• Fri, May 2 - 11:00 am ET

How To Conquer Sephora If You’re Scared Of Makeup

Sephora NARS lipstick

For tomboys, non-girlie girls, and makeup newbies, Sephora can be hard to navigate. And by that I mean, downright horrifying.

Did you know there are some people who are actually very, very afraid of Sephora? (I am not one of them.) Make-up stores, with all their bright lights and rows, drawers, and nooks of glitter eyeshadows can be like passing through the gates of Hell. (Not to me.) Some (other) people who aren’t big make-up fans, feel intimidated, terrorized, or rendered mute by a store that’s all about make-up. Like, when you walk in, do the clerks immediately assess your skin tone, and shoo you away for your hideous facial flaws? Or does it suddenly become an America’s Next Top Model transformation episode? We know at least one person is getting buzzed hair! These are life-threatening afflictions!

These weren’t my fears, so stop thinking that already. I knew so much about makeup growing up, I was practically Katy Perry by fifteen. Okay, okay, you caught me. Maybe I wasn’t a Katy Perry. Perhaps I was more like the Amish. No, I didn’t wear make-up. No, I didn’t know what I was doing. Yes, I was greatly intimidated by makeup stores. Then, I actually stepped inside Sephora and realized there’s almost nothing to fear, and I want that sort of cosmetic freedom for you too.

You can go into Sephora and buy makeup. You can even enjoy it, especially if you follow these directions.

1. Open up to a friend.

How To Conquer Sephora If You're Scared Of Makeup

Find a friend that’s really good at wearing makeup and really good at being a person. Open up to her. It will be a hard conversation, so bring the pancakes. Tell her your secret: “I’m not good at makeup.” If she doesn’t understand, make it more clear: “When it comes to makeup, I’m like a goateed Josh Brolin.” I’m not sure if Brolin with a goatee wears makeup or not, but if he does, he’s not very good at it. If she still doesn’t get it, try one more time: “I don’t even understand where my lower lip ends!” Whoa. She’ll know you’re serious now, and you’ll need that shoulder to cry mascara-ridden tears on.

2. Bring that friend with you.

How To Conquer Sephora If You're Scared Of Makeup

I hope you picked a good one because she’s going to be your cheerleader. If you’ve made your friend-choice wisely, she will go looking for her own makeup, so you get to see how it’s done. Watch her technique as she peruses the lipsticks. See how she just picks whatever she wants to try on without much care? You want to do that. When she tells you something might look good on you, you say, “Okay.”

3. Try it all on.

How To Conquer Sephora If You're Scared Of Makeup

Maybe don’t go to Sephora if you have a job interview right after because you might look like pre-surgery Cher, but it’s okay. Just try everything on. I was worried about this step because of germs, but the people at Sephora clean everything before and after you use it. Cast your fears away for twenty minutes, and go crazy. Besides, you can’t buy it without trying it on. Think about the last time you bought clothes on the internet. That skirt was hilariously small, and don’t even get me started on the jean jacket that looks like three other jean jackets you own. Buying makeup is ten times worse because it’s your face.

4. Be a confidence queen.

How To Conquer Sephora If You're Scared Of Makeup

You have a little acne, so what? Okay, today, it happens to be a lot of acne. Guess what? The people who work at Sephora are really nice, and if they so much as comment on your pimple the size of a gumball make a big scene and break at least four mirrors. They won’t comment, though. They won’t even notice. No one sees your insecurities the way you do, so stand tall and ask for plum eyeliner to draw attention away from the whitehead.

5. Ask questions.

How To Conquer Sephora If You're Scared Of Makeup

I can’t guarantee you won’t look dumb here, but it will be an endearing dumb, like Charlie Kelly. Wildcard! It’s important that you ask the questions you really want answers to because using highlighter on the favorite parts of your face is dumber than asking a question about where it should go. If you want to sound smarter, use the words “cosmetics” and something pretty, like “pellucid.” You might feel at your weirdest at this point. Well, you’re probably a little weird. Twenty-three and never been in a makeup store, Hilary?! Wait, uh… I mean, it’s okay to be a little weird. We’ve all got weird parts.

6. Buy the makeup.

How To Conquer Sephora If You're Scared Of Makeup

At some point, probably right after telling the sales woman that you want everything, you’ll feel like you shouldn’t buy anything at all. You’re not very good at makeup anyway. When you do it yourself, it will end up looking like a Pinterest fail. This is all accurate, but you will get better. Plus, that friend that went with you; she’s going to be your make-up checker, keeping your beautiful face from looking like a truck. Ah, that’s what I wanted to say. You’re beautiful. Make-up is about having fun with the gorgeous canvas you were born with, so walk into Sephora already. People will be nice. Probably.

(Photo: Instagram, GIFs: WiffleGIF.com)

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  • Samantha Escobar

    I’ve been doing makeup for the better part of a decade and I still am intimidated as all hell by Sephora. Products everywhere. 8 millions employees. Dirty makeup tissues all over the place.

    …And yet I still shop there more than almost anywhere else. :( It’s just like H&M.

  • Lindsey Conklin

    STRENGTH IN NUMBERS!!

  • Elizabeth

    Also: Be aware that Sephora (and Ulta, I think) has a super generous return policy!

  • http://www.tinyroomproductionsonline.com onlyelise

    One: I haven’t been to Sephora, so this means I have to try one. Two: Minions make EVERYTHING HAPPY.

  • J_Doe5686

    I love Sephora! I go in looking plain and basic and come out looking like that little girl in the gif! lol And you can get so many ideas and stuff and…

    • hilary

      Right??? I love trying on all the crazy colors. Occasionally, you find one that totally works!

    • J_Doe5686

      Last time I went to Sephora I tried and bought a dark lipstick from Kat VonD. I felt stupid when I tried it on but they have the tools and the salesperson to help you. I wear my dark lipstick almost every day. Mind you, I’m a light pink lipgloss kind of girl.

  • http://allison-mick.tumblr.com/ Allison Mick

    When you go to Sephora with a pre-set budget, only spend half of it before getting in the checkout line/labyrinth of goodies. All the cheap/good stuff is there and before you know it, you’ll have picked up five “little” things and added $50 to your total.