How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Makeup Counter

Rachel Nussbaum

beauty counter

Growing up, we had one reason and one reason only to go to the mall: The makeup counters. The glorious makeup counters stretching as far as the eye could see, creative opportunities unlimited for our adolescent selves. While we may not have had the most time (or money) to experience the counter, we became experts at cramming as much as possible into the few minutes we had before we were dragged out of there by our parents. Now that we’re at the beauty counter on a regular basis, we’ve also learned plenty of pro advice. Here, our assorted tips and tricks for making the most of your beauty counter visits, speedy as they may be.

Test Products Without Joining the Bacteria Fun Party

For a long, long time we didn’t know what those little bottles of alcohol next to the makeup remover were for. But, we’re older and wiser now, and pink eye’s something you only need to learn a lesson from once. Squeeze some alcohol onto a tissue and rub it across lipsticks, eyeliners and what have you to safely sterilize them before use, and you’re in the clear. For the less easily treatable items like eyeshadow and lipgloss, go for the disposable applicators instead of your fingers.

Try Products Without Being Forced to Buy Them

We may risk years of residual guilt from this one, but that’s the sacrifice you make to not buy something. Go about your business trying on what you like, but when the salesperson’s pushing turns to shove, don’t feel pressured into making a quick decision. You can say you’ll come back for it or, if you’re really gutsy, just tell them you don’t want to buy it. We do recommend wearing products for a while to see them in different lights and how they hold up, so take the product for a test drive before you buy.

Get Your Questions Answered By the Pros

Salespeople tend to know a fair bit about makeup and skincare, but more often than not they also tend to answer questions with solutions that just happen to be their products. To get some balanced answers, keep questions specific and fact-based. Their foundation may be the Fountain of Youth, but which ingredient is doing the heavy lifting? Get the info, then look for its generic form. The same thing goes for makeup application: what about the eyeshadow makes it work with your skin tone, or what texture lipstick would they recommend? Take the knowledge and run.

Wear As Little As Possible

This one requires a little bit of prior preparation and also bravery, but it’s worth it. If you know you’ll be swinging by the counters, leave the house wearing as little makeup as you can manage. Trust us, the benefits are twofold. For one, you don’t have to waste precious time taking off what you’re already wearing. For another, if you decide to skip the removal and just layer it on, you won’t have to second guess what the new product’s doing differently from the old. It’s worth it.

Try As Much As Possible

Another brave one, but hey, go big or go home. Do up your each eye in a different way to get the most out of your time, because while you may look a little insane, you’ll also be trying double the products. Probably not many people will notice that you’ve got two different looks going on, and if they do, then you can ask their opinion on which they like more. The more the merrier, both in parties and decisions.

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