10 Things Not to Do at the Makeup Counter

Woman testing lipstick at a department store makeup counter
Be courteous at the makeup counter in department stores. Tetra Images/Getty Images

One of the things many people enjoy doing is going to the makeup counter and trying out new products before they plunk down their hard-earned money. That's fine, but remember that there are some basic etiquette guidelines you should follow to make the experience as good as possible for you, the makeup artist, and other customers. Even if you encounter a pushy salesperson, you should handle yourself with poise and grace.

Whether you are at a department store makeup counter or specialty shop, following basic good manners guidelines will give you the best experience possible. The people who work there want to help you, so make sure you have a conversation to let them know what you need and then listen to their suggestions. Even if you don't think you'd like what they recommend, at least be polite.

Here are some things you should not do if you want the best service:

Be Late

Sometimes you can simply walk up to the counter and get service, but if you want to have a full makeover, schedule an appointment. That way, you can be assured that the makeup artist you prefer is there and ready to assist you. Show up on time. If, for some reason you're running late, call to let her know so she can adjust her schedule.

Insist on Getting Ahead of Someone Who has been Waiting

This goes back to the reason you should make an appointment if possible.

Otherwise, you should expect to wait your turn in the queue.

Arrive with an Overly Made-Up Face

You don't have to arrive at the cosmetics counter without makeup, but don't overdo the products before you go. The goal of most makeup artists is to enhance your beauty. You also don't want to spend too much of their time removing what you never should have applied to begin with.

Be Rude and Bossy

The makeup artist has been trained to know what colors and types of makeup look best on each person. Unless you have an allergy to something she is about to apply to your face, let her do her job before you state whether or not you like something. Never be rude to the person behind the counter or tell her how to do her job.

Dip Your Fingers Into the Pot

Ew! Considered as bad as double dipping your chips into the salsa, putting your germy fingers into a product that others will use is downright rude… and gross. Instead, ask the associate for a disposable brush, sponge, or Q-tip. Remember to follow the Golden Rule, this time for sanitary reasons.

Assume or Guess

If you don't know something about a product, ask the sales people. They are trained for their product line, and they can provide the information you need to look your best. However, that doesn't mean you should corner them when there are other customers waiting. Ask your question, listen to the answer, and then step aside until you are ready to make a purchase.

Be a Beggar

Samples are there for the taking, but they are not free to the company providing them. Only take samples of products you are seriously considering purchasing.

Grabbing a handful of samples of items you never intend to purchase is almost as bad as stealing.

Forget the Name of the Person Who Assisted You

Most makeup artists and cosmetics salespeople receive commission, bonuses, or raises based on sales. Take the person's card, tuck it into a safe place in your handbag, and ask for her when you return.

Insist on Tipping

Most department store cosmetics salespeople are not allowed to accept tips, so don't make them uncomfortable by pushing money at them. They'll be much happier if you purchase a product that will ultimately count toward their sales goals.

Be Afraid to Try Something New

Seriously, stretch beyond your comfort zone and try whatever the salesperson recommends. What do you have to lose? If you don't like it, don't buy it. However, you may discover that you love something you never would have thought of.

Have fun with makeup and experiment.