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Yes, absolutely I’ve experienced indifference and, “Oh, you’re not seriously shopping,” because I’m wearing no makeup (or next to none–like just tinted moisturizer).  That’s generally not the experience I get, but it can depend on the retailer, location, day, time, etc.  I’ve had it happen, and I’m sure it will happen again, though I think that retailers are training their artists/associates better in how they treat customers. I haven’t run into any aggressive salespeople in quite awhile.

— Christine

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Definitively! I have acne and pretty noticeable scars (because I tend to obsessively pick my face), so I get weird looks from the sales representatives that don’t know me. Some of them help me buy something, and I can see their facial expression and their words that they think of me as someone that doesn’t buy makeup at all, or that doesn’t know anything about it. When I go to the beauty counter/retailer with a full face of makeup, they pay more attention to me, I think because my appearance doesn’t disgust them so much, and because they think someone who wears makeup all the time is sure to buy something.

Hi Enka,
Your comment really touched me. I am 47 and had HORRIFIC acne for most of my young adult life and I can understand how you feel but I just want to say something, because you sound so much like I used to. You are NOT disgusting and trust me, your acne looks much worse to you than anyone else as we are all our own worst critics. So, if you can, be nice to yourself because anyone that would look at you or treat you that way is not worth knowing anyway. Just trust me on that one and someday things will get better.

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I most certainly think I get treated differently if I don’t wear any makeup when I go shopping. Many of the sales associates seem to think they can just pawn off some inferior, yet expensive, product on me since I mustn’t be knowledgeable about makeup.

Being 19, if I don’t wear makeup I end up looking very young (just this weekend I wasn’t let into a movie at the local theater without my ID since they couldn’t believe I was over 14, when I was barefaced) and I think that also contributes to the lack of real assistance or poor customer service. Although I may go makeup shopping barefaced, and although I’m young, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t drop some serious cash on a product if I knew I’d use it. If a store makes me terribly uncomfortable then I can go elsewhere.

I recently went to Sephora wearing no makeup, and I was looking at Too Faced’s Pretty Rebel palette and one of the associates came up to me and asked me if I needed any help and I said “no thanks, I’m just looking at this palette. I saw it online and fell in love with it.” And she replied “ok, if you need any help like someone to teach you how to use it let me know.” I was like WOW…. All I said was “Imm not wearing any but I know how to use makeup.”if she only knew how much makeup I own and that I probably know how to apply it better than her… I feel comfortable going out with no makeup on, so if it’s no special occasion I don’t wear it. Beauty counters/stored should definitely train their associates better when it comes to that.

The palette was gorgeous, very pigmented with the exception of one color. I didn’t get it but I think I will go back and buy it before they stop selling it

That was my problem, that she gave me that look and tone as if she’s talking to someone who she thinks has never seen makeup before. I can tell the difference in how they treat me when I’m wearing a full face of makeup

May depend on how she said it but sounded like she was just really trying to be helpful. I’d appreciate an offer like that. You’ll never know when you can learn a new makeup trick.

I’d appreciate an offer like that if I had no clue how to use eyeshadow. But to tell me if I need someone to teach me how to use an eyeshadow palette bothered me a little…I’m sure that if I was wearing a full face of makeup she wouldn’t have said that which is the point of this post. I wear makeup to work everyday, so when I’m off I like to give my face a break. Some SAs need to realize this. But hey, it’s not like it ruined my day. I offered her a smile and kept it moving

That sales lady IS well trained. The majority of women are busy doing things and don’t turn their lives around getting ready. They like a tutorial. Going to Sephora naked faced and throwing shade on staff is quite a bit of hubris.

Trust me, I wasn’t nasty to her in any way. I didn’t like how she treated me just because I wasn’t wearing any makeup… You lnow how you talk to a two year old when you’re explaining something to them? That’s how she was talking to me. When I said what I said to her I said it in the nicest tone I could and with a smile on my face. I’m not nasty towards people unless they are nasty to me, and she wasn’t nasty. And you said she IS well trained…if she was well trained she wouldn’t think that anyone who walks into sephora with no makeup on doesn’t know how to use it or doesn’t own any.

