An Open Letter to Maybelline India

An open letter to Maybelline India

I have been quite a loyal user of Maybelline products for quite some time now.  I find their products affordable and of good quality. And have never had a bad experience with any of their products. Having said that, of late however I have been having some issues with their services. Through this post I want to share my experience with you ladies and I also hope that perhaps this will catch the eye of someone at Maybelline India who can fix these issues.

Maybelline Newyork
Maybelline dominates my make up kit

Last weekend I did quite a bit shopping at various make up counters across Chennai and these were some sore points that stood out.

Sales Assistants giving wrong information

I had read a couple of reviews on Maybelline  Dream matte compact powder and wanted to try it out. I was surprised when I couldn’t find it at the Lifestyle Maybelline counter. When I asked the sales assistant (SA), she promptly said “Maybelline has discontinued this product”. I was startled because the product reviews I read were all recent. So I told her I had seen some information on the net. Then she thought for a while and says “Actually we are out of stock of that product”.

This had me seriously confused and I finally ended up picking up a compact powder from another brand.

SAs having no clue on make-up basics

This is an issue I have faced across various brands and I’m sure most of you will agree.  Most SAs seem to have no clue on how to match your skin tone to a foundation/compact/concealer.  A few months back I had picked up Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse.  I totally liked the way it goes on smoothly and the matte finish it provides. I picked up the product after the SA did my whole face and I quite liked the end result. However unfortunately when I got home I realized that the foundation was not my skin tone at all and the lighting at the store had been misleading.

So last weekend when the SA tried to convince me to try their mousse I told her about my previous experience. She started putting the previous SA down, which came across as unprofessional to me considering they might be from different stores but they represent the same brand name.

Finally I decided I will go ahead and give this product a second chance. When it came to choosing the color, the SA kept insisting I was #2 in the medium range called nude beige.  But I was pretty sure that the mousse two tones darker called Honey beige was better match. She kept insisting that she was right. After my last experience I realised I better stand my ground. I applied her recommended colour on one side of my face and my choice on the other side of my face. After this I walked out of the store with a hand mirror and checked my face in day light. I was glad to see that I was right. The color recommended by the SA was for a much fairer person and it make me look chalky. I know I looked like a fool but its worth the trouble if you can find the perfect foundation match. 🙂

I really don’t blame this particular SA because she probably has no clue. Foundations are not meant to make you look fairer, it is to even out your skin tone. Basic things like this need to be taught to sales assistants.

Though I ended up buying, this product my friend who came with me was so put off with the SA’s ignorance she went to the next counter and bought another brand.  This shows how important service is irrespective of how big a brand is.

Maybelline  New York
The wrong shade and the right shade

Lack of choice

I have been looking forward to the Colour Sensational lipsticks ever since I saw the announcement on IMBB. When I checked their website I was quite disappointed that out of the 48 colours in this range. Only 30- 32 have made it to the India market.  I was in for further disappointment when I realized that less than 20 had made it to the Chennai market. I discovered this after scouring through several Maybelline counters across the city.

I quite love this range. They come in exciting colors, glide on smoothly and are decently priced. I had my eyes set on five colors, unfortunately thanks to the lack of choice I ended up buying only two.  Very disappointing . :(And this lack of choice is evident across various products.

The colours I picked up were magnetic coral and tinted taupe. Photos here.

Maybelline NewYork
Top – Magnetic coral; Bottom Tinted Taupe

Lack of information

There seems to be a lack of information on the products and on their website. This is specifically with regard to their colored eyeliner pencils.

Since I picked up goodies worth Rs 1500, the SA offered me a free Maybelline Eyestudio Pencil. Now none of these pencils have names to indicate their colour, instead the tip is coloured to indicate the shade. I however find it quite misleading.  Here is a picture of the freebie I got. The tip looks like a plum color, but when I tested it on my hand it came out as a deep pink.
Maybelline New York

Unfortunately when I got home and tried it on my eyes, I realised its goes on lighter on the eyes which made it quite a dull pink. Not suitable for my eyes. I am now using it as a lipliner. 🙂 Either these pencils should have names that indicate the shade or the shaded tip should match the actual color of the product!

Now for my final problem (phew!) . I had picked up this same pencil in a lovely green a few weeks back. Sadly I dropped this pencil on the very day I bought it and the top portion of the tip snapped. Normally had this had happened to any of my other pencils, I would have either sharpened it (wooden pencils) or use the twist option at the bottom (plastic pencils). I can’t seem to do either on this pencil and have found no information on their site. (I also realized that the site has very little information actually) Does this mean that is the end of this pencil?  Suggestions from readers are most welcome!

