Successfully Navigating the Department Store Beauty Counters

Assorted makeup tools and colorful eyeshadow palette.

The department store beauty counters can be an overwhelming place. You see bright lights, smell strong perfume smells, and hear stimulating music. That’s not to mention the counter salespeople. While the salespeople are quite knowledgeable, they are there for one reason: to sell makeup.

Yet, a visit to any department store on a Saturday afternoon will show you. We keep going back to seek out that advice, try new products, and score some samples.

Here are some smart ways to walk away from the department store beauty intact with the new makeup or advice you needed and still have money in your wallet when you leave.

A woman is getting her makeup done at a beauty counter.
Try before you buy!


A woman is getting her makeup done at a beauty counter.
Some counters will even do your makeup for special events. The price is usually a single product purchase.

The Sales Reps Work on Commission

Always remember. The manufacturer reps work on a commission basis. Some are straight commission and others are a base rate plus commission. Keep this in mind and take it with a grain of salt when they insist that an item is a “must-have.”  Only purchase the items you really truly love or need and ignore the high-pressure tactics.

On the other hand, if you love the items and are compelled to purchase, you are helping the salesperson make her living.

A woman is getting her makeup done at a beauty counter in a salon.
The makeup professionals are highly skilled at both makeup and sales.

The Reps Have Extensive Training

The manufacturer reps at the beauty counters have extensive ongoing training. They regularly attend classes to learn new product information, the latest application methods, and color trends.

Moreover, they learn how to bundle items to sell them at the highest ticket price to earn the highest amount of money for their companies.

That said, you will get free expert advice from skilled professionals who are up on the latest techniques and trends.

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A woman is applying lipstick at a beauty counter.
Casually browse and decline assistance if you prefer to look at makeup solo.

You Have Much to Choose From

Perhaps the reason most women flock to the beauty counters is the array of merchandise available to try. At no drugstore chain can you try on 5 or 6 swatches in an effort to find the best red lipstick, for example.

A row of gold lipsticks on a beauty counter.
Try on unlimited lipsticks at the counter.

The Takeaway

Remember to keep in mind that while you are able to try on makeup at will or let the beauty counter rep fix you up, their ultimate goal is to build up a large sale. Whether you want that big purchase or just the item you needed, it is ok to politely say no.

Successfully navigating beauty counters.
Successfully navigating the department store beauty counters. And leave with some money left in your wallet!



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