Ask any woman about her first ?memory of beauty products; the chances are, it will be a personal one — a mother dabbing on Opium, a sister lining her eyes with kohl or, for the more intrepid ones, rubbing rouge (as blush was called then) over their own face to get clown-like cheeks. Indian women didn’t learn about beauty from magazines or movies (which is how we learnt about our other great love — shoes). We learnt at home.
Best picks: Shades that flatter the Indian skin tone, and an airbrushing machine for flawless make-up.
So, it came as no surprise when at the opening of the first white and gilt-touched Estée Lauder store in India, we saw a woman sniff at a bevelled bottle of Estée’s first perfume, Youth Dew, and exclaim: “Oh god, this is my grandmother. My grandmother smelled just like this.”
After monitoring the Indian market for 10 years, Estée Lauder, one of the biggest beauty companies in the world, opened a flagship store in Galleria at Trident, Mumbai, earlier this month. Bangalore gets its own store in August, while New Delhi will get two in September and October. That is good news for quite a few reasons.
The first is that Indian beauty junkies can stop lurking at duty-free stores in airports or asking travelling friends to bring back a fix of Pleasures or Pure White Linen. Second, you will get shades of liquid and powder foundation developed for Indian skin tones, as well as a colour collection — Jewels of Summer — inspired by India, which has been created by Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of the company’s founder, Estée. The collection has shades which Indian women love, such as pinks, berries and metallics. Bridal services, an airbrushing machine for flawless make-up and engraving on your lipstick or compact, are part of the line-up.
But what you should go to the store for are the personalized consultations which help women pick skin care, foundation and make-up. After advising us on specific skin concerns and which products would treat them best, our advisor, Kavita, enquired how we apply our under-eye cream. We got 50% on that little test — use a finger of each hand to dot the cream on the under-eye area, and daub, not rub. But, she advised us to use the ring finger instead of the first and not use any cream on the top lid.
“We conducted a study and found that 94% of women use the wrong foundation,” says Sonia Michon-Floc’hlay, vice-president and regional director, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The advisers have been through three months of training, so they are qualified to find your perfect foundation match. A shade card of sorts is held up to the skin, a chart consulted for possible permutations, and two shades are finally tested on the skin to find the right one.
After your base is evened out, get them to do your eyes. Then, as you move on to the cheeks and lips, you realize it’s difficult to stop. You’ll go home with a heavy shopping bag, a lighter wallet and the feeling that make-up can overcome anything.
At the Galleria, Trident, Nariman Point, Mumbai. Make-up starts at Rs970, skin care at Rs1,015, and fragrances at Rs2,790