Maybelline Eyestudio Pencil
If this does indeed mean that this pencil cannot be used anymore that is a terribly short life for an eyeliner pencil!

To conclude I hope make up companies realise that service is as important as the product itself.  And I hope Maybelline India  fixes these issues so that customers like me can continue to enjoy their products.


58 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Maybelline India

  1. Hi Wanderlust, you are right, SA’s really spoil a brand for you, I for one get totally put off with illformed and the I-know-better attitude these women carry. I really hope Maybelline is listening (rather reading :D)
    with regards to the green pencil, incidentally I have the same shade and was equally confused about how its supposed to be sharpened, untill I bought the sharpner from Lakme, its a dual one (one ‘hole’for kajal pencils and another for eye pencils)and works fine for my maybelline pencil as well, it costed some 60-70 bucks when I got it.
    I like the coral lipstick shade you got, I/ll check it out next time Im at their outlet 🙂 thx

      1. I also had a white pencil from the Maybelline Eyestudio range. Now that’s another thing that I never liked it but it used to sharpen well. I am so surprised that just because they gave it for free, the pencil was actually just till the tip. 😯

        1. yeah i think thats the case .. its just a tip with a solid plastic body. I am quite suprised because, several close competitors give you a “full” pencil for the same price range. for example Revlon’s eyeliner pencils.

  2. Nice that you listed down all these points. I agree with you when it comes to the makeup knowledge of the SAs, they just convince and sell products and they think that is all they have to do !!!!! Hope up all this gets noted by the respective people 🙂

  3. Love d the post, Wanderlust 🙂 We pay a good amount for these things, and I hate it when SAs are so poorly informed – I think the company should train them properly, its not the SAs fault really. Some of us are pretty new to makeup and would look like :panda: if we let these SAs guide us!

    The two shades are so different..I can totally understand why you would be upset – I do think its always better to go out and check under natural light like how you did, more reliable. And what’s with that pencil..what’s the casing made of..titanium?????

  4. Hey Wanderlust….thanks for writing this!!!

    Though I like Maybelline as a brand I hv faced serious issues with availability of their products since last few months!!

    Hope someone from the company is reading this…

  5. hi wanderlust
    this is important
    i dont know much abt the sa here
    but did come across one who was busy giggling and painting her own face with the testers
    that kinda turned me off
    and the stock is sooooo ltd here as well

  6. Hi wanderlust, I love your article. It was so timely. I was just thinking recently about how so many brands seem to short-change us Indians, especially in the service department. I have the eye studio pencil as well, but th purple one. I think you’ll have to sharpen a lot more before it becomes usable :(. I too have noticed that the websites of the brands and what’s on offer don’t correspond. In fact I have bought a couple of lippies from the maybelline moisture extreme range that I didn’t find anywhere on the website. One even has a rust coloured tube, rather than the red one! And I didn’t find the colorama nail polishes on the english website but on the portugese and french ones. And that too not with the same colours that we have here. I find that to be the case for a lot of brands – they have websites for other countries, but not India, even though they have a lot of products for the indian market. :reallyangry:

    BTW, do you live in chennai? If yes, then same pinch 🙂

    1. yes i ve noticed that the website is quite vague… and very disappointing that they dont have one for india!

      and yes based in chennai but keeping moving around alot 🙂

      1. BTW, did this happen at the ampa skywalk lifestyle store? Coz I had a similar experience there. The SA told me that the mousse bronzer and blush were discontinued!When I asked if she was sure, she said they were out of stock. I then went to the H&G store on the 2nd floor and bought what I wanted. I mean, don’t they understand that if they keep saying discontinued, we’ll just buy from other brands or shops? They’re losing business, not us!

    2. Hey Ame,

      I was just looking for this particular entry. India is a substantial market for cosmetics brands like Maybelline and that they do not have any website customization for India is in extremely poor taste. They have initial categorization of North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. While most of the South Asian countries are listed under Asia, India is not. I am miffed and will reconsider my decision to buy Maybelline products.

  7. Another whopping article from u.. 🙂 ..its uncanny but I find Maybelline SA s pretty dud heads..once exploring thru of them actually asked me “Are you sure you want to buy?” embarassing.. :pissedoff: I smiled and str8 away whisked of to just next Revlon counter and brought my things from there..and ya..SA s come real bad when it comes to choosing I throw huge tantrums while buying foundations in the stores :evilgrin: ..”take it near the window..or turn off your 500 watt good for nothing overhead light”..he he..

