As fun as the idea of purchasing new makeup is, if you don’t go about it with a game plan the excitement you have about that new gloss or highlighter can quickly fizzle and end with you walking out of the store empty-handed. Don’t let the intimidation of too many products and pushy makeup artists deter you. Knowing these five simple things before you even enter the store will help make sure you get exactly what you came for.

1. What you’re looking for: It sounds obvious but if you walk into a store like Sephora or a makeup counter all willy nilly you’ll get eaten alive. You don’t have to know every single thing you might buy but have a general idea of what you want. Are you due for a new concealer, do you just want to try a different type of eyeliner, or are you giving your makeup bag a complete overhaul? Be prepared with that answer because the makeup artist will ask.

2. What kind of coverage you want: If you’re at the counter for a new foundation, the artist is going to want to want to narrow the options she offers by knowing how much coverage you want. Sheer means you’re not looking to be too made up and you have skin that doesn’t require a lot of smoothing out. On the other hand if there are blemishes or discoloration you want to mask, full coverage foundations are the route to go and the artist can show you the best ones.

3. What kind of skin you have: Basically is your skin normal, dry, oily, or a combination of the two? This will help the makeup artist determine whether you should have a liquid- or powder-based foundation and whether you need any specific type of primer to help your makeup last longer like a hydrating base or something with shine control.

4. Do you prefer a natural look or color: Obviously this varies by your mood but if you walk up to a counter and just say, I want a new eyeshadow or lip color the artist needs somewhere to start. By knowing you want something more natural, the artist can pick out neutral shades that match your complexion, possibly with a little shimmer. On the other hand, if you’re open to bright colors or stepping outside of your makeup box, you two can experiment with bright mattes or paint pots until you find something you like.

5. How much you want to spend: In a store like Sephora or Ulta there are tons of brands to choose from and prices vary from slightly more than drugstore brands to high-end quality. Let the person working with you know how much you’re willing to spend so they can direct you to the best brands for your budget. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a product out of your price range. There’s no need to break the bank when there are so many beauty lines to choose from.

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