Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Rant: Product Returns

If you read Best Things in Beauty regularly, you know that I've been testing primers for months. I've found great ones and others that left me wondering, "What on earth were they thinking?"

One primer I reviewed recently came from a luxury-priced line, and it did nothing - absolutely nothing - to prime, prepare, or enhance my skin. Yet the company representative (who knows I love the makeup from her company) testified to its effectiveness in adding a glow. Hope springs eternal, so I forked over my charge card and purchased it.

Later, as I shared with you, I found that the product was worthless. It had no desirable effects - nada. Kim (a beauty pro) asked in the comments if I'd lost my mind. In a word, sweetie, yes. I was in the mood to try primers, and I assumed that a company that could make fabulous makeup could also introduce products to enhance our makeup.

Fast forward. This past week, I had a session with an esthetician who works exclusively for the same company. Here's how the conversation went.

Me: I tried the blah-de-blah primer, and...
Her (cutting me off): That primer won't do anything for your skin. Why did you buy it?
Me: The rep told me it would be fabulous for me.
Her: Which rep? Did you buy it at [insert store name]? Was her name [insert SA name]?
Me: Yep.
Her: Take it back. We do have a primer you might like, but that's not it.

And so I did. I really don't like to return things. I feel that if I make the wrong decision, it's really my fault. I'm supposed to be hype-resistant. For the most part, I am. This time, I was misled by the company's incredibly fabulous makeup, a lure it turned out. I'll be smarter next time.

Why am I writing out this rant? It's really not OK to buy products just to try them and then return them. You will earn a bad reputation at a store if you do that too often. If you like beauty products, you want to have a good relationship with the many talented (and honest) people who work in the industry. They deserve that! I've made some lasting friendships at stores, and I know how hard my friends work to please us.

If you are interested in a new product, ask the sales associate or company representative for a tester or sample. If they don't have a pre-packaged one, they will usually make one for you (at a good store). Had I been able to get one, I would not have purchased the primer. The Golden Rule has to apply here. Do unto stores as you would have them do unto you! However, if a sales or company representative misleads you, you have a right to return an item that doesn't match his or her praise. Maybe the rep can explain to you how you might use it more effectively. Maybe not. Have that discussion. It's only fair.

What about you? How do you feel about returning beauty products?

Photo courtesy of MJC


Unknown said...

You make a lot of good points. I would also add that reading reviews extensively before any purchase prevents a lot of regret. But what about when a product works well for other people, but your skin/hair/whatever has a bad reaction to it? It's not your fault that you can't use it, it's not the company's fault either, is that a justified return?

Charlestongirl said...

My opinion, Blythe:

If you have a reaction to anything (even slight), it's a fair return!

Fab Over 40 said...

Thanks Charlestongirl - I agree whole-heartedly to what you say!

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Fab.

I was thinking about different stores and different policies this afternoon. CVS will take back an item for any reason. That's probably because so many drugstore products are sealed, and there's no way to test in advance. They do have sample packs of the higher-end products, such as Lierac and La Roche-Posay, but none for Maybelline or L'Oreal.

Then there are online sites that won't take a return on an opened item for any reason. Even they will sometimes accept a return if you have a reaction. You might have to argue with them. Blythe asked a good question.

The department stores will accept returns, but they aren't happy about it. That's where I purchased the primer. I suspect there are far too many dabblers buying products, wearing them once, and then returning them for fickle reasons.

Resham said...

I so very hate to return product...But some stores do a lot of melodrama, when it comes to giving out sample. Recently I asked Sephora MUA, to gve me some sample of NARS Orgasm Illuminator...She said, they were out of Containers (sample Containers) I picked the stuff and it didn't work..Now I am stuck!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Resham,

Many Sephora SAs are useless. They give the good ones a bad name.

I'm curious, since I love Orgasm Illuminator...what don't you like about it? Is your skin dark, medium, or light (approximately)?

Since it's basically sealed, you can probably work a trade with a friend who has a mistake purchase.

Aside from that, Sephora is good about returns. Take it back and explain the situation. I had to take back a Becca product once. Apologized, but told them it smelled like a raccoon in heat. They laughed so hard as they rang up my return, there was no ill will.

Clarisse said...

Very interesting review: I have made a few bad choices (I was younger..) and accepted to purchase foundations which were too dark for me or eye-shadows which I did not like after all on my eyes(plum, purple etc..) I always considered it was my fault (too gullible) and several friends were happy when I gave them my unfortunate choices...Now, I read a lot more before buying a product (thank you internet, blogs etc...), there are a lot of samples available and the sales assistants at my Sephora are very helpful and always ready to prepare little jars for me to try the products on before purchasing them.
So, I have never returned a product! And I do agree with you, good relationship with people who work in the stores are very important, I have made some frienships there too and it's a mutual exchange: I trust their advice and they enjoy having my returns after using the products .

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Clarisse,

Me too. Lots of mistakes, but I have happy friends. I have returned only about 10 beauty products in my whole life. One was smelly (the odd Becca one), I had an allergic reaction to another (had vitamin A in it), and a few were misrepresented. That's it!

Love hearing from you!

MarciaF said...

I love you!! I get so upset with people that think buying products to "test" at home is okay. I'm not talking about bad reactions, I'm talking about the people who think it's alright to buy it, wear it for a few days, and then decide they don't "need" that color. Those are the people that make us all look bad.

Charlestongirl said...

Hey there, Marcia - thank you!

My response? AMEN!

Unknown said...

i do not think i ever made a return on any beauty product. but then i was also very lucky to have worked at a department store for some time, so i always had an opportunity to walk over to the cosmetics counter and ask for a sample of the product i was interested in. nowadays i mostly stick to drugstore makeup and find that it works just as well. i do think that it is absolutely appropriate to be able to return a product if you have an allergic reaction to it or if it does not work for your skin. after all, we all have different skin issues and any product, no matter how great it is, will not work for everyone.

Charlestongirl said...

I agree, Anna. Something that doesn't work is one thing. Something you just wanted to try is another. Unfortunately, there are far too many women who try and return - over and over and over.

As for drugstore makeup, there is so much wonderful "stuff" to buy. I just bought two new Maybelline shadow palettes tonight. Can't wait to try them tomorrow!