My counter/makeover experiences

I don’t know about you, but I love a good demo and the chance to get to know a product before I spend my money on it. A lot of us rely on the reviews and recommendations of others, like beauty bloggers and YouTuber’s, but sometimes the best thing to do when you are wanting to try a product, is to go to your nearest counter and ask a brand ambassador/consultant for their help and if it is possible to try the product before buying. This really comes in handy for shade matching and any other queries you have. Lets be honest, how many of us have bought a foundation, tried it at home and realized that the shade didn’t come close or that you look like an oompa loompa? I recently had some counter experiences and thought I would share them with you.

Before I get into my experiences, I want to start by confessing that I feel very intimidated approaching counters and asking questions or to try a product. I always worry that I’m going to say the wrong thing or be judged on my own makeup efforts and lack of knowledge. In the past I have had counters refuse to shade match or show me the product and advised it isn’t company policy or that they don’t have time. One time I was told by the consultant that she would rather help another customer who looked like she wanted to buy something, instead of wasting time shade matching me. That is enough to put you off asking for help for life, but what it really did for me, was put me off the brand. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great people out there that represent their brand perfectly and they are more than happy to help you.These people are usually the ones that feel passionate about the brand and what they are doing. Last week I attended an event at Harvey Nichols and thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to discover more brands and put an end to my concealer search.

I feel like I have been on the hunt for the perfect concealer forever. After a stressful year I have found that my skin has changed and I have developed very dark under eye circles, that are very difficult to cover. I decided to ask for expert advice and consulted with 3 brands at the event and this is how I got on.


First up was Clinique. Nicola over at itsneecola had booked us in for a 15 minute makeover and having heard good things about them ,I thought they might be the ones to help me. The very beautifully made up consultant started by asking me what look I wanted to achieve and if there was anything I wanted to focus on. I practically begged her to end my misery and give me a solution to my dark under eye circles. So, after some chatting we decided on a natural look with the focus on how to conceal these circles. One thing she explained to me straight away was that I should also be looking at treating the cause of these circles, not just trying to hide them. This took me by surprise and got me thinking, as I just put these circles down to lack of sleep or not taking care of myself. After showing me some skin care options, she got down to the foundation and concealer. I couldn’t see what was going on during the process and I would have preferred a mirror to look into, but luckily for me Nicola was in my line of sight and I was able to read off her facial expressions how it was going. All the way through I was told I was about to be amazed at the results and how my search was over, Nicola didn’t appear convinced and I have to say that after I had a look in the mirror, that I wasn’t either. Yeah, she had brightened my under eye area, but for me that only enhanced the issue more. There was still that darkness peeking through and it just did not look natural to me.


I wasn’t overly impressed with the foundation, but that could be down to the light application. What we did agree on was that it was the perfect shade. The consultant was very friendly and knowledgeable. She was the first one to recommend skin care to solve my issue and look beyond concealer. I did feel that she over exaggerated what she had done, so much so that I expected to be someone else when I looked in the mirror. I imagine that you do have a sales target and are told to lay it on a bit thick. Having said that, there was no pressure to buy, only a willingness to help.

Laura Mercier

I have heard good things about this brand, although I hadn’t previously tried any of their products. Feeling a little disappointed with my first make over, I asked a consultant at the counter if there was anything that she could recommend to help with my under eye area. Again, she explained that she could help me cover it, but that we should really focus on treating the circles. She tried out some of their repair eye serum before applying the concealer and advised that if i used that twice everyday, I would find my problem dramatically improved within 2 weeks. That sounded great to me and got me thinking about abandoning my concealer quest for now and focusing on that. She went on to try some concealer on me and while it was a great improvement on what Clinique had done, I still wasn’t convinced. I asked more questions about the serum and nearly fell over when she mentioned the price was £66. I was on a budget and I couldn’t justify the cost at that time, even if she did show me that you only had to use a tiny amount and that I wouldn’t need to buy another one for quite some time.


The consultant was very knowledgeable and friendly. She asked me what had changed in my life and asked if there was any stress/tiredness that could be triggering the circles. I really liked that attention and friendliness. There was no pressure to buy and she really focused on the skin care instead of the concealing and I liked that she looked at a long term solution, instead of just throwing concealer at me.


In normal shopping hours, getting near a MAC counter or being worthy of an MUA’s time can be challenging, but still wanting to find a good concealer, I thought I would give them a try. My only experience of MAC has been their brushes and eye shadows. The MUA got straight down to business and selected 2 types of concealers to try. She talked me through the application and explained why she was using two separate types and shades. Understandably you can’t always get that perfect shade to suit your skin tone. The first and darker of the concealers would help neutralize the dark circles and then the second lighter shade, would help blend that in and brighten up the area. This combo really worked well for me and considering I had already had 2 other applications and makeup removal that night, the results were great and overall the more natural of the concealers I had tried.


The MUA was very friendly and knowledgeable. I ended up walking away with two concealers and feeling satisfied with my choice (reviews coming soon). There was no hard sell, she told me what the products were and encouraged me to think about it. I wanted concealer and that is what I got, but I am glad I didn’t go here first as I probably wouldn’t of gotten to know about skin care options.

So, hopefully as you can see, shopping around is definitely worth it and I guess what I am trying to say after sharing these visits with you is; keep your options open, don’t feel pressured to buy or commit to anything. This is your hard earned money and you need to think carefully before you part with it. If you aren’t 100% happy, take more time to think it over. You could take a girlfriend with you, you can always count on them to be honest with you and tell you when to back away. If you are anything like me, you might need them to extract you. After trying 3 counters I can say that I didn’t feel pressured to buy and that these experiences weren’t what I would cal negative, but I think this was because it was an event rather than a regular shopping experience.

I would love to hear what your experiences have been like. Did you get pressured into buying something that wasn’t right for you? All experiences are welcome.


  • MAC is my favourite of all the counters to visit as I find they really helpful. They’ve shade matched me twice now – for foundation and concealer – and are always helpful when I need to find a product or have a couple of options in mind. What MAC concealers did you get?

    Jaq @

    • I can never usually get near the counters when I go, lol. I ended up with the prep & prime and moisture cover. Any specific mac foundation you would recommend? x

      • I have oily skin so I use Studio Fix Fluid in NC15 because I’m so pale. I like Pro Longwear too but it doesn’t last that long on my oilier areas xx

        • Oh right, might have to give some of their foundation a try. I always pick shades that are lighter, don’t know why I pale myself down but I do. x

  • StargazyEyes

    Wow you’ve had some bloody awful experiences at makeup counter. There’s nothing worse than a snobby consultant though is there, you’re completely right it does put you off a brand – glad you’ve found some concealers that work for you though.

    Sharon x

    • Ha must just be me! Thanks, they seem to be working x

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