Hollywood mirrors flank each floor (there are three storeys covering skincare, makeup and hair), with dedicated play areas where customers are able to try out almost anything before they buy it.
There are sinks where you can experiment with masks and serums from established brands like Dermalogica, Murad and Skinceuticals, or discover new, exclusive names like K-beauty favourite Holika Holika and rising LA skincare brand, Skin Inc. For a full test-run, the store has its own salon where you can treat yourself to professional skin and body treatments that use the products you can shop – Skin Inc will even create a bespoke serum tailored to your precise complexion to take home.
It’s not often that a new player rips up the rulebook before even joining the game, but that’s exactly what After Beauty has done. At a time when the British high street is having a tough old time, it’s set up shop in one of London’s most expensive and prestigious neighbourhoods (Piccadilly) to deliver a millennial-focused beauty playground that’s forward-thinking, fully immersive and ready to party.
Head up a floor in the teddy-bear lined lift and you’re able to have a mooch around the makeup (which includes Milani, Clio lashes, Winky Lux, Stila and Kohl Creatives – a makeup brush brand designed for those with motor disabilities in mind), you can try bits on, or head to one of the makeup artists for a spruce.
Up on the top floor you can experiment with hair tools or visit the in-house nail bar, complete with millennial pink velvet chairs, marble surfaces and rainbow cushions. “Each treatment is priced according to how many minutes it takes to remove confusion and make it clear and fair,” After Beauty’s head of marketing, Isabelle Heffon tells me. A 15 minute speedy service will cost you £15, while a 45 minute luxury mani will cost you £45.
Throughout, dedicated staff are on hand with advice. Given the ethos is about mixing brands and budgets, you needn’t worry about a hard sell. “No-one’s makeup bag is made up of just one brand and we wanted to adapt to that,” explains, Isabelle. It’s why After Beauty has scoured the globe and hand-selected the best bits from each city.
It’s this approach that’s reflected on the brand’s website (which launches tomorrow). “Our ‘shop the looks’ are created from several different brands – you can pick the bits you like, or buy all of it in a bundle. Nowhere else online does that,” says Isabelle.
Much like the shop itself, the website aims to be similarly unconventional and weave in seamlessly with the store’s playground principles. “The website will grow with our consumer,” says Isabelle, but the spirit will remain warm, fun and inclusive.
As for what’s next, this is only the beginning. “We’re starting here in London,” says Isabelle, “but we’ll be expanding.” So, even if you’re not London-based, After Beauty may be coming for you soon.