10 Tips For Being a Pro at Shopping Beauty Products

Beauty counters can be intimidating, but is there anything better than picking out a new mascara or lipstick? We think not, and these days, considering the amount of places (both on and offline) you can shop for beauty products, there’s nothing you can’t buy. Whether you’re looking for a new nail polish, you’re still searching for your perfect foundation match or you need to find a face wash that will clear up your skin, it’s highly unlikely that you won’t find something that works. It’s finding that exact product, though, that can be tough.

To help you navigate the vast and at times, overwhelming, waters of shopping for beauty products, we’re sharing 10 tips for shopping like a pro. Read on below!

1. Use the knowledge of salespeople: Most salespeople are well trained when it comes to the products at the makeup counter, and they’re there to help you. Ask the salespeople the difference between the brand’s powder and liquid foundation, inquire about which serum you should be using for your skin’s texture and ask their opinion about which lip color you should try.

2. Bring a friend: Always bring a friend while shopping for beauty products, and make sure she’s honest. Going solo means you won’t be able to hear whether a color looks great on you, or if an item is realistically far too expensive for your budget. Your best friend’s input will insure you’re getting the best products for your money.

MORE: 8 Things to Do Before Leaving the Beauty Counter

3. Use your smartphone while in the store: This tip is twofold. First, use your phone to look up product reviews on the item in question. Chances are, you’ll find out rather quickly how good (or terrible) a product is while looking at online reviews. Second, search the product online to see if you can find a lower price elsewhere. Many sites offer free shipping, and if you can get something for a lower price but see it in the store, you’ll get more bang for your buck.

4. Search Pinterest: Granted, you probably ended up at the makeup counter thanks to something you saw on Pinterest to begin with, but do a good old fashioned keyword search on the social site for proper color representation in real life. Often, people will Pin what a lipstick looks like while they’re wearing it, instead of just seeing what a product looks like in the tube.

5. Know your ingredient labels: Especially on skin care products, know what comes with certain ingredients. For example, if you’ve got dry skin, you should run in the opposite direction of benzoyl peroxide, which can cause excessive dryness, but works wonders for acne.

6. Sign up for rewards programs: Many companies have rewards programs, like Sephora’s VIB Insider program that rewards you on a point system based on purchases. If you’re going to be shopping makeup counters often, don’t miss out on the rewards! Plus, often times they’ll give you sneak peeks of products and send samples, so you’ll be able to try items before buying the full size.

7. Request samples first: Whether it’s from the store itself or directly from the cosmetics company, if you call and request samples, some companies are happy to send them along. Getting a free sample before committing to a purchase is the perfect way to wet your toes before you spend a huge chunk of change on an exfoliator that you’re allergic to.

8. Know your undertones: Once you know your skin’s undertones, shopping for color cosmetics is infinitely simpler. If you’ve got warm undertones (yellow, golden or peach), your foundation should be yellow or peach based. If you’ve got cool undertones (blue or red), your foundation should be neutral or pink-based.

9. Go without wearing makeup: Brave the world and head to the store without wearing makeup so that you can test out products at the counter. Testing out of the products in store makes the decision to buy much, much easier. Make sure you’re using separate applicators for everything to avoid bacteria.

10. Know when to splurge and when to save: There are certain products that can be purchased at the drugstore, and there are others that should be splurged on. These may differ depending on which products are most valuable to you (if you wear foundation religiously but only wear lipstick once a month, foundation should be your quality item), but know what you’re willing to spend before stepping foot in the store.