My Experiences with Clinique Bangalore- I


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My Experiences with Clinique Bangalore- I

I’ve always admired Clinique as a brand that is classy and well, clinical (in a good way). I’ve associated the brand with awesome skin care and quality makeup products. My tryst with Clinique began nearly 10 years ago when I bought Clinique Happy, a citrusy perfume that claimed to lift your spirits and “make” you happy. It belonged to neither skincare nor makeup, but the product got me interested in Clinique as a brand.

clinique
clinique


I’m currently using their All About Eyes eye cream, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel and City Block Sheer SPF25 sunblock daily. While the eye cream is good enough, the jury is still out on whether one or both of the face products (gel and sunblock) are making my skin break out.

In the past, I’ve used their single blush, pressed powder, the shimmery green tube mascara and their Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (as opposed to gel). While the blush and the powder broke me out and the mascara irritated my eyes (also reported by many reviewers on the Internet), I must have believed in Clinique strongly enough to go out and give them a second chance. It is only recently that Clinique counters have cropped up in Bangalore stores such as Shopper’s Stop and Lifestyle. I was quite pleased when I first spotted one in Bangalore, since that meant I could treat my skin to some serious TLC.

I also used Clinique’s Superfit foundation nearly 8 years ago. At that time I was dealing with some residual redness (now barely visible) from acne and badly needed some coverage. Their Superfit foundation came to my rescue in that not only did it not cause my skin to break out, but it also provided good coverage. For many years after that, I used minimal to no makeup.

I have acne prone skin that is not too oily. My skin is not sensitive as such and does not get irritated easily. I’ve had consistently clear skin for the last 2 years and it means that I am finally able to use face makeup and skin care products without the fear of them exploding in my face.

Cut to today, thanks to IMBB and my ‘Hot Mama Makeover’, I started my second innings in makeup about 9 months ago. A good foundation is a must have in any makeup-ista’s kitty. So off I went to Clinique to get my old friend, the Superfit foundation. This counter is in Garuda Mall, Shopper’s Stop. In 3 different colour matching sessions at 2 different Clinique counters, I was matched with 2 different shades – Cream and Honey, by 3 different SAs. I am NC42 in MAC. While I could easily see that Honey was too orangey on me, the SA insisted that it matched perfectly. Another time, I was left wondering whether Cream was too light for me. The store lighting was strategically making matters worse for me and it was dusk outside. At the SA’s insistence that it was a perfect match and that it would blend out after some time, I bought a 30 ml bottle of Superfit foundation in Cream for Rs. 1550. When I asked her how something that was labelled “Cream – Very Fair – Neutral 17” could possibly be a match for my clearly warm toned wheatish skin, she said that their warm shades were too orangey for anyone. Also, 2 of their SAs had separately matched me with this shade, so I wanted to trust them and go with their opinion. Hey, if you can’t trust people in white lab coats, then who can you trust?

Clinique Superfit Makeup

clinique superfit makeup
clinique superfit makeup

Once home, I decided to try out the foundation. My face fell and my heart sank as soon as I opened the bottle since the shade did look like chalk against my skin. There was immediate anguish against those sly and incompetent SAs. Over the next few days, I tried it in various ways, but the verdict was the same – the foundation was making me look like a white faced clown! Even the finish wasn’t good as it seemed to accentuate my pores big time and looked pasted-on. It also looked like it broke me out in whiteheads. This was the last nail in the coffin! I mentioned this to my husband and he said that we should go and get a refund. I thought, ‘Refund? What hope do we have! ‘.

Anyway, we went back and I politely explained my problem to the SAs that had matched me with this shade. They heard me, but began deploying delay tactics to tire me out and drive me away. I requested that I didn’t even want my money back, would they please exchange it for something that I could actually use? They kept dilly dallying, shifting the blame from Shopper’s Stop, to me, to the store lighting. They blamed me saying that I might not have applied it properly. That was funny, since just minutes ago those same SAs had complimented me on how beautifully applied and natural my foundation looked (Maxfactor Second Skin).