I agree with Lark. I am an SA for Dior and we get trained to offer tutorials. It bothers me a lot that customers feel offended no matter what you say. It is either “omg the sa gave me a look/ the sa didn’t ask me wether I need help/ the sa offered me help, how could she!^^
Offering help is actually a nice gesture and does not mean that the customer got it wrong etc. There are many different techniques for applying make up/ eyeshadows etc.

Oh yes that’s definitely happened to me on multiple occasions whether it be Sephora or a MAC counter. If I have a full face of make up on that day I get treated much nicer than if I wore nothing and get ignored. The funny thing is, especially at a Sephora, I’ll walk into one of their stores on any day without make up on and get ignored by some of their associates and just think to myself “oh boy, could YOU do with a makeover yourself!” 😛

No, there is absolutely no difference. Here it’s more clothes, style and fashion that make the difference ( France ), in my opinion.

I agree with you about Europe. I live in Germany but have been shopping all over Germany and France. If you are dressed nicely and look a bit fashionable, it’s no big deal.

In the US, I think when you go into a makeup store they automatically look at your face and make a snap judgement on you. Just because I don’t have a full face on while at the mall doesn’t mean I don’t know about makeup.

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I live in Germany, and I don’t dress according to the style and agree with this. I am more a makeup person, not a stylish person and I often get weird looks here when I go to the counters here.

I’m a big fan of the “no makeup makeup look” especially when I’m shopping and I look pretty young for my age. I’m 21, but people often tell me that I look like I’m 15 or 16. Therefore I do get treated as if I’m just a little girl who wants to play with the makeup. I’ve experienced this as MAC, Sephora, Ulta, and various department store counters. However, I’ve also come across very nice sales associates that did not judge me according to my appearance. I’m well aware that some sales associates are working off commission, but that doesn’t allow them the right to judge a book by it’s cover. Over time I’ve just learned to not take it personally. Whenever I go shopping for makeup I do my research beforehand so I know what I’m looking for. I act more assertive and confident. Even if a sales associate is being rude to me, I’ll still buy something from them because I want to show them that they shouldn’t be so quick to judge. And if I come across the same sales associate in the future hopefully they’ll treat me better.

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In general, yes. I think retailers have also realized that online shopping is slowly starting to take their place, so they try to make sure customers have a good experience shopping in store. Of course that’s not always the case, but one can only hope.

I don’t really wear any makeup except lipstick, and the only place I actually ever get decent service is at the MAC counter/store. They’re always really helpful and don’t try to push face or eye stuff (which I don’t use) on me. Sephora is the biggest offender — if I go in without lipstick on, I can’t get any service at all. I also tend to like really dramatic or offbeat lip colors and sometimes get snotty looks from more “conservative” brands’ associates. Not cool!

YES!! Of course I have and it’s quite blatantly obvious as well. There are times when all I want to do is make a quick errand to buy 1 item without makeup on. For me it’s a quick dash & go, pop in pop out. How I’m treated at the store during my pop in pop out was astonishing. I once went in without makeup and all the sales rep people at Ulta basically ignored me or gave me the stink eye. While I do admit I was dressed very casually, no make up fresh face which is how I am on weekends anyway, the CS was pretty bad. I vowed to never go into that particular store again. What do you know I got a gift card from my sister and so I went in again this time with makeup. The difference between no makeup and makeup? The sales people actually ask “Are you finding everything ok?” vs the previous time where they basically looked the other way. I remember (and I also wrote it in a yelp review) that while I had no makeup on the first time around the cashiers were basically chatting up a storm when I checked out. With makeup on, all attention was on me. It’s like uhh, what the heck. You’re discriminating against people who have no makeup vs. people with makeup on. I have continually gone back to the store before with makeup on, ONLY because Sephora is like a 30 minute drive away and Ulta is 10 minutes no traffic. I wish the stores train their staff better in customer service. Customer service is #1 in retail and if you’re not treating everyone who walks into the door equally, you’re not doing a very good job at keeping your customers.

I had the same exact experience at Ulta! I had wandered through the store over four times in search for an item I couldn’t find until someone asked me if I needed help. I also got that dirty look where you could tell that they were watching me for fear of me taking something. When I want to try on makeup or hold it up to my skin, I’d much rather have less on!

