Monday, April 7th, 2014

Temptalia Asks You


Do you find salespeople at the beauty counter helpful? Share!

Temptalia's AnswerIt can depend on brand and location. Sometimes there are incredibly knowledgeable, passionate people who work at the counter, and other times, it’s just a job that pays the bills.

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76 thoughts on “Do you find salespeople at the beauty counter helpful?

  1. Like you said, depends on location. I’ve gone to three different MAC counters in one mall (Dillard’s, Belk, and Nordstrom) and have had bad luck with some, good luck with some. It really just depends on the person working there.
    Rikki Recently Posted: top five lipsticks for spring.

  2. It depends on where I go and who’s working. Some truly have the needs of the consumers at heart and will help them find what’s best for them even if it is not what they represent, however, others lie to push “their” products regardless of the sincere journey the person took to get there and locate something. They want sales. Period. To me, that’s not helpful. At counters where they are proficient in their products and can adequately recommend, I find them helpful as well as those who lend a hand either way except just for their benefit. I rejected a job when Benefit was just starting because of what the department store head of cosmetics expected of me yet that was not of Benefit’s owners’ knowledge. When I know I want, I just want quickly in and out without any interjections. Again it depends on place and people working. <3

  3. Yeah, that’s pretty much the whole of it. It really depends, and I will go back to a counter a few times so I can ask questions of different SAs and gauge just how much of a damn they give. Unfortunately, where I live, I’ve only met three counter people that aren’t willing to smile, nod, and do whatever it takes to make a sale. Of the three, two actually knew their product, and the third might’ve been new or covering a shift at that particular counter. :( Makes me sad.

  4. I find it depends on:

    – Brand: Different brands may not have the exact same hiring requirements, and training would most certainly vary between brands.

    – Location: Apart from internal regulations enforced by, say, the department store the counter is located at, I find that cultural differences between sales assistants in different countries can be very drastic. For example, Indonesian sales assistants usually have rather unrealistic sales goals that they have to meet if they don’t want to get a pay cut, and this results in them pushing products to potential customers like crazy.

    – The person themselves: This one boils down to personality and the ability to empathize with your customer. You can’t exactly help if you don’t care about your customer and just want them to pay and get out of the door!

    That being said, Chanel sales assistants are generally the worst in their snobbiness, and I find this to be the case worldwide. Even equally luxe brands like YSL, Armani, Dior, and Guerlain are better, although it may have something to do with the fact that those four belong to a parent company, unlike Chanel.

    • Avatar of LU LU

      I actually have to mention I had a terrible experience at a Chanel counter. The SA told me and my mother she went with the lighter foundation on my mom because she’s been doing this 12 years and she knows people from my region prefer to look lighter. I was so appalled I put down the 90 dollar moisturizer my mom loved, and spent my money at the Lancome counter.

      • I came from Southeast Asia, and I’m veeeery familiar with that issue. It was actually so bad that despite most people in my country having tanned skin, no foundation existed for the longest time that caters to people darker than NC 25-30. (It’s a long history of bias caused by colonization and overall classism)

        I can imagine how frustrating it would be to receive that kind of service, though. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior and I’m sorry you had to go through that.

        Don’t assume, people, asking and clarifying is easier. Remember that if you work retail, your job is to help your customers, not to decide for them.

        • Same here…just posted about this. I have a “Mediterranean” skin color (as considered by makeup SAs, so I’ve learned), but I’m often told that lighter shades will “brighten” my look, etc. I remember asking a Bare Minerals SA to LOOK at my neck, and my arms, then LOOK at the foundation she was recommending. So she dropped the foundation and decided to try selling bronzer to me. It’s still hard for me to find color matches, but it’s much much better than it used to be. For the most part, though, I can’t imagine I’d be able to find a foundation in a nearby drugstore, or Target, or places like that. Actually, I order my foundation from professional makeup supply places, or brand websites, to avoid the frustration in stores.

