Are You Treated Differently If You Go To The Makeup Counter Scruffy? I Went Tracksuit Clad To Find Out

Makeup is a hobby that I'm very passionate about, so much so that I decided to train as a makeup artist to better my skills, dip my toe in the industry and keep life interesting.  So I know my stuff, and, most days, I look like I know my stuff.

Provided I'm not having a 'bad face day', my makeup is usually carefully applied in a way that I know works with my colouring, and, for the most part, no one is going to look at my face and think 'Jaysus, you're way off!'.

I've noticed that when I go into Dublin's better known department stores to have a wee browse, I'm generally treated in a friendly and attentive way. The artists on counter take a look at my makeup and seem to understand that I 'know my shtuff'. They're not too pushy, listen to what I want, and answer my questions politely.


So I got to wondering whether this was just good service, or whether I'd be treated differently if I wasn't wearing my knowledge of makeup on my face...What would happen if I dressed less tidily than usual, fecked my hair up into an untidy ponytail, and marched off to Dublin's foremost department store with... NO MAKEUP ON! The caps were for drama. I regret nothing.

In general, I've noticed that if I go to a hair salon with unwashed or frizzy hair, they just seem less interested than if  go in with a coiffed head. Maybe you need to SHOW your potential in order for most stylists to see it. Of course, it shouldn't be that way- seeing potential is a hair stylist or makeup artist's job - but much of the time, it just is that way. I suspected that makeup would be the same. And Christ on a bike, was it ever...

Feeling - I grant you - a bit icky (simply because I didn't feel like myself) I shuffled up to the counter of Ireland's favourite cosmetics brand. I'm used to the makeup artists bouncing up to me with a jovial 'hi!', so I was kind of stunned when a girl sidled up to me with a blatantly disdainful look on her face, and declared 'Need help?' with a facial expression which indicated that whether I knew it or not, I clearly needed so, so much help. I needed all the help...

What's this concealer stuff I keep hearing about? What's this concealer stuff I keep hearing about?

I was holding a cream eyeshadow in a colour that I specifically knew would not work for me, and asked the artist whether she thought the shadow might suit me and if she'd tell me how to use it. Though she did answer my questions in a well meaning way, I got the impression that she was quite bored, and I found her explanation slightly patronising. She presumed by my appearance and questions that I didn't know anything, and actually used the phrase 'Even someone like you could manage that'. Eh...

The reaction that I got at various counters ranged from overtly bored to friendly but patronising. Only a couple of the artists I encountered didn't bat an eyelid at my shabby 'ensemble' and were genuinely happy to answer my basic questions about how to use products.

I left the store feeling a little bit bad, both for myself and for women who aren't in the know about makeup but work up the courage to ask questions, only to be rebuffed and to leave feeling self conscious and judged. It had that nasty secondary school flavour of 'you're not one of us' to it, and I really didn't like it.

My tracksuit does NOT smell. Much. My tracksuit does NOT smell. Much.

I mean, granted, I looked a bit as though I had some sort of Medieval era disease that doesn't exist any more, and wearing a creased jacket that I had sat on for a while before leaving. Don't you start judging - that's commitment to the role, okay? (I sat on my jacket by accident...)

So I'm wondering - are we trapped in some sort of vicious circle, whereby you need to know about makeup to learn about makeup, or to be entitled to ask questions about it? Madness, I say!

Do you find that the response on counter is different when you wear makeup and when you don't? And have you ever had a bad experience asking a makeup related question? To the comments!



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