I admit it.  I once lived for expensive department store makeup.  Every six months or so, I would walk into Bergdorf’s, Barneys or Bendels, slide up to the makeup counter and ask the sales person to show me the new spring shadows, or the hot, new  blush for Fall, knowing full well I wouldn’t leave until I bought the entire kit, from shadow and mascara to lip pencil and gloss.  Hundreds of dollars spent, I would just wait for the inevitable life change that would follow.  Once, when B.A. lost my bags on a flight to London, the very first thing I did was run out to Boots to replace my makeup, not with a cheap, drug store brand, but with a whole set of Jemma Kid Makeup School to the tune of about 300 dollars.  The moment I stepped out of the shop, B.A. called to tell me my luggage had been found, and did I run back in to return my costly, and now unnecessary, makeup, which had not only not been opened, but hadn’t been out of the shop for 30 seconds?  Did I, hell.  It was my makeup now.

Two years ago, all of that changed, when Maybelline took over the sponsorship of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week from MAC, and handed out free samples.  I’m also a sucker for free samples, and it coincided nicely with a real hit to my finances.  I tried my spanky new shadows and that was pretty much my last visit to my beloved makeup counters at the three-B’s.

Shadows, ok, blushes, ok, but where the low-priced, drugstore brands fell down (apart from the free makeup applications, designed to, if nothing else, guilt you into buying everything), was in foundations and powders.  They were light or dark, so you either looked like you’d overdone the cheap spray tan, or were about to take a Kabuki class.  So my joy mixed with skepticism when, at this Fashion Week, Maybelline launched its new “Fit-Me” line, foundations, powders, blushes, bronzers and concealers, all number-coded.  You find your number, and you’ll find everything, custom fitted to your skin tone.

And it eliminates that plastic-mask feel of drug-store foundation, as well.  Xander Johnson, Senior Manager of Global Marketing for Maybelline, told me, “if you take our foundation, or department store foundation, and put it between two glass slides, you’ll see they’re opaque, so they’ll both cover imperfections.  But if you hold our foundation up to the light, it shows through.  So, it’s translucent, and allows your skin to breathe.”  That means you won’t get that cakey, maskey look that means you have to practically slather your whole body in foundation to avoid that horrible line between makeup, and no makeup.

The packaging’s pretty special, too, very upscale, department-store bottles, all part of a new push that Maybelline began with its Fashion Week sponsorship.  Johnson says, “that really cemented our credibility as experts on trends, what’s new, what’s hot, what’s in, what’s now.”  As the economy went south, the company saw an opportunity.  He said, “people have been trading down, and we feel when you trade down, you don’t have to lose quality or lose aesthetic or lose beauty.”  You can buy all those things with the money you save on makeup.

To see our video feature on Maybelline’s new ‘Fit-Me’ line and an interview with Xander Johnson click on Red Stiletto icon below.

Camera and Edit: Scott Fetterman ……..Music: Tony Di Pietro

Produced for Red Stiletto Media

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