          • I actually took classes on beauty retail, and they emphasized so much on asking questions. Some people might prefer lighter-shade foundation (me included, since they tend to oxidize on me), but not everyone does and that’s completely fine! There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to beauty, I find. That’s why I always find it rude when a sales assistant tries to push products on customers without making any effort to find out what they REALLY want.

            I’m very lucky that Christine’s coloring is quite close to mine, so it’s easy to figure out what foundation shades would work on me from her amazingly high-quality photos and reviews. However, I can certainly imagine the frustration of trying to find a foundation that matches well. I tend to stick to sheer to medium coverage so it’s more forgiving (also eliminates the need to switch foundations between summer and winter), but I’m also lucky that I don’t need much coverage and my skintone doesn’t vary much throughout the year, so I can’t say my approach would work on everyone. :/

      • JKJ

        What!!! What an ignorant assumption for her to make. I hope she doesn’t also do the reverse to very pale skinned ladies (like myself)–“I used the darker foundation because I know people with your skin like to be tan.” Umm no, many of us are happy with our skin tone just the way it is and want makeup that matches. Wow!

        • I find that many sales assistants are just lazy when it comes to color-matching. I’m an NC/NW 25-30 at best, and I’ve had someone at MAC look at me for half a second and matched me to NC45.

          The few times I was matched perfectly, the sales assistants would sit me down, ask me a few questions (if I tend to go light or dark, if I prefer my undertones neutralized, etc), and then test a few shades on my jawline for me to see — Not for them to decide for me. It does take more time, but ugh, it IS part of their job, so laziness isn’t tolerable.

          • That is truly crazy. Beyond lazy. What? It was the first bottle she managed to pick up? You must have been so confused…the “expert” giving you such a strange “match”! I’m NC35/37 and I’m pretty sure NC45 would make me look like I went swimming in 1980s-style “orange” self-tanners.

            • If it was the first bottle she picked up then I get it, but she just gestured to the foundation display without picking anything up! In her defense, I do have a weird coloring that sometimes makes people think I’m darker than I really am (didn’t help that I used to be peroxide blond, I suppose), and my mixed ethnicity might make it difficult to place me within a range of ethnic-specific skintone. But despite being NC 25, I’d say I look NC 35, at most, so it wasn’t exactly within the acceptable margin or error. :/

    • I can’t say I’ve had a bad experience at Chanel (mostly because I never shop Chanel products), but the two WORST sales experiences I’ve ever had have both been at a Guerlain counter (one at Saks, one at Neiman). SO snobby and unwilling to assist. Sorry I don’t wear designer from head to toe, sales lady, but was willing to spend hundreds on your cosmetics. Their loss.

      • So sorry to hear about your experience, Maddie. :( Whenever I hear something like that happens, I’d always quote Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous in my head: “You only work in a shop, you know, you can drop the attitude”. Some snobby SA’s forget that they don’t OWN the brand, sadly, and working in a designer store doesn’t automatically make them better than someone working in a fast food place — Both are retail jobs, for a start.

  5. Lalah

    Yes at some counters I go to

  6. It depends. Most of them are generally very helpful about their particular product line, but not all of them are very friendly. It’s a bit puzzling to me, since here they’re trying to convince people to shell out three digits worth of money to buy one item from some brands, which I would think would be facilitated by honey rather than vinegar…
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  7. Avatar of Catherine CatherineM

    It really depends on the person at the counter. Some people really do know what they are talking about, others don’t. I once met a great sales person at a MAC counter when I was shopping for my first red lipstick, and she really took her time, talked me through the best options for my coloring and we tried a bunch of stuff. I bought not one, but two and still love them today, years later. For some reason, I unfurtunately only had bad experiences at Chanel counters,

