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Beauty counters...the good, the bad and the ugly

(50 Posts)
flippinada Fri 14-Oct-16 21:45:02

Well, no ugly involved really but I liked the sound of it written down.

I wanted to treat myself to a new foundation today as a treat and, having a couple of brands in mind, visited the counters to get samples before making up my mind. Both high end brands.

The two experiences could not have been more different. On one counter, the CA couldn't have been lovelier. Listened to what I wanted, made recommendations, tried stuff on and gave me several samples (unprompted), so I went back later in the day to make a purchase.

The other one was bloody awful. Complete opposite. I was ignored and ended up being matched to a shade that I knew was several shades too dark. My (admittedly feeble at this point) objections were overridden and I ended up leaving looking like I'd been tangoed - needless to say it's put me off the brand somewhat (the brand prides itself on natural make up btw).

Anyone else have similar tales to share?

domesticslattern Fri 14-Oct-16 21:55:58

Name and shame?

flippinada Fri 14-Oct-16 21:59:54

Well, I don't want to shame the brand as it may just have been that one counter - but I don't mind saying that the very good one was Guerlain.

Finbar Fri 14-Oct-16 22:02:13

I always get shite service at Bobbi Brown!
Please someone come on here and say I'm not alone!!

SallyR0se Fri 14-Oct-16 22:05:50

I just want to wash their faces in MAC. I know it's aimed at young, hip girls. But I would hate to be on the receiving end of a MAC makeover!

flippinada Fri 14-Oct-16 22:15:32

No Finbar, you aren't alone! It was BB.

botemp Fri 14-Oct-16 22:18:21

Avoid Benefit unless you really enjoy looking like you've been muddied up with that bronzer of theirs, I'm convinced I'd look less dirty by rolling in some actual filth. I steer clear of MAC for the exact same reasons as Sally. The girls at Kiko are usually no better (though far, far, friendlier and more helpful than at MAC, just different aesthetic preferences is all).

Love Laura Mercier, always helpful and courteous and never pressure to buy. Chanel are equally friendly and surprisingly good with colour, Armani are great too.

flippinada Fri 14-Oct-16 22:46:27

Oh yes the dreaded dirty bronzer look. Not good when you have pale, cool toned skin. And especially not layered on top of foundation that's several shades too dark.

Wincarnis Fri 14-Oct-16 23:05:44

I have never been able to get served at a my local MAC counter, it"s like trying to gatecrash a private party. I don't bother trying now, i have no desire to be humiliated or tangoed. BB is horrid for service too.
We used to have a lovely Helena Rubenstein counter with great makeup advice but the brand seems to have disappeared now. The Chanel counter is nice too, but then they should be with their prices

Finbar Sat 15-Oct-16 00:52:36

Well OP isnt that interesting that we both had rubbish times at BB?
I always find them unenthusiastic and pretty much unresponsive.
I understand that as I'm not in my 20s perhaps I'm not of much interest to them.., however with age comes Disposable Income you morons!

Twogoats Sat 15-Oct-16 00:54:03

I agree that MAC counters come across as rude. Dosent bother me, I'll spend my cash elsewhere!

dudsville Sat 15-Oct-16 01:03:03

Mac counters/shops are awful.

My chanel counter is friendly and surprisingly a bit down at heel.

DanceTheBlues Sat 15-Oct-16 01:08:03

I went to NARS at the Trafford Centre because I normally use double wear but wanted a light foundation to use in the summer so I was hoping they'd have one pale enough for me to use (I'm the palest shade in Estée Lauder). The woman took half my make up off before putting their primer on and trying to match me with their palest shade. Half my face was ORANGE. She immediately told me they didn't have a match for me, started to take it off and asked if I had my usual foundation with me, which I didn't. She was absolutely mortified and ran over to the Estée Lauder counter to get a sample of my usual foundation and did my make up to a better quality than it was before I'd gone out.

Being so pale I'm used to women at the counter telling me I'm a match when I clearly look like I've had Ronseal sprayed at my face (Dior a big offender), I really appreciated this lady telling me they didn't have a product to suit me. The primer was fantastic and I've used it ever since, and I've trusted them with things like lipstick and eyeshadow since then. Can't rave about them enough.

SallyR0se Sat 15-Oct-16 06:16:50

The lady at Chanel was lovely. Didn't try the hard sell when I said I only wanted lipstick for my wedding. Told her what look I wanted & that I don't do foundation. She produced one eye pot that suited me exactly & my lipstick of choice. Always buy Chanel lipstick, but she listened when I said minimal make-up, please!

Tortadellanonna Sat 15-Oct-16 06:30:09

The body shop are always good

TheInimitableMrsFanshawe Sat 15-Oct-16 07:34:47

I've had good service at Bobbi Brown (John Lewis, Oxford Street) and crap, pushy, up selling service at Bobbi Brown (my local John Lewis). And crap, uninterested service at MAC (Selfridges) and brilliant, helpful, considered advice and service at MAC (two consecutive days, my local branch first thing on a Saturday morning).

