How Not To Be A Jerk At The Makeup Counter

Sure, we've all encountered beauty bullies, but for every pushy, overbearing sales associate there are many more pleasant professionals out there. And the lovely ladies and gentlemen standing behind makeup counters laden with lipsticks, blushes, and foundations put up with a lot of crap. People demanding free shit! Gratis makeovers for freeloading brides! Indecisive, yet hard-to-please types! No matter how much a makeup artist may love her job, a few bad-apple customers can tax even the most patient of personalities.

So how do you make sure you're not inadvertently breaching beauty etiquette? Here, two seasoned pros present you with five ways to make the counter peeps' lives more pleasant and have an awesome experience yourself. To sum it up: For the love of beauty, be cool.

Read on to learn how to shop for makeup without making someone's life a living hell.
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Rule #1: Speak Up
“Make sure you’re vocal,” says Tannis Isaacs, a NARS makeup artist at Bloomingdale's on 59th and Lexington in NYC. She suggests going into as much detail as possible when it comes to what you like and don’t like, even if you’re not hip to makeup-artist lingo.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, even if it’s negative. “We like to know what makes our clients feel good,” says Isaacs. Consider yourself and the artist partners with the same goal. “For example, if you want your product to function in a multitasking way,” says MAC senior artist Tiffany Johnston, "it may take some investigating and time to figure out what is best for you.” So express yourself and be patient — both are virtues at the makeup counter.
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Rule #2: Keep It Clean
You know those disposable applicators? Those are there for your own good. “We place great importance on ensuring the safety for the trials of public product,” says Johnston. “Our artists go to great lengths to make sure each and every makeup enthusiast has a hygienic experience while trying to find their new favorite makeup product.” Just think about how gross the eyeshadows and blushes would be if everyone got handsy with them. Don’t be that person.
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Rule #3: Educate Yourself
Don’t go up to a counter thinking you’re going to learn the secrets of the cosmetics universe. If it’s a full-blown tutorial you’re after, you’ll need a little more time. “If you need an actual lesson on how to do your makeup, head to your nearest MAC store,” advises Johnston. “It takes time to learn application skills; [it] cannot be learned in 15 minutes.” Many stand-alone makeup boutiques — like MAC — offer one-on-one sessions with makeup artists, so you can get a more comprehensive understanding of techniques.
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Rule #4: Try To Buy
“Sample with a purpose,” says Isaacs. “The reason it’s considered a selling tool and courtesy is that the practice enables the customer to try products before they make a commitment to buy.” So if you keep going to the counter to try the same product, then it’s probably a sign that you should buy the damn thing. On the flip-side, if you try something and you're not 100% on board with it, don’t feel pressured to shell out.
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Rule #5: Book It
“We all lead very busy lives, and we all have our favorite stores where we shop religiously, so it’s best to plan ahead and make an appointment with an artist,” says Isaacs. If you’re on the calendar, you don’t have to worry about monopolizing one artist’s time or risk him doing a rush job. You get him all to yourself for a set amount of time.

“Your artist will greatly appreciate it and — if you’ve worked together before — they will know how comfortable you are with trying new things,” explains Isaacs. Another bonus if you establish a relationship with an artist is that he can keep you in the loop on new items he thinks you’d like. Sharing is caring!
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