It would be easy to describe Kiko’s makeup range as “overwhelming” – there are over a thousand individual cosmetic products instore and online with fifty new products added every month. There are nail products, tanning products, skincare and cellulite creams, twenty different mascaras, nine different types of eye pencil. Lip colours come in glossy finishes, matte finishes, pearly finishes – they can be applied from a pencil or a bullet or a marker pen. The options, for everything, are endless. Every type of bronzey-taupe shadow you can imagine, every subtle tone of sheer, neutral lipcolour or shimmering, enlivening blush.
It would be easy to describe Kiko’s range as overwhelming, yes, but I actually found it anything but. My general thought, as I darted about the store like some kind of crazed sparrow, pecking and stabbing at testers and fluttering my elbows to keep others away, was not that I was overwhelmed, but that I had a sense of Beauty Optimism: anything was possible. If I thought of a product, a very specific product, it would be right there, within reach. A glossy lipstick with just the right amount of orange? There it was, the Ultra Glossy Stylo in shade 806. The perfect bronze eye colour to make blue eyes bluer? The Colour Sphere shadow in shade 32. And none of these products were expensive; €4.90 for the lipstick, €5.90 for the shadow. Entirely affordable.
But this isn’t cheap makeup; Kiko are just about as “brand aware” as any brand can be – and they know exactly where they want their brand to sit. Alongside professional makeup, but with a fair price-point, and to be cutting edge – innovative, experimental, different. So, then: creative, affordable, professional makeup. Can it get any better? Their customers seem to think not; there are over five hundred Kiko stores, all of them well-staffed and colourful and packed-to-the-gills with beauty shoppers. It’s the small details in the stores that make a huge difference: disposable tape that you can place over your nail so that you can test colours without ruining your manicure; non-pushy assistants who seem knowledgeable but entirely approachable; neatly-placed testers that are well-maintained and clean…
But, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. What’s the actual quality like? How do the products fare under proper testing? I have a way to go before I get through my stash of samples, but I can tell you that thus far the Water Eyeshadow (€8.90) and the 3D Skin Lifting Foundation (€14.90) are both exquisite. The shadow can be used wet or dry and the pay-off is superb – very long-lasting, too. The foundation made my tired skin (champagne and lots of giggling the night before) look positively radiant and I had three separate comments about how “fresh” I looked. The BB Compact is also very nice if you like to be able to perform multiple touch-ups throughout the day, and the Glossy Stylo lipsticks are wonderfully juicy. No complaints, quality-wise, though don’t expect luxury packaging here – the fair prices are possible, I expect, because “non essential” costs are kept low.
I have yet to get started on the skincare, but the range is pretty extensive. I actually tried out one of the face “filling” potions in store so I’ll post the pics of my testing in a separate post – really very good, if you must know. I like the idea of the exfoliating wipes, too -there’s a version for face and for body and they are great little time-savers if you’re feeling very lazy. You probably know that I can’t usually abide wipes, but I do think that they have their special place in the beauty world. (Festivals and nights where you sleep in your clothes.) The Night Balm for lips is pretty gorgeous – I need to rescue it from my suitcase, actually, because I’m always in need of a non-greasy, effective balm for bedtime.
There’s pretty much something for everyone, so I would urge a trip to the Westfield store if you’re near it – otherwise, there’s a store opening on Regent Street in the summer. Those not lucky/unlucky enough to be enjoying/suffering London-in-Summer can shop online: