Meet The British Brand Taking Beauty Product Customization To The Masses At Boots

Have you ever fallen in love with the effectiveness of a conditioner, but were turned off by the scent? Or adored the hydrating capabilities of a serum, but wish it could brighten as well?

If so, Emulsion Cosmetics, a British brand taking bespoke beauty to the masses, is meant for you. “Every time I had to buy, for instance, a bottle of shampoo, it was either not the right texture and not the right color or not the right fragrance. It was never spot on,” says co-founder Helen Bannayan. “So, we thought we’d like to come up with a new trend of giving people back the authority to mix and match in certain ways to achieve whatever they please.” The idea is the product that’s perfect for you might not be right product for everyone.

The concept for the brand also revolves around the fact that the perfect product might shift day to day depending on momentary desires and skin conditions. To tailor their skincare, body care and haircare, customers pick a neutral base and customize it with different essential oil blends, fragrances or exfoliant add-ons. The bases are totally fine on their own for customers with modest tastes. Add-on fragrances are only options for haircare and body care because Bannayan doesn’t believe fragrances should be used on the face.

Emulsion Cosmetics
Emulsion Cosmetics allows customers to customize beauty products by adding essential oll blends and fragrances to base formulas.

If you wake up hankering for some, well, waking up, you might reach for the refreshing All-nighter essential oils blend that morning. If your hair is feeling weak and brittle after heat manipulation, you can inject squirts of the fortifying Stay Strong essential oils blend into your conditioner. You can switch things up to suit a particular mood, too. The Let It Go essential oils blend has a tension-relieving concoction of rosewood oil, frankincense, lemongrass, patchouli and geranium. Fragrances can be deep and dreamy like the Tobacco & Cedar scent or fruity and frothy like the Sweet Dust aroma cocktail.

“It’s customization in an easy way, letting people decide what works best for them.”

The inventions are intended to be functional while making a beauty routine anything but routine. “You’re not sticking to the same shower gel with the same fragrance until it’s finished,” says Bannayan. “You can change that. When your skin needs extra protection or extra moisturizing, then you can add more. It’s customization in an easy way, letting people decide what works best for them.”

Not everybody, however, enjoys playing cosmetic chemist. It can be intimidating. But Emulsion eases the intimidation by holding customers’ hands through the process. Its website includes a feature allowing them to select their skin and hair type, what sort of products they’re looking for, and the customized elements they’re up for trying. If a customer craves skin toning or body cleansing, there are choices to garner their requested results, and extra touches of personalization with a scent, exfoliating boost or more.

Emulsion Cosmetics co-founder Helen Bannayan

After laying out their specifications, customers press the “create my mix” button on Emulsion’s website, and the brand curates recommendations based on their specifications. For those who are still lost, there’s an electronic chat assistant that pops up to answer questions. If they remain lost after chatting with the virtual assistant, customers can peruse signature mixes that have been prearranged by Emulsion.

“More and more are people realizing that one size doesn’t fit all. It’s like having fun cooking a new meal a different way every single time.”

Customers mix the parts of their personalized formula together themselves, and the mixing process is designed to be a breeze. The brand suggests blending on a per-use basis. Customers are instructed to take a scoop or squirt of the base product, place it in their palms and blend in the add-ons. The brand has videos to walk them through the mixing procedure.

“It’s really quite easy. It’s not as complicated as people think it is,” says Bannayan. She’s been pondering pushing Emulsion’s personalization up a level with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, but says, “We really want to make sure that the concept is realized with our clients before adding stuff. Everything is natural, everything is easy and everything is safe.”

Emulsion Cosmetics has rolled out to 130 Boots stores in the United Kingdom. It’s also landed on the websites Namshi and Beauty Bay, and will go live on Amazon soon.

Although beauty customization is proliferating with brands like Mxt, Skin Inc., Function of Beauty, Finding Ferdinand and Prose, it hasn’t inundated stores yet. Emulsion has piqued retail interest. The brand recently rolled out to 130 Boots stores across the United Kingdom with a limited selection of essential oil blends and fragrances to make modifying products straightforward for the retail environment.

On top of Boots, Emulsion has launched on the e-commerce platforms Beauty Bay and Namshi. It will go live on Amazon soon. There’s been global demand from Europe beyond the U.K. and the Middle East. “More and more are people realizing that one size doesn’t fit all,” says Bannayan. “It’s like having fun cooking a new meal a different way every single time.”