  8. Hey Wanderlust,

    That was quite an eye opener. Sad to know of your experience..esp that of the pencil. I mean how could a company be so cheap by giving a plastic pencil for free?

    To speak from my part, I have 3 from the Eye Studio range and a Chambor dual sharpener, which does the work. So as such I did not find it as a problem. Btw, in Blr, atleast from what I have seen, the Maybelline SA s are good in Westside, Shoppers Stop etc..Though there have been some bad experiences at the Health and Glow in some malls.

    My recent experience was that I happened to enquire about the Colour Sensational lippy at Hypercity. They were yet to get stock s. So the SA was more enthusiastic in showing me E/S quads and mascaras..When I said no, she immediately showed a big face and was not even ready to answer the rest of my questions :reallyangry:

  9. hi wanderlust….
    nice and informative article….u knw i have stopped using maybelline at all..coz wen ever there is a new product by maybelline in ads…..say newspaper or television…u are tempted to try it..but wen u go to the counter…sa tells u we are short of stock or it has finished aleady..or worse off…..they dont know about the new product at all……
    and yes as anuradha said..they get irritated if u try lot of stuff and actually ask u if u want to buy something……that is embarassing anuradha….
    and same has happend with loreal also…….
    both these brands need to pull up their socks and sort these serious issues….
    that ways mac SA’s are more helpful….informative and never ever pushy……
    maybelline and loreal…hope u get to read this…..u are losing your sheen and rapport with indian ladies

    1. yes it is true.. that its not just Maybelline but alot of brands in that category. i wonder if these companies know how put off customers are with their SAs.

    2. Have to agree with you Shilpa. When maybelline came out with lipstick with spf 15, I saw an ad for it with deepika padukone. And when I asked the SA about it, she swore that no such product was available. But it’s another matter that this particular product didn’t actually make an appearance in India 🙁

  10. I’m completely with you on this. Etime I ask them about Maybelline Dream Matte compact powder, they show me Whitestay UV compact. They tell me there is no such product in the market!! :silly:

    1. yes it has happened to me too! and i had to inform them that the white stay compact and dream matte compact are two different products!

  11. Very well-written review…. n ur incident wid the freebie eyepencil is just an OMG.. u shud take it bak to tht :silly: SA only n ask her to sharpen it for u..

    1. 🙂 hehe.. i didnt even want to ask them on how to get my pencil back in shape.. i knew i wouldnt get any useful info.

  12. i’m confused. is there NO product inside the pencil any more or is the pencil difficult to sharpen? i can see the green colour so i don’t think it’s over?! i can’t understand what you mean to say.

    1. hehe Rima i dont blame ur confusion. It looks like the top tip of the pencil has eyeliner in it. Which is why when i sharpened i was getting only plasticy flakes. the green u can see is the last bit as i have realized.

  13. Man..don’t tell me the pencil just had khol in tip as it was free….Maybeline if this the case you really need to pick your game as there are other brands in market in same range

    And yes, you are right about SAs. They have no clue about makeup and breathe down your neck while you are swatching…..aarghh :reallyangry:
    .-= Maddy´s last blog ..My Inspiration =-.

  14. I think you guys are really overlooking how helpful these SAs are in zeroing in on perfect product. Let me give you an example-

    One of my students is extremely intelligent. He calculates answers lightening-fast. Unfortunately, he makes some silly mistake and calculates the wrong answer. I found out a way for him. I told him to solve a question and calculate the answer, assume that the answer he calculated was WRONG, and then recalculate. The system works fine for him. 🙂

    I think the first thing you all should do when visiting a store is to ask for SA’s recommendation for your skin. Let her list all the shades she thinks are good for you. Then cross out those from your list and select the shades from the remaining ones.

    As long as the companies are not training their SAs and SAs remain as stupid as they are, the system should work fine. 🙂

    1. OMG! I actually did this for foundation once. The SA swore that the pink-toned shade looked good on me (even though I have a yellow undertone), so I choose the other one (yellow toned). And I was right 😀 😀

  15. I totally sympathize with you but I have a small drugstore near my place which stocks maybelline stuff and their service is amazing though they have limited stock.
    BTW you did the absolute right thing by testing the foundation on your face,most of us test it on your hands or arms not realizing that there is huge difference between testing on face and hand.Getting the correct shade of foundation is very crucial as that’s the base you work on.
    You could try a paper blade to sharpen your pencil might work 🙂
    .-= Sonia´s last blog ..Rules of Use – Natural Makeup =-.

