Being the beauty nuts that we are, when a sparkly new cosmetic emporium opens its doors we’re probably the ones that have been camping outside it the night before. Lately our tent pegs and trangia stoves have seen a lot of action; state-of-the art beauty destinations have been popping up all over the capital.
Our pilgrimage to pretty began in the heart of London’s shopping district at the flagship UK KIKO store. Just a hop, skip and a jump from Oxford Circus, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just walked into a rather classy nightclub, with tills instead of bars and a colossal expanse of cosmetics where the dance floor should be. If you’re anything like us, however, you’ll be dancing up and down the aisles regardless; it’s beauty heaven on earth (at a very reasonable price point may we add). The make-up mecca from Milano is stocked with over 1,500 professional quality products, and we can officially confirm that they have thought of EVERYTHING.
From pearly eye primer to crackling leg mousse, there are beauty innovations galore of the type you never knew you needed but will instantly require. With every texture, colour and formulation of make-up and body care product imaginable, and all the tools and accessories you could wish for, stockpiling seems inevitable. It’s just plain common sense, and with expert make-up artists on hand to advise and demonstrate the genius of the KIKO range, not to mention make you look and feel gorgeous, you’ll come away informed and enthused. It’s the future of beauty.
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Our next beauty pit stop was the Dior Beauty Boutique, a designer make-up and fragrance haven tucked away in Covent Garden. Une visite here is akin to being invited backstage at one of the design house’s shows, with all of the glamour and none of the last minute panic. We could have spent hours perusing the extensive make-up collection, trying on false lashes, admiring the statement design features (special mention goes to the handbag made of lipsticks) and spritzing legendary fragrances. This is less retail space, more bespoke beauty parlour, with experts on hand to divulge Dior’s beauty and scent secrets.
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From tailored perfume consultations to make-up coaching to nail art, your every wish is Dior’s command, and a dedicated concierge team, Dior Artist (read: personal product engraver) and couture ‘wrapologist’ ensure that you receive the VIP treatment from start to finish. It was tough to move on, but we did so in the name of beauty discovery. Our grand tour was headed west.
Arriving at the behemoth Westfield London, we were ready to break new ground. So to the new Bobbi Brown studio, the first standalone store to hit our shores from the Pretty Powerful make-up artist. Designed in the style of an airy, modish Soho loft, you could very well be in NYC, not White City. Exposed brickwork, marble counters and beautifully lit make-up tables create a highly sophisticated shopping environment in which to pore over Bobbi’s range; from seasonal limited editions to inspirational how-to videos and a menu of specialised make-up services, there’s something for everyone.
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Get a perfect make-up match, steal away to the private consultation area or book a make-up party workshop - this is as fun and inclusive as make-up gets. The make-up artists at your service are impeccably trained and take into account your lifestyle, personal taste and preferences before drawing up a face chart of looks to suit you for every occasion. They’re like your best girlfriends, but with eagle eyes and incredible brush skills; there’s a reason customers end up booking Bobbi’s wonderwomen for their weddings.
And so to bed. We smell sensational, we know what suits us (hello green eyeliner) and we’ve made friends along the way. A worthwhile journey, we say.
KIKO Make Up Milano , 262-264 Regent Street, London W1B 3AQ. 020 88111758
The Dior Beauty Boutique , Unit 4, The Market, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RA. 020 75636343.
The Bobbi Brown Studio , Unit 1165, Ariel Way, London W12 7GF. 0870 1925827.