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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Beauty Personal Shopping at Selfridges, Manchester - Help for the Hopeless

Whilst food is undoubtedly my biggest passion, I also have a slightly shameful fondness for make-up counters, which I view as the adult equivalent of the pick and mix sweet selections I used to lust after as a child - row after row of seductively packaged goodies calling to me to empty my coffers so I might take some of them home. Unfortunately though, I'm a complete dunce with make up, and thus have a whole house full of incorrect purchases - nasty sticky glosses whose sole purpose in life is to entice all of my hair to stick to my lips within two minutes of leaving the house, and garish lipsticks that make me look like a clown face crayoned by an untalented child.

Thankfully, help is now here for the incompetent shopper in the shape of the new Beauty Personal Shopping service at Selfridges Exchange Square. I was a little nervous about meeting beauty expert Charlotte Ingram when I went to try out the service on Sunday afternoon - after an accidental night out the previous evening the black bags under my eyes were looking at their most spectacular, and my fringe was doing its favourite party trick of pointing in several different directions at once. She is lovely though (even if her fringe is perfect), and has her own little room (pictured below, along with her box of favourite products) where she chats with you about what exactly you're after - whether this be how to get rid of black bags (my query), how to wear an orange lip without looking ridiculous (mine again), or just "oh my god, what can I buy my wife for her birthday PLEASE HELP ME" (not mine, although apparently a common one).

Having discussed the pitfalls involved in sporting a bold lip, Charlotte led me round the beauty hall making a recommendation here, a suggestion there - she works for Selfridges rather than any one beauty counter, and is on a wage rather than on commission. Her choices were spot on - a sexy burnt orange lipstick by MAC and a lovely brick red lip crayon by NARS are two of the items I will be back to purchase after payday (she put absolutely no pressure on me to buy anything at the time). Her focus is on building relationships and on repeat business rather than forcing a quick sale - pretty refreshing when you consider that most make up brands are not cheap and that even a lipstick represents something of an investment. She also made me aware of some products I've not heard of before, and was just as enthusiastic (if not more so) about the less expensive brands.

I tried this service free of charge, but it's free for everyone - anyone can book an appointment and Charlotte will allocate different lengths of time depending on what you want to discuss (I was with her about an hour). The service has been running about six weeks and is apparently just as popular with men as with women - I will definitely be back after payday and for another appointment if - IF - I get any birthday money come November. I think this is a great idea - the Selfridges Beauty Hall houses over 50 brands, and Charlotte knows them ALL. She can also walk at speed in five inch heels as well as having a perfect fringe, but I liked her so much I'm willing not to hold this against her.

- You can book an appointment with Charlotte by calling 0161 8380610, and you can also chat with her via Instagram at Selfridges_Beauty. Even better, Selfridges are also hosting a week-long celebration of the shoe (another of my weaknesses) at the moment - it's called Sole of the Party and includes a visit from author Camilla Morton on Wednesday 23rd Sept as well as other shoe-themed activities - full details can be found on the Selfridges website (

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