  8. I hope this doesn’t sound bad but not really! As a makeup lover I do a ton of research on products before I buy them so I tend to know all about a product before I go and look at it. That and I read reviews for new stuff (like your amazing blog) all the time so I kinda have an extensive knowledge on all products and brands. That and I find a lot of people at makeup counters just try and sell you things and only know about the products because it’s their job. The store gave them the info and they kinda left it at that, it rare to see some one passionate about their makeup sales job these days!
    At my school I’m known as the product queen, you can basically ask me about any product and I can list 2-3 reviews just off the top of my head! Hahah (:

    • Avatar of Maggie Maggie

      Yes, I typically do find that them helpful–and am impressed by the lengths some have gone to help me. I’ve had SA’s spend nearly an hour trying to find dupes for products I can no longer wear due to allergies or put in time to call corporate for a question, etc. I actually am surprised how little some SA’s are paid.

      To be fair, I only like to go shopping during non-busy hours–bc I dislike crowds and SA’s are probably in better moods and are more available to give better service.

      Also, it helps that I know and understand myself, my coloring and my product preferences–and communicate this well. I help people help me.

  9. Avatar of Kat Kat

    Hardly ever. Nice maybe, helpful, hardly ever.

  10. Defintley depends on brands and location.. most of the time they are quite helpful..

  11. Depends on the brand. I find some of them quite intimidating and the volume of make-up they wear really off-putting! Do they make them wear everything you can fit at once on your face?

    Clinique are really friendly and not pushy at all.
    Benefit are really really pushy to the point where I find myself avoiding them even though I love the brand.
    MAC just completely ignore me, which has really put me off them.

    Note, I live in Scotland. When I vistited the US I found salespeople everywhere just generally nicer – it isn’t just a stereotype, customer service there is just excellent! Either that or they saw my tourist excitement and knew they could rinse me of all my money with just a smile, haha!

  12. Julia

    Most of the time they are, although the girls from the Mac counter are rude, unless a guy is there, they’re the nicest. Sephora’s people are always nice!

  13. There are some that are definetly knowledgeable and very helpful. But then, there are some that are clearly working their commision and suggesting products left and right, just to make a sale, or increase it.

    And then, there are some that you know more than them (I’m looking at you guy from friday at the MAC store), and you have to basically give them a lesson on the brand they are selling. (I have been buying MAC since 1997)

  14. Avatar of Abigail AbigailOD

    Very well said, Christine! I find the salespeople most passionate and most knowledgeable at the higher-priced brands. Worth mentioning too that these more expensive brands invest (training, education, motivation) in their people much more than the others, so it shows through quite easily.

  15. zainab

    Generally yes, though I’m mostly basing this on the two stores I usually shop at. The only thing that can be annoying is when they try and suggest too many options or stuff that’s not really in my budget.

  16. Avatar of Urfa StrangeOne

    My experience isn’t precisely what I call bad but some are just so over-eager to sell and I’m a quiet, contemplative shopper (I can stare at something for hours before deciding to buy it) so I usually feel too harassed and other times they’re too busy goofing off that they never respond to my questions. I am 100% more happy to buy online because I never get what I want at the counters and end up with things I don’t want.

    There is this one place where one girl who flat out told me a product wouldn’t work for my skin type and I wanted to shake her hand for being truthful and responding when she was prompted to.

  17. The absolutely nicest, most helpful people I’ve ever met at a make-up counter were the MAC girls at selfridges in London. They took out colors for me that were not in the display, talked to me about the formulas, applied lipstick to me (and offered it too, i didn’t ask!) and at no point pressured me to buy especially after she found out that the exchange rate would kill me! (they are 15 dollars in the us and 15 pounds in the uk so that like 25 dollars)

  18. I have found a few supremely talented and enthusiastic jewels out there, but the majority of the time, no! Biggest peeve: pushing more and more products from their line. I recognize this is their job, but the smart ones show you how to use the product with the one you just bought and introduce you gently without pressure knowing this is what will keep you coming back to them; the trust that they will only promote products which will truly work for you. I’ve also met a couple of people who opened my eyes to colour possibilities and had a real eye for knowing what would work well on various skin tones. I typically get slotted in the ‘warm’ category, but too warm colours wash me out. My dude at the NARS counter was just the best for picking out products I thought I could never wear and knowing they would be fantastic.

