Experience: Lancôme Le Teint Particulier Custom Made Makeup
When I was a kid, I remember my mom religiously going to the Prescriptives makeup counter in Robinson & Co. (Singapore) to get her special foundation. "It's more accurate," she said, referring to how the custom-blended colors closely matched her Asian skin tone, of which was hard to find back then in the western makeup brands she liked, even though she was extremely fair-skinned. So when I saw that Lancôme had recently released Le Teint Particulier in the San Francisco Bay Area, a subconscious yearning in me was triggered, and I had to try it. A couple phone calls later, I was set for my appointment to get my custom shade.
Le Teint Particulier is exclusively available in select Nordstroms in the country, eleven to be specific. Five are in California, and of the five, two are ones in the Bay Area, making me quite lucky not to have to fly somewhere to get this. To the uninitiated, Le Teint Particulier is a foundation custom made on the spot with "eight peristaltic heart pumps for an airtight blending and dispensing process". This use of high-tech allows for a client-centric customized coverage, from the shade to the moisture levels. Not only is it formulated to be ultra-light with a barely-there finish, it touts itself as a long-wearing, breathable, oil-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free formula that is safe for sensitive complexions. Ding-ding-ding! That sounds like everything I'm looking for in my foundation! I approached my appointment with bated breath.
First things first
I got to Nordstrom Valley Fair and met Miko Del Rosario, my beauty advisor for this process. Miko is one of the few people specially trained to create custom colors with Lancôme's technology. Not only did Miko explain the process very kindly and patiently to me, got information about my skin type and concerns, she has great skin to boot, too! I felt confident in what would eventually be my very own bottle of foundation.
Miko began by taking out a skin tone scanner — not unlike the ones you see in Sephora when you ask for your color IQ — and scanned different parts of my skin three times (not just once as in color IQ) to get some data points for the computer to amalgamate.
"Why these parts?" I asked.
"I scanned your forehead and the most prominent part of your cheeks because those are the parts where light hits your face the most, and your jawline so that the color will blend into the rest of your neck and body," explained Miko.
She then proceeded to show me what the computer crunched, a series of numbers showing the units of red, yellow, black, and white pigments needed to formulate my particular tone. I had the option of selecting how moisturizing my foundation could be — and I selected the greatest option, because of my dry skin — as well as how sheer or heavy of a concoction was desired. What surprised me the most was to find out that my skin tone actually tended towards "warm", instead of "neutral" which I had been led to believe in Sephora after my color IQ session.
"Because we scan a few more spots on your face instead of just one, and we use a computer algorithm to get as close to your real skin tone as possible, this is probably more realistic than other types of color matching," Miko theorized.
I nodded in appreciation. My current favorite foundation, the YSL Touche Éclat in Cool Sand, is a very close color match as a result of that color IQ session in Sephora; this process only heightened my anticipation in seeing how my Le Teint Particulier would look on me.
Let the fun begin
Miko took out a box (the second last one they had in store till Feb 11!) with an empty Le Teint Particulier vessel.
"We're going to put this portion," she explained, showing me an empty cylinder, "into that machine over there." She pointed to a receptacle with tubes (very similar looking to a 3D printer) and a little platform where said cylinder fit perfectly. The machine purred and came to life, and a slow but steady stream of white-colored base went into the cylinder, then yellow, then red, then black. The hydrating serum came after, and I lost count of other possible liquids that went in as well, as I chatted with the Lancôme ladies that had gathered to watch this process while waiting for my foundation to be made.
"You came at the right time. These are flying off the shelves!"
"This never gets old."
"Wow, the machine is going faster than usual, huh — it usually takes forever for the hydrating serum to come out!"
Once the formulae was fully loaded, Miko sealed the cylinder and put it into another machine, where it would be shaken at high speed for a few minutes so the pigments become homogeneously mixed.
Now, the moment we've been waiting for
Miko then retrieved the properly-mixed cylinder and motioned me to a high chair. The moment had arrived! She would test the color on me to see if it was perfect or needed to be tweaked. Patiently, I sat in the chair as she brushed a pea-sized amount of color in light, broad strokes across my face. She then showed me the mirror and I... couldn't tell the difference? Where's the makeup?!
"Oh, I should've just done it to half your face," she said. "It's pretty sheer now, because you wanted a sheer base, but it's very buildable. Let me show you."
She then begins to apply a second, equally-thin layer to the left side of my face. I began to see how my little freckles and some redness from skin sensitivity fade away while my face still looked like I didn't have makeup on. Because the color is such a close match to my skin tone, I couldn't tell! This. is. amazing. I thought. It looks like I just put on a second skin! I was pretty dumbfounded at how good the custom color looked, and how light it felt, that when Miko asked me what I thought again, I basically whispered, "This is great". I could tell from the corner of my eye she wasn't sure if I liked it — I got up wordlessly and went to one of their lighted mirrors to see how it looks in different light settings, and it was awesome. I still looked like the au naturel me, but with expert facetune applied to blur out my skin imperfections. A Version 2.0!
Because of how buildable and light Le Teint Particulier is, how smooth the finish felt, how I could customize it to my skin needs, and how close it is to my real skin color, this could easily become my holy grail foundation. Miko helped me apply just the barest of blush to my face after 2-3 light layers of my custom shade — my face wasn't set with loose powder — and I looked like I had a glow and the dewiest complexion. A freshly-showered look. Even after 8 hours of dashing around doing stuff, it still looked the same. Le Teint Particulier is truly worth it, and if you don't mind the steep-ish price tag ($80 before tax for 22ml), I recommend getting your very own bottle at one of these locations! Not only did I learn more about my skin tone, the skeptic in me has also been silenced by what this can do for all women, democratizing the access to quality foundation, across the board.
Key To Radiance is not affiliated with, or sponsored by, Lancôme.