Laura Mercier, Henri Bendel
Directive: “I’ve got a fashiony cocktail party.”
Fee: Free; appointments are recommended.
The Vibe: Crowded; your makeover is public.
Overall: Great for personal attention and explanation; the hard sell was uncomfortable. “You’re not buying anything?!” the assistant said in stunned disbelief, as I bolted. Take-home tip: Press loose powder into the skin with a puff to set your makeup.
I might actually buy: Basic Pink shadow, $22; it subtly brightened my eyes.
Stila, Sephora Fifth Avenue
Directive: “I’m interested in something fresh, but not too heavy, for daytime.”
Fee: Free; no appointment necessary.
The Vibe: A free-for-all of spritzing and dabbing.
Overall: My makeup artist did a perfunctory job, at one point mentioning, “We’re not on commission.” But the look fit the bill—light, natural, and comfortable.
I might actually buy: The Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer, $28.