I mentioned that the other day that I wasn’t able to figure out whether it was the right shade or not because the SA had applied it so sheerly that there was almost no coverage. I reminded them that I had specifically asked for a foundation that provided medium to full coverage and I knew Superfit was a foundation that was meant to give you that. At this, their manager (the SA who had sold me this shade) became defensive, raised her voice and tried to shut me up saying, ‘This is the way we apply our makeup madam!’. She even came up close to me while saying this as if trying to scare me away. This was the limit. I had shelled out the cash, I had been matched with a wrong shade, I had been polite the whole time, and yet these SAs were bullying me. I said that I would contact Clinique directly and for that would they please give me their full details? I took out a pen and paper and wrote down her name and waited for more information. This immediately softened her stance. She made a (possibly fake) phone call to someone to “check” with them. Then she came over to me and told me to get an exchange coupon for 1550 from the Shopper’s Stop customer service counter to exchange the product. But they would only exchange it for a foundation product because “someone” said so.

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My Experiences with Clinique Bangalore- II

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42 thoughts on “My Experiences with Clinique Bangalore- I

  1. Gosh!!! That was really weird experience. I am usually too cuckoo with these SA’s attitude that I usually chicken out of trying any product even if I want to, just because of them hovering over my head all the time… Thankfully, (because of Rati probably) Inglot people were so warm with me….I felt relieved and excited in trying their products…Donno any such people in Bangalore though…H&G people at Koramangla 7th block are also helpful to some extent…

    But, such kind of service from Clinique as experienced by you is definitely shocking!

    1. Yeah, you have to be very careful around SAs. But I was surprised, since my experience at MAC (shared in my last post) was awesome. I wouldn’t have bothered to even write a post about it if it were a lower end brand because I’ve invariably found those SAs to be ignorant and pushy. But Clinique, whose reputation and prices compete with MAC, should know better.

      I hope someone from Clinique reads this and decides to improve (vastly) their SAs’ competence and attitude. Again, we cannot generalize this about all Clinique SAs. But this pushy behaviour from SAs is mostly a rule rather than an exception, irrespective of the brands.

  2. Reading all these mishaps with SAs, I think a practical thing to do would be to ask them to write on your receipt that they would exchange/return the product if it doesn’t suit your skin tone. That ways, they would not recommend if they are not sure themselves as you would come for an exchange/ a refund. Second, it would safeguard you against these dolts.

    SAs, be it in makeup or garment stores, are same everywhere. Probably because their incentive is linked to the sales, they want to push products. There are rarely any companies which have training programs for SAs, and even if they have, most of the shops would probably be franchises who would just hire SAs on the spot. So there!

    Safeguarding oneself is the best practical advise I can give you all. Just ask them to write on receipt and sign.

    1. Sanjeev, good idea, but the thing is, SA claim that since they are not decision makers, they can’t exchange a product even if they want to. They don’t want to be held responsible for the company or by the company. So I’m not sure if this will work in practice. 🙁

      Probably they are under a lot of pressure to sell, and in their efforts they totally forget that part of their job is to help out the customer.

      1. Lol Sonal the trick is to ask them conversationally when they are pushing the product- “If it doesn’t suit me to ye exchange ho jayega?” If they say yes in their bluster then say “Ok, aap ye receipt par likh dijiyega.”

  3. 😐 😐 😐 😐 😐 Oh wowwwwww….I never go to Clinique for some reason 😐 😐 😐 😐 😐 but the SA now at Clinique, Lifestyle, she seems (in my half a minute purchase of a clarifying lotion) very nice and definitely non-pushy. There is a part 2???? 😐 😐 😐 😐

    I had problems buying foundation, it always seems just right even when I check in the mirror back at home but then when I buy it later I don’t like it so much.

    Now what I do is try it on my face, go outside the store/mall and check under natural light, walk around with it on for the whole day, come back home and check again, and of course never buy a foundation the first day I see it 😀 😀 Kind of helps me avoid major tragedies.

    1. Yeah, I’ve met nice SAs, and at Clinique to boot, that were very helpful and not pushy. The SA who introduced me to All About Eyes eye cream was pretty sweet. I even left a thank you note for her in their guest book the next time I was at their counter. 🙂

      But this post is about one specific incident and that’s why the focus on their bad behaviour. 🙂 Yes, there is a part 2. 😉

      1. With foundations, I’ve found that SAs are either busy sending you away with their ‘fairest’ shade or they start nodding at every shade you pick. I’ve been lucky to have found Maxfactor Second Skin in my perfect shade at the first go. At this time, I own only one bottle of foundation and that is my HG. 😉

        1. Being a higher-end product, not being sufficiently trained to match foundations properly is not okay…and if the SAs make a mistake about it, they should refund/return or something…good you wrote this post :-)) :-)) I like my Chanel SA…she never let me buy the foundation because she didn’t feel it was the right shade, though it looked okay to me at that time..

