The cosmetics counter has been a rare bright spot in these dark days for department stores — for example, the JCPenney-Sephora partnership has been a win-win for both parties. So it makes sense that other department stores would seek ways to leverage the category’s drawing power as a way to bring foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores. But the tactic chosen by Macy’s and Bloomingdales — offering discounts on products that are rarely involved in promotional sales — is raising eyebrows. Many industry experts note that once a retailer lowers prices, even for a limited time or to a select audience, it’s difficult to push them back up to a “normal” level. Meanwhile, Sephora is not putting all its eggs in one basket. The brand is testing Sephora Studio, a small (2,000 square feet) store concept that will be located outside of mall locations. The first Studio debuted on Boston’s Newbury Street on July 21. The Studios will offer skin consultations and the Sephora Digital Makeover Guide, which captures clients’ product, application and look preferences. Product selection will be limited due to the stores’ small size, but associates will be able to use an “order in store” feature via Sephora.com.