Beauty Tips from a Harvard Grad – Bluemercury Makeup Mecca

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We do our best stick our noses in everything that happens on Peachtree Street – so when we got word that one of the best luxury beauty retail stores, Bluemercury, was setting up shop in our backyard (Buckhead Market Place) you better believe I was there to check it out! To sweeten the experience I was given the chance to speak with the CEO and co-founder Marla Malcolm Beck, who is a gorgeous powerhouse entrepreneur who grew her company from one store in Georgetown, Washington D.C. – to 52 stores across the country! In fact, she joked that people made fun of her because she has a Harvard MBA (among other advanced degrees) and only owned one store – fast forward 15 years and they are the nations fastest growing luxury beauty retail store. #hatersgonnahate

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I arrived a little early before my interview with Marla to check the place out – and was EXTREMELY impressed by the space. It made a Ulta look like Wal-Mart. The products were displayed beautifully, and there was no clutter or fuss. I mean, there were oriental rugs on the floor for goodness sake #BluemercurySoFancy #YouAlreadyKnow.

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The staff was really helpful – even when I started asking a million questions. Examples: “so, do people still match their lipstick with their bag?” (Note: When positioning yourself as a beauty expert do not ask this question. Not a good approach. Also, the answer is no.) And “Which product is your favorite?” – which is hard for them to answer considering they sell more than 90. But you know what…I’m a journalist – and sometimes I have to ask the hard-hitting difficult questions. Lookout B. Walters.

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Thankfully (for everyone that worked there) Marla took over answering the questions and I got the scoop on what’s hot in the world of beauty.

Here’s what I learned:

  • There have been some seriously major advancements in the technology of makeup – but the beauty guys aren’t talking about it. Weird, right? But it’s true. For example, Bobbi Brown just came out with a great new line of lipsticks (or, lip color if you’re in the industry) – and they advertise all the new colors, which are great, but the REAL innovation is in the creamy formula that looks better and goes on smoother. But Bobbi isn’t going to share that – to get the insider scoop you need to ask a professional. And the best professionals in town are at Bluemercury.
  • Did you know NARS picked out the name orgasm for their ridiculously popular blush before they even created it? It’s because they wanted everyone to have one. Seriously. Kind of hilarious, right?

Age – not just a number:

  • When you are in your 20s (I’m holding onto mine with an iron grip) you need to have the right cleanser and moisturizer. Those are the two most important things. But I can’t tell you which products are the best for you because it’s an extremely individual formula need – so it’s best to ask a professional who can determine exactly what is right for your skin and age.
  • When you’re +30 you need to be using more technical products – which have B5, vitamin C, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid in them to replenish the skin’s moisture level. Of all of these ingredients, Marla said Vitamin C is the key – it builds collagen and protects your skin from sun damage.
  • When you’re +40 you need to focus on exfoliation. Dead skin cells sit on the top of your skin, so it’s critical that you sloth those off for a fresher look. I sampled the M-61 Power Glow Peel and absolutely LOVED it – plus it’s only $28 and comes in a wipe. She also recommended that you switch to a serum at night (not a cream) since those penetrate deeper.

I also asked Marla point blank to pick her favorite brands and products – and then qualified that with saying if doesn’t count if she doesn’t use the product. Here is what she told me:

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The thing I liked the most about Bluemercury is the fact that you can sample every single product in the store before you buy it. And not like the girl at the counter pitches you for 20 minutes before she let’s you sample a tiny speck of product – there are BIG testers for everything. Not sure you will like the way an eyeshadow will look? TRY IT. They want you to. If fact, Marla’s hand looked like an impressionist painting by the end of our discussion because she was showing me how all of the products looked. Test before you invest!

You don’t need to live in ATL to check out Bluemercury – they are all over the place! Next time you need a beauty refill skip the department store – this place is a game changer – seriously. It’s also going to be a game changer for the budget I just set with my husband – do you think mascara could fit in the grocery store/food category? I mean, it’s right next to Whole Foods…

We were compensated for this post with a gift card and an awesome gaggle of free products – which you will see in another post after I try them out – you lucky dogs, you! But, like always, what you’ve read here is legit and I mean every word.

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