The Perfect Match

Lancôme Debuts Bespoke Makeup, Available In the Galleria

Using technology to formulate an exact skin tone match, the French cosmetics company now deals in custom-made foundation.

By Abby Ledoux June 7, 2018

This machine produces one-of-a-kind foundation.

Image: Abby Ledoux

When it comes to foundation, I've always been pretty lucky. My skin is relatively fair and my complexion is consistent, which means I can almost always find a match when makeup shopping. Others, I know, endure much more frustrating trips to Sephora or Ulta. And even when a full spectrum of shades are available, some still struggle to find a fit, resulting in cosmetic concoctions of two, three, or even four different foundations to achieve the right hue.

I'm such an S03964.

Image: Abby Ledoux

A new service from Lancôme takes the guessing and all the legwork out of the process. The recently introduced Le Teint Particulier takes customized makeup to new levels. The process begins with a one-on-one consultation during which a Lancôme beauty advisor scans up to three areas of a customer's skin tone–I chose spots on my cheek, forehead, and jawline. A "new, state-of-the-art algorithm" then processes the data, measuring the skin tone against a whopping 8,000 different shades to pinpoint a personalized composite.

Next, customers choose from three levels of moisture and coverage (sheer, medium, and full), which Lancôme says provides 72,000 (!) possible combinations, and the foundation is blended right then and there in a contraption seemingly not unlike a 3D printer. The machine spits out your one-of-a-kind solution, which is then shaken up in yet another appliance, and bottled in a container bearing the custom shade number for future re-order and the customer's moniker. Lancôme offered to print a social media handle, but I'm not nearly that cool, so I stuck with my first name.

Now, the real question: Does it work? Unequivocally, yes. A Lancôme makeup artist applied my custom tint (medium coverage for combination skin) over primer, and, later that day, more than one person told me I appeared to be glowing. (No, I'm not pregnant.)

This is where the shaking happens.

Image: Abby Ledoux

I've since used the foundation religiously, applying it with either my fingers or a foundation brush (I've since learned beauty blenders, previously my go-to method for application, are made to sheer out the liquid, requiring more to achieve fuller coverage). While I had no great difficulty matching foundation to my skin before, this is noticeably better—it's quite literally a perfect match, requiring no artful blending into the neck to avoid those dreaded contrast lines created by using the wrong shade. The long-wearing solution is lightweight enough to feel clean but still offers a layer of coverage to mask imperfections. It's also oil- and fragrance-free, which is great news for sensitive skin.

For some women, finally finding the perfect shade is emotional business, especially after potentially spending a whole lifetime as an amateur makeup mixologist. Lancôme advisors said some customers have even cried upon seeing themselves in the custom foundation, which further goes to the whole point of the makeup: It looks like you.

One ounce turns out to be more than you think.

"We're thrilled to bring this personalized makeup innovation to market," Lancôme USA president Suriya Parkuswan said. "With the new customized shade foundation–developed with extensive research in skin tone emulation–Lancôme is building on [its] vast catalog of shades and making its range virtually limitless. The result is the epitome of luxury and personal service: made-to-measure makeup."

Speaking of luxury, Le Teint Particulier is available to Houston customers in the Galleria Nordstrom, one of just 20 select retailers around the country to offer the service. One ounce of custom makeup retails for $88.

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