What Do You Look for in a Makeup Artist When You’re Looking for Advice at a Makeup Counter?

Published in: Just For Fun

MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin

MAC Senior Artist Victor Cembellin

This may sound strange, but what I look for in a makeup artist when I want advice is kind of like what I might look for in a therapist. Basically, I want somebody that I can tell is really listening to me and isn’t in a big hurry — somebody who will take the time to help. Ideally, this person would also be nice, because it’s always easier to talk to nice people who aren’t dismissive of you, or who look down on you. I mean, that’s never fun. I go to a makeup counter because I want to feel good about myself and learn something new, or perhaps I just need a pick-me-up, and it’s just always nicer talking to somebody sincere who has a good attitude, and somebody friendly who will look you in the eye, you know, and maybe crack a few jokes, but at the same time is very knowledgeable.

Most of the time when I do go to a makeup counter, I go with a specific question in mind, and I’m not shy about it, so I’ll walk up to whomever’s working and be like, “Hello. Who’s the best person to ask for eye makeup advice?” or, “Who here does the most amazing skin??”



I don’t want to waste anybody’s time, so I’ll ask them my questions, and hopefully they’ll have an answer for me, or maybe offer a technique or product recommendation.

Most of the time I’d rather speak to someone I have good chemistry with than someone who may have rockin’ eye makeup but seems uninterested in me, or comes across as standoffish or dismissive.

How about you? What do you look for in a makeup artist when you’re looking for advice at a makeup counter?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. Happy Tuesday. 🙂


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  1. Bella says:

    I want someone who is knowledgeable. I meet plenty of very nice SA’s and makeup artists. But I am about your skin tone, maybe a little lighter, and man, the number of people who come at me with either chocolate coloured or peachy pink foundations!!! The purple blushes!!! (This will suit your dark skin so beautifully!) The cow at the Chanel counter (not my usual one) who told me that Rose Initiale would not show up on me, that it’s for blonde people, and wouldn’t even apply it on me, and then said that the blush I was wearing was too dark, and I was wearing…..a generous helping of Rose Initiale!!!
    Give me someone who knows that people come in more tones than lily white and chocolate brown and I’ll kiss them. Except maybe not, because then they’ll never want to do my makeup again ;).

    • Karen says:

      Hey Bella,

      This has happened to me too. Once an artist applied an under eye concealer that was way too dark…It was a hot mess, LOL!

      Since you’re a Chanel girl, I have to ask. Which Chanel products are your go-tos?

    • ericca says:

      I have the same issue expect im a bit darker than karen. I usually get turned away from counters or made to feel that they dont have that color or the shades to show up on me. I would prefer not only someone knowledgeable but someone who is willing to take their time and help. Many times I go to Muas that look like me because they do have to experiment with colors and shades.

  2. Alexis says:

    “Who does the best skin”…why have I never thought to ask that? I’m going to use that one next time I’m in the NARS or Mac Pro boutique. I look for a kind personality and knowledge. Yes, I agree the best time to go would be when the boutique is quiet (either when they open or maybe an hour before closing). I had the best time at the NARS boutique last Sunday over in Pac Heights, SF. The three ladies gave me so much great advice, especially since I told them I have been getting more wedding freelance gigs. I did buy stuff for my kit and backups for myself. If I really like they way they did their own makeup that day, I will ask how they applied their shadows, blush or ask to show me the lipstick they are wearing.
    Honestly though, a relaxed and friendly demeanor goes a long way with me and my wallet! It is a plus if they are knowledgeable as well 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alexis!

      Do you remember the names of the gals who helped you at the NARS store? Next time I’m there I’ll look for them!

      • Alexis says:

        I only got the manager’s name, Chenoa. They were all so helpful. My wallet is sad!

        • Karen says:


          What did you get?

          Oh, and congrats on getting more wedding freelance gigs. Do you need an assistant? 😉

          • Alexis says:

            I got a few things for the Pro palette. The PR team sent me a large one and a voucher to fill it up. However, I can only use the voucher on their site and I’m a girl that’s all about instant satisfaction! I bought the All About Eve duo, Dolce Vita and Sophia refills for the palette. And I had to get the small palette too. I bought a backup tinted moisturizer, shadow primer, Bahama lip pencil, two brushes and one of the new wet/dry blush duos in Fervor. Ugh…I can’t believe I bought this much. Luckily they granted me the Pro card discount since I worked on a few gigs this year. I’m actually more comfortable when I’m the assistant! hahaha

          • Karen says:

            Well if you ever need an extra set of hands for a big bridal party you know where to find me! I would love to get more experience working on other faces.

            And your haul sounds great. LOVE Dolce Vita, it’s one of my favorites (my second fave blush next to Amour).

