Pat McGrath Labs: The Runway or The Highway?
Dear mortals, The Mothership has finally landed on British soil. Currently touching down in a pop-up in Selfridges London and the one and only place to get your hands on Pat McGrath Labs in Europe.
The fantastical makeup range from the makeup “Mother” of the fashion world has been available at US cosmetic giant Sephora since it’s launch in 2015 (where McGrath is now resident) and with a limited worldwide distribution via Net A Porter, but to be honest I’m not that familiar with it so I hitched a ride to outer space to find out if and how the runway-friendly line translates into real life.
Undoubtedly due to her fashion background and her work with the major-domos, Pat certainly knows how to execute an entrance. Following the “Mothership” signs through the revolving main door will eventually get you to the corner shop on the south-east corner of the ground floor, where disco gold and pink neon welcome you big-style.
This pop-up is about more than makeup – it’s a Labs lifestyle store, offering shoes, t-shirts, chocolate and various bits but as it’s makeup I’ve got my eye permanently on, I sidestepped the add-ons and got down to beauty business.
Step over the threshold to the central counters full of rainbow hued eyeshadows, palettes, highlighting palettes (snore, so over them), lipstick, lipgloss and the infamous Lip Fetish lip balms and start playing.
The Good News:
This is a fun line that’s about glamour and makeup as a celebration.
Labs is for people of every colour, finally a world of inclusive beauty, as represented by the beautiful staff on hand.
Prices are not crazy and on par with the luxury beauty market: £23 for a single eyeshadow, £25 for a lipgloss.
There’s lots of testers for you to play with.
Staff are lovely, know their product and will offer you demos and/or makeup bookings.
There’s lots of other things besides makeup.
The Bad News
There are no foundations here yet, which is especially annoying as McGrath’s looks are known for their emphasis on luminous skin. There’s no date set for their arrival. The right foundation and concealer makes or breaks a makeup for the over 40s so my jury remains out until I can try one, keeping in mind the Mothership takes off in early July, or until I get to Sephora, which may be soon if I play my cards right.
Though women of every colour are represented, WOMEN OF EVERY AGE ARE NOT. Conspicuous by their absence, same as it ever was, the norm in British beauty retail but reprehensible for any line that waxes lyrical about inclusivity. We’re all well aware that 20-somethings look amazing in glam makeup but is she telling us the over 40’s don’t? Check out the press photos for the pop-up opening and you’ll see what I mean. Hey Pat I’m free at the mo, and would love to come help.
The line is heavy on the mica. Beauty politics is whirling around mica and it’s mining processes, involving child labour, right now and if you want to do glitter without guilt you need to know this. I’m choosing vegetable options, cos it’s up to us to make the change happen: https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2019/05/231987/mica-in-makeup-mining-child-labor-india-controversy
Labs is a line with a lot of polys, propels, tetras, tris and phosphates, just so you know.
The testers need cleaning up. Such an easy fix cos there’s lots of staff and the mess takes the luxe out of the luxury.
Runway or Real Way?
If you’re partial to a palette (beware the colours you know you’re never gonna use) and want to be part of the in crowd, the Mothership I: Subliminal has six pretty useable shades and four party ones – at £115 not an entirely unreasonable price for 10 options. Mini palettes, including the beautiful bronze (but all shimmery) one, with six shadows, are available at £50.
As lifelong glossaholic I always say the best way to try a new line is with a lippy or gloss – not much of an investment and you’re bound to use it. The Lip Fetish lipbalms are beauty-world renowned for their sheer colour and hydrating qualities. There’s a shade for everyone here and they’re fab for summer. I came away with a Lust gloss in Flesh Astral , a pretty neutral with a luscious feel and a vanilla taste.
The line makes sense to me as a MUA but as it is doesn’t really step off the runway. Hurry up and get those foundations on the counter and I may feel differently.
All that said, if you’re curious, better get on over there cos it’ll be gone by early July and if you want to wear glitter every day of your glorious life, ignore me and do what makes you happy and beautiful. I’d love to hear about your Pat McGrath Labs experiences, so keep me posted. xo