Saturday, March 10

MAC Counter Experience - Double Fail. Long Live Estee Lauder!

MAC Cosmetics v Estee Lauder - woman glams up

Some time ago, I got caught into this MAC craze and thought it was high time I should hit their counters and let myself be transformed into a marvelously good looking lady. I kept visiting their website and making lists over lists of must-have products, calculating and then recalculating my budget all over again.

Today, so close to my birthday, I hit one of their counters hoping I would come out of there full of content and a "Smile and wave, boys!" attitude. 

Enter first MAC counter. Ant hill. 5 or 6 assistants and I still waited for half an hour to be sat down and asked what I wished for. 
"A foundation", I shyly replied. "But I need to be colour matched". 
The lady took her brush, disappeared for 5 minutes and came back, starting to apply some kind of foundation on my face. 
Whoa, lady! I still have my old one on! But my saying went by unheard. 
Half a cheek done (she didn't even let me take my glasses off) and she asks: 
"Do you like it?" 
I look in the mirror and I am horrified. 
"No, I don't. It's cakey, the colour is not good and it looks like concrete." 
"That's because you have to use a primer" 
And she starts slapping some primer on, OVER the foundation that she had just applied, subsequently over my own foundation. Then she applied another layer of foundation. I was so shocked that, in my stupidness, I could not even begin to say where she did wrong. 
I said "Thank you" and headed to another MAC counter, a few minutes away.

Enter second counter. Ant hill, but friendlier staff. Was sat down immediately. Slap primer, slap foundation. Been better colour matched, but the foundation was clearly not good for my skin type. It flaked away, caked, then turned my face into a mirror during one hour! And none of these shops did samples! I mean - come on, are you guys that good now that customers actually have to beg you to notice them?! And when you actually DO notice them - you make a fool of yourselves and your products? 

So I headed to an Estee Lauder counter where a very, very nice lady sat me down again, removed my bad makeup, toned my skin, moisturized it and then applied my foundation - explaining every single thing she was doing. At the end, so I would not get out of the store looking like a ghoul, she applied some blush and a little lipstick and gave me samples of 70% of the products she used on me. I am so pleased with everything she helped me with and the foundation (Double Wear, by the way) still looks great now, 5 hours since application. 

I am so curious: did any of you have problems with the MAC ladies or did I just have a bad day? :D


  1. I went to the mac counter in Meadow hall in sheffield where the girl put some foundation on me. I got home and looked in the mirror and i was ORANGE! I have since been back and purchased a shade 3 lighter that the one she said i should buy first. I wasn't impressed with their skills x

  2. Eugh! what a headache i've had the same problem, whenever i go to a MAC counter they just are not interested :( talk about poor customer service hey.x

  3. Estee Lauder owns MAC. So if there's fault with MACs training, it'd be partly their fault. The main point I want to make is as follows...

    I work at MAC Meadowhall and am kind of upset by 'Jeans and tee's comment. We're actually trained really well at MAC, and I would never do any of the things to any customer that you girls have mentioned here. Ocassionally (read: weekends) it's too busy to move on the counter which makes everything slower for everyone, and a constant bombardment of 'are you serving?' 'get me this lipstick' demands can be quite tiresome, and actually make you forget the train of thought you were following for each customer. Add to that make-overs and make-up lessons and you've got yourself a headache inducing shift. But we do our best. And overall it's an enjoyable job, even if 1/20 customers might be quite rude/having a bad day themselves.

    All I can say about foundation matching is it's not a science. We're trained to ask open questions of each customer to make sure we give them what they want and don't lead them into choosing what we would ourselves. For example, sometimes people want a foundation paler than their skin, sometimes darker, sometimes as close a match as possible. You'd be surprised at how varied people's tastes are. I never tell someone 'this is your perfect match' or 'this is the foundation for you' or even 'you should buy this' because I don't know what you want. That's your own choice.

    Next time you get matched, ask for a sample. If they don't have any sample pots (which does happen, as stock is sometimes slow to replenish from MAC for whatever reason and may I add is not the make-up artists fault) ask to leave the shop and check the foundation in natural light, wear it around shopping for the day and if you like it, come back to buy it later, or buy it online. It's no skin of the salespersons nose. It's not like we get commission.

    Sorry for the essay/rant, but really. Don't judge all MAC staff by a couple of bad experiences.

  4. I found MAC in LEICESTER AMAZING. ILL STAY CLEAR FROM THAT OTHER MAC. foundation on top of foundation is just grim.

  5. @Jeans and a tee kinda girl: I am not saying the assistants should be perfect, but common sense is something they shouldn't lack.

    @ImperfectbeautyXo: in all honesty, at what MAC are charging for their products, they should invest in more staff

    @Ruthy: I totally understand you and you should not take everything that was written in here personally. As customers, one bad experience is enough to put us off, especially when the products are quite expensive. It is only fair to understand that an assistant has had a bad day or that the shop is full and there is not much you can do about it (therefore I waited for 30 mins and did not say a thing), but there are some things I cannot let slip away. Applying foundation over foundation then primer and then another layer of foundation is just outrageous and unprofessional. We are talking about a big brand here and not a child's play. I am sure other Mac assistants are well trained and take their jobs seriously, but you know customers judge you at first sight and one bad encounter is enough to make them decide not to come back to the store again. Two bad experiences in one day are already a bit too much, therefore this blog post! :P

    @Aimee: I know it is. Maybe you will be luckier on your next visit.

  6. I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience, it's truly a shame. I've heard good things about MAC products, but have never tried any of them. Obviously it's that assistant's fault from that specific Mac counter -- she didn't know what she was doing, clearly. Laying foundation over primer over foundation over foundation??? What can get any more unprofessional than that? It's outrageous.

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  8. I haven't gone through that much of a bad experience with MAC counter however they do take a while to acknowledge their customers even when is empty. I know how stressing it could be dealing with people but customers are priority and if they leave unsatisfied then company or that counter need to change the strategies of dealing with customers. MAC cosmetics are awesome though.

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