One Foundation, 72,000 Shades to Choose From

Amy Lawrenson

Are you the person who always has to mix two or more foundation shades together to get a match? Or do you find yourself having to patch things up with bronzer on your neck to avoid those telltale tidemarks? Well, if those scenarios sound familiar, then you'll be happy to hear we've found a solution. LancГґme has just launched Le Teint Particulier Custom Made Foundation (ВЈ90) into Harrods, which comes in a jaw-dropping lineup of 72,000 shades and has a 400-person waiting list. You may be wondering how they store all that product? Well, they don't. The foundation is colour matched and blended on the shop floor before your eyes. I headed to the store to put this new bespoke makeup experience to the test to see if it lives up to the hype. Keep scrolling to find out.

Amy Lawrenson

The Pigment Part

I sit down, perched at the counter with an iPad in front of me. Lancôme's beauty advisor asks me what coverage I want from a foundation: sheer, medium or full before using a small handheld device to scan three points on my face. The program's algorithm then sets to work. It tells me that my skin tone is neutral-it can place you anywhere on a sliding scale from cool to warm. This is a useful takeaway, as once you know your undertone, it can inform everything from wardrobe decisions to hair colour choices. It also throws out a shade from one of 72,000 possibilities. The foundation pigments: red, yellow, white and dark, moisturiser and “thinner” that allows for customised coverage from sheer to full are then decanted into a bottle and popped into a machine that blends it together. Think Dulux colour-matching in B&Q, and you'll get the idea.

First off, it mixes a small tester amount. Despite the machine being scarily accurate, this testing phase allows the customer to tweak either the colour or texture. Needless to say, the foundation matched my skin tone perfectly. The medium coverage was just right for blurring imperfections and evening out any blemishes, but it didn't feel or look heavy. It's buildable, too, so if you want a fuller coverage, you simply layer up. The finish is best described as radiant and glowing, without looking shiny, and thankfully, it's long-wearing, oil-free and fragrance-free, making it ideal for everyone, whether you have sensitive or spot-prone skin. Oh, and the label they print has your name on it, which is a fun addition.

Yes, it's pricey, and it's only available at Harrods in London, but if the process of foundation colour-matching is your beauty nemesis, then it's well worth the travel and the spend. There is a 400-person waiting list, but I've been assured that if you call the store, they should be able to squeeze you in; just call 0207 225 5732.

Next up, how to apply foundation like a makeup artist.