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Making Up Is Fun to Do

March 18, 2009 - Phyllis Sigal
I remember my first time ... inside a Sephora beauty store, that is.

It was in New York City (there are 12 Sephora stores in NYC), and I had heard about Sephora for awhile ... how amazing of a store it is, how you can just walk around and try EVERYTHING! Like a kid in a candy store where you can taste it all .... what fun! But instead of candy, it's eye shadow, lip gloss, mascara, nail polish, cheek color, makeup tools ... and more.

Now, every time my daughter and I are in NYC, we walk into a Sephora, and play.

But why wait until you're in NYC?

There's a Sephora right up the hill at JCPenney at The Highlands!

Sephora inside JCPenney is celebrating its one-year anniversary this weekend, from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with all kinds of treats and giveaways.

This weekend, when clients visit the Sephora inside JCPenney, they can register at the "Kissing Booth," and will be given a consultation sheet on which they can track all the products they like, passing through a number of stations. They can draw on "Susie Sephora" to see where to place eye shadow and other application techniques, explained Amber DeBolt, the Sephora beauty manager, at JCPenney.

I had the pleasure of meeting Amber this week.

What an energetic young lady, with a smile and a greeting for everyone who walked into the Sephora store! She and her team of product consultants — I met Tonya and Kristian, and there are several more — are ready to help clients find their perfect eye shadow, lip stain, foundation, or skin or hair care products.

One-on-one consultations are their specialty; they enjoy having a personal relationship with their clients. Customers can set up appointments in advance, and a product consultant will spend some time — about 15-30 minutes — focusing on their beauty needs.

I had a deluxe consult, Amber said, and she spent time cleansing and teaching me how to apply eye shadow (three shades — a bit advanced for me!), two mascaras (who knew?), blush, and she taught me a "reverse lip liner" trick and showed me how to use lip stain. I love the lip stain, and it lasts for hours!

In fact, educating the customer is one of their goals. Amber applied the eye shadows to one eye, and then allowed me do the other. The next day, I employed the newly learned technique, and I think it really made a difference. (Thanks, Amber!)

Another goal is finding the perfect product for the client. That's why sampling is so important, Amber said. "I'd rather sample the product so that the customer can be sure," she noted.

The product lines at Sephora are so exciting! The names, the packaging, the little gimmicks ...

One of the cutest things I saw was a package that actually talks to you! Reinforcing how important education is, the Stila eye shadow container explains how to apply the colors for the look you want. You don't have to read it; a little voice tells you!

Then there's Philosophy ... every bottle or box gives you some welcome advice ... I could spend hours just reading them!

Benefit products' slogan is "fix it or fake it," and they have products such as depuffing gel to sooth your under eye bags or a product that covers them up. California Kissing is a minty product for your lips that actually claims to make your teeth look whiter.

Bliss, "From Our Spa to Your Skin," is a product you might recognize from the television show, "Sex In The City." Apparently, the spa in New York was a favorite hangout of the girls.

One of the newest brands at Sephora is Korres, an all-natural, homeopathic line with sun care, eye care, cleansers and more, which was developed in Greece, Amber explained.

The "flavors" and ingredients are deliciously enticing; yogurt, olive & rye, guava (I tried some guava lip balm), wild rose, pomegranate, cherry, thyme & honey. I'm anxious to try some more of these!

There truly is something for everyone at Sephora — whatever your age or whatever you want to spend, you can find it there.

"We can make anything work for anyone," Amber said.

I never thought I'd be using a product named Urban Decay. One of their top-selling brands, Urban Decay has some great eye shadows that worked on me!

And there's Smashbox (created by Max Factors' great-grandsons), Too Faced (with "The Smurfette Collection"), Anastasia (brow guru Anastasia Soare does Oprah's eyebrows), Bare Escentuals (one of the biggest sellers), and of course the Sephora line, which has a great price point.

I was happy to see lots of anti-aging and "fix-it" product lines: DDF, Cosmedicine, striVectin ... I may be hanging out with them sometime soon!

Natural and organic products are also prevalent. The country seems to be going through a natural phase, Amber noted.

Sephora is not just a store; it's an experience!

Yep. Kristian remembers her first Sephora ... it was in Charlotte. And working now at Sephora is a "dream job," she said.

Amber's first Sephora was in New York City. "My sister and I went for New Year's, and on our way to a comedy club stopped in one. I was in awe! We were spraying glitter all over!"

I didn't meet their co-worker Lindsay, but she claims that if the place ever caught fire, she'd "rescue the cheek tint." (Apparently, she's a bit partial to the Tarte Cheek Stains.)

And I just can't walk past a Sephora without going in, and I'm pretty excited there's one at my fingertips. And speaking of fingertips, did I mention they have nail polish favorite OPI for Sephora, too?


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