How to Make the Most of a Makeover

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So you feel like you need a little kick in your beauty routine, but aren’t sure where to start? Whether it’s a change in seasons, a change in you or a special event, a beauty counter makeover can put the blossom back in your blush. Here are a few tips to help you navigate your way to success.

Your Desired Outcome

The first step is determining what your goal is. If you have a look in mind, feel free to bring pictures of what you are going for. If you don’t have anything in particular in mind, take a look in the mirror and decide what are you happy with and what areas need a bit more oomph.

Any little bit of info from you will ensure that you are on the same page as your makeup artist and will help you get the beautiful result you desire. Makeup artists are talented, but they can’t read minds, and makeovers are no time for surprises.

Location, Location, Location

The best place to start is a department store beauty section (I recommend my favorite, Nordstrom), or a makeup boutique, such as Sephora. Amongst the bustle of black clothing, flourishing mascara wands and impeccable makeup, you will find the best brands all laid out before you. This will save you time and effort, keeping you refreshed and open to enjoying the experience.

The Right Time

Unless you are under a time restraint due to an event, the most opportune time to hit a beauty counter is right when it opens or in the evenings. This ensures that you miss the masses arriving at peak shopping hours. The fewer shoppers around, the less confusion at the counter and the more attention focused on you (the star of this show).

While we are on the subject of time, make sure you allow yourself about an hour to browse, get your makeover and make your purchases.

Finding Your Brand

So you’ve made it to the beauty department and stand bewildered amongst the staggering amount of choices, waiting for someone to throw you a lipstick or a life raft. What next? I recommend that you take a walk around the counters. Since you have done your homework (ahem….you did read those first three paragraphs didn’t you?), you should have a fairly good idea of what you want.

It’s all out there before you if you look for the signs. Are you heading out for a hot night out on the town?Look for the vibrant colors and funky music pumping out from behind the counter at MAC. If you are looking for a more neutral look that enhances your beauty, head over to the chic and subtle colors displayed at Bobbi Brown. Mature elegance? Estee Lauder is the spot for you.

WARNING: This is the point in your journey where you are most likely to get thrown off. As many makeup artists work on commission, they can be fairly aggressive in their siren-like attempts to lure you to their counter. This is where you may find the fit you are looking for, but if you don’t like the product or what they have to say, just move on. Nothing works wonders like a smile and a “No thank you. I’m just looking.” Never be afraid to say no. This is your ship, you are the captain and you plot your course. Saying “yes” out of politeness can be a ticket to disappointment, wasted time and wasted money.

Your Guru of Glam

The next step is finding the makeup artist that suits your needs. While a lot of makeup artists may have similar skill levels and training, their personalities vary and are a big part of the overall makeover experience. Take a look around you to observe how the makeup artists interact with their clients. Look for someone who is friendly, informative and has a handle on technique, then request their services for your makeover.

The Beautiful Little Details

Take the time to discuss your wishes with the makeup artist and settle any questions before the makeover begins. For example, do you want false lashes? Make sure they stock and apply them.

Additionally, some counters do charge for a full makeover. If they do charge, they may do it in the form of a minimum purchase required. Anywhere from $30-$50 is about the average. Make sure to settle these details up front; as tears from sticker shock tends to ruin perfectly applied mascara.

The Makeover

You don’t need to arrive bare-faced, as counters have skincare items to remove your makeup (I can hear your collective sighs of relief).

Take a few minutes to discuss your wants and needs with your makeup artist; communication is vital to the makeover process. Talk about your skin type and any problems with your skin. Tell him or her where you are sure of what you want and where you are open to suggestions.

Word of advice: stay open to suggestions you haven’t even considered, as that is where a multitude of beauty surprises are born, but in the same breath, don’t be afraid to say “no”. This is your face, your time and your money. Feel free to stand your ground in an area where you have definite requirements. Makeup artists (myself included) can tend to get carried away in the creative moment and head off on beauty tangents, so occasionally you may have to kindly reel us back in.

Speaking of getting carried away and tangents — while you are going through the makeover process, remember to ask questions. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement or tune out and relax, but picking up little details will serve you well when you are back at home staring naked-faced into your bathroom mirror. You are going to need to know how to execute new techniques, which brushes work best, and where to place those colors.

The Grand Finale

When you finish your department store makeover, a tip isn’t necessary (most counters don’t allow gratuities anyway). If you are pleased with the service, feel free to compliment the artist to their manager or through the store’s website. A kind word goes a long way.

Lovelies, we’ve come to the end of our beautiful journey. Now you can tackle your beauty quest with the confidence and knowledge to succeed. Hopefully you leave the counter with a few new beauty finds, some inspiration a bit of a crush on the beautiful new you!

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