  19. Avatar of Samantha Samantha

    For me, people at MAC are extremely helpful, but there is a good bit of longevity at the store and counter I go to, so I have known some of them 7+ years. Needless to say, the know the products and my likes/dislikes very well.

  20. Carrie

    Not only does it depend on the associate, but the store. I once had a Sephora associate tell me he wasn’t going to try foundation swatches on my face because I was so pale “I could wear anything” (which is actually incredibly false since I’m also very cool toned and few brands actually make foundations that work on me). On the other end, I’m lucky enough to have a freestanding MUFE store in my local mall and they’re all incredibly nice and helpful. Difference between the two: Sephora does do a fair amount of training, but MUFE you do have to be a full on artist so it’s likely the difference between just a job and people doing a job they clearly love.

  21. Yes, I do find the salespeople helpful for the most part (in my experience). I’ve had a few MAC reps who are phenomenal. There have been one or two who seem flighty or not really invested in helping so much as selling. In a recent experience, I felt like the salesperson wasn’t really listening–I went to MAC, asking for a better contour powder and made it clear that I knew how to contour, but wanted something that lasts longer (what I was using was fading quickly). She gave me all these tips on HOW to contour, instead, and took forever to get to recommending a different product (which a different artist had to offer). I have a feeling that maybe she wasn’t as knowledgeable and was nervous about recommending something, but it turned me off. Most other times, I find that MAC reps are super passionate and helpful.

    I find Sephora hit-and-miss. I’ve had a couple awesome reps who really know their stuff and tried to help me instead of just sell me the hottest new products. The misses were obviously those who just wanted to sell. I totally understand that and expect it, actually, but it’s nice to have the salespeople who try to help, first; and sell after.
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  22. A lot of factors contribute to how helpful a salesperson or beauty advisor is. I think a lot of it stems back to the training provided by the company they represent. Some companies only hold seminars once a year to educate their employees on new products and techniques. In a world where there’s a new tool, product, or technique coming out every day, it’s so important for consultants to stay on top of the trends but also know all of the basics.

    A great salesperson will always listen to their customer’s concerns. I’ve run into consultants with a “one look fits all” mentality. I’ve asked for natural and gotten bold. I’ve asked for bold and gotten natural. I’ve been talked out of the gorgeous coral lipstick that I really wanted into a gorgeous red lipstick that I really didn’t need. I’ve been told to try heavy creams on my oilier skin. I’ve also had some great experiences with consultants who did a phenomenal job. I love when I’m introduced to a new product that really addresses one of my concerns, like the Too Faced finishing powder recommended to me to reduce shine without making me look more “made up.”

    Lastly, I think sometimes we contribute to our own negative experiences at the beauty counter. Often times we go in and have absolutely no idea what we want and aren’t sure how to relay our desires to the consultant. We might end up going home with a product we had no intention of buying and place some blame on the consultant when really it might have been better to walk away and think about what we really want before making a hasty purchase. :)

  23. Generally, I do not find salespeople at the beauty counter very helpful. Most of the time they’re told by their managers to try to sell a certain amount of a specific product each day, and I can usually tell which product they’re pushing me toward.

    Every now and then (maybe one out of ten times) I’ll find a great salesperson who loves what (s)he does, and who will even send me to a different counter if a cheaper and/or better quality product is offered there. These are the salespeople I truly appreciate and respect.

  24. It depends. I find that places where the BAs are on commission, they can be a little pushy and I don’t like that at all. When I worked at a counter, that was not my selling style – I liked to show how much I genuinely loved the product and make sales through honest experience and testimony. I like when people do that rather than pushing for me to buy a product.
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  25. Avatar of Ellie Ellie

    I generally research products before I buy them, So, when I go to the counter I usually know what I want and don’t need much help at all.

