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The simplest way to shop for beauty on earth

November 24th 2015 / Anna Hunter

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Trawling the high street, breaking the internet while browsing and making rushed, pressurised buys need not be status quo when shopping for beauty. There’s another way, and it’s brilliant…

Matchmaking: it gets a bad rap. From the awkward school disco setup to dating app fails and Bridget Jones-style parental intervention, being set up by others is a tricky business. Not, however, when that business is beauty, as it turns out. I’m not talking about conventional, on counter ‘personal’ shopping, where there’s undeniably a slice of bias to accompany (what may well be valid) recommendations. I’m referring to impartial time and money saving beauty suggestions, that take into account your fine hair, rosacea and preference for woody fragrances to generate tailored to you products, without the sales pitch, pushiness or overwhelming array of options. Meet My Beauty Matches; I have a feeling you guys are going to get on.

Founded by finance whizz and trained makeup artist Nidhima Kohli, My Beauty Matches was born out of a desire to discover new, innovative and bang on the money products without the ‘needle in a haystack’ online searching, dud buys or conventional, ‘on brand’ advice often dished out in department stores. The site works thanks to an algorithm that whittles down your beauty soulmates via a fairly detailed quiz, taking in information about hair condition, skin type and concerns, eye colour, colouring and other factors that set you apart from the crowd (refreshingly, there’s no mention of age in this WLTM process). Once you’ve let the site know what makes you unique, it hooks you up with your ‘best matched’ products from an online shop floor of over 2000 brands, sourced from 150 different retailers that range from the boutique to the big guns superstores. Once you’ve been partnered with your ideal products, the team will even tell you where to get the best deals (the site saves users an average of £300 per year) and which shops specialise in speedy delivery. Essentially whatever your priority, MBM are on it, with a refreshing absence of hocus pocus and smoke and mirrors.

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Filling in the questionnaire to receive my personalised edit made me actually put thought into the state of my skin, and ticking ALL of the hair type and concern boxes highlighted potential mane mistreatment on my part. As the site learned about me, I learned about myself, which is trite, but love affairs are partly about self-discovery no? Once my beauty allies were up, the picture was very intriguing indeed. Suggestions were anything but predictable; being a beauty writer by day and beauty nut by night I was impressed by the range of niche and little known, but excellent brands (shout out to Alpha H and Paula’s Choice in particular) that popped up in my bespoke shopping list. All bases are covered, from the conventional to the off-piste (bust care, body masks and specific scrubs for hands at your service), and neat explanations for each category demystify exactly what your beauty products should be doing for you, with no bumph to speak of.

The pick and mix of tailored products was in some areas uncannily on the ball, for instance the site selected my all time favourite MAC eyeshadow and Nars foundation, with 2nd and 3rd best matches galvanizing me to stray from my comfort zone in the relative safety of knowing that they would suit me. Products and brands popped up that I had never heard of which piqued my curiosity, and while I clearly have expensive taste (most definitely not a cheap date), high street and budget options were abundant across the board, making me reconsider my premium lip balm habit.

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The fact that just one shampoo, a scalp balancing formula, was recommended is likely telling, and the unisex nature of some of the items proposed, for example male hair wax, definitely makes you rethink gender stereotyping as far as grooming goes. Just a couple of quibbles; apparently myself and a One Direction branded body lotion are meant to be, and I’m in need of a head lice treatment FYI. Nothing like getting it out there on a hunt for ‘the one’, and this prescription probably came about because I admitted to having all of the hair issues in existence, so they threw nits in there anyway for good balance/ safety’s sake. My Beauty Matches is nothing if not thorough, not to mention a whole lot of fun without the demands, time commitment or confusion of regular beauty retailing relationships and interactions. It’s also an absolute gem if you’re buying for someone else and have an idea of what they might like, but are struggling to nail exact products down. Leave it open on your desktop as a visual cue, and just hope that head lice treatments don’t appear under your tree. Common sense should prevail there, but you never know…

Fill in your Beauty Matches quiz here

This feature was written in partnership with My Beauty Matches

Follow me on Twitter @AnnaMaryHunter and Instagram @AnnyHunter

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