Makeup

Refresher Course: How to Behave at the Makeup Counter

Manners matter, especially when you're trying to score some helpful hints, free swag and avoid a withering death stare from a pushy sales girl

"Resist the urge to stick your finger into any pot of any makeup. It's just gross."
Put your napkin on your lap. Say "excuse me" when you burp. Don't shave your legs on the bus.

There are certain fundamental etiquette basics that help the world go 'round in a civil manner.

Then there's the Wild West of the department store makeup counter -- or worse, the Benefit section at Ulta -- where manners and decorum get thrown to the wolves and it's every woman for herself.

Not cool.

So not cool in fact that the Miss Manners mavens at Byrdie have compiled a list of 7 cardinal cosmetics counter countenance commandments. (My alliteration juggernaut, not theirs.) Consider incorporating them into your m.o. next time you enter the product seeking fray and, who knows?, you may have a surprisingly serene experience. (Or at the very least come away with a life-changing mascara.)

Here are 5 of the tips to keep in mind -- and keep you classy.

READ: Beauty Etiquette Dilemmas: Solved

#1. Be Patient and Polite: This should be a given but it ain't. Treating the overworked, underpaid, under-respected salesgruntgirl in a courteous, gracious manner will not only make you seem (and feel) like a well-bred, civilized person, it will help her to feel less persecuted and more willing to do her job in a like-minded way. Win/win.

#2. Keep your mitts to yourself: Resist the urge to stick your finger into any pot of any makeup. It's just gross. (Do the ballpark exponential math and shudder.) Instead, ask the (now happy to help) salesperson for a disposable applicator and try away.

#3. Learn: You're there (ostensibly anyway) to gather knowledge about certain products, so don't be too shy to ask questions -- just don't monopolize the associate -- and edit them down to ones that really matter, she has a lot of other people waiting to ask theirs.

#4. Respect the unwritten sample rule: 2-5 samples is the typical allowance; anything more and you're just being piggy. Remember that samples are just that -- a way for you to try a product before plunking down big bucks for the full size -- they're not your own personal free supply of makeup. It's fine to love samples, but that's why beauty editors invented fun, sample-to-your-heart's-content beauty boxes.

#5. Don't feel pressured: It's normal to dread the hard sell but just spin it and realize that they're just doing their job to try to move product. But realize that doesn't mean you have to shell out your hard earned cash to help them fill quotas.

Enjoyed the help but just not interested in buying anything today? "Instead, tell them you appreciate everything and ask for their business card so you can reach out to them if you change your mind, or have any questions in the future," advises Byrdie.

READ: The Nice Girls Guide to Pushy Sales People

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