• Anastasia Pentias

TBN: Makeup Appointments Edition- Tips on Getting the Most Out of Them

I am very apprehensive of other people doing my makeup as I rarely like the result. I usually sprint to the ladies' room straight after to fix whatever is 'not me'. But as I grow older, I need to be financially very responsible. I cannot waste money on products that are not right for me, so I test before I invest. The best way to do that is to book an appointment at a counter, it just makes sense. They are usually free, but sometimes they are redeemable against product. A trip is a wonderful opportunity to try new beauty products, so on my recent visit to London I made appointments with Nars at Selfridges and Charlotte Tilbury at the Covent Garden store.

I have a few rules:

- Noone else ever does my mascara. I do it myself in the end and I bring my own. I also do my own skincare routine beforehand- no point in testing makeup products over their creams which I never use.

- I do my research in advance and have a list of all the products I want to try. Being specific helps the makeup artist. Beyond that, I let the artist do their thing: I always learn new tricks from the pros. It's fun to try new ideas.

- I book the first appointment of the morning, so as not to waste my day. When I am lucky enough to enjoy a trip, my absolute priority is family time, museums,exhibitions, seeing friends, strolls and sighteseeing, not beauty shopping. When you're organized you can fit everything in and I LOVE the feeling of walking around on my break looking super-polished.

- No social media during the appointment. I'm there to test, observe and learn. Photos before and after are more than enough. If I'm lucky, my husband will be around to capture a few moments but that's pretty much it.

This time I was lucky enough to get great artists at both brands. But I did like the Nars appointment more in the end because my wonderful makeup artist for the day, Jasmine, gave me new ideas and techiques on how to do my eyeshadow looks. The appointment was free of charge but I did buy the Skin Deep palette then and there, I was delighted with the result. Below, some photos of the appoinment at Selfridges.

They do not pressure you to buy at Nars, which I appreciate immensely. It makes me feel comfortable enough to go back again and again. Jasmine is so skilled that I honestly prefer her eye work over mine on my face, any day. I've never said that before.

This is the end result. She gave me BIG, sexy, but soft, eyes. I have tried to mimic her technique but, who am I kidding, it's not even close. But I have gotten better at my smoky eye game since.

The appointment at Charlotte Tilbury's store was a familiar experience, I was there again in July. You get offered a drink but I stick to tea or I'll end up buying the whole darn store by the end of it. My makeup artist was Ria who was great at her skill. We did the Sophisticate look upon my request and tried the whole list of other products I wanted to test and liked but didn't blow me away. I ended up buying two Hollywood Flawless Filters because it's my skin staple anyway (the appointment cost 35 pounds but you redeem that amount in products). I don't buy things I just 'like', I can't afford to be imprecise. To be fair, there isn't much I don't already own from CT.

This one was excellent for testing products and after 40 minutes of feeling like a queen in girlie heaven (I was there with a good friend and we were giggling thoughout), I started my day looking like one. Worth it.

If you are thinking of buying something more expensive, appointments are the best way to help you decide if it's right for you. Don't even buy it on the spot; give it a full day's wear to make sure. Never, EVER, feel pressured to buy something. That's not what you're there for. Good sales people know that you'll be back if you leave happy; bad sales people are none of your concern.

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