Trusty, reliable H&M. The one-stop clothing mecca where you know you can drop in any time, and snag the perfect outfit for serious office meetings, off-duty, club nights, and even gym workouts. Where you can get a taste of high fashion with its highly anticipated designer collaborations (we can hardly wait for Kenzo in November) or sport the latest runway looks – without the designer price tag.
You’d think the fashion behemoth could rest on its laurels somewhat. But now, it’s undertaken its most exciting endeavour: a massive 700-piece beauty collection to rival even the “serious” beauty brands, spanning fragrance, hair, body care, tools and makeup.
“We see beauty as a natural and important part of personal style,” says Sara Wallander, H&M Beauty’s concept designer, who is in town from Sweden. Wallander, who has been with the brand for 20 years (most recently as department head of Divided), didn’t have any beauty experience prior. Instead, she’s been working with a dedicated team of beauty experts for the past three years. With so many fast-beauty brands already in the market, what sets H&M’s apart? “It’s about ‘fashion for your face’, and the broad assortment reflects fashion and beauty trends. We want customers to be able to be creative, have fun and play around with makeup.”
The fashion ties are obvious, from the chic aesthetic (think lipstick cases in white and gold, and eyeshadows in sleek, minimalist palettes) to the runway-inspired shades and textures. Like its clothing, the makeup is affordable, but definitely not “cheap” in the way some mass-produced brands can be. “We aim to develop all our products according to our business concept of fashion and quality at the best price, and in a sustainable way,” says Wallander. “We also believe that no animals should be used for the testing of any cosmetics, either during production or the finished product.”
What we can expect in the upcoming drop: First, a new dedicated beauty area in H&M’s Orchard Building flagship (the makeup range will also be available at H&M Raffles Place later this year). In line with H&M’s philosophy of inclusion, there’s a whopping 16 shades of its All-day Liquid Foundation ranging from Alabaster to Ebony. Along with the comprehensive range of basics, we’re especially excited about the more experimental, fashion-forward products like loose glitter pigments, creamy eyeshadow crayons, and falsies. Take the Fluid Foil Eye Colour from the upcoming F/W ’16 Precious Glow collection, for example. A high-shine liquid pigment is dispensed from a dropper to give an intense, gleaming pop of colour from sheer champagne gold to midnight blue.
And manicure maniacs can rejoice: This season alone, you can find 200 shades, from peacock blue to cinnamon bronze with metallic and holographic textures, and everything in between.
The range also includes a premium body-care line and a range of Ecocert-approved sustainable products. The latter, an extension of the brand’s Conscious collection, consists of aromatherapy-scented and certified organic hair, skin and body care, which is housed in recyclable packaging (maintaining its cool, contemporary aesthetic). Time to get a bigger bathroom cabinet.
An adapted version first appeared in Female’s August 2016 issue.