        2. Gosh Sonal, I had no idea there are SAs like this. Btw, since the Max Factor one matches you so well – stock it up. Seriously 🙂 You don’t want them to discontinue it now that you’re in love with the product. Foundations can last for up to two years.

          I have never had to return anything to Clinique – but I recently returned the MAC Pro Longwear foundation (this was in US, while on vacation) because I got a shade that was a bit too dark for me – it was completely my fault, I kept thinking I was an NW45 but actually I’m an NW43 – MAC gladly accepted it back even though I’d already used it twice. They don’t have Pro Longweear in 43, so I got my usual Studio Fix Liquid as a replacement. I have a strong feeling they would have refunded my money if I wanted it but I really wanted to have extra foundation so I didn’t ask for a refund.

  4. Buying foundation can be really tricky….I’ve had some bad experiences too where I have had to use a foundation as a concealer just to make use of the money I spent!!! I hope u do get teh exhange done…….hope Part2 is positive 🙂

  5. I thought the whole point of buying department store makeup was the ease of returns and all the assistance you got from the SA’s. Ugh, I love Clinique but this is a major faillll on their part!

    Also Sonal, if you do continue to use Superfit their Golden Beige shade should be a good match for NC42 skin. Thats what I use right now 🙂

    1. Golden Beige? How come no one showed me Golden Beige? 😥 Are you located in the U.S., Devie? Ironically, 8 years ago I was using my perfect shade in Superfit when I was in the U.S. You’d think it’d be harder to find a shade matching warm skin tones over there compared to here!

      1. Yup, I’m in the States.

        I actually learned about Superfit from my Pakistani roomie who used Golden Beige too! It’s perfect for desi (Nc 40-42) skin tones and I’m quite shocked Clinique India doesn’t carry it :O!

        You can find it on Ebay (I just checked), but since you can’t return/exchange it, that might not be the best idea.

  6. Sonal,

    I have never had a bad experience at Clinique but this is not acceptable. I think brands such as Clinique should have a central training so that they can maintain the uniformity through out. I cannot promise much but all I can assure you is that this post would get noticed.
    *hugs*

    1. Yeah Rati, I’m myself surprised about this. The SAs are the face of a brand. Each SA brings with her her own temperament to work, but that does not mean that we have to suffer because they are bullish or impatient by nature. Especially bigger brands should ensure not to employ SAs with such temperaments.

      In fact, I hope even drugstore brands are reading this. Because shopping at beauty counters has become such a pain with SAs hovering around trying to push you into buying this, that. I don;t know about others, but I don’t feel comfortable with someone breathing down my neck or trying to mislead me intentionally. Also, I don’t like to keep a stiff upper lip or be on my guard constantly whenever I’m visiting my favourite beauty counters. Hey, you go there to unwind, not tense up, right? 😉

      *hugs back*

      BTW, I should share my experiences with Shisedo, Revlon, The Body Shop, Chanel and Bourjois as well. 😉 You’d be surprised!

      I know that I’m not alone having these kind of experiences with SAs. Again, each person’s experience is their own. At MAC, I found the MUAs very helpful, but it looks like at the same store, some people felt snubbed and didn’t have a good experience. Even at Clinique, the SAs were all hunky dory until that day. 😉

  7. i always have apprehensions buying foundations mainly because what i try in shop and what i see at home is so different !!!! Clinique my mind has same ratings as MAC…so am appalled at these SA’s behaviour. I had lovely experience at MAC Bangalore so even if a bit over priced / high priced..am assured its going to be the perfect match.

  8. The foundation bottle looked impressive at first…but then…ur experience speaks alot…have faced such situations…SAs these days are not customer friendly..they give a strange look as if they donno us when v go for an exchange.. :pissedoff:

  9. Hi Sonal,
    I agree with you on the incompitancy of the SAs, I have been to the same Garuda Clinique outlet. The SA examined my skin and tried to persue me to by things that were ment for dry skin. Where as I very well know that I have a combination to combination oily skin.
    She tried to talk me into believing that the skin around my mouth and eyes are dhydrated and need to be hydrated. She went on pushing me to buy a creame that I know I did not need.
    I finally put my foot down and asked her to pack the products that I WANT to buy.
    She finally gave in and also trew in a sample of some product.

