I have a (perhaps unhealthy) fascination with beauty products — partially because a new skin condition crops up on my face at nearly every change of the seasons, and partially because I was just born asking to go to the Clinique counter. It’s not learned behavior; my mother is happy to slather whatever brand of moisturizer she finds on sale at Costco. But the tiny, shiny bottles and vials and jars that welcome all department store shoppers have always been my favorite part of the mall, and my greatest moment of childhood shopping satisfaction was the time my mother bought me my first set of non-drugstore brand soap, toner, and lotion.
But now? I swiftly walk past makeup counters to avoid making eye contact with saleswomen waiting to tell me about their serums and creams. My breakouts and uneven complexion make entering the clinical beauty counter a nightmare, and asking a woman with perfect, pimple-free skin which products will make my skin look more like hers hardly gives me a self-esteem boost.
In recent years I’ve opted for shopping online, checking user reviews, or when things are really desperate, getting a facial and asking for product recommendations there. It spares me the unsavory experience of telling a commissioned salesperson about my biggest beauty insecurities, but it also means I’ve spent a lot of money on products that I didn’t get to test before I bought.
Recently, I’ve promised myself to stop adding to my collection of half-used, ineffective products. This requires trying things before I buy them. That requires going to beauty counters and asking for samples. I have to ask for help, and tell strangers that even though my skin looks calm, it’s actually a sensitive, easily-irritated mess underneath my makeup. And that I think it might be hormonal.
Does anyone else share my beauty counter angst? Take our poll and tell us how you prefer to shop for beauty products:
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