Monthend Randomness: How Much Should You Trust Beauty Consultants?

I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes here… but… *shrug*. This is something I think we should discuss! Warning: My rants might be childish and sarcastic, so if you can’t take some form of wit no matter how low, stop reading here. I’m not good at being neutral, but I will try to curb my enthusiasm πŸ˜‰


I warned you….



So you go to a cosmetics counter, you sometimes see beautiful girls all made up, or stern senior looking ladies. If it’s a counter or store you frequent, they can be the friendliest people on earth. Otherwise, it can be unpleasant especially when they breathe down your neck. At other times, they have the tendency to treat you like you know nothing about makeup. Am I right or am I right?

I am never nasty to these girls or ladies. I mean, they are just doing their job. Some of them do a great job (clap!), others pretty average (kudos for trying), and some just think they can fool you with whatever they say (evil eyes on them). Yes, it’s true. Some even have highly trained laser eyes because they can tell you what foundation shade you are by just glancing at you for no more than 5 seconds in ambient lighting. How impressive is that? My skin is considered fair / light, and I was matched a medium shade no matter how much I protested. So, I took the sample anyway, wore it out the next day, went back to her and showed her my burnt orange skin. Yes, I walked to the counter looking like that. I was matched to a lighter shade, naturally. I hope you readers know how to test a foundation properly. Do NOT rush it.

Then, there was another girl who told me that a skin primer with SPF35 is all I needed for sun protection. If I wore extra sunscreen, it would be too heavy for my oily skin (please note I have normal skin now). Other than the fact that she could assess my skin condition with just one look, she also told me that SPF35 will protect me from harmful UV rays for the entire day! At least 8 hours, she said. And this is a sales consultant from a high end brand. If I didn’t know better, I might have just believed her. She was so serious, she really meant it, I think. Don’t companies provide training anymore? Gasp! Or maybe this luxury brand taught her this!!! OMG, luckily I’m not too in love with their baked formula…

Last one, I promise. So I went to a standalone store, and tested some foundations, again… I mean, it’s the trickiest getting the right shade and texture. The lady matched it to my skin (which is 1 shade darker than the rest of my body) and when I asked her for a shade lighter so I’d look uniform, she refused. She said her trainer taught her to match foundations to the face, not body. Hello? Anyone with some experience would know that skin is supposed to look uniform. She’s also the one who curled my lashes AFTER applying mascara. I never agreed to this practice, and she managed to make my lashes look flat and crimped, AND took away some of my precious lashes, the few that I’ve got! Hey, I thought your brand is all about looking natural…

If you’re experienced in makeup and if you know your skin well, you wouldn’t be fooled. What about those who are still new to makeup? No wonder I see so many people going about with the wrong foundation shades on their skin. For all you know, you might be using skincare that is not right for you at all! So my advice to you is, know yourself. Know what your skin likes and dislikes, and to get a rough idea, do research. There are plenty of blogs around, or ask your friends… or get a test done, like the skin analysis I showed you before. It’s really about trial and error, so pay closer attention to how your skin reacts to a certain product. Otherwise, you’ll be at the mercy of the not so experienced, or the too experienced who take things for granted.

Cosmetic / Skincare companies: If you’re reading this, please train your staff properly. At least have mystery shoppers and do spot checks. Your products might be great, but when there’s a mismatch, the awesomeness doesn’t translate well. All the money spent on research and technology to develop something impressive might be ruined by the hands of the uninformed.

What about you? Have you encountered anything like this? It’s not just me, is it? What…do I look like I’m easily fooled?? Pfft!


xoxo Lily




  • Charlotte

    Yes yes! I agree! It’s really annoying, especially when you are spending that much on a product as a result of their ‘professional’ advice =/

    What’s worse is that Malaysia does not have a return-if-not-satisfy policy! Grrr..

    • Lily

      I think some might abuse the satisfaction guaranteed return policy…even though it would be really good for us sincere consumers! So in the end, it would be best to know what we want, grab it and get out of there. LOL!

  • I appreciate being bilingual because when SAs try to bullshit my friends/family I can tell them to step away πŸ™‚

    • Lily

      Hi Xiao, thanks for dropping by! I would say you’re probably tri-lingual since you’re also from Malaysia? LOL!

      • i realized that after i clicked post πŸ˜›

        • Lily

          Rocks being multilingual, doesn’t it? I remember the many instances I was being coy… so funny ;-P

  • cc

    Stern looking old lady? Breathing down your neck? Treat you like you know nothing about makeup? Hurry you to buy buy buy before you can finish reading the product labels?

    Try EstΓ©e Lauder, Ipoh Parade. You get all that in one go.

    I love EstΓ©e Lauder ANR.. but that counter I avoid like a plague!

    • Lily

      I usually go to the one at Kinta City. I like smiles and I get it there πŸ™‚

  • Experienced all of the above πŸ˜› I take everything SA say with a liberal pinch of salt. If I have the time and patience, I listen but don’t retain anything except price πŸ˜› If I have no time nor patience, I just do a guerilla test (zoom in, test while the SA is serving someone else and run away) or just tell them what I want, tell them I’m in a hurry, pay and go πŸ™‚

    • Lily

      I agree with you whole heartedly. I usually prefer if they left me alone unless I have some questions… and then sometimes, I’d regret that I asked because I didn’t get the answers I wanted. Haha!