  26. It depends. Like you mentioned, some can be really knowledgeable but most times I feel like I know a little more so I just shop on my own. I tend to do a lot of research before checking out a product so I usually don’t need much help at the counters anyway lol
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  27. I varies salesperson to salesperson. If I have the choice, I usually B-line for the gay guys. They are almost always there because they’re passionate, whereas chicks it’s really hit or miss. I’ve come across a lot of female salespeople who are just there for the discount and don’t know what they’re talking about.

  28. I’ve had the luck of being helped by really nice salespersons who have not been pushy and have rather made suggestions or showed me “just arrived” products. There was this girl at Lancome that explained with so much joy what this or that was that I loved to shop with her. In my first visit to a MAC counter I approached the girl with the best makeup and it was a great choice – she was very patient, helpful and passionate about the brand. Unfortunately, here in Mexico it is rare that salespersons stay at the same counter/store for long – either they are transferred to other locations or you simply can´t find them in your next visit and no one can tell you what happened to them.

  29. Avatar of sabitha roselyn

    I don’t think companies realize HOW empowered/knowledgable shoppers are nowadays – at least from my experience shopping at the counters. I’ve been to the counters at nordstroms and sephora and i really like the service of the associates – but I take all recommendations with a grain of salt. The thing that irritates me is when the associates give you attitude or are kind of condescending (interestingly this has happened while shopping at certain department stores in my country rather than the US)… o well, that’s how they lose customers!!!

  30. Avatar of LU LU

    Depends on time and location, I usually avoid touristy areas. They’re helpful if I make it clear that I know what I’m talking about, so they can’t just sell me anything. Then, they’re very helpful because they understand the specifics of what I’m looking for. If I find I know more about products than the SA, I will actually ask for further assistance from someone who has greater knowledge of what I want.

  31. Sarah

    As everyone else says–it depends on the person, but for me it also depends on the product I am looking for. If it is nail polish or skincare, I know as much or more than any salesperson–the best thing they can do is let me know when the new product will be arriving and offer to hold it for me :) I don’t always trust myself to choose the right foundation or blush shades, so even if someone isn’t the most knowledgable, I appreciate a second opinion on choosing a shade. As long as they don’t try to make me look bronzed!

  32. I’ve had good an bad experiences so it’s hard to quantify. My first trip back to Sephora was an over staffed nightmare. Even with 3 makeovers happening there was still way too much staff for the small store it is!
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  33. I generally prefer browsing in Sephora as opposed to beauty counters because I feel like you have so much more freedom and room to breathe at Sephora. When I’m at a counter, I always feel like the sales associates are either breathing down my neck or completely ignoring me. I have one or two go-to counters where I have made “friends” with the people working there, but I will only stop if they are working.

    • I prefer shopping at Sephora as well. The sales associates may not be experts on every single brand they carry, but I love that they give generally unbiased opinions. They could put a whole look together using MUFE, Korres, Urban Decay, and Too Faced and not think twice about it. They just show you the products and brands they love the most. At a single brand beauty counter, you’ll rarely hear someone at Clinique tell you to go over to MAC for the best foundation. The brand they sell is always superior to any other brand, and whether we realize it or not, they scoff when you spend $20 at their counter and jump over to a different counter and spend $80.

  34. Dawn

    Not as a rule. I usually say I am browsing, and as soon as I need help, I’ll let them know. I try not to go on weekends – when it seems likethe frenzy to “sell, sell, sell!!” is at its peak. And if I WANT help, I look carefully around for a salesperson with a makeup look that seems similsr to my own – not overdone or overly colorful.

