Have You Ever Felt Pressured to Buy Something at a Beauty Counter (Something That You Didn’t Want)?

Published in: Just For Fun


When you walk out of the store with something you didn’t really want and you’re like, “Umm…”

Yup, I have, but out here where I live it’s usually a subtle cajoling and not a hard sell. I’m at my most vulnerable when I’m on the fence about something, too, and the salesperson will sense it. Then when they say the magic words, “If you don’t like it, you can just return it!” — sometimes it’ll nudge me into making the purchase.

If it’s something that I really don’t want and can’t ever see myself using, though, I have no problem saying no, and I’ll try to do it politely, like by saying, “It’s a very different color than I usually wear, so I’ll pass for now,” or “It’s not really something I can see myself wearing, so I need some time think about it.”


How about you? Have you ever felt pressured to buy something at a beauty counter (something that you didn’t want)?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 32 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Reyna says:

    All the darn time! That’s why they’re called “impulse buys”.

  2. Emmy says:

    This post has me all over it! I try to be polite though but sometimes the SA’s are so determined to the core. They can be really rude here and also not provide you with good service the next time!
    Emmy recently posted … EOTD: All That Glitters Is Not Always Gold!

  3. Bella says:

    You can’t return beauty products here, and still counter staff try to pressure you into buying it. I’d say I purchased under pressure (how can I disappoint the nice lady?) at around 18-20, then I wisened up!! So for the last two decades….NO! LOL.

  4. When I was younger that happened quite a few times, but these days I can resist even hardcore pressure. The last time I experienced that was back in Singapore with a skincare “specialist”. I tried to be polite for the first three times, but she kept pushing, so I had to get a little more “determined”.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Igniting the spark again – The Body Shop Body Butters in “Smokey Poppy” and “Fuji Green Tea”

  5. MonicaP says:

    When I was younger – yes, I was an easy sell, especially for the gift with purchase which was usually worthless.

    Now I say, No, I’m good. I just need this xyz product.

    MonicaP recently posted … How a lost t-shirt turned into a dresser re-organization

  6. Jessica says:


    I don’t go to the beauty counters. Just Sephora.

    They might say “If you don’t like it you can return it” but I have my own magic words:

    “I’ll think about it.”
    Jessica recently posted … Evil Kitty Plot

  7. Astrild says:

    There’s no return policy here so I have a few very dark foundations in my collection. I don’t know what happen with foundations but SA always pressure me to get a darker shade that mine and I don’t know how to say no.

  8. Erin says:

    Yes, my last trip to the NARS counter. I just went in to pick up a lipstick. They happened to be out of the shade so I got a whole bunch of other shit. I had 0 intention of getting it when I arrived.
    Erin recently posted … Roulé Rouge Organic Wine

  9. Carolyn says:

    I think when I was younger and still didn’t really have a complete understanding of the value of money, I was easily talked into buying something I didn’t really want. As someone who worked in the makeup industry for many years, my boss would always tell us about “link” items. If someone comes in for lipstick, sell them on the lip gloss and liner and maybe a new blush to compliment the shade. For me, I hated trying to convince someone on something they clearly didn’t want. At first I would get in trouble for not selling more but as my clients got to know me and realize that I was actually interested in helping them find great stuff for them, my client list grew and became very loyal. Before I knew it my sales were usually more than the rest of the girls combined. I look for that now when I shop. Sometimes I’ll ask someone for help just to see how they interact with customers. If they’re genuine and actually helpful, I try to always come back to them even if I could buy whatever it is I want easier online.

  10. Jane says:

    As many of the postings, I did in my younger years. Now that I am older and “wiser”, I have made better decisions. I have learned to say “let me think about it” or “I have something similar at home”. I also make a habit of only going to makeup counters where I am known so the artists know my “comfort level”. I still will try something now and then, but I also realize that my lifestyle has changed and stick with what works for me.

  11. Agata says:

    I hardly ever shop at the makeup counters.When I do, sometimes I do feel pressured to buy something but I always manage to say “no” if I am really not interested.
    Agata recently posted … How to wear red eyeshadow?

  12. When I was younger, yes. But now I only buy what I want/need, even if a sales person is trying to push me into a sale.
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Beauty meets fashion | Lucardi Just D. Daydream rose gold charm bracelet

  13. Vanessa says:

    I feel this all the time. They’ll even recommend things with bad reviews online or that just swatch badly in person. I understand they’re doing their job, but I have to decline. I feel negatively going for something that I’m not thrilled about.

