The Tricks Beauty Counters Use to Make Sure You Keep Going Back

There’s a certain draw that leads beauty junkies straight to the beauty store to spend hours searching for, testing and buying the next addition to their makeup and skin care collections. It turns out it’s not just the lure of finding your next holy grail must-have that influences your purchases and how much time you spend in the store. The aesthetics of the decor play a large part in the decisions you make while you’re browsing your favorite beauty brands.

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According to consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, the monochromatic color palette found in most beauty stores is a very deliberate look designed to lure you in. In an interview with Racked, he describes the how the color and finish of the store and the displays influence consumers. “Black is an elegant, sophisticated color, but it’s also a great backdrop,” says Yarrow. “It’s really those non-verbal cues that we get when we look at colors that tell us what a product is all about. The color black really is the color of exclusivity and money and prestige, probably more than any other color in our culture.”

While colorful beauty products certainly pop more on black shelves, Yarrow says that white, the other commonly used color at beauty retailers, gives off a “pure and exclusive” feeling with customers. But it’s not all about color. The finish of the materials and floors are kept shiny to denote luxury and sophistication. “The look and feel of the display elevates the merchandise itself. It’s not like you’d go to a showroom for fancy cars and expect to see them on concrete. They’re always on really shiny floors,” says Yarrow. “Even in movies, the street where the couple falls in love, it’s always shiny. Shiny just makes everything seem more magical.”

Next time you walk into a Mac, Nars or Sephora, pay attention to the presentation behind the products. Other colors that are commonly utilized are red, which is often used as an accent color, and pastels. “They communicate a lower price point and more accessibility, like pinks and turquoise and yellows. Also, retailers looking for more excitement rather than exclusivity communicate a lot through colors,” adds Yarrow.