Beauty gadgets and the beast of an allergic reaction

October 2, 2012 in Make up

I had the privilege last week of being invited to attend the Star Chic Magazine 250th edition party. Kathryn Thomas was there looking fabulous, posing for photos with girls from the office, and mingling with readers. And there were more cupcakes and prosecco than one could shake a stick at.

Star Chic Magazine cupcakes

Remington were on hand if you needed your hair did, and Vichy were there to give you your skin age (AKA how haggard are you – the scientific method).

To round off the trio was Boots No 7, showcasing their newfangled foundation gadget. Another beautiful example of technology applied where there is no need/want.

Vichy were giving out full sized goodies, and since I am such a sucker for a freebie, I was queueing up to have my skin assessed by the first gadget of the day.

I am sceptical of beauty related gadgets, or more specifically diagnosis style gadgets. Technology – I love that, but it seems that technology is sandwiched into the oddest of places these days. It seems like a way of getting around hiring beauticians who have been trained for years – and know what they are talking about. That seems like laziness to me.

Everyone’s skin is different and doesn’t fit simply into single boxes. To try to disseminate everyone into categories isn’t going to do you any favours. There are of course broad similarities (dry, normal, oily), but what happens when you have combination, sensitive skin (like say perhaps, me)?

Luckily the Vichy machine predicted just that! The facilitator of this experiment pressed little pieces of paper into my skin for 5 seconds then fed them in to the machine while chatting about what my current skincare regime looks like. She said my skin was quite oily, but dehydrated so I should drink more water and use their moisturiser for 2 weeks and I’d be right as rain!

It was refreshing to be recommended something as simple as “drink more water, throughout the day – not just in the evening”, in place of a simple “buy more product please – I work on commission”. Also the water comment is bang on, since I rarely drink enough water in the morning and afternoon. The woman/machine is clairvoyant!

I asked her to measure my skin’s age, and she followed the questions on her handheld device to tell me I have the skin of a 24 year old (I’m 28)! This thoroughly unscientific method of yes/no questions reminded me of the Cosmo quizzes of yore… either way though #win!

So off I tootled to No 7 after a few glasses of bubbles, and a new-found spring in my step. Was my apprehension of technology perhaps undeserving?

So the first thing the make up artist did was ask me “do you match your foundation to your skin tone?”. That question greatly angers me. One of the first things you learn in make up school is that you have to match the foundation to the skin tone. Foundation is not for changing your skin colour, fake tan and bronzer is. If you wear the wrong colour, you look like your wearing a mask. Even if the entire of the Dublin 4 population subscribes to this method, it does not make it right. *Rant over*

So in my head I’m putting this woman in the category of ‘sales person’, not ‘make up artist’, but the jury is still out. She asks if she can remove some of my foundation to get the right colour match using the fancy new handheld machine from the TV ad. Not a bother, two rectangles on my jaw are cleared for work.

According to the machine I am a soft rose. Now I’m pretty pasty, I usually wear whatever the equivalent of Ivory is when I’m foundation shopping. She picks up the bottle and I immediately know it’s completely wrong.

She says I’m very red under my foundation, and it is quite warm in the room so maybe that’s it. She swatches the foundation on my jaw and passes the mirror. I go into shock. I have little purple bumpy rectangles where she removed my original foundation, and on one of them is a nice strip of orange. I’ve had an allergic reaction to the facial wipes, and she hasn’t noticed.

I comment that the foundation looks quite orange, but I am corrected that it is actually pink-based so it couldn’t be orange. I stand corrected, how can I respond? It is orange, or at least has become orange on this background of violet that is my jaw-line. She back-pedals and colour tests my collar bone, which turns out to be what? The palest colour they have, surprise surprise.

The new foundation matched the one I was previously wearing, and must have a heavy enough coverage, because you could hardly see the rash at all!

The moral of today’s story. If your sales staff need a machine to do what their eyes should be more than capable of doing, your doing something wrong.

Louise Clohessy and Caitriona Giblin
Louise Clohessy (left) and myself enjoying the party. Photo courtesy of Decopix