Beauty Without Fuss

Sunday 28 March 2010

Lippie Chat - Lynne Sanders of Cosmetics a la Carte

Just a wee while ago, I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Lynne Sanders who -  alongside Christina Stewart, now retired from the business - founded Cosmetics a la Carte back in the seventies, after working for both Unilever and Yardley.  Cosmetics a la Carte have been providing women with bespoke cosmetic shades for all occasions, and individually blended foundations for any and all skin types ever since their inception. Renowned for their naturally glamorous groomed looks, Cosmetics a la Carte provide make up for women that is made by women who care what they wear too.

Lynne very kindly agreed to be interviewed for Get Lippie, and I'm both delighted and honoured that she did, she's a lovely, funny and warm lady who I took to immediately when I met her (she was eating a cupcake at the time, and hey, who doesn't love somebody who loves a cupcake?), and I've been enjoying re-discovering a British institution that's inspired many cosmetic brands the world over.

Hi Lynne, thanks for taking part! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I really enjoy making make-up and being actively involved in helping women ‘find their look and be fabulous’ and enjoy dreaming about new products, concepts and colours.  It’s difficult to believe that I am 60 and have been involved with Cosmetics a la Carte for over 30 years.

Apart from enjoying my daughter it is the most fulfilling thing that I do.

How did you end up in the beauty industry in the first place?

I have been a convert to the transformation qualities of make-up ever since I was a spotty, pasty, teenager studying Chemistry and conscious that the concealers available to cover those spots were all the wrong colour!

Inevitable then that I should choose Cosmetic Science as a career and start making my own colours. The rest is history.

How did Cosmetics a la Carte itself come into being?

Four Chemists, working in the corporate world of Cosmetic R&D, frustrated with the ‘copy-cat’ marketing approach to make-up in the 1970s; opened a little shop in Knightsbridge where we had a lab to create make-up while pioneering Make-up lessons in the shop.
I seem to be the only one left!

What are the philosophies behind Cosmetics a la Carte?

Make-up is a crucial part of self expression, part of finding the look to be taken seriously as a young person and then keeping the look fresh, glowy, and not disappearing into middle age.

It takes just 3 seconds to judge someone on first meeting so it is important to send the right personal message and be ‘truly top of your own game’.

What makes Cosmetics a la Carte unique, do you think?

The wide range and personal approach is part of our brand ethos. We are well known for blending the exact shade with variations for all skins and whatever our customers need.

We are totally customer led, and a lot of our range has a celebrity origin. From Princess Diana who ordered a flesh-coloured lipstick to Lady Gaga who was wowed at the idea of  Flush Blush and Bubblegum gloss that shows in UV light!  Dannii Minogue created Candy, our super glossy staining lipstick with sunscreen, and Boy George during the punk movement meant that we were the very first with super bright shadows… the list goes on.

Who are you targeting the Cosmetics a la Carte brand at?

We are a little different. Our experience with over 30 years making products for women by women means that we really understand what it means to have the right foundation and we go to extra-ordinary lengths to find that for those that care.

What do you hope is in the future for Cosmetics a la Carte?

CALC was the first luxury British makeup company to make all their own products, with a personal and individual couture service including makeup lessons to “Find your look and be Fabulous” and we have expanded and perfected the genre of natural with advice ever since. We would like to take this all over the world. 

What’s your beauty regime?

I love wearing make-up so I try to accentuate the good bits of my face with clever make-up colours and application. Naturally with a nod to fashion, and cleansing my skin completely every single night! 
What one cosmetic product couldn’t you live without?

Can I only have one??  I suppose it would have to be foundation or concealer to cover up the shadows, redness and marks.

What beauty advice would you give Get Lippie readers?

Make-up is a wonderful way to enhance anti-ageing skincare or procedures by concealing flaws and providing an illuminating glow to the skin. Furthermore, technology now means that we can enhance these qualities by incorporating anti-ageing ingredients into the products so delaying dermatological procedures or sustaining benefits in between treatments, naturally and without toxins.

I want to say a massive thank you to Lynne for taking part.  You can find out more about Cosmetics A La Carte here

Is there anyone else you'd like to see featured in this series?  I have interviews lined up with several cosmetic-range founders, a celebrity makeup artist, and an international hair designer, alongside a couple of surprise guests, but if there's anyone specific you'd like to see featured here, please let me know and I'll see if I can make it happen.  You might also be interested in reading about the chat I had with Alex Box recently, too!


  1. Really interesting. I'll definitely check out CALC now. I'd heard of them but have never tried their products. I'd imagine those upset at the demise of Prescriptives and the custom blending service they offered might find CALC v interesting.

    As an aside, what beautiful skin Ms Sanders has!

  2. I'm really happy that you highlighted a great British brand. I have a CALC product that i would never ever be without but I never delved into the origins of the company. I do reckon they could improve thier website though..its been like that for years, they should really use their website to better advantage.

  3. Really enjoyed this article, found it fascinating to see the woman behind the company


  4. Great post and blog! Check out Lauren Luke’s tutorial on how to get the Lady Gaga everyday look right here ....


  5. Err firstly: Great post as per usual.
    Secondly - WTF are Lauren Luke's PR thinking spamming your comments??? Are they THAT desperate???
    Amateurish, rude, uncool and a surefire way to PISS OFF the blogging community.
    That's all. Rant over.

  6. Errr...think Lippie's people need to speak to Lauren's people (FITE!)

  7. No FITE!

    I have spoken to Lauren's PR firm, and they've assured me that this kind of thing won't be done any more. I've also been assured that Lauren herself knows nothing of this tactic.

    I'm happy to set the record straight.

  8. Sorry for necro-commenting but this was such an interesting read! Great post x


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