I recently attended a course aimed for participants to prepare their own make-up palette with the help of an operator. It was at Le Bon Marché, in Paris. This would be all very well, if it were not done at a department store corner, with apparently no special precautions – only that of weighing the ingredients in case someone might have the utopic idea of reproducing the formula. This is totally illusory though: it is already complicated in a laboratory. But the intention was there.
Here is the wonderful machine that accomplishes this feat. The device comes in the form of powders pre-dispersed with pigments, a simple mixing system and a small compactor for making buckets. After mixing it all quickly, the whole formula is compacted.
Of course, all this is presented in a very modern spirit, suggesting it is totally new.
All this would be remarkable if this idea had not already been implemented. There were several attempts to do this as early as the 1920s. A book introduced a similar practice: “Mixing your own”. A brand created in 1920, and which has disappeared since then, Charles of the Ritz, took up this idea and started offering this type of service in stores in the early 1930s. They only offered the powder mixing service in their salons, but starting from 1932, powder bars (Doraldina) were installed in department stores. Even the scales, which have since become electronic, were part of the decor! And devices were offered to perform these operations at home, such as the Luxor Powder system. A complete manual was provided.
Other brands in the 1940s followed this trend, like Jacqueline Cochran, with Chromablend.
From 1956 onwards, compaction was offered in stores.
This service was available until as recently as the 1970s. James Bennett tells this story beautifully
A short video which you can access by clicking on
The idea was taken up in the late 1980s by the Estée Lauder group for the brand Prescriptives.
The brand that has resumed this practice and is now offering it in the 2020s is By Terry.
I am not going to criticise this, because it is actually fine, except that in the spirit of innovation through legacy, the idea is to do better. It is up to you to decide if this proposal is better! It could be.
To conclude, if everything was not done before and if everything was not better before, it should be admitted that it was already done, and well done! Nowadays, there are many solutions focused on the idea of personalization. But it seems this trend has not gained wide acceptance yet. Whoever comes up with the right proposal will move things forward.
Jean Claude LE JOLIFF