Giving the vanity case a modern tech update, Tara Lalvani reveals to Sophia Charalambous how she fought tooth and nail to reach product perfection
Tara Lalvani is telling me about her box. “Once you use it, you don’t want to go back to your old ways,” the Mayfair resident tells me. “I’ve not sat at my dressing table since I had my first prototype.”
The dental surgeon-turned-entrepreneur is referring to her first ever invention, Beautifect.
At first glance Beautifect appears like a vanity case, but it’s more intelligent than that.
With five different light settings, the luminous system simulates daylight with a CRI above 90, alongside options for evening, office light, photography and bright sun.
We should be doing our make-up in daylight,” Tara, 40, explains. “But the reality is we never see what we really look like to other people. This is the best make-up light in the industry – there’s no better light out there.”
Two of the three years it took to launch Beautifect was spent on lighting, and it was crucial to get it right.
“Low CRI means you don’t see the true colours of your make-up,” she explains.
“Still in this day and age we’re having make-up mishaps because we haven’t blended out our make-up properly – it’s just crazy.”
Beautifect has been a labour of love; despite being the wife of Tej Lalvani, a Dragon’s Den investor and CEO of the largest vitamin company in the UK, Vitabiotics, Tara was determined to go it alone.
“The first person I told about my idea was my husband and his first question was ‘are you sure it doesn’t exist’ and I told him it doesn’t, so he said ‘let’s do it’ and wanted to do it together, but I didn’t want to. He’s already got his own businesses and he’s really busy, and having a young daughter and son (three and six months at the time) I wanted to inspire them.
“Coming from being a dental surgeon I was always very independent and I didn’t want to lose that,” Tara says.
“It was really important I did it myself, although it’s been much harder because I funded it all myself from my dentistry savings. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and say I’d do it but can you give me the money to do it? I’ve had to be very resourceful to get it to this stage. At the beginning he (Tej) didn’t understand why I wanted to do it myself but he understood along the way.”
It’s Tara’s children, particularly her daughter, who has kept her going.
She says: “My daughter’s been inspired so much because every step of the way she’s been involved and when I first had the idea she was three-and-a-half and I made my first prototype out of cardboard and double-sided tape with her as an arts and crafts project.
“We should be doing our make-up in daylight,” Tara, 40, explains. “But the reality is we never see what we really look like to other people. This is the best make-up light in the industry – there’s no better light out there.”
“She remembers it so clearly, she even said ‘let’s make the flaps a bit thinner mummy’ – that’s a design change she made.”
No stone has been left unturned with Beautifect; the mirror is a glass distortion-free that angles to any position like a laptop, allowing you to sit anywhere.
Charging lasts up to three weeks, also making it ideal for use on the go. The layout allows you to find your items intuitively; brushes sit together, so do lipsticks, eyeshadows and face powders – eliminating rummage time.
The patented box, which is also set to launch in the Middle East, can be used for skincare and hair too with separate boxes for each beauty routine. Tara believes the inspiration for the design comes from her dental background.
“When you go to the dentist you have the tray laid out with all the tools. After I launched, a friend noticed that it looked like how instruments are laid out when you’re seeing patients.
“I never realised – that’s exactly how I designed it – it’s so much more efficient this way.”
There are other products in the pipeline, with some due to launch this year, but the inventor doesn’t want to rush anything, as she believes it has to be better or as good as what is currently available.
“I want this to be a whole new era in how we do our makeup and skincare every day. I practised as a dentist for 10 years and I never got this satisfaction out of it.
“I was meant to do this – but sometimes you don’t realise your passion until you find it.”