You’re interested, and I have more articles to go after this, but I thought I’d give you a clue before you wander, helplessly into the clutches of those seemingly lovely ladies at your local Macy’s or Nordstrom’s or Lord and Taylor’s or Sak’s or Dillards or you get the idea.
The Make Over
Getting a makeover is a wonderful experience and you can learn a lot about what works for you. It won’t cost you anything, at least the makeover won’t. The makeover is a time honored sales deal where the make up artist works their magic on you, creating a thing of beauty and you buy some of the product they’re pitching.
Here’s a picture of me post makeover in April 2013 on the left, months before I started HRT. I did ask the guy to not strip my foundation as I was needing to do beard cover. I had only recently started electrolysis. On the right a picture two months after I started HRT, a bit softer light. I assure you without the makeup the right hand picture wouldn’t be so good and the left hand picture didn’t have all that much makeup in comparison.
While you don’t pay directly for the make over, whether it is at a private spa or salon, or at a department store, you are expected to buy some product. Not buying product is exactly like not leaving a tip at a restaurant. Personally I wish they’d just charge you a price but it’s a sales tool and it isn’t just the artist who benefits, so the business has absolutely no incentive to make it easier for you.
You’ll probably get good advice as far as color and how to apply the products so ask questions and pay attention, but remember that he or she is selling one brand of product so don’t get carried away with the fact he’s using Jane Iredale or Clinique on you. You want to know if she’s using a creme blush and why or what color she thinks is good with your eyes.
If you have a goal, like a five minute face for the morning, tell them that. They are being paid, they get commision from what you buy, so ask.
Sales People (mostly women)
There are some men out there, but mostly women and we’re I think a little more comfortable buying these products from people we know use them.
A delightful side note – I was in Sephora and indulged myself in a too expensive lipstick. When I went up to pay, T was at the register. We recognized each other almost instantly. I had spent maybe 20-25 minutes talking with her a couple of years back. What a sweet woman. I unfortunately had to move on, there were other customers.
In the department stores most of those sales women work for a brand. You need to be clear about what you’re looking for, if you want Dior, don’t go find the Lancome lady. Remember that some of those high end brands like Chanel are not sold outside of the department stores. The companies will tell you they feel it cheapens their brands, really it protects their sales channels against competition and them against what are almost certainly threats of less advantageous product placement. You didn’t think the kiosks near the entrance are there by accident, do you?
BTW, these product placement negotiations go on for all kinds of consumer venues. Endcaps and prime shelf space in groceries (even the linear amount of shelf space). If it can be negotiated and makes a difference you can bet someone’s finagling.
In stores like Sephora and Ulta it’s a little different. There are sales staff for the store itself and there are sales staff brought in by brands. I don’t know the deal, but I’d assume that the brand sellers in the cosmetic stores (and the HP printer guy at Best buy for that matter) is just a paid employee of the company with some base salary and a commision incentive.
Just know what you want and choose the right sales person. Don’t ask the Stila person to pick you out the best eyeliner – wow, it’s Stila? Wow!
Trans ladies (and cis ladies too) go forth and conquer. For the trans women, a salon or spa might offer you the privacy that a department store lacks. Ask around, even now some places are much more trans friendly than others. There’s no reason to give your hard earned money to someone telling you to come at an off hour or to sneak in a back door. I never have and you never should.