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Mon, Jan 19, 2009
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Sublime World Of Beauty
by Jean Tan

DEC 19 was a day that beauty junkies in Singapore raised their mascara wands in the air and yelled:


Why, you ask? Sephora had landed at Takashimaya Shopping Centre - and this is its first major store in South-east Asia.

Sephora - which celebrated its official Singapore opening last Friday - is a France-based beauty chain revered by aficionados all over the world.

Not only does it have one of the widest selections of makeup and beauty brands (including its best-selling house brand), but it also adopts an in-store concept of displaying products by category, allowing customers to make comparisons easily.

Last month, I checked out the 297.28-sq-m, $2-million beauty haven.

And boy, is there much to see. Over a third of its 100 brands are exclusive to Sephora.

There's Bare Escentuals, much credited for the current surge in popularity of mineral make-up.

There's Frederic Fekkai, a much-feted line of hair products from the eponymous hair guru responsible for the locks of Kim Basinger and Claudia Schiffer.

There's also Sephora's house brand, comprising an array of make-up, accessories and bath goodies. The list goes on.

Ms Violet Ho, regional director of Sephora for South and South-east Asia, said that Sephora's main objectives for customers are summed up by three Es: Ease, Excitement and Education.

Ease from the way the store is laid out; excitement generated by its exclusive brands; and education, as shoppers enjoy hands-on experience playing with and testing samples to their hearts' content.

Its well-trained staff are knowledgable in use of all brands carried by the store and are on hand to offer advice, but are told not to push sales.

All this seems to be working, with sales "well above expectations", said Ms Ho.

Corporate-communications executive Lin Tan, 25, was happy with her first Sephora foray.

"It's heaps more fun than any other beauty store in Singapore," she enthused.

Ms Chrissy Chan, a New York-based business analyst, said that the Singapore store is smaller than its New York counterparts, but it is better organised.

With plans for opening "at least two bigger stores carrying even more exclusive brands" in the works, things can only look up for this newbie.

I, for one, have got my sleeping bag, Evian atomiser and eyelash curlers already packed to stake out the opening of the next store.

Sephora is located at B1-05 Takashimaya Shopping Centre.

Jean Tan is the production manager of streetwear label Royalefam, and a die-hard beauty and make-up enthusiast.


Sephora Tinted Vitamin Fluid SPF 15 ($22)

Jean's take: Almost every woman I know would give up a chance for a night of passion with Brad Pitt for a good foundation.

But how about treading on the lighter side? This tinted moisturiser protects the skin with SPF and vitamins, and has a soft tint that makes your skin glow. And it really does last all day.

This is currently sold out, but Sephora takes reservations for products.

Call 6836-5622 to reserve or to check stocks.

Oliviers & Co Sublime Face Oil ($52) 

Jean's take: Up to a month ago, the only oil I would have liked on my face would have come from an order of french fries. But this baby has changed my mind. 

Made from organic and natural oils, I've been smoothing a few drops onto my face after cleansing every night for about a week now.

I've noticed that fine lines on my face are no longer visible, and my pores look smaller. Sublime? I think so.


Pop Beauty Eye Class in Smokey Eyes ($49) 

Jean's take: First, the pros: The colour spectrum is wonderful, with 12 shades that appear to be universally flattering to every skin tone. It's easy to apply, with a gloriously-smooth texture and finish.

The cons: The colour pay-off is a tad sheer and doesn't quite go the distance from AM to PM.



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