Do You Ever Give Unsolicited Advice to People You Bump Into at a Beauty Counter?

Published in: Just For Fun

I think you should go with this blush

GURRRRL, you don’t even know. I try to keep my mouth shut — I really do — because, seriously, who wants advice from a rand-o stranger covered in cat hair wearing a scrunchie? I look like a crazy person standing there with a big smile on my face. πŸ™‚

But sometimes I can’t help it, especially when I eavesdrop on a conversation and hear the word, “concealer.” That’s usually when I interrupt.


Sometimes I end up making friends with the people I have these conversations with. Usually (sometimes I think they think I’m just weird).

One time I helped a very nice guy and his boyfriend choose a tinted moisturizer at a MAC counter. “Try both shades,” I suggested, “one on each cheek, and then go outside with a mirror to see them in daylight. Then, choose the color you like best.” Afterward, they took me to coffee (I had a soy latte) and we chatted for a couple hours at Starbucks.

Sometimes, because I get excited when I’m talking about makeup, people assume I work at the counter. We’ll get to talking, having a good time, and then suddenly they’ll say, “Great! Well, that settles it,” and they’ll hand me a credit card.

Ummm…I don’t work here. I’m sorry. I was just passing by… This has actually happened quite a few times at Nordstrom and a Sephora.

Ah, makeup. It brings people together. πŸ™‚

Do you ever give unsolicited advice to people you bump into at a beauty counter?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,




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So far, 50 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Arianne says:

    I always have strong urges to dole out some beauty advice, but I never do. LOL I just think I’ll get so many dirty looks. Maybe if one time I am wearing an all-black-everythang outfit, I would. πŸ™‚
    Arianne recently posted … Garnier Ultra-Lift Transformer Review + Giveaway!

  2. Lorraine says:

    I do this more at the drugstore than at Nordstrom. And I don’t look so dolled that anyone might mistake me for an SA at the counter. But I swear, I have to interrupt when I overhear SAs giving wrong info. I will not hold back! It is better to admit you don’t know and get someone who does than to give out misinformation. Total pet peeve and that should never happen at t high end place like nordstroms, but it does.

    PS- Have you ever been recognized? if I bumped into you at Sephora I think I would go and bother you immediately! I’d probably end up making you late for something, with all my questions. πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lorraine,

      Yes it does. It happened earlier this week at the MAC counter, LOL. And it’s happened a few times at Sephora in my town. If we bump into each other please say hi! I always love a good makeup chat. πŸ˜€

  3. Alison M says:

    I recently walked a woman through the trio of UD Naked palettes. She was looking awfully distraught over making a decision so I gave her my two cents. She seemed rather relieved. At least I want to think she did πŸ™‚
    Alison M recently posted … NARS Larger Than Life Lip Gloss in Bimini Review and Swatches

  4. ame says:

    I do it ALL THE TIME. And it’s not just makeup stuff, jewelry related events as well. Salespeople HATE ME.

  5. Rads says:

    Haaaa..they gave you their card? You are GOOD! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ I get soooo tempted to hop in and help, but I am awfully shy about talking to people, so most times I just shut up πŸ˜›
    Rads recently posted … Today’s Makeup: Smokey Eyes and Coral Lips

    • Karen says:

      LOL, yeah. Quite a few times at Nordstrom. I think if I worked there I’d do an decent job of meeting any sales goals…

      • Rads says:

        You most definitely would! And I love your videos because of how real/normal you seem in them..not that other people seem fake, but you do seem more like a friend talking πŸ™‚

        • Karen says:

          Aww, thanks Rads. That’s really nice of you to say that. I’m actually working on some vids right now! More Fab 5’s.

          How are things on your end? Anything exciting going on this weekend?

          • Rads says:

            Weekend – GAME πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Not that I know much about what’s happening but I sort of can figure out bits and pieces now..and it’s fun πŸ˜€

  6. Emmeline says:

    I’ve done it a few times but I’m always terrified someone will tell me off! I’ll offer an opinion if it looks like they want one though, sometimes people are afraid to ask strangers and I’m outgoing so I’ll just offer and hope I read the situation correctly πŸ˜‰
    Emmeline recently posted … I love pie!

