Counter Confidential: Staying Sane At the Holiday Makeup Counter

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"Holidays at the Makeup Counter"

by Undercover Beauty Agent


It's the time of giving, joy, and togetherness. But, as you know, it's also time for crowded stores, tired shoppers, and really, really grumpy sales associates. The beauty counter is supposed to be the fun part of department stores, where customers can buy gifts for friends and family or pick up some goodies for themselves. But during this always-insane month of holiday shopping, it’s typical to run into unhappy customers who have waited in long lines or are just ready to rest their aching feet. Meanwhile, artists at the makeup counter are probably working long shifts, and have to cater to higher volumes of people. Here are some tips for both customers and artists, so everyone can have a happy holiday on either side of the counter.

Be Efficient

Holiday shopping is saturated, and the sheer volume of customers exponentially increases. Counter artists should move quickly, but thoroughly. Awareness is key—know what the best-sellers are and which gift sets are readily available to purchase. Even in high volume, you never want to keep a person waiting too long, so try to acknowledge clients even if you can’t get to them right away.

If you’re a shopper, come in with a general idea of what you’re looking for. If you’d like a makeover, try make an appointment. Some artists get booked very quickly, and you don’t want to be disappointed if there’s no one available.

Be Knowledgeable

It’s okay to make a cheat sheet at the counter. Some customers want to know specifics, like prices! Especially if they’re in a rush. It can be hard to remember little details like if a specific brand has SPF, but if certain hot points are frequently asked, write them down.

Shoppers—artists like to think they know everything about every single brand, but they don’t. If you’re looking for a specific brand, make sure the store carries it first. Then, ask the people at that counter. Don’t ask the people at MAC what they think of Urban Decay Primer Potion. And if you see your artist is busy, read the packaging. There’s usually some helpful information about the product on boxes.

Be Understanding

The holidays can be stressful, and both artists and customers are tired. Plenty of counters hire new people to help relieve some of the stress, but sometimes it’s still not enough.

You might have to expect a longer wait time if an artist is busy. Just keep in mind that it might be short staffed at that particular time. You can tell the artist you’ll be back in twenty minutes, and you can get some other shopping done instead of waiting.

Artists at the counter will end up doing a lot more makeup applications, which is one of the best parts of being a beauty advisor. But if you’re an artist, remember to keep in mind what the client wants. Makeup artists can sometimes subconsciously do makeup in their own style, forgetting to acknowledge what the client asked for. What we think they want and what they actually want are usually different. Not everyone loves glitter. Sad, but true.

Be Thankful

“Thank you” is one of the best gifts an artists can receive. Being acknowledged pushes artists to continue making your shopping experience as pleasant as possible.

And a quick thank you to your customer will always go over well, especially during a stressful season. Thank your customer for their time, for shopping with you, and for being patient around the busiest time of the year.

Undercover Beauty Agent is just an average makeup artist at your local beauty counter who's reporting true stories exclusively for Beautylish: "I love what I do because I get to make people feel beautiful on a daily basis. I'm a beauty advisor in New York City by day and a secret beauty agent by night, totally ready to share all my insider secrets and gossip."