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Touch screens, internet access on the hop and social networking sites mean that more of our lives than ever happen in a technological realm. Buying beauty products is no exception – but it isn’t just down to the internet shopping revolution.
The surprise champion in the battle of high-tech beauty retailers that is snatching exclusives from high street retailers on prestigious skin, bath and body ranges and winning customers in one in every five households is television shopping channel QVC. Its latest conquest is Emma Hardie’s Amazing Face which takes to the screen on March 7th. So what won her over?
Well, the fact that the channel broadcasts to 23 million UK homes was enticing but, for a brand where the immediate results (uplifted, de-furrowed skin) are so impressive that seeing is believing, having the opportunity to wow potential customers with demos of Emma’s techniques was irresistible. "It’s a very demonstrable brand," says Emma. "You can get great results with the cleansing balm and cloths and, if customers can see myself and Anna (Emma’s protégée) performing certain techniques, such as the linear skin-smoothing technique or the customisation of the balm into an exfoliator with the addition of the rosehip seeds, they are more likely to get it right at home."
The live phone-in means it is also one of the most democratic ways of letting customers access Emma’s expertise. "Not everyone can come and have a facial with me, either because they live too far away, can’t afford it or are unable to travel so this helps me come to them instead."
Indeed, the channel’s USP is really that it delivers expert advice straight from the horse’s mouth, rather than from sales reps with varying degrees of understanding for and passion for the brand.
As Judy Deuchar, director of merchandising at QVC UK explains, "In a store or salon, if the staff could give all the time in the world to their customers it would be amazing, but they are either really busy or not able to put their best sales person on to everyone that walks in. Brands have realised that being able to get their head person to come onto a show and talk about their product is like having their best expert on the counter in-store all the time." Until there’s a way of teleporting Emma into your living room, we reckon this is as good as customer service gets.
Q: In spring, my skin always seems to develop an unflattering greasy sheen. I don’t have enough of a summery glow yet to skip foundation and the addition of spf into my day care routine doesn’t help the problem. What do you suggest?
A: "When the weather gets warmer your skin produces more oil and water so you need to switch to lighter formulations," explains Emma. "This is especially important if you are layering products which is more common in the warmer months when we are conscious of shielding our skin from the sun’s more intense rays." In the millefeuille of serum, moisturiser, spf and foundation on the skin, there is no need for rich creams. "'You may even get away with just a serum for hydration," says Emma. Failing that, steer clear of rich unguents and switch to a featherweight lotion such as Emma’s new Hydrating Lighter Lotion (£38, available from April 2011). Made using the same nourishing marine extracts as her Natural Lift AM/PM Moisturiser, it bestows a thin yet lasting veil to the skin. To prevent your make-up slipping about on an oily bed of excess sebum and moisturising products, make sure your skin is thoroughly exfoliated first. Step up your buffing routine using the microfibre Cleansing Cloths. "You really need to slough off any dead skin cells so your products can penetrate the skin properly and anything you apply on top, such as spf or foundation, stays in place," stresses Emma.
What we’re loving
Festooning our homes with single flower bunches of spring blooms – a vase of unfussy hyacinths, tulips and daffodils lets us immerse ourselves in the season’s natural morale boosting quality even when we’re indoors.
Serving resplendent organic feasts on Volga Linen’s table linen. The Tablecloth with Ladder Stitch Edge (£82; www.volgalinen.com.uk) has a wholesome contemporary country feel.
Seasonal Product Focus
The brand new Moringa Foaming Cleansing Wash (£34, available from April 2011) proves that meticulous cleanliness can be achieved in a matter of seconds. A cashmere-soft foam with a meadow-fresh scent, it whisks away all traces of make-up and grime, without leaving a tautness as some harsher face washes can. Plus, it doubles as an exfoliating mask. "It is charged with pumpkin enzyme which is great for exfoliating dead skin cells," explains Emma. "Massage it onto the face and then leave it on for 30 seconds for a brightening burst."
Latest news update
Read fantastic tried & tested reviews of Emma’s products and her Natural Lift & Sculpt Facial in Josephine Fairley and Sarah Stacey’s new The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible (£19.99; www.kylecathie.co.uk), out on 24th March.