Beauty Counter Etiquette- How To Navigate The Cosmetic Playground-Part 2


1)   Don’t Be Fooled


It is very easy to trust someone who is wearing a white lab coat, perhaps rocking the look you want, and in addition has an answer to everything. On the flip side, it easy to be persuaded into items by copping to your lack of knowledge. Don’t be so vulnerable, but don’t be a know it all either. It is good to be somewhat educated in what you are looking for and to be aware of what items are being sold to you because the price tag is high and it would make a killer pay check. I like luxury items that feel pretty and smell nice, but when that luxury items costs more than my car payments, we have a problem. Unless a $350+ single face product is going to do a dance for you, sing you a song, cook you dinner, and rub your back, I would recommend not buying it. I am all about quality skin care, and I do believe that there is something to be said about paying for what you get. But paying for what you get vs. paying for the luxury brand name is very different.


2)   Choose Your Encounter


Not all artists are out to sell you the world. There are so many beauty counter pro’s that genuinely want to see you get the right items suited for you. Choose an artist/sales associate that is not intimidating, pushy and/or makes you feel like you are a beauty idiot. Which is a great sales tactic by the way, because you are now relying on them to make you feel better about yourself. You know what I am talking about, don’t you? We have all been there. But in their defense, some people are still using a bar of soap to cleanse their skin. It is 2011 people, there are far, far better things.


3) Sketchy Testers


I am usually one to test colors on the backs of my hands because I know the makeup testers have lots of bacteria, but I was surprise to find out just how much. So I did my research and came upon a very shocking article in the New York Times with Dr. Elizabeth Brooks, a biological sciences professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Dr. Brooks conducted a two-year study on public makeup testers going to drugstores, department stores and everywhere else that carries makeup. Her research I find disturbing and includes a positive finding in E.coli, strep, and staph.. “Wherever you see E. coli, you should just think ‘E. coli equals feces,’ ” Brooks says. “That means someone went to the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands and then stuck their fingers in that moisturizer.” That is rather disturbing to me as a consumer. Brooks also says that the percentage of tainted makeup was 100% after a day with the most traffic.

I think the bottom line here is to be cautious. Make sure any eye/lip pencil you use is sharpened, and you wipe off a lipstick with a tissue before using it. Any disease such as herpes (cold sores) will be passed to you if it is on the cosmetic item you are using from a previous customer.


Written by: Kendra Stanton

Edited by: Rebecca Pickrel




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  • Yes, this is all true. I picked up herpes (cold soars) on my cheek.  While attending beauty school by using the make up there one day. Fortunately, years later I have fewer break outs. Just be cautious….

  • Great article! Totally agree, i wrote an article a while back on just how gross beauty testers actually are, and ever since I found that information out i never even thought about touching those bacteria-filled products again! Thanks for sharing nice tips.

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