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6 Tips for Happy Shopping

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I hope you will find these light-hearted tips entertaining and helpful on your next makeup buying adventure.
Shopping can be exhausting and intimidating at the best of times. Throw in a never-ending selection, limitations such as allergies,
a commission based sales person and the experience could be enough to make you not want to leave the house.  Fortunately (and unfortunately),
if that is your reality there is the Internet and the wormhole that is online shopping.
Personally, I still love shopping in stores.
When I’m lucky, I get to make a day of it that starts with dressing up, includes a nice lunch and wraps up with a ceremonious inventory of my new found conquests, treasures and trinkets.

Let’s see if we can bring that same excitement to your next shopping trip.

Prioritize your concerns

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Usually we are purchasing cosmetics or skincare because we want to fix a problem or alter the appearance of something. So make a mental list of your concerns and decide which is the most important. Do you need a foundation that stays all day or is your skin dull and tired looking? Both of these concerns could be addressed with one product but it probably isn’t going to accomplish both well.  True, you may end up buying two things or leaving the store dealing with only one issue that day but almost guaranteed you won’t be returning a product that wasn’t the miracle cure you were sold on.

Identify your style

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If you are the girl who re-invents herself every season then shopping the trends is probably really easy for you and you can’t wait for the next new thing. If, on the other hand, you are on the conservative side and stick with a classic look injected with a buttoned up version of what you’re seeing on blogs and runways.  Great! Embrace that classic look. It probably isn’t in your best interest to leave the store with hundreds of dollars worth of makeup.  Makeup that is going to prompt your co-workers standing around the water cooler to ask, “who’s the new girl sitting in Alison’s chair?”  Only to abandon your new look after a few days or weeks.  The cosmetic world has variations of everything at many price points. That makes it quite easy to make slight changes to your style and routine comfortably and affordably.

Know your skin tone

In the 80’s we had color draping. This tool became the backbone of every multi-level marketing cosmetic company.  Under close scrutiny of a color consultant at a home party you found out if you were a spring or an autumn and then bought every product that the she could suggest that would flatter your skin tone. It really isn’t that complicated.
Have a look at your neck or forearm in a naturally well lit room.  Do you see warmth, perhaps a gold or olive hue? You have a warm undertone. Do you see coolness, maybe pink or blue? You have a cool undertone. And if there is no obvious presence of either then you have a neutral undertone. Why is this important?
When choosing from the thousands of shades of cosmetics out there it is much easier to narrow down your selection if you can key in on the ones that will compliment your skin tone.   For instance, cool tone foundations for cool skin tones.  Of course, there is an exception to this rule when it comes to eye shadow products and that is that opposites attract.  Shopping becomes really fun when you learn to push that envelope.

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Be Real about your skin type

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For reasons unknown we will error on the side of extreme when it comes to describing our skin type. If we get a stress pimple once every 3 months we call this acne prone skin or the 4pm shine on our forehead is deemed as oily skin.

Being realistic about your skin type eliminates the search for the holy grail of skin fixers.  *Patricia Clare of Neostrata describes the three skin types as: Dry (small pores, thin texture, and tight), Normal/Combination (shine in the central part of the face and feels comfortable most of the time), or Oily (large pores, shine all over, and prone to blackheads and acne). Any of the skin types can also be susceptible to these conditions: dehydrated, sensitive and acne.
Talk to an experienced skin expert honestly about your skin to determine your skin type and any conditions that you may experience in order to determine formulas of skin care and cosmetics that will perform the best for you.
*Patricia Clare, National Training Manager-Sanofi Consumer Health, NeoStrata

Don’t binge shop or be over sold

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You’ve paid off all of your bills and your partner has taken your kids for the day. Resist the urge to buy one of everything in every color at one store. You will end up with a stinging pocketbook reaction and probably miss out on something spectacular at another shop because you’ve put all of your eggs into one basket. Although easier said than done, try not to feel pressured by the sales associate. In order for them to build your trust they should be educating you on products and helping you pick out only what you want. In no way should you feel bad for saying no to anything more than that.

Do Your Research

Today many people shop ethically or within the restrictions of allergies. Get to know the ingredients that you need to avoid and some of the other names that they may go by. Websites like Cosmetics Info or Leaping Bunny are great resources on ingredients or cruelty free cosmetic companies.
The Internet is also a great place to find reviews on products (Total Beauty) and customer service, brand loyalty programs, company philanthropy and makeup tutorials (Pixi Woo).

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A few more quick notes to help you have a great shopping experience:

  • Don’t be afraid. It’s only makeup and it washes off.
  • Ask for clean testers to try on products.
  • Be familiar with return policies and ALWAYS save your receipts.
  • Develop a working relationship with experienced beauty experts.
  • Keep an eye out for inexpensive dupes for your favorite products.
  • Download an app of your favorite stores to get the intel on sales and loyalty programs.
  • Protect your investments, Eg) wash your brushes regularly, etc.

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My number one nugget of advice to cosmetic shopping is this:
DO NOT get married to your makeup. This relationship is fickle and before you know it your favorite mascara is having a torrid affair with the clearance bin. The break up is messy and will result in an ugly custody battle over your personal style.   If this happens pick yourself up, dust of the glitter and have a few rebound flings.  Meet up with anonymous lip glosses in a dark corner of the store where you wouldn’t normally go.  Vow to break up with them for the sexy colors of the latest season before they can even star flirting with the idea of being discontinued.

I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.Tammy Faye Bakker

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