    1. There you go! One more case from Garuda Mall Clinique. She was probably even the same person whom I met (I know her name). Good that you stood your ground and didn’t let the SA mislead you! :yes:

  10. I cannot believe they did that !!!

    Although I read some where that the big brand counters in the department stores are all run by the same company – Its house of Baccarose – they basically tie up with the big cosmetic companies for importing their products – they are also the owners of Chambor … so I dont think Clinique SAs get diff training from the say the Shisheido SAs in Shoppers (this is not about individual stores – but about high end brands sold at department stores)

    1. Janhavi – There are counters at Lifestyle for all these companies…the SAs go to Mumbai for training by their respective companies – are definitely not trained by Lifestyle! I know this from the SA at Chanel who goes to Mumbai when a new collection comes out at Chanel (makeup) and same for Lancome and Shiseido and I think YSL too. Don’t know know how it is at Shoppers Stop but I think its similar. So I would doubt that an SA at Clinique and the one at Shiseido get the same training… :devil: :devil: cos the SAs at Shiseido are much nicer :devil:

      1. I’ve found that many SAs are nice only till the point that there is a prospect of a sale. And I’ve noticed that their niceness is usually in the form of simply agreeing with what I say. Like, if I say this shade seems right for me, they’ll say yes yes madam.

        At Lifestyle near Garuda Mall, a Shisedo SA tried hard to sell me 020 shade of their compact, which must match probably Katrina Kaif’s skin! I’m even darker than 060, so just guess how I would have looked with this 020 all over my face and trying to get her to give me her honest opinion. Of course I looked at myself in the mirror and concluded instantly that the shade was way off. She was absolutely nice to me the whole time. It would have helped more if her input was actually useful rather than just nice. 😉 Similarly at Chanel.

  11. hmmm – I should have a chat with some the SA’s in Mumbai then – but the thing is this company is based in Mumbai – may be they train them – its a bit odd im still working on figuring out the dynamics of it – it all started when I was trying to figure out who owns Chambor (coz they are most definitely not from geneva) – lead me here http://www.baccarose.com/toptips.asp?categoryid=4

    http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-21524559_ITM – here see this company imports all the big brands to India – like shisheido etc

    Im still a bit vague on the dynamics of the whole process – any light you can shed on the matter would be great … and while we are at it – WHO the HELL owns CHAMBOR ?!

    1. House of Baccarose handles a lot of the brands – Chambor and Shiseido included. I don’t think Clinique comes under that list because I might be wrong but Clinique is owned by Loreal group. As is Lancome. Chanel in India is Chanel India.

  12. SAs at Shiseido at oasis bangalore are nice,:)i lub their patience level :inlove: and TBS sa’s i have ups and downs….

    when i go to TBS exclusive shops, the SA/s r nice (do they have monitoring camera’s ? :silly: ) ) and when tbs is at any open space (like in central mall or stopper’s stop ) they r so lost into their own world :yawn: :yawn:

    1. At Garuda Mall TBS, I recently overheard an SA trying to sell a lighter foundation to a woman saying, ‘for party wear madam, you can go with a lighter foundation’. I couldn’t believe my ears! She sounded perfectly genuine suggesting this to the lady who looked clueless about why wearing a lighter foundation than your skin is a makeup crime. It took some self control on my part to just keep quiet and walk away from that aisle. And why the hell would you want to look ‘lighter’ in a party? So that in the photos you can look even more ghostly maybe? This is TBS we are talking about.

      1. :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl: OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG…..thats so so so BAD!!!! I shouldn’t be laughing at this at all…lighter makeup for party !!!!!!!!!!! A Halloweeeeeen party???????????

      2. actually you can use a shade lighter for party especially in summers when you have to wear the foundation for long hours and you wouldnt get time to do touch ups. All the heat from lights, exhaustion etc tend to bring the foundation to your exact skin tone shade . Especially for people with oily skin, the foundation tends to get oxidized pretty fast so a shade lighter foundation helps.

        1. Sounds good, but I’m not sure the SAs intention was this profound. 😉 And the foundations that oxidize don’t turn an exact one shade darker, they usually become grayish, and that make the face look tired and muddy. :-(( I’ve found that it is very unpredictable what shade a foundation will turn once it oxidizes and whether it will end up matching the skin or not. But this is just my experience though. :-((

          I really do hope that the lighter foundation oxidized for that poor lady, and probably to match her skin tone. 😎

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