  14. Annesha says:

    This has happened countless no. off times. Especially when I have a breakout or haven’t slept well and my dark circles are more pronounced than usual. The counter-people ALWAYS grab up on these telltale signs, and push and push till I either relent or flee or snarl right back. :/

  15. Sissi says:

    That is why I prefer online shopping. I just can´t handle the pressure!!! 😉
    Sissi recently posted … Sleek MakeUP Review & GIVEAWAY!

  16. Kim says:

    No, not at a beauty counter but I don’t spend a lot of time at them, so that’s probably why. I’ve felt that way about salons in the past when a stylist will try to upgrade a color service or sell a hair product. I usually don’t have a problem politely declining but, as you say, it hasn’t been a hard sell. In that case I would probably find it harder to be polite but I still don’t think I’d buy it. 🙂

    PS Totally off topic but I was thinking about your comment about possibly finding another mouser (and having no support aside from Baby Girl). I think *she* will be doing the hard sell on that when she gets to be about 4 or 5 and that’s when El Hub won’t be able to say no. Don’t tell him I’m plotting against him but we also had one cat before the boys were born. As you know, we’re up to 4 and get regular pressure for more (which I have no problem resisting). HAHA!

  17. Kelly B. says:

    I look very young so I swear every time I walk up to a beauty counter all the employees flock to me 😀 They all try very hard to get me to buy one more fragrance or foundation but I’m always extremely firm (on a budget!) that I’m not interested. Although, one time I did surrender to a gorgeous Urban Decay eyeshadow that I really ended up loving!
    Kelly B. recently posted … Brow Power? IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Eyebrow Pencil Review

  18. Iris says:

    Yep, when I was in H.K. on vacation at 17, I was talked into a demo and then the “hard sell”. I got my way out of it by saying I didn’t have enough H.K. dollars at the moment to buy the items. Ugh, and I didn’t have enough time after to look at the stationary and books I was on my way to see before the experience. I didn’t know at the time how this was bad service and avoided makeup counters, etc. for a while afterward. Nowadays, I have a list of items I want when I go to a beauty counter. They’re pretty good about no pressure service here.

  19. ame says:

    YES, but I am 50-50 on declining because I end up returning them if I don’t want them.

  20. breyerchic04 says:

    You know, it really hasn’t. I only remember once being encouraged to buy a product I hadn’t planned on, I went in planning on getting concealer and they wanted me to also buy mac prep and prime vibrancy eye. Usually I’m pretty specific about what I need help with, and get specifically that, or if the shade feels off i say I need to wear it around and I’ll decide the next day.

  21. Myriam says:

    I don’t know about other Mac stores but the ones in Montréal are really into pressure selling! That one time I went for a bottle of Face and Body and the girl asked me ten times if I was sure I didn’t want anything else.. After, she ended up telling me I should go look for the concealers because I looked tired! A little rude considering I was a bare-faced a 18 years old girl in the middle of an exam rush!
    Ohh and congrats for your baby girl!!! or like we say in french, félicitations 🙂

  22. Shannon says:

    Yep! The strongest push I ever got was at this little boutiquey skincare place in the West Village. There was someone standing outside the shop, luring people in with free samples, and she asked me if I wanted to try out whatever product she was featuring. Sure, I said, and I was trapped! I walked into the boutique and she did the whole gambit – washing my hands with this nice moisturizing/exfoliating wash, telling me how dirty hands get in NYC, “look how dirty that water is,” moisturizing with the finest moisturizing oils, etc. etc. I was like “hmm that’s nice but I think I like my current routine.” And then she would dive in again. This went on for FAR too long – several levels of “discounts” on certain products – and I finally said a “no” loud enough that I was released from the perfumed skincare dungeon.
    I can handle that every once in a while, but I am SO turned off when people want me to buy something I’m not interested in!
    I’m not usually REALLY on the fence about things. There’s the category of “totally want this but totally won’t use it” and the category of “that’s too expensive for me to justify,” both of which probably look like I’m on the fence about, because I WANT them, but definitely won’t buy them.

  23. kellly says:

    I’m on a pretty tight budget lately so it’s totally true if I say “I can’t afford it”.

