Charlotte Tilbury make-up: despatches from the shop floor


“Walk away now! Or you’ll have no money left!” These words were uttered only half jokingly by a customer stocking up with goodies at the brand new Charlotte Tilbury counter at Selfridges. Only hours old, the counter (there are two actually) was heaving with the curious and the product-hungry on a Monday afternoon.

This isn’t the first high profile make-up artist line launch but it is a biggie for the UK market. And this is how things are done these days. It’s not enough to be a ‘celebrity make-up artist’ now (what make-up artist doesn’t do celebs?), you need to be a high profile personality in your own right. So Youtube tutorials, magazine-quality blog, highly engaged social media following are all a given. And this is something Tilbury does really really well.

If you’ve seen her speak in public about make-up, she brims over with knowledge and passion, not just for product and A-listers but also for the everyday woman who loves the transformative power of makeup. With Tilbury you get a genuine big-sister feeling of empathy and encouragement. (Either that or she’s a very good actress.)

Product-wise, this is no basics line. Tilbury is all about the glamour (this is the girl who even wears make-up to bed) so the formulations, colours, packaging and even product names are big fat statements of fabulosity. While the eye shadow palettes and pencils are gorgeous colours and ultra soft formulations, there is a fair amount of metallic. Tilbury helped launched MyFace, and I remember her being very excited about the sparkle-infused ‘Bling Tones’ eyeshadows. This feels like the grown up version of those.

I preferred the lipsticks – classic deep reds, raspberry pinks and kittenish nudes in old school gold cases (£23) and I’ll definitely be buying the Light Wonder foundation (£32). And then there’s the hero product, Charlotte’s Magic Cream (£70). A chunky pot of skin-boosting moisturiser that has been Tilbury’s secret weapon on shoots and the red carpet, it’s now available for public consumption.

As for the brand itself, I noticed that the displays used impactful, ‘editorial’ language and overheard one make-up advisor imploring her customer to “go on the website and watch the how-to video”. It’s that always-everywhere approach of being surrounded by the brand online, offline, wherever you happen to be.

And in our ‘brand me’ age, this feels like a brand that customers will follow because they relate to the person behind the name.  Surely it’s no coincidence that the early best sellers (Rock N Kohl pencil, Film Star Bronze & Glow, Nude Kate lipstick) happen to epitomise the very smoky-eyed look that Tilbury wears herself…?


Charlotte Tilbury make-up is available at Selfridges Oxford Street, and