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Counter Confidential: Little Miss Know It All


Counter Confidential

"Little Miss Know It All" by Undercover Beauty Agent

Though I work at a cosmetics counter, I still consider myself a work-in-progress. I’m confident in my skills as a makeup artist, but I won’t claim to be an expert. Going to makeup school is completely different from actually working on clients who you have to remember to please. I still have a lot to learn, and growing as an artist takes time. I’ve actually learned so much from the people I work with, but if you work at a counter you may know about the know-it-all customer.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of these ladies, and yes, they can be difficult to work with in the beginning. They’re the ones who think they know more than you do, who are critical of every swipe of your brush, and who can’t help but comment on every shade you choose. They may seem pesky, but maybe you should give them a chance before writing them off.

Recently, a customer walked up to me at the counter and asked if there were any artists free for a quick makeover. When I said I was free ,she asked how many years of professional experience I had. I felt like she was sizing me up and felt judged because of how inexperienced I may have seemed in her eyes. I reassured her that it was just makeup. If she didn’t like what I did, we could take it off and I’d get her another artist. I knew she was going to be one of those customers who’d have to make a comment about everything I did.

All she wanted was for me to make her eyes look bigger. Simple, but I felt the need to prove myself. I spent a few more minutes than I normally would to make sure it was perfect. Feeling proud of the soft golden eyes I had given her, I urged her to tell me exactly what she thought. She said I made her look tired and droopy. She even said I took too long to complete the look. My heart fell into the pit of my stomach. Nothing hurts worse than someone criticizing your work, especially when you worked hard. I think she noticed my crestfallen face after she finished wiping away the makeup, because she gently asked, “Will you at least fill in my brows?”

Feeling the need to redeem myself, I worked on one brow until I felt it was ready for inspection. Again, she didn’t like it. She said her brows weren’t arched enough and she didn’t like my technique. When she started cleaning the pencil, I thought she was going to fill them in herself. I wasn’t expecting her pinkie to pull the skin right above my brow or for her to start filling in my brows. A few seconds later, a mirror was in my face with perfect brows staring back.

Not only was I was in shock that a customer did my makeup without my permission, but that she did it with precision in half the time I did my brows. After showing me her technique for doing brows, I was fascinated. She told me she studied theatrical makeup before going into interior design. I misjudged her, and I’m glad that I finally listened to her, because I learned a lot. But just in case your story doesn’t have a happy ending, here are some tips if you’re ever in a tough spot.

Tips for Dealing With a Know-It-All
1. Keep an open mind.

No one knows everything. There are always new techniques for you to learn, and your client may be the one to show it to you. Remember to listen and don’t judge based on appearances.

2. Be polite.

Don’t be rude to your client. Ever. Even if what she’s saying is completely bizarre, be nice about it. I’ve had to help a lady take off lashes that had been applied with weave glue. I knew this should never be done, but instead of being nasty about it, I warned her about the dangers as best I could without offending her.

3. Find common ground.

If she seems to know a lot about makeup, embrace it. Ask about her favorite brands, or where she learned about applying makeup. You’ll definitely find something you have in common, even if it’s just the love you both have for makeup. It’s a great way to make a new friend.  

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."