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Tips For Navigating Your First Trip To The Makeup Counter

Beauty trends and tutorials are all over social media, but going to the makeup counter for the first time can be scary!

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Don’t be intimidated by the artists/employees.


Most people are nervous when they approach the makeup counter, especially those first few times. Everyone looks flawless and has beautiful makeup on! Remember, these people work in the beauty industry and spend most of their day utilizing the products they sell, so it’s only natural that they’ve become great at using them. This works in your favor because it means that they’ll be able to answer most of your questions about the products and give you tips on how to make them work best for you.

Write down your questions and save pictures ahead of time.


Walking up to the counter is like entering a candy store. There are a bunch of fun colors and it’s easy to get distracted by the glitter and forget everything you came in for. The last thing you want is to leave with colors you’ll never wear instead of getting what you needed and learning how to perfect that J. Lo glow you were trying to achieve.

It also makes finding what you need a lot easier when you bring in pictures of looks or colors, that way you’re on the same page with your artist and you have a visual starting point that isn’t just “red lipstick” or “natural eyeshadow."

Call ahead to make an appointment if you need an application or a detailed lesson.


Looking to have our makeup done for an important event? Your best bet is to call in advance to schedule an appointment. Typically counters either aren’t staffed well enough to accommodate a walk-in appointment or they book up quickly, especially on the weekends.

If you’re just starting out and need some quality one-on-one time, most stores offer a lesson service. This is great because you get alone time with an artist and can ask all the questions you need without being interrupted, plus they walk you through the makeup application and pass the brushes over to you so they can observe your technique while offering tips and advice. They will make sure that you understand how to execute everything before you go home and usually provide a face chart and step-by-step instructions for you to look back on when you’re doing your makeup at home.

Have realistic expectations.

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In a world where your Instagram feed is filled with photos of celebrities and beauty gurus using the perfect filters and lighting it can be easy to lose sight of what is actually achievable for walking around in the real world. The reality is that you won’t be carrying around a ring light and you can’t wrap yourself in a Snapchat filter.

The best thing to do is show your artist several pictures of looks you want to achieve and explain what exactly you love about that look. As long as you are open to your artist’s professional advice and opinion, you will be able achieve a wearable version of your favorite makeup look without looking too overdone or just simply not looking good when the lighting isn’t just right.

Be prepared for the artist to attempt up-selling you products.


Don’t let the well executed makeup and fancy brush belts fool you. Even though most of the employees at makeup counters and stores are great at makeup their primary job is to sell you products. If all you truly need is the product you went into the store for make sure that you let them know that’s all you need and decline any makeup demos. While the artist might sound like they’re being friendly by offering to touch up your lip or show you how great the new products are, what they’re actually trying to do is get you to buy more products. Each employee has a sales goal that they’re required to make and after that touch up or demo they’ll push you to buy the products.

This isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes you might need more products than you thought to successfully achieve the look you’re going for. For example, if you want a beautiful bold lip you’re going to at least need a lip liner to go with the lipstick and possibly a primer depending on how the brand’s lip products wear.

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