The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

The good, the bad and the ugly

Chanel counters offer makeup application classes for free to the public. (Courtesy of
Chanel counters offer makeup application classes for free to the public. (Courtesy of
Chanel counters offer makeup application classes for free to the public. (Courtesy of


Contributing Writer

[email protected]


It is any woman’s dream come true. Dozens of rows of brightly colored lipsticks, eye shadows and blushes that lay perfectly at the front of the counter, just waiting for someone to dip a makeup brush into the silky glimmering palette and try them on. It is a beauty trap that every woman falls for. It is the Chanel makeup counter.

While the customer sits in a tall chair starring at herself in the mirror in front of her, a “beauty consultant” quickly scurries around to find products for her.

Arefeh Salmanzadeh, a beauty consultant, is looking around for the perfect foundation at the counter and looks up to ask, “Do you like something sheer, creamy or a powder?”

Tiffany Stevenson has a mission to try and appear more youthful for her alma mater’s 10-year reunion. Salmanzadeh leans forward closely toward Stevenson’s face and works “Chanel magic.”

“Wow!” Stevenson said looking in a mirror after her makeover. “Definitely need to buy all of this. Chanel lasts a long time, so it’s a good investment.”

After her $400 purchase, Stevenson walks away content as a supermodel with her looks, and deceivingly more youthful.

“You are making someone look and feel beautiful. It is a great feeling. [Your face] is something so personal to trust us with. I feel like a face doctor,” Salmanzadeh said after her client left.

It is a rigorous process to become a beauty consultant for Chanel. The Chanel counter at Nordstrom in NorthPark Center is the highest selling counter in the entire department store. According to Nordstrom’s past sales records, no matter what the economy, makeup sales never let up. What does this mean? No matter how tight money gets, women consider makeup a need and not a want. In turn, there is a high demand for products and employees in the cosmetic industry, especially within the Coco Chanel empire.

After attending cosmetology school and working for lower end cosmetic lines, most beauty consultants then strive to work for Chanel, the most luxurious brand in the industry. If someone successfully makes it through a string of three interviews, and a test to see her artistic makeup skills on a real person, the job is hers. When she is hired, she’s required to go to the Chanel makeup school to understand why the brand is the most sought after luxury experience in the world, and to learn how to most effectively give that to her clients. Then it is time to go to perform on stage at the makeup counter, but there is a misperception that this job is an easy one.

“Some people think we just sell lipstick. I’m running a multi-million dollar business . . . We have goals and we need to sell makeup and meet the international Chanel standards,” said Sidre Masood, the Chanel’s business manager at the Nordstrom counter in NorthPark center.

Not just any good makeup artist can work at the Chanel counter. It takes a certain personality to sell makeup, in addition to being a talented artist. She has to be in good health because she is required to stand all day while working, so she is ready to serve her client at all times. She has to be an upbeat people person, willing to take criticism while remaining positive. She also has to be a smart salesman and understand that while she gives a free makeover, she needs her client to buy the product. So compliments are constantly flying through the air in the makeup section of Nordstrom.

Such as, “Your eyelashes are beautiful! They are so full!” Or a personal favorite, “You hardly need any makeup! You are so naturally beautiful!”

A beauty consultant is also considered a fashion authority and needs to make sure that she is an expert in all the latest trends, tips and looks for this season.

“Always use your ring finger to apply cover up around your eyes. Your under eye is incredibly sensitive, and it is better to use your ring finger because it applies the least amount of pressure,” said Salmanzadeh to Anne Maguire, her 60-year-old client.

Salmanzadeh even takes on the role of a chemist by describing what is used in each product, and why it helps skin look flawless.

“The minerals in this blush are really good for your skin!” Salmanzadeh said. “This eye cream is made with crushed mother of pearl, so it will reduce the puffiness underneath your eyes.”

Another aspect that clients do not think about is that each beauty consultant or employee at the Chanel counter has to represent her artistic talent on her own face.

“You have to take the time before you come into work to do your own makeup and look presentable. If I don’t present my line well on myself, then why should people buy it?” Salmanzadeh said.

However, even the best beauty consultants at Chanel run into problems with their clients.

“The other day. I told a woman as she walked by ‘Can I help you, ma’am?’ She then started yelling at me and telling me how rude it was that I called her ma’am,” Salmanzadeh said.

A common problem beauty consultants face is when women sit down in a chair and expect to look like Gisele Bundchen after their makeover. When they don’t, things get even uglier.

“I love my job and making people feel beautiful and empowering them, but there [are] always some people who are expecting magic to happen. We are enhancing someone’s natural beauty, instead of changing them. People feel like they have a right to treat you a certain way in the service industry, and that is just not true. My family is from Pakistan and some people feel they have the right to make racist comments toward me because I am serving them as a client,” Masood said.

At the heart of the beauty industry there is ugliness. Inner beauty is becoming a lost art. However, it turns out that the very people trying to help achieve physical beauty, in reality have the most inner beauty to share.

More to Discover