Want to get your make-up professionally done? Here’s what you should know

It doesn't matter if your make-up has seen better days ... taking it to your appointment will give the artist a good ...

Getting your make-up done professionally is a wonderful treat for the face – and the soul. But have you ever wondered what it would cost to create those make-up looks from scratch at home?

No need, I’ll tell you: $873.

When I recently had a make-up lesson at a popular store, that’s how much it would have cost me to buy everything used on the day.

A “free” makeover can end up costing hundreds if you get sucked in by the sales pitch but it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow some simple tips.

1. Choose the right consultation 

When it comes to in-store make-up applications, there’s the quick, “in the chair” touch up, which requires no booking and is generally designed to test one new product.

Then there’s the full-face make-up application, which requires a reservation and has a fee attached, usually about $100, which is almost always “redeemable with purchase”.

Some stores, such as Mecca Cosmetica, also offer a slightly more specialised make-up “lesson” for its loyalty members, which customers can choose to focus on an area of their technique they want to improve, or change up.

2. Research your products before you head to the store

There’s always a little pressure selling when you’re in the chair and one product can easily become three if you’re not careful, especially when they are all packaged so beautifully.

Tony Baumann, head of artistry for Mecca, encourages people to take some of their current products with them, even if they’ve seen better days.

“Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to bring in used products, everyone’s makeup bag looks the same and all lipsticks end up in the same shape.” he said.

Check your cupboard and see what’s missing. Is your eyeliner on its last stump? Has your blush seen better days?

Remember, you don’t even have to buy the products they use on you on the day, so long as you buy something. Buying nothing is also a bit of a waste. Think of the session as a gift voucher that runs out as soon as you leave the store.

3. Seek an artist who’s like you

This isn’t always possible but if your session is at a store you frequent often, you may be able to request an artist whose skin and make-up style resembles your own.

The reason is product selection can be quite subjective, so having an artist who may also have oily skin, or favours heavier eye make-up – if that’s your thing – means you’re more likely to come out looking like a better version of you, and less like Krusty the Klown.

If you can’t choose your artist, consider taking a photo or Pinterest board of some make-up looks you like, so you don’t lose precious time settling on a look.

4. Ask a lot of questions

It’s easy to get chatting with the artist and lose track of the actual reason you are there: to learn.

Even if you are getting a straight make-up application, ask questions about every step. How she does that, can she show you in the mirror, and so on.

If you walk away without learning at least one new tip, you’ve wasted your time.

5. Buy the products that are low-risk 

It’s quite common to trial a new foundation at a make-up session or lesson but I am usually loathe to buy it on the spot unless I have experience with it.

Often the most expensive item used on the day, it’s also the riskiest purchase should it not work out long term.

Ask if they have a return or exchange policy (Mecca will take back lightly used product within 30 days), or, if not, consider buying items that are lower risk, like eye shadows and lipsticks.

6. And sample the rest

The number of times an artist has used a product on me only to forget the colour or code the moment I leave the store. Take photos and where possible, ask for a sample to take home so you can try the product over a few days.

Then you have something ready to purchase, without the risk, next time you need your make-up done for an event.

The lowdown:

Mecca Cosmetica: make-up application $90* for 45 minutes; make-up lesson $100* for 60 minutes.

MAC: Eye application only $60*; make-up application $95* for 60 minutes; make-up lesson $150* for 90 minutes; theatrical/fancy dress make-up $150*.

Sephora: Make-up $85* for 45 minutes; make-up lesson $100* for 60 minutes.

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