The magic of a makeover – why a little pampering goes a long way

Today saw the opening of the new beauty hall at Selfridges, Exchange Square, Manchester. As any woman knows, shopping for the ‘goodies’ – make-up, fragrance and skincare – is an experience not to be rushed.

I personally am slightly obsessed with this particular area of retail therapy. In fact, I’ve been known to spend several happy hours in a good beauty hall, interspersed of course with lunch with my girlfriends to reflect on the best colours, latest brands and of course to mull over fragrance samples, before treating myself to the ‘got to have it’ latest perfume and on trend cosmetics.

For many women (and of course men) these beauty hall purchases go on to bring us enormous pleasure and benefit on practically a daily basis. That’s why the experience of shopping for these goods has GOT to be just right. We are creatures of habit and once we find a brand we like, it takes a lot to make us change!

I don’t mind investing my time and energy really checking out the products, chatting to the staff and giving new brands a trial run. Like loads of other shoppers, I especially get a kick out of getting the famous department store make-over – there’s something really indulgent and fun in allowing the professional from a top make-up or skin brand work their magic … and stop the clock on the world outside for 20 minutes!

Today, as I glided down the escalator in to new Selfridges’ hall, it was clear that a lot of serious investment and thought had gone into what is now a state of art beauty, accessory and fragrance emporium. Indeed, I’m informed that Selfridges are investing £20 million to refurbish the whole store, floor by floor over the next year. It’s clearly money very well spent.

The beauty hall floor plan is wisely based around easy navigation and access. The sense of openness is boosted by really fab lighting – absolutely essential when testing make-up or trying out skin products. A common issue I have with some beauty halls is the sense of being crunched in, with counters battling for space and dated, dark decor adding to the claustrophobia. However, the atrium design and natural lighting at the far end of this hall creates a good sense of space – as a shopper you feel naturally inclined to do a circle of the whole floor – that’s got to be good for the retailers!

My own new favourite concession is the Blink Brow Bar. The brains behind which is the stylish and entrepreneural, Vanita Parti. Vanita opened her first eyebrow threading bar in Fenwicks in 2004 and now she has concessions all over the UK and has even launched in New York. I’m going to be writing about brow and lash fashion next week but suffice to say, I am now a convert to Blink – my therapist was a genius!

As well as Blink, there are plenty of other new and exciting brands too, complimenting the fabulous surroundings. These include: Giorgio Armani, Illamsaqua, Suqqu, Jo Malone, the Fakebake beauty salon, Tom Ford beauty and Crème de la mer. Georg Jensen, Monica Vinader, Dodo, carat and Thomas Sabo are the new ‘go-to’ labels to land in the fashion jewellery areas.

Overall, this is one ‘makeover’ Selfridges themselves should be rather pleased with. Like women, even top department stores deserve pampering. Happy shopping.

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