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We Had Makeup Lessons At 5 Beauty Counters And Learned A Lot

We're practically experts now.

Posted on

All prices in this post are quoted in Australian dollars.

In the lead up to ~party season~, we decided to hit up our nearest department stores and see if their beauty counters could teach us a thing or two about makeup.

Could we learn to apply fake lashes and find out how to keep our makeup from melting off our faces in the summer heat? Let's see.

Anna Mendoza / BuzzFeed

- We would all go to a different beauty counter in either Myer or David Jones department stores.

- We would arrive to our appointments with no makeup and avoid explaining what kind of makeup we normally wear.

- We would ask for a "glamorous" makeup look, but would provide no further instruction on what that meant to us.

The overall experience: I only wear makeup two or three times a week and when I do, it always takes me less than ten minutes. I was surprised at how light my face felt despite the fact I was wearing so much more makeup than I normally do. I would definitely consider going back to the counter to get my makeup done for a special occasion.

I really, really loved my overall look. It was ~vampy~ and it definitely suited my personality, which was impressive considering my makeup artist knew me for less than an hour.

The best tricks learned:

- It's OK to use clean fingers instead of a brush to apply your foundation. I also learned that it's good to warm up your product a little bit in your hands, so it applies more smoothly.

- The best way to avoid getting lipstick on your teeth is to apply it with your lips closed. It's also apparently better to do the lipstick first then lip liner, so the products blend together.

- Using two different eyeliners is a great way to amp up the intensity. For my look we used a gel product, then a liquid liner.

Number products used: 20.

The favourite products:

- Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil, $25

- Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink, $38

- Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Sangria, $40

- Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Colour in Your Majesty, $52

The overall experience: I only wear makeup two or three times a week and when I do, it always takes me less than ten minutes. I was surprised at how light my face felt despite the fact I was wearing so much more makeup than I normally do. I would definitely consider going back to the counter to get my makeup done for a special occasion.

I really, really loved my overall look. It was ~vampy~ and it definitely suited my personality, which was impressive considering my makeup artist knew me for less than an hour.

The best tricks learned:

- It's OK to use clean fingers instead of a brush to apply your foundation. I also learned that it's good to warm up your product a little bit in your hands, so it applies more smoothly.

- The best way to avoid getting lipstick on your teeth is to apply it with your lips closed. It's also apparently better to do the lipstick first then lip liner, so the products blend together.

- Using two different eyeliners is a great way to amp up the intensity. For my look we used a gel product, then a liquid liner.

Number products used: 20.

The favourite products:

- Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil, $25

- Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink, $38

- Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Sangria, $40

- Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Colour in Your Majesty, $52

← Slide →

The overall experience: I only wear makeup two or three times a week and when I do, it always takes me less than ten minutes. I was surprised at how light my face felt despite the fact I was wearing so much more makeup than I normally do. I would definitely consider going back to the counter to get my makeup done for a special occasion.

I really, really loved my overall look. It was ~vampy~ and it definitely suited my personality, which was impressive considering my makeup artist knew me for less than an hour.

The best tricks learned:

- It's OK to use clean fingers instead of a brush to apply your foundation. I also learned that it's good to warm up your product a little bit in your hands, so it applies more smoothly.

- The best way to avoid getting lipstick on your teeth is to apply it with your lips closed. It's also apparently better to do the lipstick first then lip liner, so the products blend together.

- Using two different eyeliners is a great way to amp up the intensity. For my look we used a gel product, then a liquid liner.

Number products used: 20.

The favourite products:

- Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil, $25

- Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink, $38

- Bobbi Brown Lip Pencil in Sangria, $40

- Bobbi Brown Luxe Lip Colour in Your Majesty, $52

The overall experience: I came into this lesson ready to make a fool of myself as makeup is not part of my daily routine. My makeup artist acknowledged this and was very patient with me and my questions.

His approach to makeup was very practical and he showed me how to build an everyday look into a glamorous one. I’ve always equated the “glam look” with wearing A LOT of makeup, but this lesson showed me how much I can do with so little.

The best tricks learned:

- If you apply your mascara and brow makeup before anything else - even foundation - you’ll put on less makeup.