  7. Tiffany says:

    I give out unsolicited beauty advice all the time. To my friends, coworkers, people in Sephora. It doesn’t matter. LOL! Happy Friday, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Happy Friday, Tiffany! What are your plans for the weekend?

      • Tiffany says:

        I plan on doing some major relaxing, painting my nails (I’m thinking red) and catching up on some TV shows. I started watching The Good Wife and I’m hooked!

        • Karen says:

          Nice! I need to paint my nails too. My toes desperately need some TLC. So, The Good Wife, huh? I’m just about to finish season 5 of Breaking Bad and I need a new show, so thanks for the recommendation.

          Speaking of TV, I tried to watch Tim Gunn’s new show last night and was like, “Eh.”

  8. Monica P says:

    Sure, I may say that I like an item if I see someone buying a product that I like and use.

    Monica P recently posted … Swimming helps a young arthritic dog

  9. Vanessa says:

    lol, I love that you posted this!

    I wear the standard MUA uniform of head to toe black (maybe with dark jeans sometimes), and my makeup is always done, so people approach me at any counter, Sephora, and MAC store that I walk into. I give advice on eyebrows and winged liner more than anything!

    Sometimes I butt into conversations if I hear a makeup atrocity about to happen, like super red blush to match super red lipstick and blue eyeshadow, all at the same time.

  10. Carina says:

    Those are such great stories! I don’t know if I could talk to people and give them makeup advice, though! I’d be terrified of what they’d think of me, a rand-o stranger D:
    Carina recently posted … What’s the Deal with Nail Polish?

  11. Bella says:

    I love your humour!! I tend to do this in children’s bookshops. haha!!! Someone asks for a book for, oh, a 1,2 4,5 or whatever-year-old, the teenager managing the shop looks momentarily non-plussed, and I’m all over the shopper LOL!

  12. LOL! Yup, I’m definitely in the same boat as you — I just can’t keep my mouth shut if I overhear a store clerk giving out false facts! For someone as young-looking (and, uh, unprofessional-looking) as myself, I’m surprised how many people think I work in the store >.<
    Rae // theNotice recently posted … theNotice’s favourite products of 2013 | New Year, New Loves… but here are my favourites from the last one

  13. Majick says:

    oMG, Tabs is too funny. πŸ˜‰
    Yes, I give unsolicited advice all the time. ANd, like Ame it could be about jewelry and fashion, or hair as well. I just can’t help myself. I get so excited, especially when someone is first getting into makeup or wants to change/update their look. WHen I retire I will probably get a parttime gig at Ulta. Right now I don’t want to mess with my “fav customer” dynamic. LOL (or give up the weekends, I already work full time, just not in the “right” profession. lol)

  14. Jennifer says:

    If someone looks clueless, and no one is around to help, I will. Although little old ladies (60+) usually do the opposite of my suggestion, then sigh and say they will keep looking.

  15. Sylirael says:

    Not usually, because I don’t really consider myself enough of an expert! If someone asks my opinion I’ll gladly share it though. This happens more often than you’d think… I must have one of those faces!
    Sylirael recently posted … The Bigger the Loot, the Better! Clinique Chubby Sticks in Chunky Cherry and Grandest Grape

  16. Ashley says:

    I loved reading this post and the comments. I end up doing this quite often at my local Sephora @JCpenny. Once a small line happened while I was helping someone find their foundation shade. In 30 minutes I helped 4-5 people out. It was so fun. The manager who I’ve known for years was there so I was actually helping her out which was nice :). For some reason I feel like I could never do this at Mac. I speak fluent Mac but I feel like a little girl there.

    One customer I was helping mentioned she didn’t wear mascara. I was speechless and I didn’t know how to respond. Like gurll, it would do so much for your eyes! But alas, the cat had gotten my tongue.

    My fear is that I come off as too passionate/excited about products that it turns people off. But at the same time I don’t try to hold back too much.

    Anywho, I’m going to IMATS for both days with my Mom. I’m so beyond excited. Do you think you will ever attend?

  17. hanna says:

    Haha Never! I’d be afraid of pressuring them.
    hanna recently posted … Katazoom Monogram Wall Decal

  18. Ashleigh says:

    No, Im usually the one asking advice, hence coming to your blog to read yours! If I ever saw you in Sephora I’d ask you a lot of questions for sure!

