The Right Products for the Right Results
“Skincare is essential, makeup is a choice. Make good choices.” —Emily Weiss
Set up a beauty routine for yourself and follow it with personalized products that address your specific needs. This may sound intimidating, but it does not have to be. All the cosmetic counters in major department stores have trained beauty consultants who can help address any concerns you have and answer most of your questions about makeup and skincare. Visiting the cosmetic counter is like going to your hairdresser—beauty advisors are thoroughly trained in the best uses of their products and keep up on trends and technology so they can share that knowledge with others. You’ll also find beauty professionals at many major salons and cosmetology schools who would love to help you. So, take a little time to set an appointment and speak with a professional about your questions on anything you are unsure of.
When choosing the right beauty products, take the time to do some research, and go with a brand you trust. Keep an eye on social media. Spend a few days or even several weeks looking up products and browsing websites for recommendations and reviews. Look around and find a beauty advisor or consultant whom you feel that you can connect with and trust. Some just want to sell their brand and will feed you any line to move their products off the shelves. But many of us who work as beauty advisors honestly care about the women who come to us and want to help you decide what’s best for you rather than just making a sale.
It’s also helpful to ask around if you are new to an area or new to makeup and skincare in general. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with so much information bombarding you. Google is a good source of information, and honest reviews from beauty product users just like you can be worth their weight in gold. Likewise, Google Maps can help you find a local salon or department store staffed with skilled beauty advisors who can offer valuable advice and helpful beauty tips.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not only good ways to connect but excellent sources of information about people and places in your community. With just a few clicks, you can find local groups where you can ask questions or get advice. Or you can type in a quick search! Technology makes getting answers easy. Just make sure you spend some time researching, and don’t just accept the first opinions you encounter.
Something you should keep in mind is that most of the major cosmetic brands have specialists who are paid to promote the company’s products, and many use personal accounts on social media. Whenever this is the case, the blogger or other specialist should identify herself as a brand representative or brand ambassador, either by stating it outright or through a marketing hashtag to make you aware that they receive compensation or perks from that brand.
This is just another reason you’ll want to make sure you do adequate research that will help you connect with the right person. For instance, I have a day job as a Counter Manager for Estee Lauder in a department store. Although the store issues my paycheck, I receive a commission based on the products I sell. I also earn a percentage on my overall counter sales, and I am given gratis perks and other incentives by Estee Lauder to promote and teach others about their products. I strongly believe in my brand—I am paid to sell it, and I wear it, but I will also be honest with you and tell you if I think another product would be better for you, or if I’m not in love with a particular product. In other words, I won’t just go for the sale, and there are many beauty advisors out there who feel the same way. We are in this field to connect with women and help them achieve their beauty goals. When we help you feel beautiful, it makes us feel beautiful too.
The beauty scene is always changing. Trends come and go, technological advances change product manufacturing processes, leading to new formulas and new ways to produce the products we know and love. A beauty advisor understands this and will help you decide what the best products might be for the money you invest. They will help you tailor your routine, suggest products, and even tell you what colors will look great on you, based on your skin tone and coloring.
A good consultant will be up-to-date on product knowledge and not only be able to help you get the most bang for your buck, but she will show you how to use a product to get the best results. Most beauty advisors also will be more than happy to give you a few samples that will allow you to get a feel for a product before you commit to the investment.
When you can find them, products that multitask or serve multiple purposes can be amazing timesavers and also will save you some money in the long run. Any item that will do something for your skin, in addition to having a makeup effect, or that can be used in multiple areas or for multiple purposes, is a winner and may save you space, time, and money. Products that contain sunscreen or that are healthy or rejuvenating for your skin because they contain vitamins and antioxidants are popular multitaskers. Cream colors that can work on your lips as well as your cheeks as blush; bronzers that can work as a subtle eyeshadow and give a sun-kissed glow to the face; eyeliners that can work as an eyebrow pencil and vice versa, are just a few more examples of multitasking products that not only deliver more bang for your buck but take up less space in your bag if you are someone who travels.
Following is a quick rundown on the brand options available. Often called “The Big Three,” these vendors can be found in almost every major department store across the U.S., even in smaller towns. They are: Estee Lauder, Clinique, and Lancome. In some larger cities, you will find additional counters such as: Elizabeth Arden, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Dior, Chanel, Urban Decay, Philosophy, Clarins, YSL, and others.
Other places (not brand specific) where you can find beauty advisors are Sephora and Ulta. These stores have become the preferred beauty shops in some areas and offer prestige brands as well as their own store brands of makeup and skin products. The beauty advisors there may not have as much knowledge of specific brand products because there are so many brands offered, and it would be impossible to know everything about every product they offer. These beauty advisors instead will be knowledgeable about general product information, how to use or apply them, application techniques, and they’ll be up-to-the-minute on makeup trends. Besides being sold through brick-and-mortar stores, the major brands mentioned above have a huge online presence. As I write these pages, technology is changing the way the beauty industry operates. Major retailers are closing hundreds of stores every year, as online retailers pioneer new ways for us to learn about products and shop for them via the Web. I would love to fast-forward ten years and get a glimpse of the world of retail as it exists in the future!
Once you have found a store where you’d like to shop, call ahead to see if you can book an appointment. Most places also welcome walk-in consultations if the counter is staffed adequately, but it’s nice to have a firm appointment and make sure your new beauty advisor is ready for you. The makeup counters in department stores do not charge, but they do want to sell their product, and it will depend on the advisor you are seeing (and often the brand, as every brand teaches different selling techniques) as to the pressure of the sale.
For your appointment, it’s best if you go in with a bare face, unless you want the beauty advisor to take off your makeup—and keep in mind there won’t be a sink with running water. We use towelettes and cloths with water bottles and cleansers at the counter. Be ready to discuss your honest skincare and makeup goals, and listen to the recommendations with an open mind. You can then work out which samples you’d like to try, which you want to take home right away, and jot down ideas to consider on another visit or that you want to add into your routine at some future time. If you have sensitive skin, a best practice is to try out one new product at a time. Use it until you are certain your skin will tolerate it, and then layer away!
Some of the major brands have professional makeup artists who travel around from city to city for special events. Some of these pros are celebrities in the beauty industry with impressive credentials and large followings on social media. These events can be a fun time, and the energy and excitement will turn your beauty makeover or spa experience into a memorable time. If you’ve never been to one of these events, consider going! The makeup counters in some local stores will set them up a few times a year, and it’s a wonderful time to learn about new products, have an experience tailored just for you, learn custom beauty techniques from the pros themselves, and have an enjoyable time. Special event artists often bring along an entourage with them, making it possible for you to bring a friend or share some family time doing something fun and being pampered.