- Wrap the end of a cotton swab in a makeup-removing wipe to erase small mistakes.

- Don't take your eyeliner or eye shadow all the way to the inner corner of your lower lash line, as it will make your eyes look tired and smaller.

Number products used: 13.

The favourite products:

- Napoleon Perdis Mighty Concealer Pen in Cream Coffee, $38

- Napoleon Perdis Light Switch Luminizer Palette, $70

The overall experience: I came into this lesson ready to make a fool of myself as makeup is not part of my daily routine. My makeup artist acknowledged this and was very patient with me and my questions.

His approach to makeup was very practical and he showed me how to build an everyday look into a glamorous one. I’ve always equated the “glam look” with wearing A LOT of makeup, but this lesson showed me how much I can do with so little.

The best tricks learned:

- If you apply your mascara and brow makeup before anything else - even foundation - you’ll put on less makeup.

- Wrap the end of a cotton swab in a makeup-removing wipe to erase small mistakes.

- Don't take your eyeliner or eye shadow all the way to the inner corner of your lower lash line, as it will make your eyes look tired and smaller.

Number products used: 13.

The favourite products:

- Napoleon Perdis Mighty Concealer Pen in Cream Coffee, $38

- Napoleon Perdis Light Switch Luminizer Palette, $70

← Slide →

The overall experience: I came into this lesson ready to make a fool of myself as makeup is not part of my daily routine. My makeup artist acknowledged this and was very patient with me and my questions.

His approach to makeup was very practical and he showed me how to build an everyday look into a glamorous one. I’ve always equated the “glam look” with wearing A LOT of makeup, but this lesson showed me how much I can do with so little.

The best tricks learned:

- If you apply your mascara and brow makeup before anything else - even foundation - you’ll put on less makeup.

- Wrap the end of a cotton swab in a makeup-removing wipe to erase small mistakes.

- Don't take your eyeliner or eye shadow all the way to the inner corner of your lower lash line, as it will make your eyes look tired and smaller.

Number products used: 13.

The favourite products:

- Napoleon Perdis Mighty Concealer Pen in Cream Coffee, $38

- Napoleon Perdis Light Switch Luminizer Palette, $70

The overall experience: Rather than a traditional makeup lesson, Benefit take makeup application appointments where you have the opportunity to quiz your artist and learn new tricks along the way.

Having worked in beauty journalism for years, I love makeup and know how I like it applied. It was really interesting to let go of what I think works for my face and see what decisions my artist made for me. I never do a purple eye but definitely saw why she chose to go with those shades after seeing my hazel eyes. Having your makeup done is always going to be a nice experience but the atmosphere in Benefit and expertise of my artist made it all the better.

The best tricks learned:

- Don't be afraid to use more than one primer at a time. For me, we went with a pore-reducing primer in some areas and a brightening product in others. It makes total sense when you think about how different your skin is in different spots.

- When using under-eye concealer, blend the product all the way out to your temples, and don't forget the inner corners of your eyes, which tend to be quite dark.

- When applying a cream eye shadow over a powder, use a stippling motion rather than a sweeping one.

Number products used: 22.

The favourite products:

- Benefit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara, $42

- Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer, $51

- Benefit "That Gal" Brightening Face Primer, $53

The overall experience: Rather than a traditional makeup lesson, Benefit take makeup application appointments where you have the opportunity to quiz your artist and learn new tricks along the way.

Having worked in beauty journalism for years, I love makeup and know how I like it applied. It was really interesting to let go of what I think works for my face and see what decisions my artist made for me. I never do a purple eye but definitely saw why she chose to go with those shades after seeing my hazel eyes. Having your makeup done is always going to be a nice experience but the atmosphere in Benefit and expertise of my artist made it all the better.

The best tricks learned:

- Don't be afraid to use more than one primer at a time. For me, we went with a pore-reducing primer in some areas and a brightening product in others. It makes total sense when you think about how different your skin is in different spots.

- When using under-eye concealer, blend the product all the way out to your temples, and don't forget the inner corners of your eyes, which tend to be quite dark.

