We have ALL, at one point or another, visited a cosmetic counter. A “visit” can simply mean a quick peek at a new moisturizer whilst walking through the cosmetic department to get to the shoe department (kudos to you for taking that particular route out of ALL the routes the store has to offer. It can be like swimming into a shark den) OR a “visit” can entail actually interacting with a cosmetic consultant and purchasing a product.
As someone who works at a cosmetic counter (I will not disclose WHICH brand I currently work for) and as someone who shops at cosmetic counters quite frequently, I wish to bestow upon you some cosmetic counter etiquette! Believe it or not there are a few codes of cosmetic counter conduct we all should follow!
1. If you schedule a makeover with a consultant PLEASE plan on purchasing an item or two. Makeovers are not supposed to be a free service. Makeovers take time, energy and usually (at least from my own personal experience) the consultant puts a lot of thought and effort into making you look your best! Having your makeup done and then leaving is rude. You are, essentially, taking advantage of the consultant’s time. Many will argue that makeovers are part of the job of working at a cosmetic counter. While that may be true and while we take great pride in our work as consultants, makeovers aren’t the only thing we have to worry about. While applying makeup on you, OTHER customers might be approaching the counter asking for assistance or asking to be checked-out and because we are completely focused on YOU, as we should be, we miss the chance to assist those clients. So, if you leave without purchasing at least ONE item (most counters either charge a flat rate for makeovers or they expect a two item minimum purchase), we have missed an opportunity to make a connection with a customer who is genuinely interested in purchasing a product! Unfortunately, many of us cannot accept tips therefore, the commission made on a product you purchase is, essentially, the tip. Let’s think about it this way, freelance make-up artists can charge anywhere from thirty dollars to HUNDREDS of dollars per makeover. What makes our time, as consultants, worth any less? Not to mention having to sanitize the cosmetics, clean the station. wash the brushes etc. It’s something to think about the next time you schedule or ask for a makeover!
2. NEVER, I repeat, NEVER try on products without the proper sanitation or tools that are usually stationed near the tester units. Not only could you be putting your health at risk (who KNOWS what could be lurking inside that mascara tube) but now the products you haphazardly applied have to be sanitized and/or replaced completely. There are cotton balls, q-tips etc. at cosmetic counters for a reason! Ask a consultant if you cannot locate them! They will be more than happy to assist you.
3. Samples. We all LOVE samples but there is a fine line between wanting a sample of a foundation or moisturizer (Note-moisturizer samples are iffy because we find customers sticking their fingers inside of the jars and as a result we don’t like to give them out often) because you want to make sure you aren’t allergic to the product/you want to see if the product works for you before purchasing it AND just wanting a sample because it’s a sample. Believe it or not, many cosmetic counters don’t even receive samples! Many people refuse to believe this and become angry at us BUT it’s true! Companies are becoming stingier and stinger as time goes on and therefore, samples become scarce. So, believe us when we tell you we don’t have any samples in the forms of lipstick, packets or what have you. Sure, we can dram you a foundation sample but most likely we don’t have a box of free stuff to give out on a whim. Also, walking up to a counter and asking for samples without having any interest in the brand or its products is a little irritating.
4. Be kind! This applies to life in general but I’m talking about the beauty industry right now, Life! I think cosmetic consultants/associates have been stereotyped as commission-driven used car salespeople but in reality, most of us just LOVE makeup and skincare and what to share our passion with our clients. Not going to lie, there is always that “hoover” who as their eye on the money and nothing else, but they are the minority. If we DO seem like we are eagerly trying to push a sale it’s because the company gives each counter monetary goals to achieve and sometimes we are penalized for not making sales plan. I absolutely HATE sales goals but it’s the reality of the situation. I try not to let it interfere with my genuine love for cosmetics and people but that pressure sometimes creeps up on me. Let’s make the cosmetic counter a fun and positive place to be! It takes two to tango!
There you have it. Some tips, tricks and some basic counter etiquette. Feel free to let me know YOUR experiences whilst visiting a cosmetic counter and if you work at a cosmetic counter, what other advice do you have for potential clientele?
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