Getting together with friends is difficult right now. And since the pandemic has perhaps changed shopping as we know it, shopping with your pals is nearly impossible. In the cosmetics industry, where interacting with products is paramount, the void is even more challenging.
Brands have had to get creative with their e-commerce experiences in order to make up for the loss of social and physical interaction that comes with being in stores. Enter Bobbi Brown’s Makeup With Friends—a virtual service that allows you and up to three of your friends to connect directly with a professional makeup artist to discover products, get tips and ask your most burning beauty questions.
I tried it with three of my closest girlfriends recently—Kiah, Jasmin and Makieda—and immediately realized that one of the perks of this service is being able to connect with someone from out of town. Kiah lives in Philadelphia so in-store shopping with her is always out of the question. I loved that this allowed us to see each other during the week.
It’s a creative alternative to those regular FaceTime and Zoom calls you’ve been doing with your loved ones to stay in touch during quarantine. One tip I would offer: Send your friends several time options since it can be really hard to coordinate the schedules of four working women.
Our makeup artist, Michele Shakeshaft, was not only extremely knowledgeable, but she was also able to answer so many questions in a 45-minute session. I picked three friends that all love makeup (more than I do) and they’re also very vocal. Since our skin tones and makeup needs vary so greatly, it could have easily been a challenge to satisfy everyone but she did that and more.
“Listening in on my friends asking the questions I always seem to forget when I go for a consultation offered new insight. Our segment on color correction for under eye darkness was so good I found myself taking notes!” Makieda told me by text. “Another bonus: Our makeup specialist actually listened, creating makeup solutions that fit our special needs.”
We got some tips for dealing with dark under-eye circles on different complexions. We learned a can’t-fail trick for filling in and laying down brows that are sparse to those that are semi-full. And we discovered Bobbi Brown’s new Vitamin Enriched Eye Base primer. Shakeshaft began the session by telling us that caring for your skin is the best way to prep for makeup.
When I asked my girls how they ranked the session on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), they all gave it a 4.
Kiah said she would have liked more color matching tips. Jasmin also would have appreciated some color matching advice, and thought that maybe sending photos to the expert ahead of the session might help with that. Makieda liked the idea of having the products in her hand to interact with as the expert spoke about them (following your session, the brand will send you a list of products you discovered but no purchase is necessary to participate).
If you’re someone who needs to feel and play with a product before you decide to purchase it, no virtual shopping tool will really meet your needs. But Makeup With Friends can at least serve as a fun way to get together with your ladies to just talk about different ways you can pamper yourselves. And I loved the privacy it offers versus an in-store experience, eliminating the distractions of other shoppers.
Shalwah Evans is an ESSENCE associate beauty editor.