Back in its 80s and 90s heyday, the Prescriptives counter at the local department store was a monthly destination for many women desperate to get their hands on a bottle of the brand’s cult fave custom-blended foundation. Prescriptives was one of the first cosmetic companies to offer custom blends (tagline: “Get Colorprinted!”), not to mention a huge assortment of pre-mixed foundations for many different skin tones. When parent company Estee Lauder shuttered Prescriptives counters in 2010, many mourned the loss.
The company quietly moved the business online shortly thereafter and continued to produce custom blended foundation for women who already knew their recipes.
But what about a new generation of customers looking for custom blends?
Prescriptives has entered the digital age and just launched an online video chat service with real-live “Custom Blend Beauty Geniuses” to help you find your own unique blend of foundation and powder. But if you’ve ever bought a cute red dress online only to see that it’s way too orangey in real life, you’re probably asking the same question I did: How can you truly get a good skin match online?
I tried the service and here are the steps they take to try ensure a perfect match:
• Before your video chat appointment, you send in a head shot of yourself which the Beauty Genius (BG) analyzes.
• You also should be ready to tell her what foundation you currently wear and what you like/don’t like about it.
• The BG’s on staff are absolute experts on other foundation brands. Mine said she spends her weekends trolling beauty counters for samples.
• During the chat appointment they ask you pretty specific questions about coverage options, some of which I haven’t ever thought about. (Like did I want a shimmery “finish”? Um, yes?) The BG patiently answered all my questions. They’ll even throw in anti-aging ingredients.
Potential snafus with the process:
• My internet connection wasn’t awesome at my office, which made it really difficult to chat with the BG. I had to mute my video chat and talk the old-fashioned way–on the phone.
• It takes a week to 10 days to get the product after they send you a recipe. So if you’re hitting the red carpet this weekend, forget it.
• They guarantee your final happiness. If you don’t like the final product you’re sent, they’ll tweak it. So the process requires patience. But after you get the perfect formula, you can register and then just keep re-ordering. I haven’t received mine yet, but I’ll update here when I do.
A bottle of Custom Blend foundation goes for $65 and powder for $48, and Prescriptives also offers a range of pre-mixed foundations, color cosmetics and skin care.
Would you buy foundation online?