  24. wina chan says:

    I went to a shiseido event where they said there is a celebrity makeup artist to give you a makeup over. Since I don’t usually do my makeup, I wanted to see if I could get some tips. When I got there, I didn’t see a celebrity makeup artist but a sales person came over to help me. They gave me a facial and talked about their products. After that a counter associate helped me with makeup application. She was really nice explained what products was good for my skin. She gave me the best eyebrows too. I wanted to get a specific foundation but she told me that there is oil in that foundation and recommended me a different one. I felt she was professional and honest. After that another customer asked for her and she excused herself and helped another customer. Then another women came and asked what I wanted. Not wanting to leave without buying anything, I decided to go for the pureness facial moisturizer that they recommended. That women tried to get me to buy the whole set but I told her I don’t have enough money and that it was expensive. After that she walked away with my credit and I heard her say in chinese (she either thought I didn’t know chinese or that I couldn’t hear her) that how is $32 expensive when all the other ladies had bought atleast $100 of products. I felt so bad.

    I’ve never went to any beauty events ever since. I think those events are here just to attract you to buy items.

  25. Chelsea says:

    I’m not great about this. I guess that’s why I shop online a lot, LOL! When I worked in cosmetics, I tried not to be too pushy.

  26. Rachel R. says:

    Yes, which is why I avoid makeup counters.

  27. Jan says:

    I’m very good at sticking to my guns and saying no. If I’m really feeling pressured, I’ll go somewhere else.

  28. Katie says:

    All the time! I’ve gotten better at saying no, but it’s still hard for me. Once I went to Sephora and let one of the salesladies do a little facial on me, and she pressured me into buying like $500 worth of skincare! Needless to say I went down the street to another location and returned it all, shamefaced. Now whenever I go to that particular location, I slink around and hope she doesn’t remember me.

  29. Alison says:

    Once when I was about twelve or thirteen, my Mom took me for a nice makeover at a makeup counter, just to see what was there. The makeup artist did a full look on me and she was standing up and I was seated down in the seat. It was honestly unnerving having a stranger stand over me and try to sell me products at that age. She kept telling me how good I looked and asking if I liked it while nodding so I’d smile and say I did – I didn’t. I have light-medium skin and she made me look so bronzed I looked like I’d been dipped in gold. I ended up that shiny, and with green eyelashes and enough highlighter on for me to be a beacon. I don’t know why I felt the need to keep smiling and tell her it looked great, I just hadn’t been in that kind of situation with someone trying to sell me something before. I ended up taking home the entire look even though I hated it, it was awful! I really regret telling my Mom that I loved it when I didn’t, it cost a great deal and I ended up with a lot of unused shiny YSL products as a gift that year.

    Once I was actually really, really just plain pressured by a MAC Makeup Artist. I wanted to go and buy a Strange Potion lipgloss, and she kept pushing Pink Poodle onto me, since they’d recently run out of stock of Strange Potion. She shouted “BUT THEY’RE EXACTLY THE SAME!” – I know my MAC, I know they aren’t the same shade, but she totally snapped at me. Thankfully by the time I got to that situation I’d gotten a bit better at dealing with sales people, and I was so unhappy with being shouted at that I just walked out. I’ll admit, I felt really, really pressured – so pressured that I’ve avoided shopping at counters when there are salespeople around just so I can relax!

  30. Heather L says:

    I don’t feel pressured by store salespeople, but I do feel very pressured by You Tube beauty vlogger hype. If it’s in my favorite YouTube beauty gurus’ “monthly favorites” then I absolutely must have it!

  31. Brittany says:

    I work at an Origins counter in Macys, and while we are pressured to sell as much as possible, I usually don’t go too hard. I’ve found when taking a more relaxed approach, my client is more comfortable asking for recommendations knowing that I won’t try to sell everything under the sun to her. That usually results in a larger sale. In my experiences of being a hard seller, it just scares the client away. If someone is coming by just to get their cleanser or moisturizer, I don’t try to push more product on them unless we’ve got a GWP (and our gifts are really awesome) because I want them to take advantage of the deal. I just ask, “Do you need to pick up anything else today?” and if they so no, I say okay and we just go straight to the register.

    My loyal clientele base trusts me because I will steer them away from products that suck (ie. the Ginzing face mask, No-Puffery eye gel mask, Make A Difference “hydrating” treatment lotion that contains alcohol, etc). And when we’ve got a gift with purchase going on, I always split the transactions so they can get extra gifts. I always try to utilize whatever specials we’ve got going on so they get the most for their money.

    I completely understand that a lot of people are put off by makeup counters, but there are some of us that won’t try to make you go broke when you come on over!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge