Female applying colour to eyebrow

Have you ever felt so intimidated by a visit to a cosmetics counter that you've bought something that wasn't right for you? So who better to tell us how to get the best out of them than the people who work there? We asked some of the UK's top consultants for their tips on how to get the most from your next visit.


Decide on the kind of look you are aiming for. "Is it an everyday look, for a wedding, seasonal or something stronger for a special occasion?" advises Violet Gorman, No7 Consultant of the Year 2007, based in Boots in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

Best beauty tip: Great make-up starts with great skin. Some customers think they need to change their foundation, but quite often, it is their moisturiser or skincare routine that is affecting how their foundation looks.


Book an appointment so you are guaranteed that someone can spend time with you, advises Minal Patel, Clarins Employee of the Year 2007. "And be prepared to pay a booking fee for a makeover - these are normally redeemable on products but again guarantee dedicated time with the consultant."

Best beauty tip: At Clarins we refer to Beauty Flash Balm as 'Cinderella in a tube'. To create instant radiance, try mixing the balm half-and-half with your regular foundation, it will give your complexion a great glow.


If ypu're choosing make-up for a special event bring your outfit with you, suggests Shamima Begum, beauty specialist, from Superdrug, London. "And if you're picking new foundation, always come with a bare face so we can see your skin's natural tones."

Best beauty tip: If you're testing foundations, pick three shades you think suit you and blend each into the jawline in three different places. Then, using a cotton bud, rub a straight line through each to reveal your natural skin. The foundation nearest in colour to your skin is the one to choose.


At Origins counters, consultants can give complimentary skincare advice and decant some samples for you to take away and try. To get the best from your visit, Jason Stringer, counter manager for Origins in John Lewis, Oxford Street, London says: "You know your own skin better than anyone and are able to best describe your main skincare concerns and how you currently care for it. This will help the consultants custom-fit a regime for you."

Best beauty tip: Mix a small amount of eye cream with your under-eye concealer to stop it accentuating fine lines.



"ASK for a mirror, or indeed to be seated in front of one, if you want to see what's happening and how everything is being applied. This is the only way you'll learn and grow in confidence," advises Christine Rice, from Estee Lauder.

Best beauty tip: Never over-pluck. Draw in the shape of the brow you would like with an eyebrow pencil, and follow the shape. Alternate between brows. It is very difficult to match them up exactly if you pluck all of one and then the other.


"Be ready for a change and don't be afraid to try different colours," says Nicole Simmons, award-winning Elizabeth Arden consultant from Peter Jones, London. "Wear your normal make-up to the consultation, as this enables us to suggest a 'new' look, without it being too far removed from what you normally wear."

Best beauty tip: Apply foundation using a brush, rather than your fingers, as it uses less of the product and gives a more professional finish.


If possible, ask to see your new look in natural daylight, to see if you are happy with it, advises Paul Hetherington, creative director, Bobbi Brown. "Be open to recommendations - sometimes the product you would never choose yourself ends up being your favourite."

Best beauty tip: Update your make-up on a regular basis as it can lift your spirits (an update may only need to be a new blusher, lipstick or lip gloss) and is so much cheaper than a new wardrobe - yet keepsyou ahead in fashion.

Olay Total Effects moisturiser with SPF 15

Olay Total Effects moisturiser with SPF 15


Olay Total Effects Moisturiser, £14.99 (www.boots.com)
This hero product from Olay is a hard-working, multi-tasking day moisturiser which is suitable for all skin types and is excellent value. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smoothes texture, evens tone, transforms dullness, reduces the appearance of pores, blotches and age spots and intensively hydrates dry skin. It also has an SPF 15, so gives you sun protection as well.



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