Today is skin care Sunday, but we’re going to talk about something a little different today. I recently had kind of a negative experience tangentially related to skin care and I wanted to share it with you guys, and hopefully provide some general guidelines for talking about skin care with others.
So I first want to start by saying that I love my local Sephora. I absolutely love it. I go there all the time and I’ve always had a great experience. I love talking to folks about makeup and perfume and skin care and such. Today I popped in to Sephora to double check some things that I want to purchase during the VIB Sale next weekend (20% off for all VIB Members!!!). I was looking at the Laura Mercier Setting Powder and someone walked up and started talking to me. Not unusual, as Sephora cast members are always super friendly and are constantly checking to see if you need help.
She asked me how I was doing; I said I was “pre-shopping” to see what I wanted to buy for the VIB Sale. She then lectured me about how things were going to sell out and I should buy them that day. Now, I know that it’s her job to try to sell things, and I don’t begrudge her that, but her she had kind of a nasty tone that I wasn’t a fan of. Whatever, I can get over it. Not a big deal. I assure her that I’ll be up at midnight the night before, shopping online. Again, she lectures me about keeping my local Sephora in business by buying at the store. I didn’t tell her this, since it’s none of her business, but I’ll actually be out of town during the VIB Sale so I have to buy online anyway. I tell her there a few things I want that aren’t available in stores, like the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, and finally we’re on to a pleasant topic. We talk about Kevyn Aucoin and Pat McGrath and how great they are, etc. I’m getting ready to wish her a nice day and go about my business when she said something to me that shook me.
“So, are you doing anything about all those breakouts on your face?”
I was mortified. Literally stunned. She spent the next several minutes trying to convince me that I should buy the Clarisonic. I told her I don’t do physical exfoliation, gently trying to back her down so I could leave. She then told me that Clarisonics didn’t exfoliate; they just got stuff out of the pores through oscillation. I didn’t really want to argue that the oscillation is what caused exfoliation so I told her I would check it out and rushed away as quickly as possible. I was still so horrified by what she had said to me.
What she didn’t know is that the past few months have been a nightmare for me in terms of skin care. She didn’t know that I had spent month battling intense cystic acne and bumps all over my forehead and cheeks. She didn’t know that I had started a new set of products that had reduced the appearance of bumps so much and that I was finally feeling good about my skin again. She didn’t know that I had a lot of fun this morning putting on makeup and I was feeling like I covered up the problem areas very well. She didn’t know that someone had just complimented me on my foundation and I was feeling over the moon about my skin and makeup at that moment. She didn’t know any of this, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that her words made my confidence come crumbling down in a matter of seconds.
Now, I’m not usually an overly sensitive person. After this encounter it took me a good 30 minutes to process what happened and move on. After I had thought about it, I decided I didn’t care and that I still felt good and I was still proud of myself and the progress I had made.
To make a long story short, this lady temporarily made me feel like garbage. I know that she probably didn’t mean to and she probably was trying to help me out, but that didn’t make it any less hurtful. Once I got over it, I decided to turn this into a good thing and use it as inspiration to make a post about skin care advice etiquette. So here are my general rules for talking about skin care.
Don’t draw attention to their flaws.
Don’t do what this lady did. Don’t ask someone what they’re doing about their skin issues. Don’t call them skin issues, don’t call it acne, just don’t point it out. You’ll just put the person on the defensive and probably make them feel awful about themselves. You never know what kind of feelings they have about their skin or what kind of struggles they’re having right now.
Don’t offer up advice without prompting.
In the same vein, if you tell someone, “Oh, I have a product recommendation that you might want to use. It helps with acne” you’re doing a couple of things. One, you’re telling them that you noticed their skin problems. Two, you’re telling them that you think they need to change something about themselves. Neither of those are good things.
Don’t push products on people if they clearly don’t want to use them.
I tried to politely let this woman know that I didn’t particularly care for physical exfoliation beyond my konjac sponge and that I much preferred chemical exfoliation. She blew me off and told me things that weren’t true about the product. Now, I think she may have just been misinformed, but still. Don’t push a product if you don’t know the facts, and definitely don’t push it on someone who has already politely declined.
Recognize that other people know their skin better than you do.
No matter how much good advice you give someone, only they know what works for them. I know you want to help, but please remember that they know their body better than you do and you need to respect that and let them go on their own journey of skin care discovery.
There are plenty of people out there who may not know as much about skin care as you do. There are plenty who know more. Regardless, just be respectful of the other person. As long as they’re not harming themselves or others, just keep it civil and agree to disagree if it comes to that. There’s no reason to be rude to someone over something like skin care.
And that’s it! Those are the basic guidelines I go by when I talk to people about skin care! Did I miss anything? What are your guidelines? Let me know in the comments below!
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Also, just as some follow up on my experience today, I did end up calling later and speaking to a manager at the Sephora. I explained the situation and that I didn’t want to sound like a brat, but I also didn’t want her to hurt someone else who may be more sensitive about their skin than I am. The manager was very sweet and informed me that the lady was not a Sephora employee, but actually a Clarisonic rep that was there for the day. She promised to take care of it personally and call me in a few days. I’m not usually a complain to the manager type of person, but I felt like this was such an unnecessarily hurtful interaction that I wanted to prevent anyone else from feeling the way I did.