  35. Absolutely not helpful most of the time. I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve had makeup salespeople try to convince me to buy foundations that don’t even remotely match my skin tone just because it was the lightest shade they had. It doesn’t help that I usually know more about their products than they do, but most of my experiences with counter people (not Sephora employees, who are usually much better, since I believe they don’t work on commission) have been negative.

    Once I even caught a girl making fun of me to her coworker because I said that their eyeliner wasn’t black enough for my tastes. She thought I had left the store. I just stood there and stared at her until she walked away. I mean come on…

    • Kate

      I hope you called or emailed a complaint to HQ or their manager. I worked at Starbucks for a few years and there were so many customers I wanted to gossip about but you wait until there are absolutely no customers around or you just giggle to yourself. It is bad enough to hear employees making fun of a customer but it is absolutely unacceptable to hear an employee making fun of you. I swear some people were raised by wolves.

    • Avatar of Kat Kat

      Same for me with the foundations, especially at Ulta. They just throw all the lightest shades at me, even though only one or two of them actually matches me.

      As for that one girl — who doesn’t understand varying degrees of black eyeliner? I thought this was general knowledge!

  36. Avatar of WildDove WildDove

    Most helpful to me have been traveling MUA’s and regional managers at makeover events for Bobbi Brown, Becca, MAC. One MUA at Sephora pointed me to the Josie Maran Argan Illuminator as a solution to a problem that I can’t even remember now, which became an instant “OMG I must have this amazing item” after trying the product on my face before purchasing – a serendipitous event. I find Chanel to be a bit too hovering and pushy for my taste – I think they construe this as “service.”

  37. Avatar of fabiola fabiola

    I rather do my research about the product I want before I go, so I don’t have to bother anybody like those girls at MAC counters. One time I was swatching mac breeze blush and this lady told me that’s too dark for you, I am an nc15, but I was looking at it for my mom who is an nc40-45. But still, anybody could wear it with a light hand. I didn’t want to explain her that it wasn’t for me, I told her that I like it, and she ask me where are you from? I said from here (miami) and she was very rude too say, you don’t look like you are from here, you need some sun honey. I felt judge by her, just because I didn’t fit her stereotype, I guess she just didn’t like me. I rather don’t shop there if I see her.

  38. most of the time beauty counters are very helpful, I think it all depends on locations and stores. I love sephora they are very attentive most of the time. Other counters quickly help and want to make a sale, it all depends where you go and LOCATION; mac, macys, nordstroms etc…..

  39. Krista

    I have found that MAC girls are pretty knowledgeable form my experiences But i have to say on a Saturday afternoon I feel like i have to fight for attention at a MAC booth if i have questions. I do really like the customer service at Lancome and Bobbie Browne booths for years. Some of the others are sometime too aggressive and you feel attacked before you can make a decision. I agree with the other poster about Benefit being overly aggressive i end up leaving without looking because of that. Sometimes retail professionals in general don’t seem to like people who want to browse before buying.

  40. Vee

    Not always. I have encountered a few salespeople who were incredibly knowledgeable, and I was very happy with their recommendations. But, sadly, many are just there to sell me stuff. That’s the reason why I just started doing research on my own, so I can know more about skincare and makeup products. I find reviews from other consumers a lot more helpful than salespeople.
    That being said, I read a couple of comments here about their not-so-good experiences with Chanel salespeople. My experience was actually the opposite. The most helpful salesperson I’ve ever talked to was at Chanel in Chicago. She wasn’t snobby at all…very patient, nice and knew her stuff. However, my experience at the Lancome counter was a really bad one. The salesladies were rolling their eyes whenever I asked them a question about their products! I don’t know about you, but I can’t just buy something without knowing what it is that I’m actually buying.

  41. Avatar of Amy AmyBS

    I much prefer to do my own research and browse on my own. I hate feeling pressured!

  42. They’re usually very nice at Sephora, but I find the most HELPFUL at my regular Bobby Brown and MAC counter (with the exception of this one girl at MAC). I think since the Sephora staff deal with so many brands they can’t keep up. You might think it’d be an advantage to be able to recommed products accross different brands, but I think its a bit detrimental in most cases.