- When applying a cream eye shadow over a powder, use a stippling motion rather than a sweeping one.

Number products used: 22.

The favourite products:

- Benefit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara, $42

- Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer, $51

- Benefit "That Gal" Brightening Face Primer, $53

← Slide →

The overall experience: Rather than a traditional makeup lesson, Benefit take makeup application appointments where you have the opportunity to quiz your artist and learn new tricks along the way.

Having worked in beauty journalism for years, I love makeup and know how I like it applied. It was really interesting to let go of what I think works for my face and see what decisions my artist made for me. I never do a purple eye but definitely saw why she chose to go with those shades after seeing my hazel eyes. Having your makeup done is always going to be a nice experience but the atmosphere in Benefit and expertise of my artist made it all the better.

The best tricks learned:

- Don't be afraid to use more than one primer at a time. For me, we went with a pore-reducing primer in some areas and a brightening product in others. It makes total sense when you think about how different your skin is in different spots.

- When using under-eye concealer, blend the product all the way out to your temples, and don't forget the inner corners of your eyes, which tend to be quite dark.

- When applying a cream eye shadow over a powder, use a stippling motion rather than a sweeping one.

Number products used: 22.

The favourite products:

- Benefit They're Real! Lengthening Mascara, $42

- Benefit Hoola Matte Bronzer, $51

- Benefit "That Gal" Brightening Face Primer, $53

The overall experience: I’m pretty good with makeup in that I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. To me, glam is a flawless base, dark eyes, neutral lips, and false lashes. I've never been able to master the red lip, so I was excited to find out that this was the look we were going with.

One great thing about the lesson is that the artist does one side of your face before asking you to do the other, so there's no way you can leave without learning something. Walking around the store and talking about the products was also really insightful. This lesson would be especially great if you were planning on buying $150 of products anyway.

The best tricks learned:

- One of my favourite MAC products is their Prep + Prime Fix+. I'd stupidly only been using it to set my makeup. I learned that it's also a great primer and perfect for removing eye shadow fallout from your foundation. Somehow it didn't disturb my base at all.

- To make your brows appear thicker, use a brow crayon to over-draw the top of the outer half of your brows. After making these lines, brush the brow hair upwards over the line.

- Holding your brush too close to the head limits your movements. Holding it further back allows you to make smoother, more seamless strokes.

Number products used: 18.

The favourite products:

- MAC Glitter in Reflects Gold, $29

- MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Chateau M, $46

- MAC Prep + Prime Fix+, $32

- MAC Mineralize Finish in Soft & Gentle, $48

The overall experience: I’m pretty good with makeup in that I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. To me, glam is a flawless base, dark eyes, neutral lips, and false lashes. I've never been able to master the red lip, so I was excited to find out that this was the look we were going with.

One great thing about the lesson is that the artist does one side of your face before asking you to do the other, so there's no way you can leave without learning something. Walking around the store and talking about the products was also really insightful. This lesson would be especially great if you were planning on buying $150 of products anyway.

The best tricks learned:

- One of my favourite MAC products is their Prep + Prime Fix+. I'd stupidly only been using it to set my makeup. I learned that it's also a great primer and perfect for removing eye shadow fallout from your foundation. Somehow it didn't disturb my base at all.

- To make your brows appear thicker, use a brow crayon to over-draw the top of the outer half of your brows. After making these lines, brush the brow hair upwards over the line.

- Holding your brush too close to the head limits your movements. Holding it further back allows you to make smoother, more seamless strokes.

Number products used: 18.

The favourite products:

- MAC Glitter in Reflects Gold, $29

- MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Chateau M, $46

- MAC Prep + Prime Fix+, $32

- MAC Mineralize Finish in Soft & Gentle, $48

← Slide →

The overall experience: I’m pretty good with makeup in that I know what looks good on me and what doesn’t. To me, glam is a flawless base, dark eyes, neutral lips, and false lashes. I've never been able to master the red lip, so I was excited to find out that this was the look we were going with.

One great thing about the lesson is that the artist does one side of your face before asking you to do the other, so there's no way you can leave without learning something. Walking around the store and talking about the products was also really insightful. This lesson would be especially great if you were planning on buying $150 of products anyway.

