Charlotte Tilbury Makeover Review

For Mother’s day, I took my Mum down to London for the day and planned a few surprises for her. We first went for lunch at The Ivy Chelsea Garden, which was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. Once we had finished there, we took a cab to Oxford Street to continue our mother, daughter day. I knew my mum had a couple of places high on her list that she wanted to visit shop wise, but I made sure we went to Selfridges first as I had booked us a makeover for 4pm! I booked at the Charlotte Tilbury counter because we have had our fair share of MAC makeovers and both being lovers of the Charlotte Tilbury brand I thought it would be nice to try something different.

We walked into Selfridges, in all its usual splendour and started by having a mooch at the MAC counter. My mum had no idea what I had planned and I was so excited to surprise her! Whilst she was looking at MAC lipsticks I even said, “Oh look Mum, they have Charlotte Tilbury!”.  Sneaky little devil, aren’t I? I convinced her, (not that it took much) to put down the MAC lipstick and instead have a look at the ones in swanky, rose gold packaging on the other side of the Beauty Haul. It was five minutes before our scheduled slot, so I make my way to one of the Makeup Artists on the counter at Charlotte Tilbury and tell them I have two makeovers booked. My mum overheard and asked me what I was talking about, when I told her she was thrilled!

Now I love Charlotte Tilbury products, I think the brand is marketed spectacularly and have loved everything I have tried from the brand to date. I had high hopes for this makeover. The price was £35 for an hour makeover with an artist, which you then could spend on products at the end, much like other makeovers I have had before. We were politely asked to wait whilst they found out the two artists that would be ‘making us up’ so sat on the stools at the counter. Ten minutes went by, with lots of awkward glances and smiles from the staff until one girl, who was lovely, came over to ask if we were okay. She didn’t know why we were there, it didn’t seem like anyone did. Apparently the two people who were doing our makeup were still on their lunch break. 4.15pm, (our slot was 4pm) and they came back to the counter, introduced themselves and started removing our makeup. Now, I can’t really comment on my Mum’s experience, so this will mostly be on my experience of the hour spent at Charlotte Tilbury. I’m sorry to say I came away feeling so disappointed.

For me, a makeover is meant to be glam, pretty, special and like I have been pampered and they usually are! The artist who did my makeup was lovely, very friendly and polite. However, I felt like his purpose wasn’t to make me look better than I did when I walked in, (how I feel after a MAC makeover for example) but rather was to sell me the products. I’m not daft, I know essentially that is what the makeovers are for, to sell the brand and the products, but it was just too obvious. It felt like I was sitting through a sales pitch rather than having my makeup done. Before the makeover starts, you choose one of Charlotte’s ‘signature looks’ and the products for that look are applied. I went for ‘Vintage Vamp’ but asked for a nude lip, as we were still shopping I didn’t want to go for the bold lip.

When I was shown my makeup at the end, I was so deflated. I looked like the me who had only had time to do her makeup in 10 minutes, not the me who had been sat at the Charlotte Tilbury counter having a ‘makeover’ for an hour. The first picture below was taken immediately after we left Selfridges and the one below that was taken 6 hours later, once I had gotten home. I liked the Magic Foundation which the artist used, but I didn’t really like anything else. I think it was the way the products were applied, although the mascara was very flakey and left my lashes looking a bit flat. I hate giving bad reviews, but I only think it is fair to give a true representation of my experience and how it left me feeling. Especially as it was supposed to be a lovely experience for my Mum too, who I think had the same experience as me.

At the end of the makeover we had to choose what we wanted to spend our £35 on, I just wanted one lipstick that I had wanted for a while, Glastonbury, and my Mum wanted a few things. As the item I wanted fell under the £35, but my Mum’s came to more than that, we wanted to combine everything together so we hit the total of £70 for the makeovers and then some. Apparently, it is brand policy that they cannot combine the totals of the makeovers and have to put them through separately, which obviously meant I had to find something else, (I got my mum an extra lipstick). It all just felt a bit cold and business like. I understand things have to be done a certain way, but the same money was still being spent, it was just like an extra squeeze at the last minute to get us to spend more. It was fine, we did, but it left us with such a bad taste. I wouldn’t have expected such behaviour from staff at such a prestigious, high end makeup counter. It just was so uncomfortable. I really wanted to love the experience, as I said I was so excited. I love Charlotte Tilbury products and will continue to purchase from the brand, but I don’t know whether I would try a makeover at one of her counters again. With Charlotte being such a well known and highly successful makeup artist, I thought my experience would reflect that. It was such a shame, however it didn’t ruin the rest of our day, we came away with our goodies and headed to the Body Shop event!

Have you had a similar experience at a makeup counter?


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  1. Emma
    April 26, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    I am glad you have given an honest review because although I love charlotte tilbury I wouldn’t want to be made to feel like that!

  2. Julie highley
    April 28, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    This is a very honest and open review Amy of our experience on the day, I have now had 3 negative experiences with Charlotte tilbury, my latest one being booked at the wrong store, I booked in Feb and rang to check my appointment for today only to find I had been booked at the Trafgird centre instead of Birmingham the lady in Birmingham was very helpful but I had paid for the £55.00 makeup experience but they were unable to do that for me, my app is st 2 I will comment again to let you know if it was any more positive than our London one, we had a lovely day, but I also felt I could have done s better job myself

  3. Monica
    November 7, 2017 / 9:00 am

    I had a similar experience at one of their stores, the make up artist couldn’t care less and I end up spending £30 on the magic foundation on the wrong shade, that’s how pushy they are to sell. I e-mailed them and complaint and they gave me £10 in credit to buy from their website but thinking afterwards was not good enough, I think in my situation a refund or exchange would have acknowledged the lack of “advice” of the supposed expert. On my first visit the first make up.artist I had was really lovely and had fabulous skin, so I trust her on the make over, she did layered me with product after product and lots of brand stories ( so a managers dream come true!!) afterwards at work i noticed the greasy looking skin and uneven tone, still before I left I was in need of a foundation but due to the selling skills of the sales assist end up buying this new product a “miracle” Hollywood primer which after a couple of uses realised had nothing “wonderful” about it but the name. I still gave them a chance to redeemed themselves as the girl left a good impression on me and off I went when I run out of my estee lauder foundation which became discontinued, once again they fail to deliver with the product, not only did they sell me the wrong shade this time also delivered a horrendous service. The fact you are sitting in there being used as a doll, as they literally try every product under the rainbow, you end up feeling pressure to buy and also very misleading as they try their products with their softer lighting and the thousand other layers on the top is hard to asses the performance of each one of them. I don’t see a future for this brand, they will slowly die down and end up with small counters across boots stores.

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