So you feel like you need a little kick in your
beauty routine, but aren’t sure where to start? Whether it’s a change in
seasons, a change in you or a special event, a beauty counter makeover
can put the blossom back in your blush. Here are a few tips to help you
navigate your way to success.
Your Desired Outcome
The first step is determining what your goal is.
If you have a look in mind, feel free to bring pictures of what you are
going for. If you don’t have anything in particular in mind, take a
look in the mirror and decide what are you happy with and what areas
need a bit more oomph.
Location, Location, Location
The best place to start is a department store beauty section (I recommend my favorite, Nordstrom), or a makeup boutique, such as Sephora.
Amongst the bustle of black clothing, flourishing mascara wands and
impeccable makeup, you will find the best brands all laid out before
you. This will save you time and effort, keeping you refreshed and open
to enjoying the experience.
The Right Time
Unless you are under a time restraint due to an
event, the most opportune time to hit a beauty counter is right when it
opens or in the evenings. This ensures that you miss the masses arriving
at peak shopping hours. The fewer shoppers around, the less confusion
at the counter and the more attention focused on you (the star of this
While we are on the subject of time, make sure you allow yourself
about an hour to browse, get your makeover and make your purchases.
Finding Your Brand
So you’ve made it to the beauty department and stand bewildered
amongst the staggering amount of choices, waiting for someone to throw
you a lipstick or a life raft. What next? I recommend that you take a
walk around the counters. Since you have done your homework (ahem….you
did read those first three paragraphs didn’t you?), you should have a
fairly good idea of what you want.
It’s all out there before you if you look for
the signs. Are you heading out for a hot night out on the town?Look for
the vibrant colors and funky music pumping out from behind the counter
at MAC. If you are looking for a more neutral look that enhances your
beauty, head over to the chic and subtle colors displayed at Bobbi
Brown. Mature elegance? Estee Lauder is the spot for you.
WARNING: This is the point in your journey where
you are most likely to get thrown off. As many makeup artists work on
commission, they can be fairly aggressive in their siren-like attempts
to lure you to their counter. This is where you may find the fit you are
looking for, but if you don’t like the product or what they have to
say, just move on. Nothing works wonders like a smile and a “No thank
you. I’m just looking.” Never be afraid to say no. This is your ship,
you are the captain and you plot your course. Saying “yes” out of
politeness can be a ticket to disappointment, wasted time and wasted
Your Guru of Glam
The next step is finding the makeup artist that suits your needs.
While a lot of makeup artists may have similar skill levels and
training, their personalities vary and are a big part of the overall
makeover experience. Take a look around you to observe how the makeup
artists interact with their clients. Look for someone who is friendly,
informative and has a handle on technique, then request their services
for your makeover.
The Beautiful Little Details
Take the time to discuss your wishes with the makeup artist and
settle any questions before the makeover begins. For example, do you
want false lashes? Make sure they stock and apply them.
Additionally, some counters do charge for a full makeover. If they do
charge, they may do it in the form of a minimum purchase required.
Anywhere from $30-$50 is about the average. Make sure to settle these
details up front; as tears from sticker shock tends to ruin perfectly
You don’t need to arrive bare-faced, as counters have skincare items
to remove your makeup (I can hear your collective sighs of relief).
Take a few minutes to discuss your wants and
needs with your makeup artist; communication is vital to the makeover
process. Talk about your skin type and any problems with your skin. Tell
him or her where you are sure of what you want and where you are open
Word of advice: stay open to suggestions you haven’t even considered,
as that is where a multitude of beauty surprises are born, but in the
same breath, don’t be afraid to say “no”. This is your face, your time
and your money. Feel free to stand your ground in an area where you have
definite requirements. Makeup artists (myself included) can tend to get
carried away in the creative moment and head off on beauty tangents, so
occasionally you may have to kindly reel us back in.
Speaking of getting carried away and tangents — while you are going
through the makeover process, remember to ask questions. It is easy to
get caught up in the excitement or tune out and relax, but picking up
little details will serve you well when you are back at home staring
naked-faced into your bathroom mirror. You are going to need to know how
to execute new techniques, which brushes work best, and where to place
The Grand Finale
When you finish your department store makeover, a tip isn’t necessary
(most counters don’t allow gratuities anyway). If you are pleased with
the service, feel free to compliment the artist to their manager or
through the store’s website. A kind word goes a long way.
Lovelies, we’ve come to the end of our beautiful
journey. Now you can tackle your beauty quest with the confidence and
knowledge to succeed. Hopefully you leave the counter with a few new
beauty finds, some inspiration a bit of a crush on the beautiful new