  19. yelena says:

    omg I’m literally laughing out loud reading this post! hahaha. I thought I was the only crazy one who did this. Key word for me is “brows” and I just have to jump in and direct them to my HG brow product – tarte brow mousse because I think everyone deserves to have beautiful brows πŸ™‚

    thanks for this post Karen!

  20. Jessica says:

    I always dole out advice and usually it is welcome! I have been told that I know more than most of the people that work at Sephora. It is pretty funny.

  21. Mackenzie says:

    I’m disturbingly notorious for this one! I work at a chain-type of store so especially if I end up at simply a different location, I just start blabbing to the other customers and giving recommendations/advice if there are no SAs around.

    It’s totally different when I’m shopping though – I rely heavily on SA assistance even though I really should have no problems myself, but it’s a good way to get me to try new things. I tend to go up to the most impressive-looking SA (makeup/hair wise) and just demand like, “WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCT? PLEASE SHOW IT AND THEN SELL IT TO ME”, hahaha!

  22. Aysha says:

    Ive always wanted to share my recommendations or advice if theyre trying to make a makeup related decision but usually Im too scared to do so, in case they arent feeling very receptive. Maybe attempting to do so should be this year’s resolution!

  23. Julie says:

    I do give unsolicited advice every once in a while! The other day I was in Ulta and a woman was asking one of the salespeople for a brand of hair care called ‘Perfect Hair Day’. She was getting frustrated when the saleswoman was saying they didn’t carry that brand, so I chimed in and asked if she was talking about the product Perfect Hair Day by Living Proof. She looked so relieved and I felt good for helping out!
    Julie recently posted … Maybelline Color Elixir in Captivating Carnation

  24. Carla N. says:

    Nope – I force myself to wait until I’m asked, and fortunately, I often am.
    It’s very tempting, though, when someone says, “Wow; your makeup looks so much better than mine!” to respond, “Well, let’s talk about that …”
    If someone says, “I don’t know how you get your lipstick to look so great,” I’ll spill my cosmetics guts, giving advice on balms, stains, liners, glosses, favorite lipstick brands/formulas, etc.
    In other words, while I don’t give unsolicited advice, it doesn’t take much to make me feel “solicited.” πŸ™‚

  25. nai says:

    I’ve given out unsolicited beauty advice. last time was because this woman was swatching the laura mercier baby lips lippy during Christmas season. All I did was point out that the holiday set includes baby lips but worked out to $11/lippy versus $20+ for the individual. I didn’t hang around to see what she ended up doing.

    I’ve also given unsolicited condom advice. There was a perplexed and nervous looking couple in the condom section whilst I was perusing the adjacent feminine products area. They stood there and stared at the condoms for what seemed an eternity. Finally, I turned towards them and said: “buy anything but Trojan brand. Of all the major condom brands, they have the highest rate of breakage.” I skedaddled out of there quickly bcs I didn’t want to embarrass them further but I did see a mix of surprise and relief on their faces as I turned away.

    Back to the original subject: sometimes I’ll solicit advice from the customer standing next to me at the makeup counter. =D

  26. Angela says:

    This reminds me of a time I once I helped an older guy pick out some feminine care items for his lady, but that’s about all I’ve done to help someone in the beauty/health departments. Ha!

  27. Vanessa says:

    I’m in exactly the other boat. The other day I was in Sephora thinking “is this brow pencil too dark for my hair?”

    I look around, and all the salespeople are taken.

    I try to look available and meet the eyes of strangers… maybe someone will lend an opinion? The customers are purposefully looking away.

    I try to approach someone, “can I ask you a question?” She smiles and keeps walking…

    This went on for 20 minutes. It was a stressful time. hahaha

  28. Lori P says:

    I normally don’t but sometimes I have customers and even the SAs at Sephora (at least the ones that know me by name) will come up and ask me questions about skincare because I do have pretty good skin for my age (I’m almost 46). I tell them my situation (I have oily, sensitive skin and also diabetic). I like the boscia line and some other stuff. I do pick the SAs brains because I know what works for me might not work for others.

