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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

5 Tips for Cosmetic Shopping in a Department Store

Buying makeup can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a little overwhelming. This is especially true when shopping in a department store full of options! After working in this environment for two years, I have learned a few really simple tips for making this experience much easier and enjoyable. Because at the end of the day, shopping for makeup should be fun!

1. Find your beauty-expert spirit-animal Huh? Yes, your beauty-expert spirit-animal. What I mean by this is try to find a beauty consultant (at your favorite brand, preferably) who you feel comfortable with and want to go back to again and again. This can make your experience so much more fun and easy! When you have a go-to person they will start to learn what you like and don't like, call you when products you might be interested in arrive, and (most likely) hook you up with samples :). It's just like building a relationship with a hairdresser or even your doctor (yeah, bit of a stretch there, but you know what I mean).

PS: I was quick to mention favorite brand because each brand hires and trains their own consultants. These consultants know most about their brand and will want to sell it to you. This is not because they are malicious sales people, but because they have the most knowledge and personal experience about this brand in particular. Do not expect every beauty consultant to be an expert on every brand, that's a lot of products!

2. Think about what you are looking for before you head to the store Shopping for makeup can be really overwhelming because there are so many options! I recommend going in with a rough idea of what you're looking for. I say "rough idea" because it's important to be open to other things. Are you looking for eyeshadow, lipstick, skincare, or all the above? If looking for an eyeshadow for example, consider what color, texture, or effect you'd like it to have. Are you looking for something everyday, or more special occasion?

If you have no idea that's okay, but these are questions you will probably be asked. When a customer comes in with absolutely no clue of what they are looking for, it can be really hard to give them the best experience! Sometimes when people are not comfortable with makeup lingo, it's easier to articulate what they want with a picture.

3. Do some research online This ties in with the last tip because sometimes it can be easier to narrow down your search by doing a little research online first. I don't really recommend buying makeup online because the colors represented are usually way off, but researching products online can be helpful to learn about different brands, read reviews, and watch tutorials. There is so much knowledge regarding beauty products online, definitely take advantage! That way, when you go to the store, you won't feel overwhelmed because you have already learned about some products and the consultants can then help you decide.

4. Don't be afraid to try things on This is probably the most important tip. One of the major perks about buying beauty products from a department store if that you can try them on first! This is especially important when buying foundation or lipstick because it's so hard to tell what the color in the bottle will look like on you. So do yourself a favor, try it on first! Can't stress it enough. It takes about five minutes to get a foundation match and even less to try on a few lipsticks. Believe me, it's worth it, and that's what makeup consultants are there for!

Oh, and if you want to try something on, ask. Not because the salespeople don't trust you with the product, but because it needs to be cleaned first! I cringe a little (or a lot) when I see people pick up a tester and put it straight on their eyes or lips. You never know who might have used it before you.

5. Yes, you can have a sample (but not ten) Trying a sample of a product first is another perk of shopping in a department store versus a drug store. If you try something on in store and are not sure about it, it's okay to ask for a sample. Just keep in mind that not every product can be sampled out, such as lipstick or eyeshadow. Also, keep in mind that most skincare samples will give you an idea of how your skin reacts to it, but you won't see the longterm results from the product (particularly true for serums). Oh, and it might seem like common sense, but people sometimes forget that samples are given with the hope that you will love the product and then buy it (not return again and again for more samples.)

Hope these help you! Do you have any tips or strategies for when you go makeup shopping? I would love to hear them!


  1. Great tips. I definitely use samples especially with cleansers and foundations. I have so many random allergies so I like to see how my skin reacts before I spend my money on a product.

    xo Ashley

    1. Yeah, cleansers and foundations are really good products to sample out! Moisturizers are another good one I think, they can sometimes make you break out and it's good to know before you spend money on it!

  2. Hello! I found your blog through Of Corgis & Cocktails. :) I love your description of a beauty-expert spirit-animal! I have one at the MAC counter at the Macy's right by my workplace. I think I visited that counter once or twice before I met her but we immediately connected the first time that she helped me. I thought I had a vague description of what I was looking for but the second thing that she showed me was perfect. Now when I go in we talk about life and make-up. It makes all the difference to have someone that you like. I know a couple other MUA's at the counter and my coworker was laughing at me when we stopped in once and everyone greeted me.

    1. Hey Crystal! That's awesome! Being a makeup consultant myself, I lot having people who come in again and again to see me, it's so fun to build those relationships (and makes work really fun too). I kinda wish I had one myself! Haha.


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