When Debenhams Beauty Department Manager, Nicola, asked me to try out some of the free services offered in Debenhams Chester, I was a little apprehensive… and it turns out I’m not the only woman to feel this way…
When I looked into it, a lot of women say they don’t want to visit a beauty department because:
- They feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice
- They are embarrassed about their own lack of knowledge on products
- They are concerned they will be judged by beauty staff
- They are worried they will spend too much money
What I discovered in my actual experience was that the beauty department is a lot more approachable than we think.
The first counter I visited was Murad, a skincare company founded by Dr Murad, who has four PHDs in Dermatology. The Murad philosophy links a healthy, water-rich diet with stress-management and skincare.
What’s interesting about Murad is that you can go into store and get your skin analysed. They will take an image of your skin, process it and show you where your problem areas are.
For me, I wanted to find out about sun damage and wrinkles – and the machine told me. If you need shocking into following a skincare regime and drinking more water, this is a good place to start!
Murad offer a free 20-minute facial, so you can ‘try before you buy’. As I had my facial I asked Meg, the Murad Beauty Advisor, why she worked for the company. Meg told me that she had suffered with Acne as a teenager and gone through every product out there and Murad was the only thing she used that worked. Meg actually used the products before she worked for the company and now she wants to show other people that they can solve their skin problems too.
Everyone deserves a treat sometimes
The second counter I visited was Elizabeth Arden, which is one of the first major beauty brands to become available to the mass market. I am greeted by Liz who is instantly warm, friendly and approachable – she tells me that I am going to be treated to an Oxygen Blast Facial which is infused with 16 different minerals to brighten and lift my skin – fantastic!
The experience starts with a relaxation exercise and then a lite mist is sprayed across your face. It’s a great little pick me up that certainly relaxes you and leaves you feeling refreshed. Normally, this costs £15 but it is redeemable against purchases – if you’re purchasing something already definitely give it a try!
Beauty Advisors are just like us
My next stop was Sisley, which is a luxury Parisian brand of beauty. Now, this could have been an intimidating experience but when I met Sisley Beauty Advisor, Carolyn, who is a busy working mum, it felt like chatting with a friend.
Like Meg, Carolyn used Sisley products before she started working for the company and swears by them because they work for her. She introduced me to the ‘Black Rose’ range of skincare, which smells fantastic and told me a little more about the company.
Carolyn told me that each counter does its own regular events to support women with make-up application and skincare techniques – much more personal than a YouTube video and it’s a fun and different thing to do on a girl’s day!
You deserve VIP treatment
My final stop of the day was at Guerlain, another French beauty company that is soon to celebrate its 190th birthday. The Guerlain counter has a make-up seat and mirror ready for customers to try make up before they purchase.
Geri asked me to take a seat and then chatted to me about my skincare and make up preferences before choosing products that she thought would work well for me. I personally don’t like to feel like I’ve got much foundation on and Geri colour-matched a shade that worked perfectly – it was like my own skin, but better!
I can tell you – it certainly beats testing foundation on the back of your hand and hoping it’s the right shade!
After enjoying my day, learning about my skin and getting some make-up training, I have some top tips for being a savvy beauty department shopper:
Be honest with your beauty advisors: There is no point spending lots of money on skincare or make up that you know you won’t have time to use – be honest and only go for products that you’ve tried, you like and you’ll definitely use.
Use the services: Services like facials and makeovers are part of the experience of shopping in-store so don’t be afraid to make use of them (and save yourself money at the salon!).
Test: Many of the departments will let you test a product, such as a foundation, at home before you commit to buying. Make use of this before you swipe your card so you know that you are 100% happy with a product.
Beauty Training: Additional services such as make-up training, makeovers, facials are all part of benefits of shopping in-store. It certainly beats YouTube tutorials and is a great way to make new friends!
Ask Questions: Shopping in-store offers you the opportunity to ask sales experts who work with the brand and specialise in product knowledge on beauty products so don’t be afraid to ask questions when you go in.
by Judy Tagell