This past weekend I was out and about and found myself at the mall. I had parked outside the local Macy’s department store and therefore had to walk through the downstairs cosmetic counters in order to get back to where I parked which brings me to today’s topic: makeup, skincare and general cosmetic counter sales people.
Now, before I get going, don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say. This doesn’t apply to everyone and anyone at every store in the world. There are always special circumstances.
This mainly focuses on the big department stores where designer high end brands are sold.
That being said, I cannot stand the way most cosmetic sale counter girls do business.
It’s nothing personal; I know they’re just doing their job, but it really upsets me.
A lot of people may not know exactly how they work in terms of sales, product knowledge and customer service so I thought I should discuss this because their marketing plans are very misleading.
First off, the lab coats and general “expert” attire.
They wear this clothing to mislead customers into thinking they are experts on whatever cosmetic products they are selling, but in reality they are anything but.
For instance, I used to buy a lot of cosmetics from counters back in the day. I used anything from Lancome to Clinique to Dior, etc. etc. I’ve tried it all.
Yet, after doing a lot of research on skincare and cosmetics, more importantly a lot of the ingredients that go into them, I began to question sales people a lot more and I noticed something.
They really don’t know much about the products they are selling you.
This brings me to my second peeve: product knowledge and know-how.
Have you ever gone to one of these counters and tried to get an ingredient list for their products?
Or even simply ask them what’s in the products they’re trying to sell you?
They usually get really annoyed or they sort of have a mini freak out because they DO NOT KNOW what is in the products they’re selling you. They only know techniques on HOW to sell it to you, which focuses more on how it will make you look young, amazing, clear skin, blah, etc.
If you ask for an ingredient list (and I recommend you do!), you will likely find they do not have one readily available if at all and they certainly couldn’t tell you more than 1-2 ingredients that are even in the product or how they function. In fact, usually they will simply say “I don’t know, I’m not sure, etc.”
There is also another reason for not having the ingredient list available: they DON’T WANT you to KNOW what’s in their products!
That’s right, parabens, bismuth oxychloride, carcinogens, etc. This is why it’s not readily available. Another reason is that their main ingredient is usually water. A formulation that is over $100 has a main ingredient that is 80-90% water, 2-5% active ingredients (lab engineered) and 5-10% preservatives and fillers to make the shelf life pretty much indefinite.
This means that they have a watered down product that may or may not help your skin at all, might clog your pores and will last longer than you. The use of preservatives helps to ensure that they have very little waste to deal with so they lose little to no profit because they can mass manufacture the products which can then sit in warehouses for decades even before it reaches the shelves where consumers can buy them.
The use of fillers helps a product to spread more in order to make the consumer believe they are getting much more product than they actually are.
Now, I’m not going on a tangent about this because I want to put sales women on blast. I really don’t. I’m not mad at them or hold some animosity toward them at all.
In fact, they are just doing their job which is usually commission based and their sales have a direct impact on their check so I understand.
I really do, but it does upset me on a huge ethical level in terms of corporate greed because I really believe that they should know what’s in the products they are trying to thrust at me and that these cosmetics companies should have some ethical accountability for consumer safety and quality in their products.
It truly frustrates me that they don’t and, especially, that they put great aesthetic efforts into making you, the consumer, believe that they do (lab coats – “I am a skin doctor”).
In fact, research shows that these salespeople are really only taught sales techniques. Many times they don’t know anything more about it than you do.
Aside from the high end cosmetic counters, I have found that places like Sephora, MAC and Ulta have a lot more product knowledge to offer.
They don’t know much about harmful ingredients in cosmetics that I have seen, but they do know a lot more about what can help skin and many times, they are makeup artists that have been trained or have gone to school for it.
Also, there are various companies out there that work very ethically and put a lot of work into the quality in their products.
So, I guess what I’m getting at is I hope that everyone can be more aware and informed when shopping for products that are going on their face.
Given that your skin is a huge part of your body and directly absorbs whatever you put on it, it’s pretty important.
Lastly, things to think about when shopping at cosmetics counters or in cosmetic stores and questions to ask your sales associate/makeup artist/skin “expert”:
- What’s in this product?
- What does the product do exactly?
- Can I see an ingredient list?
- What is the return policy?
There are many more questions you could ask the next time you find yourself at a cosmetics counter and I hope you do ask them.
It’s important for your skin health as well as your overall health to know.
Your skin and body will thank you for it.
What have you guys experienced at cosmetic counters?
Anything similar to my experiences or have you found better product knowledge?
Feel free to share your thoughts on this!
I’d love to discuss it with you all!
I’ll Talk To You Soon : ]