Thursday, August 8, 2013

REPOST: Beauty Undercover: Be a Smarter Customer

Do you want to become a savvier shopper of beauty products? Take away all your retail anxiety by reading this article.

Cosmo Beauty Editor Jessica Matlin always felt pressured around beauty salespeople. To overcome her retail anxiety, she trained at Origins to become one.

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I'll never forget Timothy: a soft-spoken makeup artist in New Jersey, he sold me my first MAC lipstick at 14. I saw him on the reg during high school, and he made me feel more beautiful than my first boyfriend did—he showed me how to "own my look." When he left the store for a new job, the other salespeople were so pushy, I quit asking for advice and kept convos to a minimum (I didn't want to lead them on). But I knew my phobia meant I was missing out. So I approached Origins to curb my anxiety—and became a savvier shopper. My lessons:


During my training, a customer held up a Facebook page featuring a well-Liked night cream. "I need this!" she told me. I practically skipped to get the product. But when I got back, my coworker was selling her a different one. He learned she had breakout-prone skin, and the heavy cream would've made her skin go berserk. (#Fail!) While social media is great for making new discoveries, don't be a slave to it. Unlike a trendy shade of nail polish , the wrong skin product can have major consequences.


I used to think taking samples made me look like a cheapskate or, worse, a sucker—it told the salesperson, "You almost got me!" But smart beauty companies want to get you hooked on their products. Their philosophy: If you try it, you might just buy it. And there's less of a chance you'll go home with a $40 jar of cream you end up hating, then bash the brand to all your buds.


How many bad beauty buys of yours are sitting unused in a drawer? It's time to stop the madness! Whether you bought a product in a moment of weakness or it just doesn't work, most companies will exchange or refund it if you have a receipt.


Origins offers free mini facials to anyone, but many customers are clueless or too embarrassed to ask. While asking about free services might seem like something your crazy aunt might do, the worst thing they can do is say no. Best-case scenario? You're getting pampered, for free.

When my shift ended, I was a little bummed to hang up my apron. I got hooked on solving customers' skin issues—my coworkers' passion was contagious. Sure, selling product is always going to be part of staffers' jobs, but remember: the truly remarkable ones won't lead with it; they'll ask about your concerns first. So make them your personal shoppers. They'll keep tabs on what you're using now and know what you should be using next. Let go of the retail fear factor, and treat the store as your own beauty playground. It can really pay off.

Jessica's top picks!


Fights free radicals and evens skin tone. Smarty Plants CC SPF 20 Skin Complexion Corrector, $35


Java and ginseng give this one a kick. GinZing Energy-Boosting Moisturizer, $26.50


Softens the look of lines and wrinkles. Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum, $55

Facial rejuvenation is possible. Follow this Lift and Glow Pro Twitter page for skin care updates and tips.

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