Scones and Teacakes

March 23, 2018

My original background is catering, I learned to bake at very young age with my grandmother and still enjoy the benefits of that education today. However, it still amazes me, how you can give two people the exact same recipe and method of cooking or baking and both parties will turn out something different, you see it on MasterChef’s all the time. There first task is usually to make an Omelette and boy, none of them are the same.


So, with that in mind, these days I work for myself in the Beauty Industry, same passion and same creativity as I would if I were in a kitchen. My job is to test products, try out new techniques that are taking up YouTube space, keep up with trends and while I have my own favourite brands, I will try anything and compare them to what other people may want.


Recently I conducted a little mystery shop for myself. I decided I would go to three different departments stores with the same story and see what advice or recommendations I would be given.

This is where the cooking refence comes in. First stop Brown Thomas, Patrick Street, Cork and the Lancôme Counter. I browsed for less than a minute, when the Sales Lady approached me, I would see her from the corner of my eye, so I knew it wouldn’t be long. To be fair, she was very pretty, very well groomed and her own makeup was perfect, even if she looks like she was going ‘out’.

So, my story is, lately back my skin has been prone to dryness, and breakouts, and more pores than I would like, what can I get to stop this and restore it to its natural glory.

She immediately went for “Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate and went on to tell me that is Lancôme’s most iconic serum that uses cutting edge technology and ingredients to help create the appearance of healthy, youthful skin. It’s key ingredient, probiotics, works to help strengthen the structure of the skin and its barrier function to protect it from external elements. The serum is light in texture and releases its active ingredients as it soaks into the skin.” Yes, she knew her text book stuff. I was keen to give this a go because I'm 45 now and very happy to turn back the clock on my skin as far as it will go! My skin shows its age by fine lines, dullness and uneven texture now.
I loved the luxury glass bottle and dropper, which gives a precision dose of the product to apply to your skin, eliminating the risk of wastage and overuse. She went on to demonstrate, saying “Simply hold down the button on top of the lid to draw the product into the dropper, squeeze it into your hand and smooth on to skin. The liquid is very lightweight and smooths easily over the skin.”  It absorbs very rapidly too, which is good if you're in a rush in the morning and need to apply the next product (serum or moisturiser) quickly.
I didn't notice a very powerful fragrance, there the slightest hint of a scent but it is rather "clinical", so this isn't perfumed I believe and therefore may be ok for more sensitive skins.
Lancôme claims that you notice results within 7 days of use.

She  had a second recommendation, when it was obvious I wasn’t going to purchase just now.

Lancôme Visionnaire Advanced Skin Corrector, which is a wrinkle cream that’s said to be as effective as cosmetic surgery. Now this was far more appealing to me and wondered why it wasn’t her first choice. It’s also more than just as corrector. While it reduces wrinkles, pores, and uneven skin tone, it’s the first skincare product with LR2412. This means that’s more than capable of re-creating your beautiful skin. Isn’t this what I sort of asked for at the beginning.

While I was far more impressed and found what I wanted, I left with a sample of each and was offered to return another day for a mini facial.


Five minutes later I went in next door to Debenhams, armed with the same story and began my browse at the Lancôme counter.  I had a much longer wait here as it appeared no on was manning the counter. The lady from Clinique eventually approached me after 10 mins so offer her assistance, after my initial enquiry, I was told The Lancôme lady was at lunch and due to return in 5 mins. More browsing, probably looking suspicious as an undercover cop would be. Despite my still browsing the lady returned and stood in her position where I had to approach her.

So same story, I was expecting same results, Scones and Teacakes. I was surprise this lady was quite young, unfortunately not so well groomed and barley any makeup, she looked quite uncomfortable to be honest. I knew immediately I was not going to get same advice or recommendation.

Lancôme’s Énergie de Vie, skin regains its natural quality; a refined texture, healthy glow and renewed bounce. Stimulate your skin and your senses for visible results with Énergie de Vie. More text book, The Smoothing and Plumping Water-Infused Cream would be ideal for my skin.


I asked for price as she wasn’t really selling it to me, she advised me to wait for a “Sale” at end of month…... Did I look poor or something??? I wasn’t inspired with confidence, I asked for a sample which was also a time-consuming effort on her part and just because, she threw in a new products sample of Génifique and conversation finished with me being told to “enjoy my day”  


Third stop, Debenhams, Mahon Point, Cork, 10 min drive from city.  A far more pleasant experience but a yet again a different product, and this time it was foundation!!!! Can you believe that, but to be honest I actually nearly bought it, the lady was so lovely, very well groomed, much more my own age, clearly passionate about her job as she sat me down, analysed my skin, mentioned creams and serums but focused on foundation, colour matched me and demonstrated on my face, two different colour of foundation which were very close at the same time and I had to look very close to see the difference.

LANCÔME Teint Idole Ultra, available in 40 natural-looking shades making it easier than ever to find your perfect shade match. This liquid foundation is long lasting and provides high coverage without feeling caked on, so your skin feels comfortable all day. With great staying power, this up to 24hour foundation allows you to go out and look your best without needing to retouch on the go. The smudge-proof foundation is also transfer free, so you don’t need to worry about it marking your clothes. This lady knows her stuff and I was really tempted to buy it, if I didn’t have 20 odd bottles of foundation at home. But was given my samples and thrilled with my new information, I left far happier than previous two shops and I may return to purchase once samples are used.


So, there you have it, Scones and Teacakes, Same recipe, same method, different cooks.


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