  43. Avatar of Deborah Deborah

    Yes, I find makeup salespeople to be incredibly helpful!

  44. It definitely depends on what brand, where you go and who is working. I have had an awesome experience at the MAC store in the mall by me and then an awful experience at that same mall with a different person.

  45. Avatar of Lori Lori P

    I don’t deal much with beauty counters but the SA’s at my local Sephora are pretty top-notch for the most part. I have gotten some very good recommendations concerning skin care and I can be quite picky on that because I have oily AND very sensitive skin. I’ve noticed that the younger, newer SA’s don’t know how to deal with me but the ones that have been there a while remember me and we can really start chatting about all things beauty.

  46. Avatar of Sondra Sondra

    I find the Chanel counter is less than useful at my Nordstrom. None of them like to give samples no matter how much I spent. I mentioned that to the Guerlain rep once and she blasted them. She told them that if I spent $1 or $1000, I deserved their attention and respect. I still call her when I want a Chanel item. She loves the Guerlain line and she is passionate about it. She helps me with Chantecaille, Guerlain, and La Mer. They all share the same counter. She is also a freelance MUA. Love her!

  47. Taylor

    It depends. I always have good experiences at Sephora. MAC however, tends to hire snooty salespeople. I rarely find a MAC MUA that doesn’t have a “I’m better than you because I know everything about makeup” attitude, or just acts like they don’t wanna help me in general. Oh, and don’t let them know about your personal knowledge of makeup! They really get upset when that happens. I guess it makes them feel intimidated that you may know more about their job and products than they do? Idk. Pretty much every MAC counter I’ve been to has salespeople like this. With Chanel, Laura Mercier, and other brands…I usually get a kind of condescending vibe from the salespeople. Usually there’s an older or middle aged woman working there, who doesn’t take me seriously or doesn’t want to help me because they think I’m young and don’t know anything about makeup (however, I am 21 and successful MUA). They always call me “sweetie” or “honey” in a condescending manner. Pretty much, as if I am a child. Because of my experiences, I try to just buy my products online or make a quick trip to avoid those situations.

  48. Jenni

    Contrary to what some have commented, I’ve received the best customer services at Chanel counters/stores, like 95% of the time. These days I’ve grown to appreciate when an SA said (after i swatched, but decided to leave the store because i need time to think about the purchase) “nevermind, you’re welcome to drop by if you have time to check out!”.

    I concur with others about Benefit sales being ever so pushy, I’ve experienced this locally and abroad (in the UK), which is why I stopped going to their counters at all (avoid their SAs like the plague, literally).

    For other brands like MAC, Armani, Shisiedo, Bobbi Brown, etc they tend to be helpful ONLY if i show indication I’d buy something. Say I walked into an Armani store, knowing I”ll buy 6 ETKs, I asked them to give me one of each color. Then the SA turned to be very attentive. But for the most part, to respond to the question we’re commenting on today, the answer is a big fat NO. I found the SAs to know less than what I expected them to – some flipped the tube to check when I asked them if the product has SPF included or not (of course I knew the answer), some hesitated when I asked if the eyeshadow quad is 2 matte, 2 shimmer (hello Guerlain!), some can’t even answer whether their face oil is mineral oil based or plant-based (again Guerlain!).

    I can safely conclude that i’ve never bumped into an SA who is truly passionate and know their products well.