  3. I rarely have my makeup done at the counter, but if I have I usually look for someone nice and patient. There is nothing I dislike more than feeling like I am pushed to buy something and then get moving.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … If I were a snake – REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

  4. Jessica says:

    Not something I seek out ever, but if I needed to, I would want someone who wan’t just trying to sell something.
    Jessica recently posted … Seeing Things

  5. Chasity Mckinzie says:

    Karen I can not tell you how many times I have been in a beauty store and felt as though I was being looked down upon. I feel like I have a pretty good idea on how to put on make up o hand been doing it for 32 years. And there have been times I felt as though I was being judged and that is never ok. But I will sat the ladies at town center plaza in Leawood, KS are amazing thru always make me feel good about myself always go the extra mile to make sure I hand what i need and thay it will work for me. Thanks for all your make up advise not sure what I would do with out all your blogs to read. I Truley can’t wait for that email every other day.

  6. Lisa says:

    Someone who knows what they’re talking about. I hate when I ask question and it’s so clear they have no idea about it. Just be polite and honest. And remember some brunettes actually have cool toned skin. 😁 thanks for letting me vent.

  7. Chelsea says:

    Usually people I know and trust! I have a ton of beauty advisor friends who get me.

    BTW, I’m going to a makeup workshop on Friday taught by a showgirl / circus girl I know! Very excited to learn new stuff!

    • Karen says:

      Now that you guys moved do you live near a Chanel counter? You know, priorities.

      How fun! What type of makeup will the workshop cover? Stage stuff?

      • Chelsea says:

        Our new place is only a mile or two from the old place, but I did discover that a regional department store at the mall carries Chanel, and my friend Karina just started working there, holla!

        I think false eyelashes, glitter, stage makeup, along with all the regular face stuff.

  8. Lori P says:

    Someone who knows all about different skin tones. I’m blonde and have blue-green eyes and SAs think I have warm undertones when I have a LOT of red/pink in my face. Just recently two different SAs (one at Bare Minerals, the other at ULTA) took a good look at my face and said I was more neutral! The more neutral to warm shades of foundation they recommended are almost spot on for my complexion when a lot of warm foundations turn yellow/orange on me.

    And don’t get me started on how some do eye looks…Hello I have very hooded eye lids and most smoky eye looks don’t work on me and forget on trying to do a wing eyed on me with liner and tell me how it looks…I will get out of the chair, take it off, and tell a manager that their MUAs need to be better trained on how diverse every body is

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lori,

      My eyes are slightly hooded too! When I go in I always ask for someone who’s good at my eye shape; it really seems to help.

      And yay for finding out that neutral colors suit your skin tone. That’s huge.

  9. MaryAnn says:

    I usually try to find a male make up artist because I feel they are more creative. The downside is a lot of times they either aloof or are overly social with other people or coworkers and I want the experience to be all about me 😊

  10. Rachel R. says:

    I don’t go to MUAs for advice very often. When I do, I look for someone’s who own makeup looks good. Someone nice and personable, and not snobby or judgmental. NOT someone who acts like I’m wasting her time, or that she’d rather be helping someone younger, thinner, richer, prettier, whatever. I don’t care about age, race, gender, etc. as long as the MUA seems knowledgeable.

  11. Holly says:

    Earlier this summer, I stopped into Ulta just to browse & discovered Rimmel had colored mascara. Looking around for a sales associate, I asked a young woman what she knew about the new product. Not only was she uninformed about the mascara, she seemed disinclined to even attempt to help me. I excused myself to look for another associate & fortunately found a young man who enthusiastically discussed the pros & cons of the colored mascara & described in great detail a “look” he had recently created.

    tl;dr–I think I’d prefer working with a male if I ever go in for a consultation or makeover or whatever.

  12. Stephnaie says:

    As an arch eyebrow expert inside of Ulta, I find having true passion for cosmetics and products gets me so far. I am a fiend for beauty knowledge and I Weill read every ingredient. I also love the art of makeup application. I’m getting my own kit together now for freelance.

  13. Sofia says:

    I want someone knowledgeable and that doesn’t act like I know nothing about beauty or makeup. I usually turn up with makeup on, so if they can’t notice that, well… NOT GOOD!
    Apart from being a user, I also work in the cosmetic industry (so it’s not as if I know nothing) and so I get pretty annoyed if the person is not knowledgeable about their products and if they say absurd things.
    Gosh when it comes to things like foundation, I’ve had so many people want to sell me foundations in pink undertones (to try to even out my skin tone) and they dont get it if I say it needs to look like me, like my face, like my neck! Or wanting to sell me foundations that are 3 tones darker (I’m not buying a bronzer!!)… So unless I go to my one trusted MUA foundation buying can be such a chore!
    Anyway, what a rant. I want to say that I’ve watched your news video, congratulations! I’m so happy for you. And can’t wait to see Tabs’ reaction 😉 xx

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