21 October 2016Last updated

Beauty | Grooming

Personalise your beauty regime in the UAE

The beauty industry might be late to the bespoke party, but brands are starting to listen to demand. Louise Emma Clarke finds out why the tide is turning – and discovers the brands making it possible to personalise our beauty regimes in the UAE…

Louise Emma Clarke
19 Sep 2016 | 03:50 pm
  • Source:Getty Images

In a world where we can personalise pretty much anything – right from monogramming luxury leather goods with our initials, to covering our smartphones and laptops in cases of our favourite colours and designs, to creating the perfect morning takeaway coffee to our likes and dislikes – why can’t it be the same for our beauty products?

The demand is definitely there. In fact, when research group Mintel released its 2016 report Beauty Online, it was revealed that more than 50 per cent of women are overwhelmed by the vast range of beauty products on the market. Furthermore, when we finally make the choice, research reveals that up to three quarters of us are using the wrong skincare and make-up brands to suit our skin type and complexions. It can be an expensive mistake to make too – and not just financially, but also for the health of our skin.

Take foundation, for example. Just like bras, most women are wearing the wrong product for their skin type – and considering the vast range available on the market, shopping for a base is baffling to say the least. We have to consider different shades (for every skin tone), various consistencies (lightweight, full coverage, breathable, waterproof) and different functions (illuminating, anti-ageing, blurring, moisturising) – so it’s little surprise that so many of us are getting it wrong. Beauty entrepreneur Nidhima Kohli agrees. ‘It can be so confusing,’ she says. ‘Women are just too time-poor now to have to go through thousands of products and sites. We are mothers, we work, we want to have time for friends, to exercise, to dine out… We don’t want to spend hours searching for the right product and still end up with the wrong one.’

This is why ex-banker Nidhima set up the UK website My Beauty Matches (, which prides itself on being the world’s largest online beauty shop and the first personalised beauty site. It’s pretty clever too, as she designed it with an ingenious algorithm to match our beauty needs with the right products as we shop – and luckily for those of us in the UAE, almost all the brands deliver internationally, so we can log on and get our bespoke beauty fix online.

Offline, personalised choices are starting to filter into stores and on to counters too – and this is only going to grow in popularity as the years tick on. ‘How we deliver personalisation for a mass audience is a big talking point for everybody in the industry,’ explains Jo Watson from Boots No.7. ‘And it’s not going to go away anytime soon.’

You do admittedly still have to hunt for bespoke beauty offerings in the UAE, but the market is listening and choice is growing quickly. From moisturisers designed for individual skin types, to foundation bars that assess complexions, and pedicures adapted to feet shape, we’ve rounded up the best of bespoke beauty that the UAE has to offer…

The Bespoke Moisturiser

When skincare expert Rebecca Treston and acclaimed dentist Dr Sofia Aravopoulou team up to create a moisturiser based on the very latest in regenerative medicine, you know it’s going to be pretty special – and based on CGF tech (that’s Concentrated Growth Factor to you and me), the moisturiser is just about as bespoke as beauty products can get.

‘Why waste time and money on generic anti-ageing creams when the answer to youthful skin is in our very own cells,’ explains Rebecca Treston, founder and manager of Rebecca Treston Aesthetics at Euromed Clinic. ‘Every skin cell in our body contains growth factors, a natural protein that is essential in maintaining healthy skin. Dr Sofia extracts these proteins from the blood and places it in a centrifuge that will separate and optimise the overall number of high-quality growth factors. This potent concentration of personalised growth factors can be made into a bespoke moisturiser suitable only for you.’

Sounds complicated, right? But all you really need to know is that the moisturiser is absolutely natural, with scientifically proven results. And because it’s completely personalised to our own skin, there is zero chance of an allergic reaction, making it ideal for those of us with very sensitive skin too.

Details: CGF Moisturiser (Dh1,300,

The Bespoke Perfume

Do you spend far too long in perfume halls spritzing your wrists with different scents, but still can’t find the perfect perfume for you? You need to head to Villa 515; a boutique store in Jumeirah 3 where you’ll discover a Perfume Laboratory creating completely individual fragrances for customers.

Your perfect, customised perfume will be created after a series of consultations at the store, where experts will ask you questions to understand what you like and dislike. Using a selection of raw materials from the Middle East and Italy (and we’re talking the very finest quality here), the team will then set about creating a fragrance that perfectly represents your personality and is unique.

Once created, the new fragrance belongs to you – and you will be invited to order a limited quality on a yearly basis so you never run out. You’ll have a scent that captures your personality – and feel safe in the knowledge that you own the only bottle of it. How special is that?

Details: Bespoke Perfume (price dependent on ingredients used, 

The Bespoke Foundation and Concealer

If you struggle to find foundation and concealer to match your skin tone, you are not alone – which is why the Sephora and Pantone Colour Profile service is music to our ears.

Available free of charge at Sephora stores across the UAE, this is the only system developed exclusively with Pantone (the international standard in the world of colour), which matches your skin tone with one of over 1,000 foundations and concealers available in store at Sephora (from a selection of different brands). That’s going to save a lot of testing on the back of your hand – and more importantly, ensure you are finally wearing the perfect base for your skin colour and type.

So how does it work? The device itself is called a Pantone Capsure; – and it’s essentially a portable colorimeter that takes three measurements on your face to obtain the perfect Pantone SkinTone code (from over 110 different shades).

Once you have that code, a beauty advisor in store will use a specialist iPad to select several different foundations and concealers to suit your skin correctly – and you can then test them out in store, making your final choice based on desired texture (fluid, compact or powder), coverage (light, medium or full), and finish (natural, matte, glowy etc.).

Details: Sephora and Pantone 
Colour Profile (free of charge, with products priced individually, at Sephora stores nationwide).

The Bespoke Pedicure

There’s pedicures – and then there’s Margaret Dabbs pedicures, which are undertaken by beauticians and podiatrists who are trained to analyse your feet as they massage, scrub and tend to your toes for the perfect bespoke, foot pampering treatment.

It may be pricier than the average Dubai pedicure, but you really do get what you pay for with this UK import located in The Dubai Mall. The company was founded by Margaret Dabbs in 1998 in London, and the top podiatrist soon went on to launch foot clinics and nail spas across the UK and internationally, introducing teams of both qualified podiatrists and professional beauticians.

We recommend The Sole Lounge Ultimate Luxury Foot Therapy, which includes luxuries such as oxygen therapy, exfoliation, and massage. That’s not all – if you suffer from bunions or would like custom-made orthotics to ease problems with your knees, back, hips or ankles, add-ons can be tagged on to your treatment for the ultimate personalised pedicure.

The treatment is so bespoke that you will notice a difference to the way your feet look and feel – and after an experience here you’ll find it very hard to head back to a regular nail spa (that can only be a good thing for your feet).

Details: The Sole Lounge Ultimate Luxury Foot Therapy (Dh785, with additional charges for add-ons, available at Margaret Dabbs, The Dubai Mall, 04 501 6688).

Louise Emma Clarke

Louise Emma Clarke