Makeup Counter Etiquette

Moxie Shorts #32
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Makeup Counter Etiquette

Makeup Counter Etiquette

I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time. What Not To Do When Visiting a Makeup Counter, or as the title indicates, Visiting a Makeup Counter Etiquette.

Some of you may know that I work for a major cosmetic company and I work in retail. I see a lot of people and things happen in a department store, specifically in and around the cosmetic and fragrance area.

These suggestions are for the makeup counters that have a dedicated staff onboard, which means they are thoroughly trained on their line and brand. The makeup counters I am writing about are in department stores. I am not speaking of the stand alone big box beauty-marts.

I’ve seen, heard, and experienced a lot so let’s get right to it, shall we?

Makeup Counter Etiquette

Do NOT treat the counter like it’s your own personal stash. Do not put the applicators directly on your lips, cheeks, eyes. Don’t run your fingers all over-and-in the eyeshadow palettes, cheek, and cream foundations. And don’t cram the counter (sitting on the chairs) with your gaggle of gal pals trying stuff on without being invited to do so. The makeup artists may have appointments booked, or may be on a schedule to go to lunch, or whatever. Any number of things can be happening at the counter that you may not be aware of.

If you are in a class or lesson or even a one-to-one makeover, please do not suddenly become the expert yourself. You are there to obviously learn something, there is no need to start telling everyone how YOU have been doing it for years. DO come with an open mind and be willing to learn something.

Please do not show your disdain for something. If the makeup artist or beauty advisor shows you something, please do not respond with, “Oh that’s gross, I hate that color.” Or, “This mascara makes me want to claw my eyes out.” Or whatever other dime-a-dozen, low-grade insult you can fling out. If it is not right for you then be polite and simply state the fact that it is not right for you. You don’t have to make a theatrical production out of it.

Do not be rude. The makeup artists and beauty advisors are not your servants. They are there to be OF service, to offer you a service but they are not your servants. No swearing, no yelling, no pointing and snapping your fingers (yes, you’d be amazed at what I’ve witnessed). There is no need to be demanding or order folks around. You can politely ask questions.

Don’t expect a makeup artist or beauty advisor to talk to you while you are on your phone. If you walk up to the counter and you are on your phone, you will not be approached. If you do not want to be helped, then by all means, stay on your phone.

It is not free. What I mean by this is when you walk up to a counter, without an appointment, and ask if someone can do a makeover, please expect to purchase a few items. Do you walk into your hair or nail salon and ask for a free service? I mean technically, you do not have to buy anything, there is no written rule, it’s just a matter of principle, etiquette, and courtesy.

Do not bring Instagram photos and expect the makeup artist to make you look like the person in the photo. It’s just not going to happen.

Please, please, please do not tell the counter staff how to do their jobs. They are trained, they are educated, they know what is updated and what has changed with laws (related to estheticians). When it comes to the brand or products the beauty advisors and makeup artists are properly trained. They normally go to training (or school) twice a year. Also, in the retail business, things change on a constant basis. I will give you a personal example of this – I had a lady come to my counter and ask for the $18.00 sample kit. I assured her we didn’t have anything at the counter for $18.00 (not at a luxury brand counter). I told her we didn’t have a sample kit for sale. She indignantly pulled out here cell phone and proceeded to pull up Amazon to show me where a seller on Amazon was selling a sample kit for $18.00. First of all, the brand I work for does not sell their samples, obviously the seller on Amazon was doing something illegal. They were the actual sample vials we GIVE to people when they purchase an item. We do not sell our samples.

And speaking of samples, don’t walk up to the counter and ask for just any kind of sample. It’s okay to get and receive samples, but don’t walk up and blindly say, “Can I have some samples of whatever you have?” And not know what the heck you are asking for? And don’t ask for samples so you can take them to travel with either. If you want a sample, that is fine but allow the beauty advisor to consult with you to see what sample may work best for you.

I am sure there are a ton of other No-Nos to be mindful of when visiting a makeup counter. But these are the first few that came to my mind. I also consulted with other beauty advisors on this article and they contributed to this post with their suggestions.

If you have any other advisements that I missed, please tell us about them in the comment section.

Ciao Mio Amore,

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A middle-aged, petite, CrossFit athlete. #MoxieFit50

2 Comments
  • The phone thing. UGH! Don’t do ANYTHING involving other people if you are on your phone. Don’t check out at the store, order food at a restaurant or anything else. On the occasion when I’m doing something like that and if my husband happened to call (from another country) I would have him hold on a minute and I would set the phone down…check out at the store or speak to the waitress. Then after my business was completed, I would pick the phone back up and continue the conversation. If it was a local friend or something, I would hang up and call them back after. MANNERS people! The waitress is a human being not an after-thought to serve you. Just saying.

    • C.A. Marks says:

      Constance, I once had a customer SHUSH me when I tried to approach and speak to her. She had one of those neck sets on and I had no idea she was on the phone in the first place. She was at my counter looking at the fragrances and when I walked up to help her she put a finger up to me and loudly went “SSSSSSHHHHH!!!” I walked away immediately and did not return until she left.

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