  29. Meg says:

    So glad I’m not the only one!! I like to think I give good advice, but I can also be a baaaad enabler. “Get both!” I used to work in a drug store and my manager made me the official beauty advisor because I was always in the makeup aisle helping people lol.
    Meg recently posted … Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick in Pink Fever

  30. Madeline Richmond says:

    I do this all the time! Once someone asked if I worked at Sephora lol. I wish! I always give advice to my mom too.

  31. breyerchic04 says:

    On the day after Christmas I went to the Mac counter and put on Up the Amp then walked over to Lush and bought a few things. When I came back there were about 20 people at the counter shopping and all of them wanted to know which lipstick I had, because it was SOOO cute. The employees told me I should work there (sadly there’s no mac within an hour of my house).

  32. Cathy says:

    OMG YES! I actually don’t go to sephora and ultra much. I dont even go into mac as often as I use to but I do give unsolicited advice at the drugstores.

    This lady was at target on the phone with her niece and her niece was asking her to buy all these products as stocking stuffers around Christmas time. I overheard her say a few products and said that she had no idea what her niece was talking about. There was no SA in sight, so I just chimed in. I even walked her to the aisle to grab every product on the list as well as a few extra products I absolutely love lol

    I also tend to do this with nail polishes. People will look at a shade and wonder how opaque it is or if the color would look right.. being a nail junkie I chime right in lol.
    Cathy recently posted … Geo Princess Mimi (Bambi Series) Circle Lenses Review + Photos

  33. Erica says:

    I try to reserve comments only when I’m asked. I tend to give unsolicited advice to the very young (lol). I always attempt to compliment people whose makeup looks nice too. I thnk that’s equally as important.

  34. Noon says:

    I love complimenting people when something looks good on them because I think nothing makes you feel more confident than a compliment from someone you don’t know! I love to help people feel good about what they’re buying when they’re wavering by letting them know it’s good on them.

  35. Erin says:

    I’m more likely to do this when I hear an SA giving ridiculous skincare advice. After they walk away I will approach and say something like “that’s not true, Google it when you get home” or “This item over here is better for that problem then this one”. I’m a huge skincare nerd from retail copy to actual dermatology journals so I’ve got a much better knowledge base to work from them most mall SA’s. I don’t feel bad about approaching the person if they really have a serious concern or are being given harmful advice.

  36. fancie says:

    I’ve worked in cosmetics before so I’m always giving out beauty tips and advice lol. It doesn’t help that I love makeup and read blogs like crazy lol
    fancie recently posted … Milani Sangria Color Statement Lipstick Review

  37. Mysty says:

    Haha, like a few people said already, I do this on everything (clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, heels … etc) all the time and sales people hate me, or they offer me a job. LMAO. You’ll know right away if someone thinks you’re nuts and bothering them. Just back away slowly. πŸ˜‰ No harm, no foul. But for the most part people love the help. And they don’t have to agree with you, but they usually appreciate genuine insight! People do it to me too and I love that!

  38. Daniel says:

    I sometimes give my opinion, specially when I find a person trying to decide between two brands or shades, or openly asking somebody if they’ve seen/knownabout some item. People give me weird looks because most of the time I don’t wear that much makeup, or because I don’t have pretty skin (I save foundation for special occasions because my skin is very sensitive and I have scars), but they relax when they realise I know what I’m talking about, and generally go with my advice. A customer once told the people at my go-to Sephora that they should hire me because I was ‘very good at sales’.

    If I bumped into you I would love to chat about being an NC42 in a world of NC-20s hahahahaha, and about kitty supermodels πŸ™‚

  39. Adriana RP says:

    In the last black friday at sephora I started giving advices to a girl… it was about eyeshadow palettes, but at the end she asked me advice about blushes… LOL

  40. Rachel P. says:

    Ok, this is actually hilarious because I am SO that person, haha! It’s happened more than once, but most recently, I was literally just at Walgreens restocking on some Wet N Wild stuff. And a sales lady came to check on me, and I started blabbing this positive, (probably) overly-excited review about the balm stains, and a woman shopping nearby (not even for makeup- she was just pushing her cart). And she was totally listening in and ended coming over to grab all of the colors! And I thought- I am just spreading that makeup love!

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