The best tricks learned:

- One of my favourite MAC products is their Prep + Prime Fix+. I'd stupidly only been using it to set my makeup. I learned that it's also a great primer and perfect for removing eye shadow fallout from your foundation. Somehow it didn't disturb my base at all.

- To make your brows appear thicker, use a brow crayon to over-draw the top of the outer half of your brows. After making these lines, brush the brow hair upwards over the line.

- Holding your brush too close to the head limits your movements. Holding it further back allows you to make smoother, more seamless strokes.

Number products used: 18.

The favourite products:

- MAC Glitter in Reflects Gold, $29

- MAC Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolour in Chateau M, $46

- MAC Prep + Prime Fix+, $32

- MAC Mineralize Finish in Soft & Gentle, $48

The overall experience: I absolutely love makeup, but I’m pretty rubbish at putting it on. I kind of just pile it on my face and hope for the best. If I’m going out and want to go for a “glam” look, I probably spend no more than 10 minutes on my makeup. Going into this I thought 45 minutes would be way too long for a makeup lesson, but I was wrong.

I really liked that the makeup artist did one side of my face and got me to copy her work on the other side. I definitely learn by doing and this made it so much easier to understand the techniques. It won't be easy for me to recreate all of this at home but at least now I know the basics.

The best tricks learned:

- Put cream highlighter in a "c-shape" around your eyes to catch the light.

- You can apply and blend brown eyeliner over the whole eyelid in place of a brown eye shadow.

- It can take a lot of products to get a super glam eye look. We used three different eyeliners and five different eye shadow shades.

Number products used: 21.

The favourite products:

- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Surreal Light, $116

- By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eyeshadow in Misty Rock, $55

- Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Surabaya, $50

- Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, $37

The overall experience: I absolutely love makeup, but I’m pretty rubbish at putting it on. I kind of just pile it on my face and hope for the best. If I’m going out and want to go for a “glam” look, I probably spend no more than 10 minutes on my makeup. Going into this I thought 45 minutes would be way too long for a makeup lesson, but I was wrong.

I really liked that the makeup artist did one side of my face and got me to copy her work on the other side. I definitely learn by doing and this made it so much easier to understand the techniques. It won't be easy for me to recreate all of this at home but at least now I know the basics.

The best tricks learned:

- Put cream highlighter in a "c-shape" around your eyes to catch the light.

- You can apply and blend brown eyeliner over the whole eyelid in place of a brown eye shadow.

- It can take a lot of products to get a super glam eye look. We used three different eyeliners and five different eye shadow shades.

Number products used: 21.

The favourite products:

- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Surreal Light, $116

- By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eyeshadow in Misty Rock, $55

- Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Surabaya, $50

- Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, $37

← Slide →

The overall experience: I absolutely love makeup, but I’m pretty rubbish at putting it on. I kind of just pile it on my face and hope for the best. If I’m going out and want to go for a “glam” look, I probably spend no more than 10 minutes on my makeup. Going into this I thought 45 minutes would be way too long for a makeup lesson, but I was wrong.

I really liked that the makeup artist did one side of my face and got me to copy her work on the other side. I definitely learn by doing and this made it so much easier to understand the techniques. It won't be easy for me to recreate all of this at home but at least now I know the basics.

The best tricks learned:

- Put cream highlighter in a "c-shape" around your eyes to catch the light.

- You can apply and blend brown eyeliner over the whole eyelid in place of a brown eye shadow.

- It can take a lot of products to get a super glam eye look. We used three different eyeliners and five different eye shadow shades.

Number products used: 21.

The favourite products:

- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette in Surreal Light, $116

- By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eyeshadow in Misty Rock, $55

- Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Surabaya, $50

- Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, $37

Anna Mendoza / BuzzFeed

- A makeup lesson is actually a really great way of seeing which products are worth the money.

- If you're planning on buying a lot of new makeup, head to a department store beauty counter and ask if they do lessons. When the cost is redeemable for product, there's no reason not to.

- Seeing someone else choose your makeup for you can really ~open your eyes~ to your own face and makeup choices.

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