morning and evening. I love them!
Then came the unique part of my experience. I was intrigued to see what tints Laura thought would work best together to perfectly blend as a base on my skin. My bespoke blend was made of 3 different foundations. I was impressed by the texture of it on as it felt more like a second hand of moisturiser rather than foundation. I was pleasantly surprised.
As Laura did my make up, I kept on asking Isabella questions on their products, what they used, the ingredients and how they were competitive with other brands that use only natural ingredients.
Cosmetics à la Carte is right up there with keeping it natural for best results in maintaining healthy skin as well as looking glamorous.
“Cosmetics à la Carte beauty is a mix of scientific innovation and make-up artistry, paired with high quality active ingredients and botanicals. Across both our makeup and skincare products, natural ingredients and the latest developments in cosmetic science inspire us. We strive for innovation and excellence in our product range and use only the finest ingredients from assured suppliers. The majority of our products are proudly Made In Britain, formulated in our London laboratory. Most of our products are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. We have never tested on animals.”
Laura used a salmon colour for my eyes and then showed me how to use powder eye shadow instead of a pencil or liquid liner as eyeliner. I liked the look, more natural. For my cheeks Laura opted for shade of red blush and a cranberry lipstick colour.
I thought Laura did a wonderful job. I felt good and like everything she had chosen for me. She completely took on board everything I said I liked and especially what I didn’t like and gave me a natural look but giving me a boost of ‘looking good’ feeling at the same time.
I was loving the experience so much that we took it to the next level and decided to try out an evening look too. I couldn’t have been happier. I tried Cosmetics à la Carte liquid eye shadow too which was amazing. Laura used a bronze colour I absolutely love. I was amazed with how long it lasted that evening without sticking together or come off as many liquid eye shadows do. And my lips for the night were ‘Bubble-gum’, a colour I find works with my skin type, eyes, hair and works perfectly with whatever I wear. I couldn’t resist buying it and use both during the day and night after applying Cosmetics à la Carte ‘Rose Hydrabalm or ‘Plump and Prime’ on my lips.
I left the salon feeling great and happy. I had to rush home to host a play date for my son. Both Isabella and Laura asked to let them know if I received feedback on my looks. They didn’t want my friend to see me and ‘wow’ the make up and as they were hoping, my friend looked me and said ‘you look great, you’re glowing’. This for Cosmetics à la Carte was a success as they are after YOUR natural beauty that makes you feel great without feeling like you are wearing a mask for the day or night.
When I told a friend that evening that my make up hadn’t been retouched at all since 11am that morning she could not believe it, 100% success!
Everyday I wake up feeling tired after sleepless nights but when I look at my new Cosmetics à la Carte skincare & make up collection it brings a smile to my face knowing that no matter how tired I feel or how crazy my day will be, my skin is well looked after.
For mums with daughters, Cosmetics à la Carte also does make up classes for teenagers. What a wonderful way of spending mother’s day this 2017 with your mini you getting pampered for the day. Daydreaming of the day I can book myself in with my (now) 14-month-old baby girl!
And absolutely fantastic, at Cosmetics à la Carte, they also offer a bespoke formulation service to exclude any specific ingredients, which may trigger allergy or discomfort. If you are unsure which ingredient is provoking your allergy, we recommend contacting a dermatologist for a patch test.
“For a limited time, Kensington Mums can enjoy the bespoke blending experience with 15% off a full size foundation or tinted moisturiser in their unique blend. Simply quote code KMbespoke17 when you visit the Cosmetics à la Carte boutique. Bespoke blending experience lasts from 15 minutes and includes skin assessment and optional make-up touch-up. Booking recommended via firstname.lastname@example.org. Offer valid until 31st May 2017.”
What else could you wish for? Thank you At Cosmetics à La Carte for a heavenly (much needed) day.