Beauty Counter Etiquette- How To Navigate The Cosmetic Playground–Part 1






The dolled up faces and lingering scent of COCO Chanel make me nostalgic for the years I spent freelancing as a department store makeup artist.  So, walking into Nordstrom’s, when it’s overflowing with the beauty obsessed trying to get their stake in the latest and greatest cosmetic item, makes me feel a sense of excitement. While working the beauty counter arena, I became very familiar with several makeup lines. Because of this experience, I am a bit mores savvy as I navigate through the “deals” and makeup facades. I am keenly aware of what goes on behind the counter, as well as in front from a consumer standpoint. With that in mind, let’s look at some etiquette to help you become more beauty-counter savvy.





1)   Trained to sell

Being a professionally trained makeup artist who worked the counters, I know that there are artists at the counters that are truly amazing at what they do. I am also aware that if those amazing artists (like me) could not sell, they would be out a job. I chose to freelance at the time because it was a decent income, I got to practice my passion, and I got free products.  Our company “training” was not just about product knowledge; it was about how to get a customer to go from a $20 dollar purchase to a $200 purchase in 20 minutes. So keep that in mind as you approach the array of sparkling shadows and glistening glosses. It’s not just a cosmetic playground filled with people dying to give you those red, hot lips, they have a job to do as well.  Expect to be sold to, bottom line, it’s how they make their living.


2)   Be Prepared

Unless you want to walk away with every single thing an artist shows you, tell them either exactly what you are looking for, or give them an ideal price range you are wanting to stay within. There are some serious sales people out there that will push you to purchase everything. To avoid the intimidation, it is best to come with cash so that you know for sure you can’t spend more when they show you 10 other must have items. If you don’t have cash, you need to be firm. While I am friendly when I go to the counters, I am also very direct. I don’t mess around mainly because I know the tactics. If you can’t handle it, choose to purchase on-line instead. You don’t want to put yourself in that awkward situation where you are squeamishly trying to figure out how to say no to additional items you now feel like you must buy.


3)   Tip By Purchase

For some companies, they make you have a minimum purchase if you are going to get a full makeover, which to me is completely understandable. Like I said, many of these artists are well trained and amazing at what they do. So as much as you want to think you are sitting down in the chair to get a nice, free makeover from a pro, you are wrong. Think about purchasing product as a tip. Even if you are coming in for a promo makeup event you should still purchase at least 1-2 items since you booked their time slot. Failure to do so is just plain rude. Remember again, this is how they make their living.


Written By: Kendra Stanton

Edited By- Rebecca Pickrel




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1 Comment

  • I always tell brides to make sure to tip if they are getting a “free” make-over. I agree completely. Thanks for this info. 

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