Oh the irony!! You would think that a SA might see someone with a bare face and think they are possibly out to do some makeup shopping!!

If that ever happened to me, I think I’ll be so bothered that I would point it out in a ha-ha (not really) manner. If I was being paid attention to while wearing makeup or while checking out, I’ll casually mention how it’s funny (read: dumb) that when I came in with less makeup on, the CS was terrible. I’ve experienced poor customer service sometimes (not only in beauty stores) and attributed it to “am I not dressed up enough today?” or “did I not put enough makeup on today?”. I don’t wear much makeup at all most of the time. I only sport eyeliner when I go to a bar, club, or party. My daily makeup consists of brow pencil, mascara, concealer, foundation, light blush, and lip color. This is my makeup everyday, but the CS varies, so I don’t know what is their problem!

I tried this yesterday – no make up at the Guerlain counter I usually go to. No difference whatsoever. They were still lovely and helpful and brilliant. So I still spent more money than I intended and came away £140 lighter!

I might be the minority here but no I don’t get treated differently. I’m canadian but I live in Belgium. In Canada I always had good service no matter what. In Belgium I’m always ignored no matter what.

Definitely. I’m well acquainted with which sales assistants are worth the visit at my local department store. There are four or five excellent girls who give 100% every time I’m there, and the others won’t give me a glance unless I’m made-up and dressed nicely.

I always find the whole no make-up equals inferior service hilarious, because if I am shopping for makeup, stuff I already have on my face is only going to interfere with testing things!

unfortunately, some associates really don’t know how to treat a customer. I frequently am, like many others as I can see, a recipient of looks that clearly tell me “what on Earth are YOU doing here?” if I show up bare faced at a beauty counter….
things are always better if you wear makeup,which tells the associate that you are aware of how makeup is used, which is totally stupid if you ask me, because at the end of the day, an associate’s job is to help you even if you are completely ignorant…that’s their job. If they think that they are there to help only people who could be makeup artists themselves because it’s easier and less tiring, they should quit their job.
the good thing is that things are slowly changing for the better because of the recession and now I see that most associates bend over backwards to sell even one product regardless of you wearing makeup or not. I go to the Armani counter in one of the best department stores around and I always go bare faced and they always give me a full make-over and treat me like a goddess. that’s for reference. a few years back, they would probably look down on me, just like the people at Dior or Lancome used to do.

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Nope, not really. For one thing, I rarely go out without wearing at least a bit of makeup (I’m pale and have dark circles so I generally have on concealer – unless I’m shopping for a concealer – and some cheek colour and lipstick or gloss for the protection). But also, I tend to shop at the same few places and the gals know me. But I also find that most SA’s are so eager to make a sale of something that they won’t ignore me simply because they want to “sell, sell, sell”.

It depends on where I’m shopping. If I’m going to MAC or Sephora wearing very little makeup they don’t take me seriously so I make the effort to at least put on a bright lipstick or eyeliner.
Whenever I go to a fancy store to buy more high-end makeup (like Burberry or Tom Ford) I feel like they’re judging me if I wear tons of makeup, so I try to go for a more natural look.

I was treated poorly by a SA at a MAC counter when I was bare faced, but I’m not sure it was due my face or the fact that I looked REALLY young and she didn’t take me seriously.

I then went to the MAC store in the same mall and the SA was wonderful and even commented on how smart I was NOT to wear make up because I was looking for foundation and other face products. I spent almost $400 on that one trip (my nearest MAC counter was 3+ hrs away at that time) I had a list of stuff I wanted.

Yep, either totally ignored, or try to totally oversell, and its hilarious if its something outrageously expensive or that I know isn’t great.

Happens to me all the time, and I still find it annoying. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m totally comfortable barefaced, so most days I don’t wear makeup. I agree that associates need to work on their customer service skills big time.

Not if I don’t wear makeup, because I’m usually not fully made up when I’m running around shopping, but I have been treated differently based on my accessories, strangely enough. I’ve noticed I get better service and more attention when I carry a recognizable handbag and wear my jewelry/wedding rings. This works even with jeans and a T-shirt, which is pretty much my uniform.

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