15 September 2012

Selfridges Ups Its Beauty Game

The most dangerous part of US branches of Sephora for anyone on a budget is the little display they have near the cash registers with a selection of their top-selling products, from a range of different skincare, haircare and make-up brands, often in travel sizes--most things under $20. You might be able to talk yourself out of buying a $38 Philosophy moisturizer, but what's the harm in a little $10 travel-size version?

Following a similar principle, Selfridges have recently opened the Beauty Workshop, taking over a 5,000-square-foot section of the floor previously occupied by posh stationery and smart leather goods. According to the Jayne Demuro, Selfridges Head of Beauty, in the Selfridges style blog: “For years Selfridges Oxford Street has been THE most successful Beauty Hall in the world. Selfridges revolutionized the way the world retailed beauty, by placing the department at the front of the store. With this retailing innovation in our DNA, we are always striving to bring extraordinary new experiences to our customers.”

L: TopShop nail varnishes. R: Assorted beauty goodies.

It's an epigenetic beauty revolution, don'tcha know! If you want to shop by brand, you can go to the existing beauty hall, which looks like a typical department store beauty hall. There are also areas for certain brands within the Beauty Workshop, but things are a little more mashed up. I was very tempted by the Sephora-like displays filled with small beauty products and gadgets from a range of brands, including a number of foreign and less well-known companies. Things that caught my eye included the new limited edition Pink Bubbly Vaseline, a lip balm by TokyoMilk and a ball of sparkly hairbands (not pictured).

L: OCC lip tars. R: Bumble & Bumble (top) and Paul & Joe (bottom)

Elsewhere in the Beauty Workshop, there is a decent-sized TopShop counter with a particularly good nail varnish collection, a gorgeous Paul & Joe counter (their make-up and make-up bags are so beautifully packaged that they would make excellent gifts) and a new and improved Bumble & Bumble counter. The latter stocks a number of travel-size products, so I might finally be able to give their Surf Spray a try--now that summer is ending, of course. They also stock Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, a vegan and cruelty-free brand from New York. Some of their lip tars and eye shadows are a little scary in colour but they certainly are eye-catching.

All in a day's work at the Beauty Workshop

But the Beauty Workshop isn't just about shopping. You can have all manner of beauty services, from brow-threading and blow dries, to manicures and tanning at the St Tropez booth (which "promises ultimate privacy while allowing you to tan at your convenience"). Sure, lots of department stores offer these kinds of services but the new, roomy Beauty Workshop feels a lot less crowded and a lot more luxurious than some of its older rivals. As London Fashion Week is on at the moment, there were lots of fashion types and a fair few fashion bloggers checking it out this afternoon, making it feel like a cool place to shop, as well as a fun one.

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