We’ve all been there. Aimlessly wandering through Sephora with the intention of walking out with our next favorite foundation which will make us look like a permanent walking Instagram filter, you know, the cute ones that make your skin look absolutely perfect, not the not the big-mouthed one, nor the one with freckles (although the oversized round glasses sure are cute). I can’t remember if that last one is ig or Snapchat. ANYWAY…back to business. Here’s how to conquer your fear of the foundation shopping experience and making sure you leave with a product that will make you look freakin’ #FLAWLESS.
1. Set some time aside for this. This process is not one to be rushed, trust me on this one. I also recommend, if possible, doing it earlier in the day and ideally not during weekends and absolutely never during holidays.
2. This is the most important piece of advice I can give you and it is also the source of nightmares for some: Show up with a bare skin. Nobody cares that you feel like you look like a reptile, or that your acne is painfully noticeable, or that your under eye circles can be seen from the moon. Approach this experience as a problem to be solved. You have a problem/goal, and our job as makeup artists is to find the best possible solution for your needs. This is IMPOSSIBLE when you’re hiding what we need to examine. Also, when you show up with makeup, we will need to remove your current foundation/powder/cake in order to test foundations on your actual skin which can cause irritation, especially if you have acne, rosacea or dry skin. The less we need to rub your skin during this process, the better.
3. Dead skin be gone! That’s right, exfoliate before going shopping and don’t skip your moisturizer (duh). A lot of medium to full coverage foundations, especially matte formulations, can really showcase imperfections. Showing up with baby-smooth skin will ensure that the pigment in the foundation sticks to your fresh skin, and not your dry, crusty flakes (cue gag).
4. Scope out the talent before asking for assistance. You wouldn’t let someone with bad eyebrows close to your own brows (or take their advice about anything in life, for that matter), right? Check out everybody’s makeup (in this case, their skin) and see whose you like best. If possible, have that person help you out. If they’re busy someone else, tell them you’ll wait for them.
5. Technology is your friend! (When used right). The ColorIQ, which is exclusive to Sephora, is a tool we use to determine your skin undertone and color range. Your skin must be completely make-up free for this tool to accurately work hence my insistence upon you doing this with a bare face. If you’re wearing makeup, we will ask to remove three spots on your face (forehead, chin, and neck) so the light meter can read your skin. Keep in mind, the results are a CLOSE APPROXIMATION to your foundation shade. It gives us artists a starting point and a range of options to begin finding your perfect color match. The system can even filter foundations based on your skin type, formulation (matte, dewy, pressed powder), brand, skin concerns, and much more. If you’ve been victimized by a ColorIQ match gone wrong (I hear this all the time), chances are your artist didn’t do a good job testing the actual product on your skin to ensure a perfect match, or the product oxidized on your skin and got darker after a while which is common in oily skin + matte foundation situations.
6. This is a cardinal rule: DON’T BE A BITCH. A bad attitude is not going to motivate the beauty expert/makeup artist to go the extra mile for you and apply that third or fourth foundation. Not feeling the vibe of the person assisting you? Kindly end the exchange and find someone else to help you. Tension during this process is never a good sign. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: At Sephora (unlike department stores), commission is not part of the compensation plan. Wait, whaa? Yup. Sephora is a service-based company. The ultimate goal to provide a one-of-a-kind, outstanding beauty experience. It’s all about relationships here. This is why Sephora was #1 in global sales and overall growth in 2017 in the prestige cosmetics sector. WE WANT YOU TO LEAVE HAPPY and we want you to want to come back and play. There is absolutely no incentive to continue engaging with a client who is rude and in some awful cases, disrespectful. Hows does your beauty advisor or MUA get rewarded? The service card you are given at the end of your transaction has a link to an online survey. That’s how you ensure your beauty advisor or artist gets ($$$, and verbally) celebrated for providing excellent service, or, in the unfortunate event of you having a bad experience, the survey ensures your voice is heard by management.
7. Get real. Repeat after me: “Instagram and YouTube ARE NOT REAL LIFE.” Continuously repeating, “But so and so on YouTube/Instagram says that ‘X’ product is better,” after your artist has throughly assessed YOUR skin, listened to YOUR goals and concerns and recommended a product (or several) specifically for your skin and tailored to your needs is the fastest way to end up with a product that will make you look like shit. Period.
Still haven’t found the foundation of your dreams? Let me help you! What questions do you have regarding this process? What issues have you encountered in the past?
***This post is no way affiliated or sponsored by Sephora. All thoughts and opinions and obviously my own.