  49. Sometimes. I’m quite young and even younger looking so sometimes they don’t take me as seriously or they try to teach me things. Usually, when I walk into a MAC or a Ulta or a Sephora or a department store, I already have a product in mind that I just want to see for my own eyes, swatch, and buy. I first judge a product by ingredients, then performance. All of my experience with people who work on the counter is that they know very little to nothing about biochemistry(or chemistry in general) and cosmetic ingredients. I’ve had my minor squabbles with them. Usually, they’re pretty helpful in foundation or eyeshadow techniques, though. Mostly, I like to be left to my own devices, but it’s nice when a sale’s lady puts her passion into it and helps me branch out into something unusual, like orange eyeshadow, or helps me with a product I wouldn’t consider buying. Now, when they’re getting feisty about selling a product, especially a placebo-type product with poor ingredients, is when I find them hindering in my experience.

  50. I have found Benefit & NARS counters to be good extremely helpful, knowledgeable and quite friendly. But ive also had some dreadful experiences such as browsing for a new blush at a Benefit counter and being ignored even when I asked the price of a product!

  51. melissa

    yes they can be incredibly helpful..but there is a fine line between helpful & flat out annoying being pushed on another item perhaps

  52. I would say that I rarely find them helpful. I tend to go to the same MAC store (Boca Town Center) because they know me there and I really do trust the opinion of the artists there. Otherwise, my experience with other counters is the sales associate trying to sell me more than I need.

  53. I find them either too eager and pushy or not very attentive at all. One time I asked to try a lipstick that looked exactly like what I wanted. I didn’t like it. The salesperson asked me why and I didn’t feel like explaining so I said something like it’s just not what I’m looking for. She then started suggesting different ones and being really pushy and although I appreciate the help, I really wished she would listen to what i was saying and tune into my idea but instead just veered off completely. It was exhausting so I left lol.

  54. christinev

    When they put stuff on you , they never ask how you like it? Which I think is weird. I have tried bronzer 3 x and returned it 3x.

  55. I always have fun with them, and I appreciate their attempts to help me; but, in all my years of buying makeup I can’t think of many SAs who actually helped me. My hugest problem has always been foundation matching, and from there it just goes downhill. One of my most vivid SA “missteps” was at a Clinique counter where an SA tried to convince me to purchase a “Very Fair” foundation; based on my eye color! I took one look at the shade she chose and (thinking what could I know?) stuttered that it looked much too light for me. She said, “But your eyes are a fair/cool color”. Maybe they are, but my skin is an Olive/Warm color. In reality any Clinique foundation that I could possibly wear is in Clinique’s Medium range. I still remember the look on the SA’s face when she swatched “Stay Sunny” (which was the best match at the time, and I didn’t know any better) on my jaw. She said, “You’re right, the Medium shade definitely blends right in.” I’m not slamming her, by the way, she was truly trying to be helpful, and she was very nice. I’m just recalling some of the silly ways SAs have been trained to “color match”, and giggling. Eye color? How could that have ever made sense to anyone?

  56. Avatar of Alison Alison

    I actually think that when myself or my close family have a positive experience with a salesperson, it REALLY stands out to the point where we end up telling each other about how surprised we were about it!

  57. Rebecca

    Depends – I do not trust people on counters like Clinique/Clarins/Chanel and I certainly do not trust the people who work at Benefit. They are just glorified salespersons in my eyes and I often get the impression they are more concerned with making a sale than actually helping me. I recently was forced by a lady on a Benefit counter to try their Big Easy BB cream – she practically held me down and swiped it on the driest part of my face that day which was my chin. I know from reviwes that the Big Easy BB cream has been slated for clinging to dry patches. She was more interested in finding me a colour match and selling that to me rather than seeing that the product was not suitable for my dry skin and perhaps recommending something else.

    Can’t fault the girls/guys at my local MAC – they have always helped me when I’ve asked for help (I generally just ask them to advise me on a new colour of eyeshadow or lipstick as they are my main purchases from MAC).

  58. I have never had much luck with Sephora workers, but Mac ladies never fail to impress me! You have to realize counters usually require cosmetology degrees while Sephora doesn’t (I’m just guessing, correct me if I’m wrong) But I’ve been to YSL, Bobbi Brown, and Mac counters and received wonderful help.