Why I don’t buy makeup at makeup counters

11 Apr 2014

The other day I walked out of Douglas, a perfume & makeup store here in Holland, with a smile on my face and a new foundation in my hands (more about my new foundation later). I then realized that I hardly ever shop in stores for makeup in the US. Yes, I do go to Sephora and Ulta once in a while, but I rarely go to makeup counters.
With ‘makeup counters’ I refer to makeup departments at Macy’s or Nordstrom for example. 9 out of 10 I do my shopping online. The reason for this is because I hate buying makeup at makeup counters. Why? Because there are certain things that people who work there won’t tell you! Keep reading and I’ll tell you what these ‘secrets‘ are.


Yes, you get to play with new products, get free makeovers and hear compliments like “that lipstick looks gorgeous on you” and ‘you have amazing skin’ (true story!). However, there are a bunch of things that a salesperson at a makeup out counter does not want you to know. Here are a couple of them:

If you end up not liking something you bought, you can always take it back
In case you end up getting sucked into a makeover and buying a ton of stuff you don’t want, here’s a little secret: it’s way easier to get a refund than you think. Yep, even if it’s been used or swatched more than once. Every store has a different return policy, but most big department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s give full refunds or store credit back for products. I bet you didn’t know that!

The compliments are fake
Speaking of compliments: if you love it when a salesperson compliments you now “how pretty” you are or “how amazing” your skin is, you can stop feeling so special. They recite these lines to everyone, because it draws them to their counter. With this little ‘boost’ from a ‘beauty expert’, even the most confident women are more likely to talk to her about their skin or makeup concerns and buy products.

The counters are germ-infested
If you’ve ever walked right up to the counter, grabbed a lipstick tester, and put it right to your lips, you might want to re-think that! The testers on the makeup counter are filled with germs and bacteria. Trust me, you don’t want to touch them!

They won’t waste their time on drugstore product users
The first question a beauty counter salesperson asks you is usually: “Which products are you currently using?”. This is to judge how much money you’re going to spend with them. If you tell them you mostly use drugstore products, they most likely won’t give you as much attention. Sad, but true. šŸ™

They won’t be honest about scary ingredients
Ever heard of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy? Makeup counter salespeople know it well. In fact, even if a specific ingredient in a product you’re interested is questionable (think of parabens!), the salesperson won’t mention the ingredient when selling it to you.

Sneaky, huh? This is why I prefer shopping online. šŸ˜€

What about you? Do you like buying cosmetics at makeup counters?

source pic: Google


Kizzy, blogger behind Kizzy Online, originally created this blog to use as her personal life journal. When she moved from the Netherlands to the United States in 2010, she started focusing more on beauty, fashion and lifestyle. She also writes about her life as a wife and a mom of 2 in San Diego, California.


  1. shoebootie Says: April 11, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    I hate beauty counters. I don’t like people touching my fave, I feel grossly inadequate and hate their pushy sales techniques!

  2. Oh, feeling inadequate… forgot to mention that. YES! That’s what happens to me too! šŸ™

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