  • Hanny Daforcena

    I agree with PB. I usually get what I want and go, and after that, I’ll ask if there’s any samples, HAHAHAHA! That being said, the SAs I’ve seen so far are alright. Don’t feel any antagonism towards them, heh heh. That being said, the middle-aged SAs are friendlier in my books, maybe it’s because of their experience?

    • Lily

      Sounds like you’ve had pleasant experiences all round. Lucky you! I wouldn’t use the word antagonism because that’s kinda strong… but their responses to simple questions do raise an eyebrow or two sometimes. I might be asking too much, but it would be a world with rainbows if all SAs are friendly and knowledgeable and professional!

  • Bugs

    Once a SA dispense a rice grain size of SPF on the back of my hand, spread it and say : “u only need this much for the whole face…see, it’s not oily at all….” I nearly broke out in laughter but managed to control myself and told her that with that amount of product to spread over my hand, of course it won;t be oily. I didn’t even bother to “educate” her the amount of SPF to use for full protection…. Haha !

    • Lily

      Oh, I got that too. She said… “with our advanced sunscreen technology, you really need a small dot for the entire face. So even though this is pricey, this sunscreen can last you a very long time”… Hahahaha!! What a sales pitch!!

  • Liyeun

    Hahaha I had it all, too! Those SAs really, thought they could bullshit us women into buying their products. I hate that sometimes when we dont wear make up to their counters, they ASSUME we noe nothing bout it. I literally mean, NOTHING! There was once i hv to educate a promoter from skii taman maluri, cheras to differentiate btwn pink tone and yellow tones of their foundation. Duhhhhh……

    • Lily

      And you’d think the consultants are the ones who should educate you, right? In general, my experiences are quite positive. I think they can give more relevant advice and sound more professional if they asked us more questions and find out what we really want. Well, other than those who really try to bulls*&t us. Haha!

  • Sofia

    Haha yes I am amazed when I go shopping for cosmetics and makeup, when I am perfectly made up (by me at home), and they talk to me as if I don’t have any idea about makeup, duh. To make matters worse, I am a qualified pharmacist and I work in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, so I know my stuff when it comes to this. So when I shop for things like face creams, I am sometimes utterly amazed at what they are telling me with regards to the ingredients in the products and what they do… sometimes it sounds like their reciting a science fiction novel. I agree that cosmetic companies should provide thorough training, both for when they have clients that are beginners in cosmetics, and also so as not to amaze customers like myself πŸ™‚

    I’ll be fair though because I have come up with some very good consultants πŸ™‚

    • Lily

      Hi Sofia, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚ I know what you mean… and really, consumers nowadays are so well informed that the SAs really have to buck up. Trainings provided by their companies might not be enough anymore. If they want to catch up, I’m afraid they have to know their competitors’ products as well. So… If we read 10 blogs, they should be reading 20 + more. And it’s so unlucky for the SAs to have a pharmacist as customer. It’s like they’re in high school, trying to sell to a professor. LOL!
      Oh, I agree. I have a few consultants I go back to but just to be on the safe side, I still do my own research first πŸ˜‰

  • Sarah

    Hi Lily!

    Love this post.

    I used to trust beauty consultants/assistants (oh so naive!).

    My worst experiences have been during my foundation hunts. From being left to my own devices (even when I specifically mentioned I was interested in buying and had asked for help), to being pasted with a foundation (at least 3 shades too light) for a “brightening” effect.

    Though, I would take the uninformed consultants over the “tak nak layan customer” ones any day.

    • Lily

      Aaw Sarah, I wouldn’t say you were naive to trust beauty consultants. We are supposed to trust them because they are supposed to know better. I’m sure you’ve had pleasant experiences too, right? Most of the time, I return to the counter for my next purchase because of the lovely customer service πŸ˜‰

  • I get that kind of stuff ALL the time–I seriously have the absolute WORST luck with SA’s. I mean it–every single time I’ve gone to a department store in the last 7 or 8 months, I always have at LEAST one SA give me a hard time/be incredibly rude to me/treat me like I’m a moron.

    Recently, I was looking at sunscreens and a SA asked if I needed help. I had time so I thought “why not?!” and asked for her recommendations. My only stipulation was that it be a physical sunscreen for oily skin. She assured me she knew of the perfect one for me and grabbed the bottle. I listened to her talking it up while checking out the label and lo and behold–it was a chemical sunscreen…that was most definitely NOT for oily skin. I would’ve been fine with it if she had said she didn’t know the difference between physical and chemical–but I hate when SA’s pretend like they know what you’re talking about and assume that you won’t realize it

    • Lily

      LOL Becca! I think we all have our experiences. What I shared here is just the tip of the iceberg. However, I have experienced some very lovely ones who really know what they are talking about. I usually like to frequent that few places, where I already know the SAs, and it gets awkward all over again when they resigned and I have to get to know the new ones. Know what I mean?

  • Oh and PS: your hair looks FAB in these pics!!! πŸ˜€

    • Lily

      Thank you! I guess curls are less boring than dead straight hair. Heh πŸ™‚