My session with Sephora’s Personal Beauty Advisor has been the best date I’ve had in awhile. My advisor, Michael, is a very attentive conversationalist. His undivided attention makes you feel like the luckiest girl in the room. And, you learn a few interesting things about yourself - without awkward silences or surly advances.
How it works: I booked a session with the store manager. A few days later, I received a call from Michael. He wants to know all about me and my routines. Besides the usual questions about my eye color (medium brown), skin type (normal), and fragrance scents (woodsy and marine), he asks about my lifestyle. Finding him so sweet and not used to talking so much about myself, there was a bit of over-sharing. (No, I don’t go to the gym. No, I have never found a red lipstick I’ve liked. Yes, I’m boring with makeup. Yes, I sometimes, um make that always, wear makeup on public transportation.) I hung up the phone thinking I’d just confessed to a random stranger to being the laziest girl in the world and now this guy has the task of finding me the perfect product line-up. Why must I be so difficult?
On the day I meet Michael, I arrive five minutes early at the San Francisco Powell location, and there he is at the entrance waiting for me. He gives me a big hug and asks if I would like a bottled water and chocolates. I say yes and yes. This is a man who already knows me! He leads me to the makeup chair, and there already prepared are five goodie bags of samples ranging from fragrance to skincare. Knowing my love/hate relationship with glycolic acid (I love it for its brightening abilities, but hate it for drying out my skin), Michael meticulously prepared three cleansers with various concentrations of glycolic acid. I am amazed by how thoughtful he is. He recommends that I try the mildDERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge 1 Facial Cleanser first. He wants me to take everything home and give the samples serious consideration; then, come back feeling confident to spend my $125 gift card, the required amount you must purchase to get a session with him.
Now, with chocolate in my teeth but feeling my needs met, we get down to business. Michael asks what my favorite products are. I whittle it down to three:Benefit’s Benetint, Anastasia’s Perfect Brow Pencil, and Stila’s Smudge Stick in Lionfish, a bronze brown. I have a minimalist philosophy towards makeup, which he totally respects, but thinks it might be fun since we’re working together to try a red lip. I say maybe. In the meantime, he suggests a few natural products to enhance my natural look: tarte’s tinted moisturizer and Josie Maran’s lip stains.
I also learn some interesting things about Michael. In the ’90s, he worked with Eileen Ford (the founder of Ford Models, herself) during the golden era when supermodels reined. We bond over models past and present. I decide anyone who loves Christy and Coco as much as I do should be on the same wavelength. So, I let him try a red lip. Michael buzzes around the store, and lands on NARS Velvet Lip Pencil in Cruella, which I’m modeling above. The color is rich, matte, and sophisticated. Not ghoulish, which has always been my fear. He shows me how to use it, applying as I blot. Three coats of matte lip color and I’m out the door, feeling fabulous. Thank you Michael for listening, helping me overcome my red lipstick phobia, and showing me everything that’s out there. I promise to report back on my favorite samples.
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