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It’s easier for me to process counters than it is Sephora, but you are more easily left alone (if you’re just browsing) at a larger retailer. I also like that at counters a lot of the product is hard for customers to access, so things tend to stay untouched as they should be. If I want too buy something specific, beauty counters, and if I’m just browsing, spaces like Sephora are nice.

— Christine

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Definitely counters, especially Nordstrom ones. I feel like the sales associates at counters know their products a lot better and are more help when you are looking for something specific. I like Sephora too, but I feel like their associates focus on one or two brands too much (ex. MUFE and Bare MInerals!!) and don’t know anything about their other brands.

Generally I like self service because first of all you don’t have a push SA trying to sell you stuff you don’t need (probably goes back to my late teens when I was shy and clueless and felt badly that I couldn’t afford to buy everything they were telling me I “had” to have. I like having everything out displayed so I can take my time and help myself to swatching, although those testers at Sephora are getting grosser by the day….shudder!!!

I also like self service shoe shopping as well. Clearly I don’t like having to track down SA’s and waiting for my products. I must have been a princess in a former life! 🙂

This a is no-brainer for me. I started wearing and buying makeup way before Sephora and Ulta existed. And I will continue to buy from Macys, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks and any major dept. store. Why? When the Mac Marilyn collection returned to Macy’s, the customer service was awesome. The online person on the phone, the Macys MAC person both helped me get hard to get products. I got my online order on time. Sephora, YOU, never again. It takes foreverrrrrr for Sephora to send me my online order. Sephora SA are snarky and looks at me like I was going to steal. Even Ulta is better…just there was a Ulta closer by. I even order from Selfridges in London and I live in the USA….that service was spectacular. Sephora, you can take all of your Disney products and whatever you sell someone else…left a bad taste in my mouth.

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I love Ulta, Sephora and MAC stores, but I order a lot of my makeup online and now that Walgreens has rewards points I love getting drugstore brands there (Maybeline & Revlon).I like Nordstorms too.

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Sephora hands down, maybe because my Sephora is extremely well stocked, I’ve never had any trouble finding anything specific. The only problem for me is that it doesn’t sell Armani products, so I have to go to either Nordstrom or Neiman, well Nordstrom, as I learned from experience that the MUAs at my Neiman are pushy and not very polite.

But, in general, unless I want to swatch the product or pay cash, I shop at Amazon or the online version of Sephora.

I definitely prefer large beauty retailers because I almost always prefer to be left alone while shopping. Perusing through beauty products is entertaining if I can do it leisurely, but at counters I always feel pressure to get what I need (or consult with the sales associate) and get out.

Depends on the makeup brand. I guess nordstrom, best customer servise, even if they mess up were your package is being sent(and someone steals it), they fix it.
For convenience Macy’s. Haven’t bought makeup in the highend stores yet, i’ve read you don’t get ignored for looking young(*cough*Mac**cough).

Sephora all the way!!!! I find sales people at department stores very unhelpful or simply unavailable 🙁

In general I prefer counters in department stores. They usually carry more products of certain brands . I have found that Sephora’s in store selection of Bobbi Brown is dismal. If I’m in the mood to browse and not exactly sure what I’m looking for, I will go to Sephora.

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I don’t really have a preference. Once I decide I want something, I just want to be able to get it so it’s a matter of who has it and who has it in stock. What I like about Sephora and also the makeup section at Shoppers Drug Mart (large Canadian chain that has a high end makeup section in most of their stores) is that the sales assistants aren’t flogging just their own brand so if you’re looking for a concealer, for example, and the one you’ve been eyeing isn’t really working, they’ll show you products from other brands that might be more what you’re looking for or that they know, from experience with working with all their lines, is a really good product. With regard to Sephora, I also really love the chance to take home a sample….even most department stores don’t offer this, unless they have to have a prepackaged sample from the company (and I often think that many of these don’t make it to the potential customer!). With Shopper’s Drug Mart, I like the opportunity to accumulate points and also “purchase” products using my points (I got a Guerlain eye shadow quad for “free” this way).

Nordstroms is my fav. Sephora is too icky to actually try on makeup. The lighting, the garishness of the interior is really distracting. I wish they would redecorate to something toned down and welcoming.

I prefer shops like Sephora (although there is nothing quite like that where I live). I find at counters the sales assistants tend to talk me into buying stuff, or offer me other products than whatever I went in there for. And I just like browsing. I feel like I’m wasting someone’s time if I linger at a counter.

I prefer shops like Sephora (although there is nothing quite like that where I live). I find at counters the sales assistants tend to talk me into buying stuff, or offer me other products than whatever I went in there for. And I just like browsing. I feel like I’m wasting someone’s time if I linger at a counter.

Sephora for sure. Knowledgeable staff and always helpful. Ulta has amazing sales, but their staff arentvery helpful nor well trained in beauty.

I definitely prefer Sephora or Ulta. I find that the makeup counters really stand over you and can be a bit more pushy. But I will go to a counter if I am looking for something specific.

I am really on the “cusp” here as I come from the old days when you had to go to the department store counters because that was all we had except for the drugstore. I still do go…especially to Nordstroms…when I know what I want and I know they have it. But the convenience of the Sephora concept tempts me everytime. I love to browse and look at all the new products they have. I have found enormous differences amongst the individual stores, though. I, too, wish they would tone it down and do something about the harsh lighting and the music (too loud and distracting). I just have not warmed up to the Ultas. The one in my city is poorly stocked with empty shelves and tired looking testers. Also, they never know when or if they are getting anything back in stock. I just don’t bother with them anymore. Online works pretty well with Saks, Nordstroms and Sephora if you don’t mind the long wait for the packages.

I actually prefer larger retailers. Though I love makeup, and rarely go a day without wearing anything, I do kinda have the grungy, rocker chick thing going on. I find when I go to most makeup counters, I tend to get treated like crap, with the exception being the MAC counter. If I need something that I can only get at a makeup counter, I specifically plan to go and dress nicer than I normally would, just to be able to get decent service. The whole thing has really put a bad taste in my mouth for both consultants and makeup counters in general, so I tend to avoid them, either by shopping in large retail stores or online. Normally I prefer to give my business to brick and mortar retail locations, but if you’re going to treat paying customers like crap because of how they dress, you’re sure as heck not getting any business or commission from me, and I have no problem buying online instead.

I prefer Sephora, where I am able to shop and test products at my leisure. I always get good customer service from their sales associates. I rarely shop at department store counters. I find that the sales people are more about meeting their sales goal than actually helping customers.

I prefer browsing so stores like Sephora or even drugstores are my preference. The SA’s let me know they’re there if I need anything then leave me alone to wander at my leisure. My past experience at counters is that even after I say I’m just browsing, the SA is still lingering there, sometimes giving me the sales pitch on whatever it is I’m looking at. If I wanted to know more, I’d ask. I’ve walked out of stores, not just beauty stores, because of pushy or aggressive SA’s that hover around me like I’m a shoplifter or something.

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