Buy, try, or just say good-bye… the graceful guide to getting gorgeous
Makeup Artist Tips What to Expect From Your Cosmetic Counter Makeover
Dear Sharon: I am scheduled for a makeover at an Estee Lauder counter in a department store in a few days. The only other time I’ve had a “professional” makeover was in a Body Shop, when I was 16. I’m going because, though I’m happy with my palette, I’m looking for new application techniques, and, because the process is mildly fun.
Is there makeover etiquette? Does the makeup artist expect you to come with some direction? If they ask you what you want, what is reasonable? Lastly, is there a standard of how much or how many things you’re supposed to purchase? Should you spend a dollar amount or purchase a certain number of things? For instance, can you say, “I’ll just take the eyeliner,” or is that probably not okay? I was looking to get a new press compact and maybe shadow anyway…
Do you have any tips to handle a department store makeover gracefully? I think if you come in and are straightforward about what you’re looking to get that day, they’ll respect that and not harass you. I’m just concerned that I’ll do something wrong, and I am usually very self-conscious in situations where someone thinks they know better than I as to how to make me pretty. They get you cornered and can sometimes say things to test your knowledge about style or beauty. I understand that counter salespeople need to make their living, but they’re so often prissy to the point of intimidation. Thanks for your help. –Counter Intelligence (New York, NY)
Dear Counter Intelligence: The purpose of a makeover is to make you feel better about yourself. If the salesperson or makeup artist that you select to guide you tries to bully you into purchasing something or acts in a way that undermines your self-esteem, move on! Who needs some rancid stranger making you feel like an old troll? And, if they’re behavior is so hideous, report them to the corporate offices of the company.
Before you commit your time to a makeover, it’s always best to see the work of the makeup artist first to ascertain that you are both on the same wavelength. If you don’t like a makeover that’s in progress, chances are that you won’t like what is done to you.
Commissions supplement the salaries of salespeople at a department store’s cosmetics counter; therefore they are there to sell. Usually, they do not have any extraordinary technique in makeup application, just enough to guide you in what they are familiar.
An in-store makeup artist, on the other hand, should be expected to have the professional training and ability understand a vast array of products and their application. “Makeovers themselves are complimentary. It provides the opportunity to experience the brand and what it offers in terms of skincare and cosmetics. During the session, you have the chance to learn about the brand’s products, what items are best suited for you, and how to use them properly,” says Dennis Purvis, former Retail Events Team Leader for a major cosmetic house and professional makeup artist: he is the man who trains the in-store promotional advisors.
“For a successful makeover experience, it’s important is to communicate up front about what you want, what you are currently using, the number of products, and how much time you want to devote to application,” Dennis says. “Explain what kind of look you’re after: natural, dramatic, special occasion, holiday, or if you just want to take your look one step further,” he adds.
I caught up with Carlos Solano, Shu Uemura‘s resident makeup artist at Bergorf Goodman during NYC’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for a quick touch up and some insight. “If you have a thoughtful makeup artist with whom you have a good rapport, ” says Carlos, “most people end up feeling good about the experience and should expect to buy at least one item”. Before you commit to a major purchase, I feel, it’s a good idea to wait a bit to see how the makeup wears on your skin.
Dennis feels that you shouldn’t feel compelled to buy anything, but there should be some products that will obviously fill in the gaps of your current makeup regime. He suggests you scout out the brand that makes you feel most comfortable, look at the makeup style of the advisor behind the counter, or simply ask friends about their favorite makeup brand.
As you said, a makeover should be fun. Go on and get gorgeous!
–November 7, 2002