Ever feel a bit like you are in world of super bright and clinical packaging when you are perusing the beauty aisles in your local supermarket or super store? As I was walking through Boots (the UK’s version of a Walgreens or Duane Reade) the other day, I really noticed how bright everything was. This was the first time I’d ever really picked up on such a remarkable pattern of packaging when it comes to the big brands on today’s shelves. There’s nothing wrong with said packaging, but it was brought to my attention because of a very particular experience I had just a few days earlier, with a French brand that dates back to 1803, Officine Universelle Buly. Let’s call it “Buly” from here on out or I’ll inevitably spell it wrong every time I go to rename the brand.
The Buly brand can be found in Selfridges, in London. But, don’t expect this experience to be one that is the usual for Selfridges. The concession sticks out like a brilliantly beautiful sore thumb. It is like walking into a perfectly restored pharmacy from an era only written about now in books. The beauty of the large wooden cabinets, filled with lotions and potions, is otherworldly. The Buly brand is magical and old aged in appearance, however it is anything but old aged when it comes to the potency of their products. The packaging for the brand has remained the same for all these years, but the products are updated regularly as more knowledge about skincare evolves over time.
As I explored the counters, I was swiftly asked by staff if I was looking for anything in particular. An enquiry was made as to whether I had any particular ailments that I was looking to remedy. I explained the usual with my rather finicky skin. “It’s sensitive, red, always dry and only likes what it likes… only I don’t ever find that out after it’s too late.” I was immediately led to a tray of oils, in little brown bottles with ornately printed labels. All of the text was in French, but the woman behind the counter assured me she had the perfect addition to my already thorough skincare regime that could be the missing link between ok and fabulous skin.
She wrapped said oil as if I were buying an expensive diamond tennis bracelet, only the papers looked like something you’d find in the stationery shops in Florence, and each parcel was finished with a hand calligraphed name plate; I’ll be completely honest – I knew it was going to be a struggle to open the pretty packages when I returned home. But open them I did, and the oil was immediately put to use as an additional step in my beauty routine. I knowledgable sales person was right on the money. I still, to this day, can’t tell you what’s in the oil, without buying a French dictionary. But, I can tell you that it works.
Visit Officine Universelle Buly in Selfridges for a master class in self indulgence or for a last minute present, perhaps, that will absolutely wow the receiver. They have everything from personalised combs to toothpaste that exists in the most beautiful container you’ve ever encountered. Basically, these are the most beautiful products I’ve ever seen, packaging wise, and, if chosen with the aid of the shop assistants, are also wholeheartedly effective. Bottom line – it’s worth a look in, if only to buy a bottle of mouthwash and replace the contents with Listerine every month just to have a chic bottle on the bathroom shelf. Yes, I have actually done this. Forgive me, Buly, I know this is not the way.