  16. Sanjeev is talking about anti correlation :-)) ..fine tool..however human behavior is too any correlation/anticorrelation product leads to zero..I wud suggest using auto-correlation..i.e. know ur product and the correct shade..and ask the SA to only hand it over to u from the rack ..he he.. 😀

  17. My experience with most SAs is that they are pushy… specially at MBOs. I was at one to pick up a mascara and wanted to see all brands… after i’d checked out, all of them surrounded me and tried to give me their product! one even placed hers on the billing counter even after i’d picked the other… also, they keep wanting to sell u the most expensive product, even if you do not need it… i asked for regular mascara and they all showed me waterproof… i told them, i needed water soluble one and not one of them heard me the first time…

    in another incident, i refused ponds age miracle line because it caused me to break out when i tried it… the SA still kept recommending prod after prod of the age miracle line! ideally, SAs should suggest products, answer your queries and allow you to choose rather than keep goading you… thats what puts me off makeup shopping big time!
    .-= anks´s last blog ..Writing Vs Therapy =-.

  18. My comment is a day late, but I totally agree with you as far as Maybelline sales girls are concerned, and also for that matter, L’oreal sales girls as well. When I recently asked for the new L’oreal 6H Glam Shine shades, she looked at me as if I was retarded. I told her they had already been launched in Mumbai & Delhi – she still had no clue. At least when something is launched in India, they should update their sales girls to deal with queries as to its availability, they should at least know what we are talking about. Same thing when I asked the Revlon sales girl about the Revlon Photo Ready collection (which is on their website for like 3 months now); she looked at me blankly. Sometimes, they are still looking for what you ask for, when I take it out for them from their display counter and she looks bewildered. Many things are lacking in sales girls in malls. No wonder everyone is heading for MAC – at least they know what they are talking about and they are always fully informed.

  19. I totally agree with you… i am convinced that i wont get a perfect match for foundation cuz personally i wouldnt be able to if the SAs dont help.
    and whats up with their horrific makeup??? metallic green eyepencils over the whole of lid and mettalic blue liner?????????????????

  20. Wanderlust,

    I bought the same pretty green Eyestudio pencil, I really like the color and it’s staying power.

    Suggestion: Try sharpening the pencil with a Lakme eye pencil sharpner for Lakme’s Glide On eye-pencil. (Rs. 30) You get these sharpeners pretty much everywhere Lakme’s present.

    I use this for the Mabelline pencil too and it works pretty well. All the best! 🙂

  21. Hi,

    Maybelline, L’OReal and Chambor are mass brands who hire staff that hasnt been trained and is paid peanuts.The girls that work on these counters are clueless even about where MAybelline is from. I was told its an “Indian” brand and then sorry sir!! its an americal brand……..

    I asked for “Plum” and she showed me browns and all possible colors that were nothing next to plums……(I was testing her skills 😉 sorry)

    I was also told at Maybelline counter that Lip pencils can be used as eye pencils….Isnt that Bizarre for a brand like Maybelline…

    Just shared my experiences..



  22. ya u r right. i also faced the same problem the SA gave a me a shade lighter to my skin which gives a flaky look. I actually love the way it blends on the skin but upset with the shade. 🙁 🙁

  23. ya even i also agree to each word of yours……the SA gave me sandy beige but wen i came back home and applied it, it made me look really dark then my actual complexion…..its a waste for me now 😥 ….I am on a student budget , so cant afford such wrong suggestions given by the SA and ending up with nothing :-(( …….and yes thats the problem with every Company’s SA…..
    Too Bad………. 🙁

  24. Hey Wanderlust! Finally someone who understands! I can’t tell you how annoyed I get when the SAs are clueless about the products. Plus Maybelline products are ALWAYS out of stock where I live. I even wrote to someone but didn’t hear from anyone. Very sad – they don’t advertise and when they hardly ever do, products are out of stock. The little knowledge the SAs have is pitiable and you don’t know whether to yell at them or feel sorry for them! But I really wish they had all those products in India as they have in the States or anywhere else.

  25. I totally agree to Wanderlust – many times even ive been misleaded about products which had made me look like a ghost… inspite of telling them that i need something to even out my skin tone and not make me look like a ghost 🙁
    and m talking abt big malls in mumbai and pune.
    sometimes even the products seem stale or the new launches dont come for years 🙁

  26. hi…wanderlust..i hv been using d maybelline gel eyeliner since 1 week…and everytime my eyes kept paining the whole day…i took me 3 days to realize that it was bcz of the eyeliner…what shall i do now?

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