Surely it's pot luck on the day?

polyhymnia Sat 15-Oct-16 09:28:41

I've had fabulous service from the BB counter at Selfridges and helpful friendly service from their counter at my local House of Fraser. Really like their stuff too.

HoneyDragon Sat 15-Oct-16 09:33:44

I read your op and thought I bet op was at the BB counter. I had a dire experience with one and as a result. Ever purchased a single product from them.

I know logically not all counters will be the same but it's amazing how one bad experience puts you off an entire brand.

flippinada Sat 15-Oct-16 09:41:03

poly I like their stuff too and have had good experiences with them elsewhere. I think it must depend on the counter. My experience did stand out as particularly awful yesterday though - there was a crowd of them standing around me staring at my face of insisting that the obviously too dark colour was the right one - I felt incredibly self conscious and embarrassed.

Polarbearflavour Sat 15-Oct-16 19:52:39

I generally like Clinque.

EnidButton Sat 15-Oct-16 20:31:57

Visited these counters all over the uk in Selfridges, Boots, Harvey Nichols etc and have found them all to be fairly consistent as far as customer service goes within the brand.

Chanel consistently good. Knowledgable, happy to help, friendly and not pushy. Especially in Boots Trafford centre and Selfridges Trafford centre.

Bobbi Brown love the make up but not very good at helping or giving advice.

Clarins and Lancôme good when you get hold of them, always seem to be understaffed or something.

Clinique good and very nice but slightly pushy and not so great getting skin colours right.

Laura Mercier nice enough but not great with advice and seem desperate for add on sales. Nothing that puts me off. The staff are all friendly.

Ysl knowledgable, willing to help and advise. Can be a bit pushy but nothing too bad.

Dior very helpful and friendly.

MAC consistently dreadful. Over staffed but will ignore customers. Either don't want to give advice or don't know what advice to give. Appear rude, disinterested and like they're about to break into an eyeroll. I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole now. Do occasionally but something online but would rather take my money elsewhere.

Chanel and Dior and probably my favourites for good customer service.

olderthanyouthink Sat 15-Oct-16 21:06:41

I went to a Dior counter with my mum ages ago. She wanted to buy me some nice matching foundation because I can't get cheap foundation like her and all my friends (everyday racism).
I still feel bad about that foundation because it was expensive and the woman there was insistent that it matched, I really didn't, I can't remember why but usually foundation is either ashy or orange. sad

I have mac foundation that matches, I don't trust the people behind the counter (especially if they are white because they are less likely the get it - not racist just often true) so I did extensive research and bought samples before going and buying a bottle.

taybert Sat 15-Oct-16 22:21:22

The woman on my local Clinique counter just points at every colour and says "what about this" in an aggressive tone but doesn't try it on you or recommend anything based on your colouring. Thanks, but I can just look at every single lipstick myself.

flippinada Sat 15-Oct-16 22:26:42

older it's absolutely ridiculous that in this day and age so many foundation ranges don't have inclusive shade ranges. That is one of the things BB do well I think.

Interesting that people are reporting consistent level of service with some brands.

I do think some stores have worse service than others - HoF and JL usually good but I've noticed Debenhams is often short on counter staff.

MeadowHay Sat 15-Oct-16 22:32:45

I have a very limited experience because I'm young and have an anxiety disorder that normally prevents me going anywhere near the make-up counters. BUT on the few occasions that I've used Clinique, and Boots No.7 they have both always been great. Really friendly and kind, make you feel you're special and no bother at all, and always sensitive to my very obvious anxiety and discomfort. And never any pressure to buy, happy to provide samples unprompted as well. Rate both of them but I don't buy from Clinique anymore as it's not a cruelty-free company unfortunately sad

Had mixed experiences at The Body Shop. Some good ones with friendly, sensitive staff. Other times just felt like they were disinterested and wanted to ignore me. One time had someone basically tell me that none of the foundations there would sit nicely on my skin due to my acne. Like I didn't already feel self-conscious enough!! Literally left the store in tears.

Mixed experiences at Lush stores too. Once had an encounter with a horrible woman who was really snotty with me when I was going to buy something but didn't realise how expensive it was. I'm a student at the time was studying but didn't have a job, and DH only worked part-time, so I really didn't have the money to be buying a moisturiser that expensive. I was really embarrassed obviously but politely said I didn't realise it was that expensive and I'd just have the other products please, and instead she started arguing the toss with me about how it lasts for ages, how other moisturisers are similarly priced, and so on so I had to keep saying about how I was sorry but I just wanted the other things (because I'm not as wealthy as you!), and then she literally did a huge frustrated sign and eye rolling at me whilst she went back to edit the til input as slowly as humanly possible. Meanwhile a queue was building up behind me. Was awful, I was fuming. Other times I've had very friendly and helpful staff in Lush stores that have provided me with free samples of stuff (unprompted), although I do find one thing they all have in common is they're constantly trying to sell you more stuff while you're there though which is annoying - I'd love to buy more stuff, I just can't afford to!

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