This shopping guide will be consistently updated. While I am not advocating that I am all knowing about shopping (everyone has their preferences), this guide is a starting point for those who are completely lost.
Things to Keep in Mind
- You will not find the perfect product on the first try. There is a slight chance of a good find, but don’t count on it. Be prepared to try multiple products before you find the right one.
- Your perfect product may be discontinued. If you find the perfect item and they discontinue it, don’t be discouraged. There are many companies with numerous products available that you will be able to find something comparable or perhaps better.
- Make sure you shop at places that allow returns. Almost every department store cosmetics counter allows returns. If you are shopping for a drugstore brand, make sure the store you are at will allow returns on used items. This ensures that you can try multiple products until you are satisfied.
Easy Ways to Try Products
- FREE SAMPLES! FREE SAMPLES! FREE SAMPLES! Department store cosmetic counters love to give out free samples. It is a great way to try out lots of different products to find what you want. Have a brand you already like? Wait until they have a gift set, then buy your normal products to get the free samples. They usually have a cute makeup bag too!
- Get a makeover. Makeup counters will allow you to try their products in person; not only cosmetics, but skin care as well. I recommend trying free samples first, because you can see how your skin takes to the product over a few days, but if all else fails, taking time out to get advice and guidance is always a good thing.
- Travel sizes. These are usually seasonal items or the small sizes of product in gift sets. Occasionally I have seen a company come out with travel sizes for a short time that are much cheaper than buying a full-size.
Don’t be Afraid! You are the customer!
I don’t know how many times I have talked to someone who is unhappy with a product, but is too afraid to return it. While you should always make sure that the store you buy from allows returns, if it is in their policy, return it! Don’t be afraid to try multiple things and return them all if you don’t like them! Remember that you are the customer, and you should not force yourself to lose your hard earned money when you have an option to take it back. However, this doesn’t mean that you should fight against a store policy that doesn’t allow returns. ;) The person behind the counter does not make the rules.
If an employee is helping you (especially cosmetic counter associates), tell them exactly what you want. Don’t let them convince you otherwise. Don’t settle and buy a product that isn’t what you are looking for. If you try something you don’t like, don’t be afraid to say “No, I don’t like it.” You have the power of decision. Use it! :)
It doesn’t hurt to be prepared. I like to research different brands and products on the internet. I want to see reviews and product information before I start my search. Many times, this will save you from stopping at every cosmetics store you have access to. Google is your friend!
Not sure how to start your search? Think about some qualities you want in your product. Think about what you want it to do for you. Type those qualities into Google. For example, if I wanted a mascara that was thickening but I also wanted it to separate my lashes, I would start my search at “thickening separating mascara”. You might not get good hits on your first few searches, but look at what is coming up and change your search terms to cater to what you are looking for.
Another great resource for information on products are the cosmetic counter associates. They have been trained to know the products inside and out. Ask them lots of questions. Go ahead and talk their ear off. Glean as much as you can from them since they are a close and reliable source of info.
Beauty on a Budget
Don’t have much money or time? Don’t forget that time is also money. Research can also be bundled into saving time. It can help you know where to go and what product to try first. Start with drugstore brands and work your way up. I always suggest to try higher-end makeup counters, but I have also had my tight budgets where I have bought powder for a dollar! Even if it isn’t the perfect product, it always helps to find a cheap alternative you can handle until you can buy the good stuff.
I hope this guide has been of some help. Check back for updates!