Counter Confidential: Transformation at the Beauty Counter


Counter Confidential

"Transformation at the Beauty Counter" by Undercover Beauty Agent

There are certain things I expect working at a makeup counter. I’m used to requests for a natural look or a smoky eye, though there are days I’m itching to do something more challenging for a client. It’s easy to find inspiration from the people who sit in my chair, but I’ve accepted the fact that not everyone is ready to be bold with their makeup. However, there have been a few occasions where I’ve been able to exercise my complete creativity. These customers were usually going to a concert or party, but my client on this particular night was unlike any other I’ve worked on.

On slow nights, me and my co-workers usually busy cleaning and restocking shelves, so on this particular evening, I didn’t notice I had a customer waiting. He was an older gentleman in a business suit—short, a bit gray, and seemingly harmless. His whole look was very conservative, so I assumed he was shopping for a gift. Note to self: it is never safe to assume anything at a makeup counter.

He asked me about various pieces of makeup and I made sure to show him the best gift sets we had. Then things got a little uncomfortable. He started asking questions like “do you do your own makeup? do you freelance? and what time we closed. At this point, I was wondering if this man was trying to hit on me. I was ready to call my manager for help when he whispered his next question: “Do you do drag makeup?”

It took me a few seconds to realize that he was the one that wanted the makeover. He asked if I freelanced because he felt uncomfortable sitting down in front of everyone and was hoping for a more private setting. I felt like an idiot for making so many assumptions, but I was extremely delighted that I would be able to do a complete transformation on a client.

Drag makeup is a bit more over the top, and much more harsh. It’s a process that can be tedious because it’s like reconstructing an entire face. I sat him an area that wasn’t quite in the open and faced him toward the wall. Since he didn’t have his wig cap to hold back his hair, we improvised by using a spa headband. Finding glue to erase his eyebrows was a challenge, but I eventually found a glue stick in the office. Full coverage foundation and heavy contouring is a must, followed by new feminine eyebrows. For his eyes, we settled on an electric blue smoky eye, with a bit of glitter liner and dramatic false lashes. False lashes really tied the look together because they elongated and widened his eyes. I left his mouth free of any lip color because he said he wanted to apply the lipstick himself, later. I’ll admit he looked a bit out of place with the rest of his formal businessman attire, but his sunglasses helped him blend in (even though it was past 9:00pm by the time he left my store).

A complete makeup transformation is unusual to do at a beauty counter, but some places do provide this service. The makeup counter isn’t just a place where you get an everyday look. Many artists are willing to create masterpieces, so long as clients are willing. Customers, don’t be afraid to ask your artist for something creative. And artists, try not to make assumptions based on appearances.

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."