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Whether you’re stuck in a make-up rut, have skincare concerns or are a beauty buff wanting to see what’s new, The Beauty Society at John Lewis & Partners is the place to go. Resident MUA Phoebe Ann Brooks gives Velvet the lowdown

Congratulations on the launch of The Beauty Society! How does it work?

A really exciting concept which is in the midst of being launched, The Beauty Society is a space where our customers can experience a real beauty-orientated treat with completely impartial and honest advice about all their beauty needs. Whether it's been a few years since you've given your makeup bag an overhaul, you can never find the right foundation, or your lipstick just never quite sits right, we can help.

VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885798)
VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885798)

At The Beauty Society the consultants are called Beauty Guides. We sit with our client, hear their concerns and their brief and we bring them the options. It's a really great service when you might be feeling overwhelmed by the vastness of the beauty hall or even if you just don't have the time to go exploring every brand individually.

It replaces The Beauty Studio, doesn't it - so how do the two differ?

Essentially it’s going to be bigger and better! Not only is The Beauty Society coming to Cambridge and Leeds - where The Beauty Studio has been trialled for the past year - but there will be brand new Beauty Societies in Cardiff and Southampton too! We’re so proud to see the concept adapting with the industry and growing across the country. We can’t wait for even more people to experience what we can offer.

VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885803)
VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885803)

At the heart of it, we’re still the same: makeup artists and skincare experts offering services tailored to the client with impartial and honest advice. But we now offer a much more expansive range of appointment types to be able to fit every customer’s need and availability.

We are currently operating with these new appointment types and they are proving very popular so far. The most popular is the All New You, which umbrellas both skincare and make-up within the consultation.

Something to look forward to is our space having a major redesign early next year which we can’t wait for - take a peek at The Beauty Societies in Cardiff, Leeds, and Southampton for a preview!

We will be able to make customers feel even more special as we move into the new space as we’ll have more privacy and resources around us. Not only that, but we will also be able to offer a number of catering options! Prosecco anyone? But generally I think everything will just feel more exclusive and special; like getting to hide away in a beauty oasis within the hustle and bustle of a department store.

There's a whole menu of services. Can you talk us through them?

The Beauty Studio focused on three appointment types: a general question and answer, a quick fix, and a longer more inclusive appointment. But now we offer five different services, so there really is something for everyone.

Our drop-in, no-fuss, no-need-to-book, complimentary appointments are:

VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885895)
VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885895)

* Ask Me Anything: A 15-minute slot, this might be to help direct you to a brand that aligns with certain ethics or price point. Or it might be to find what we think is the best mascara for volume and longwear. Who knows what we could be asked! We’re happy to answer any and all questions.

* Walk & Talk: If you’ve ever walked into a beauty hall looking for a product and didn’t feel like you knew where to start, then this is for you! You’ll be with a guide as we walk you through the hall, giving you all the insider secrets on the best hero products from the best brands. Together we can see what inspires you the most and try them out. This is something we have wanted for a while, because I don’t think this is something you’ll be able to find in many other beauty halls.

And our best-to-book and pay-in-advance appointments are:

* The Beauty School: This appointment lasts 45 minutes and costs £35, redeemable on any beauty purchases made on the day. Encompassing either a session of make-up or skincare, it’s great if you’re looking to master a new technique like a smokey eye, aiming to find your perfect cocktail of skincare products, or maybe you just want a mini makeover or facial? No problem.

* All New You: This is what you’ll want if you loved our old Beauty Confidential appointment. It costs £45, again redeemable on any beauty purchases made on the day, but you get up to 90 minutes of pure beauty pampering, covering everything from pre-cleanse to the final flourish of setting power - and everything in between.

* Photo Finish: This appointment, priced £60 for up to 90 minutes, is for anyone wanting to look and feel their absolute best, where there may be a chance of selfies! It’s all about make-up that makes a statement, whether it be birthday, bridal, or just all about the glam. Book this appointment for yourself for some solo TLC, or grab a girlfriend or two and experience a real glam squad makeover while you sip on bubbly. . .

What makes The Beauty Society one of a kind on the High Street?

VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885899)
VELVET: Christmas Makeovers John Lewis & Partners. Picture: Keith Heppell. (20885899)

I may be biased, but I honestly think it's the guides; we love what we do and we care. We have such an intimate role working with women and men tackling what can sometimes be the cause of insecurity and if we didn't care we wouldn’t be right for the job.

Another reason it’s so unique is because John Lewis & Partners really does have the best of the best in beauty. We have the brands that have stood the test of time in the industry as well as new brands that are making waves with innovation and technology.

We're guessing the fact you're free to use all brands in the Beauty Hall makes a difference?

It makes a huge difference and it’s at the heart of what we do. It’s not about finding the best out of a range from one brand, it’s about finding the best from every range, from every brand.

It’s very rare to find a company that excels in every single type of product, so you wouldn’t expect to have a makeup bag or skincare cupboard consisting of just one brand.

It’s also really special to help a customer discover a brand they never thought was accessible for them. One thing we get a lot is a client thinking they are too old for a brand, or a brand’s products are too out there for them. No such thing.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Did you always want to be an MUA? Talk us through your career path.

To be honest, a career as a MUA was the first thing that I remember really having my sights set on. I used to carry a hand-me-down plastic make-up case with a very snazzy 80s’ print on the side everywhere! I used to love playing makeover using anything I’d managed to sneak out of my mum’s make-up bag.

In my late teens I began to work as a freelance make-up artist, but when I went to university I couldn’t do both so the freelance had to take a break for a while.

Coming back into makeup and learning the new skill of skincare is amazing. Just last month the team and I were travelling to all the various brands’ head offices to learn from the leading industry experts. Not a lot of people can boast that and I’m very grateful to be able to call this my career.

Can you introduce us to the rest of the team?

The team are amazing and I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.

Firstly we have Natalie, who has been with John Lewis & Partners for about 18 years. She knows the beauty hall like the back of her hand and her knowledge is off the charts. Natalie also creates the most amazing eye looks, which has to be her signature style.

Next we have Layla. Layla has worked within the realms of fashion for years and is a fashion and beauty influencer in her own right. If you want to know what’s on-trend and how to accomplish it with effortless ease, then look to Layla.

Finally we have Claudette. Claudette has to be the skincare mastermind, as I’ve yet to see her not know something on the subject. She also gives the best facials from her years as a skincare specialist.

You can follow us on Instagram to find out more about us and The Beauty Society: JL_Natalie_, JL_Layla, JL_Claudette and JL_PhoebeBrooks.

With Christmas just around the corner, which items from the Beauty Hall would all beauty-lovers want to find in their stocking?

Christmas is the best time of year for beauty shopping: the packaging is beautiful, the colours are dreamy, and there is usually a generous helping of glitter!

If you’re buying for a beauty lover, then think gift sets. Prices vary from secret santa-appropriate all the way to the super-generous. Some of my favourites are from Estee Lauder, as they are famously well curated: a little skincare, a little makeup, even a little fragrance. Other brands sure to sell out are Charlotte Tilbury and NARS; both brands have an expansive range of gift sets, from stocking filler size to taking up half the tree.

What would you say to encourage people to make an appointment?

I think I’d say if you’re feeling hesitant, then give us five minutes. Five minutes to talk through a problem and to really get the feel of what we offer and what we can help with. Another tip is to bring someone with you: why not make it a day out with mum, or a sister or friend? It’s something to experience so why not share it?

How do we book?

We’re very excited to announce you can book our services online! You can either go to the services page on the John Lewis & Partners website or google ‘The Beauty Society John Lewis’ and it should be the first result you see. You’ll get an email or text confirmation and reminder of your upcoming appointment.

Alternatively you can always call us directly on (01223) 222853 or email on


To celebrate the launch of The Beauty Society, we’ve teamed up with John Lewis & Partners to give away the most amazing prize: your choice of either an All About You or Photo Finish session with a beauty guide, plus an incredible £150 to spend on products!

For your chance to win, email your name, address and daytime number to, titling your message ‘The Beauty Society Competition’. Entries should arrive no later than December 20 and the usual Ts and Cs apply; if you’re happy to be contacted by Iliffe Media and its partners, add ‘Please Contact’.

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