Counter Anxiety??

Since starting this blog, I have found myself talking to a lot of people about cosmetics. Joy! You should know by now that it’s one of my favorite topics. In fact, in no particular order, these are my Top 5 things to chat about—COSMETICS, food, kpop (Korean music in general), kdramas and sex. I can talk about politics all day long, but if left to my own devices with my BFF, the conversation will turn to one of these.

I always knew that a couple of these were probably not universal. Some would call me odd, I prefer the term enlightened. Anyhoo, one thing I’ve learned that I never expected is so Earth-shattering, so completely a denial of my entire belief system, that I fear I may never look at people the same way.

Did you know that some people hate the cosmetic counter?!?

How is this even possible? The department is literally full of sparkles and colors, sweet smells and everything that makes life worth living. You can reinvent yourself 20 times while sitting in the same makeup chair. There has never been a time when I didn’t love running through the aisles, drawing on the back of my hands with all of the testers to find that elusive shade. This is my Happy Place. I may try going there when I meditate. OHMthereisaneyeshadowoverthereIhavetotryitOHM …

Upon speaking to these friends, I could begin to understand. Turns out that many have been taken advantage of by greedy cosmeticians. I’d like to say I never worked with any, but it’s not true. The fact is that in many / most places, cosmeticians make commission. While Sephora doesn’t they do have incentives. I have no problem with that as it encourages them to be on top of their game. There is a lot of knowledge that goes into the job and a constantly evolving set of ingredients that should be understood in terms of exactly how they work for your skin. Does everyone take the time? No. Some are happy to sell the most expensive products and try to make the most money that way. I always preferred giving people what they wanted and needed knowing they might be a return customer. Call me crazy.

This is what everyone should take away from this post—there is no need to fear the cosmetics counter. Dear goddess of all things girly, it is a horror to think you ever have! Here are a few tips you can use to take control of your trip and, dare I say, enjoy it.

1 – Know what you want to spend. This isn’t always a concern. Sometimes you just want something that works, credit card be damned, am I rite? But this is not always the case and if you have a definite spending limit there is nothing wrong with saying it up front. I can tell you, I always appreciated the honesty! If you ask for a great mascara, there are some fantastic high end ones that you may be shown. It might not be the cosmetician upselling, she may honestly love that product. If it costs 30.00 but you want to spend 15.00, you will definitely leave with a poo poo taste in your mouth about the whole experience. Best to avoid it and IF price is an issue say, “I want a great mascara for around 15.00.” A good cosmetician will know what to show you.

2 – When shopping for skin care, know your skin. Skin care can be a sinkhole for so many. If you know what your skin type is, GREAT! If you are saying, “I have really dry skin, but I breakout a lot and have oily patches,” I think you need a new diagnosis. Even if you have an idea what your skin type is, asking for an assessment can be a good if perhaps sneaky way to figure out if your cosmetician knows what they are talking about.

So, you walk into a cosmetics department and are approached. What do you say? First of all, “I need some help with establishing my skin type. Do you have a hydrometer?” What exactly are you asking for? This:


Don’t worry. I know it looks scary but it doesn’t need to be inserted anywhere uncomfortable. Basically, if you hold it on your skin it will give you a number that indicates your skin’s hydration level. If the cosmetician doesn’t know what one is then, DING DING DING! I would say this is a tiny warning. If they seem confused when you mention water in your skin or say anything about drinking lots of water, DING DING FREAKING DING! Get out of there.

A good cosmetician will try to establish how much oil you have by looking at your t zone and asking questions. They may ask to touch your skin to see if there are dehydration lines. They will ask not just if you break out but where you break out. Don’t let them take one glance and say, “Oh, I can tell by looking …” Yeah, sure you can. Not to toot my own horn but I am damn good, and even if I can usually tell a person’s skin type pretty quickly I always go through a few steps. I’ve been surprised. (Oh, and toot toot!)

Tell them what you want to spend but know that this is an area where saying 10.00 is probably not going to get you something worth using. You have to spend a little, but that doesn’t mean breaking the bank. If you are in any way uncomfortable with the person serving you, go somewhere else or go back later. If you are too embarrassed not to buy anything, just say, “I’m going to put a little on my arm. I’ve had reactions before so I’ll just walk around and see what happens.” Did I mention I’m sneaky?

3 – Go somewhere that sells all the products! If you have an interest in a particular product line because you have heard such rave reviews about it, then by all means go to a department store counter. If, on the other hand, you just want a product that will work for you but have no brand preference, go somewhere that the cosmeticians have no brand allegiance. If you go in a department store and the cosmetician is behind the Dior counter then she will only sell you Dior. That’s her job. If you want Dior, whoop it up! If you go to a drugstore or beauty boutique (depending on your country) then the cosmeticians should be trained in all the lines they sell and will be able to give you what is truly best, without bias.

Another trick, keep an eye out for staff that are wearing t-shirts with the names of cosmetic lines or departments full of promotional materials for one brand. This can indicate that there is a specific promotion going on which may have sales goals which may make you a target sale. You can always let them suggest something in that line, then say, “What would you suggest that isn’t in this line?” Nothing wrong with that!

I could go on forever. Who am I kidding, I kind of have. I told you it’s one of my Top 5 topics! Now, off to talk about kpop.

Until next time, MEOW!


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