When was the last time you paid a visit to your local Clinique, Benefit, MAC [enter beauty brand-obsession of choice]counter? Most of us will shy away from asking for help, choosing instead to browse solo through a sea of products we know nothing about. And rather than trying something new, we’ll just default to the fail-safe options that we know work.
But what if we told you that you’re missing out an insanely fun – and more effective – way to shop? By tapping into the knowledge of the sales rep at the counter, you can not only get gifted free samples to try at home, you can also enjoy complimentary services – think facials, massages, makeovers and more – which take the hassle out of shopping for beauty products.
Choose from a full (10 minutes) or express (3 minutes) lip service treatments, where you’ll have your lips shaped, shaded and coloured. Or go for a full (20 minutes) or express (10 minutes) eye makeover. Find out more here.
Head to any Smashbox counter at Boots and you can get 15-minute express make-up tutorials. The offering varies counter to counter, but the choice is usually between an eye look, a lip look or a full-face makeover.
You can get flash makeovers at Chanel counters, lasting 15 minutes each. Their masterclasses include Flawless Face, Signature Lips and Expressive Eyes.
Head to Benefit’s stand alone boutiques for mini make-uppers, which involve transforming your look from day to night, perfect for taking you from desk to bar. Find out more about their counter services here.
Book in for a ‘make-under’. bareMinerals ambassadors choose a tailored range of products and teach you how to apply them to half of your face, before letting you apply on the other half. So you actually learn the techniques. Their ambassadors can help you achieve any make-up look, from a smoky eye to a bold lip.
MAC offer free walk-in demo classes; simply pick from eyes, lips or face and a MAC artist will teach you how to transform your look. It’s all about timing though – a 15 minute lesson can turn into 30 minutes if you drop in when it’s quiet.
NARS counters offer 20-minute ‘Makeup Your Mind Service’ where you can learn signature techniques to perfect your complexion, smokey eye look, executing the dramatic bold lip, or learn how to contour and highlight your cheeks.
No7’s Match Made service uses new technology to find the right shade of foundation for your skin. A No7 advisor will use a unique scanner to work out which of their 17 shades will suit your skin and you can then take home a sample to try out.
Choose from a whole bunch of complimentary how-tos, which you can book appointments for at Bobbi Brown counters. There’s everything from ‘How to get ready in 15 minutes’ to ‘How to make the most of my eyes’ and ‘How to do my wedding make-up’. Appointments range from 15 minutes to one hour.
Get brow know-how
Trained make-up artists at the Benefit counter offer a brow-mapping service. Pop into any Benefit store or counter to learn how best to shape your eyebrows according to your face shape.
Clinique offer either an express (5 minute) or full (10 minute) eyebrow treatment, in which you will learn how to shape and make the most of your brows.
Treat your skin
Liz Earle give 15 minute mini facials using their award-winning skincare range. If you haven’t tried their Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, this is a great chance to find out what all the fuss is about.
You can get 20 minute facials at Origins counters, along with personalised skin consultations and multi-mask experiences. Check out their full list of complimentary pamper services before you visit.
Kiehl’s offer skincare consultations to help you figure out which products would work best for your skin type. You can also choose a selection of samples to take home and test for yourself.
Creme de la Mer
At Creme de la Mer counters, you can get a range of complimentary skin treatments tailored to your needs – try their Deep Calm facial if you suffer from redness or sensitive skin, or go for the illuminating Bright Future treatment if you just fancy a little pick me up.
Enjoy a hand massage
Relax with a hand and arm massage using Liz Earle’s cult-status beauty products.
At Molton Brown you can get a 10-15 minute hand and arm massages using the latest blends that are available in store.
Creme de la Mer
Advisors at the Creme de la Mer counter will hydrate your skin with a gentle exfoliating treatment followed by a traditional hand and arm massage. Find out more.
You can get up to 10 minute hand and arm massages in all L’Occitane stores.
Jo Malone give 10 minutes tailored hand and arm massages in store using your favourite Jo Malone scent, finished with a spritz of cologne.