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Beauty advisors can be our best companions when it comes to beauty shopping. Many of them are genuine about recommending you the best products because they believe by solving your problem, you will gain trust in the brand they represent, which will lead to recurring business. But there are certainly bad sheep in the flock, and we share these tell-tale signs that show that the beauty advisor may be trying to bull-sh*t you.

1. She doesn’t attempt to understand your skin concerns

Annabelle studio skin analysis

Good beauty advisors use equipment to help understand your skin better.

The best beauty advisors use analysis equipment and tools to find out what’s your skin type or concerns, so that they can recommend suitable products for you. If she makes no attempt at this, nor ask you any question about your skin concerns or what types of products you are already using, chances are she isn’t interested in introducing you the right product, but is trying to sell whichever product she can (to hit her sales target).

Related: Where to get a skin analysis

2. She introduces only the most expensive product

A good beauty advisor recommends products based on your needs and encourage you to try before you buy.

A good beauty advisor recommends products based on your needs and encourage you to try before you buy.

Does she always direct you to the products that are most expensive? Price doesn’t necessarily indicate effectiveness or suitability. You should also be particularly wary if she “pushes” serums and eye creams to you when you’ve clearly said you’re shopping for a cleanser or toner, for instance.

3. She plays up your insecurities

Is she harping on how your pigmentation problem is the worst she has seen or that your face is sagging too much for your age? You know your own skin concerns best and should never let another person make you feel more worried about your skin than you are. A good advisor should attempt to understand your skin type and concern (see point 1) without making you feel bad, and recommend products to you in a professional manner.

4. She doesn’t know how the product works

You're more confused than before after talking to her.

You’re more confused than before, after talking to her.

It is easy to sell products simply by saying that “This is good! I use it and many customers buy it!” but as the brand’s representative, the beauty advisor should also be able to tell you the science behind the product that makes it work. To separate the sheep from the goats, ask them how the product works, and if she hums and haws over it, she probably doesn’t understand her brand and products well enough. And in this case, she is most likely not trained to recommend the right products to you, so don’t allow her to confuse you.

5. She refuses to give you a sample to try

kiehl's samples

Brands like Kiehl’s are generous with giving out samples.

Most, if not all, beauty counters offer samples for potential customers to try before they buy. If you’re already think there’s a good chance the product will work on you, but you’re not sure how you will like using it, ask for a sample. If the beauty advisor tries to make you buy on the spot and refuses to give you a sample, you’ll know that she’s being a hard-seller.

6. She doesn’t know what ingredients are in the product

Get yourself familiar with the ingredient list.

Get yourself familiar with the ingredient list.


You may be sensitive to certain ingredients, or perhaps don’t like products that carry ingredients like paraben or alcohol. Ask the beauty advisor whether they are in it. If she simply gives you generic answers like: “All our ingredients are safe”, or “Don’t worry, our products are made in Paris” (in other words, answers that don’t respond to your question of “Is there alcohol content in the ingredients?”) then, stay away from her. A responsible beauty advisor should know exactly what ingredients are in her products, or at least help you check the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t carry ingredients you’re trying to avoid.

7. She tells you it’s suitable for everyone

Skincare products aren't usually one-size-fits-all

Skincare products aren’t usually one-size-fits-all

When she recommends a product, ask her for whom it is designed for. Every product has a specific purpose, targeting at different skin types and concerns, and is likely to be formulated for people of different ages too. If she tells you that you and your grandmother can both use it, you can be quite sure that she is BS-ing you. (Unless it is really a generic product, like hand cream or lip balm.)