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11 Places for Makeup Lessons Outside of Department Stores

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Photo by Driely S. for Racked

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Makeup experimentation, that double-edged sword, is both wildly fun and highly perilous—you're pretty much always one clumsy moment away from a look 2010-era Taylor Momsen would have approved of.

So before gallivanting blindly into said obstacle-ridden world of putting strange new things on your face, we've we've rounded up all the places in NYC for makeup tutorials—from actual professionals—on how to create interesting looks that work for you.

You'll notice this list doesn't include department stores (although we're sure someone at Bergdorf's cosmetics counter would be happy to help, too), and instead is a hodgepodge of esteemed local makeup artists, catchall salons, luxury spas, indie beauty studios, and international makeup chains with NYC outposts. Read on to find out where you can master the season's best makeup trends.

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1. Kimara Ahnert

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1113 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10028
The Madison Avenue studio's makeup lessons are led by either a salon-approved artist ($200) or Kimara herself ($300), who will give you detailed instruction and even a written beauty profile to help you remember everything you’ve learned. [Photo]

2. John Barrett Salon

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754 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
The uber-luxe salon, whose oddly specific services include everything from eyelash application to beauty parties and even a ponytail bar, will loan you one of their makeup artists for $150 per hour for a private lesson. There’s also the Fast Face option, which is comprised of a simpler version of their full makeover for $80. [ Photo]

3. Sephora

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750 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10022
Aside from staff, who are generally the let-me-help-you-with-that type, the megachain also offers workshops and classes that are free for Beauty Insiders on makeup basics like contouring and highlighting, falsie application and day-to-night smoky eye. If you’d rather have one-on-one time, a 90-minute consultation with a personal beauty advisor is complimentary if you spend more than $125 at the store. [Photo]

4. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa

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663 5th Ave
New York, NY 10022
Make a (very relaxing) day of it at the Fifth Avenue location of the national spa chain. Makeup lessons are $90, but you're likely to be tempted by the spa's additional services, ranging from Swedish massage to an intensive healing manicure. [Photo]

5. Cheek to Chic

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520 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Makeup artist and expert Raychel Wade doesn’t just do weddings and photo shoots. Her brand, Cheek to Chic, also offers two types of makeup tutorials—one for aspiring makeup artists, and another for those who simply want to improve their skills in a small, intimate setting. Choose between a two-and-a-half hour class for $150, or an in-home lesson with product recommendations for $250, during which Raychel will apply makeup to one half of your face and have you complete the other. [Photo]

6. E.L.F. Cosmetics

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741 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
Recent workshops at the Greenwich Village studio store (there's also one in FiDi) include a free tutorial that shows you how to create a 60’s-inspired makeup look and a silver smoky eye how-to. While there currently aren’t any classes scheduled for the future, check back on the store’s events page to find out what’s coming up. [Photo]

7. Rouge New York

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130 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012
With the new Ransack package ($125), you bring your makeup bag to the salon, and the pros at hand will help you decide what to throw out, what to keep, and what to add while applying a whole new look for your face—handily using the products you already have at home. [Photo by Driely S.]

8. Birchbox Soho

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433 W Broadway
New York, NY 10012
Now that the e-commerce service has gone offline with the new Soho shop, they’re hosting one-off beauty workshops. Upcoming subjects include easy updo hairstyles, perfectly sculpted brows, fall nail art and cold-weather skincare—all are $30, unless you’re a Birchbox subscriber, in which case, they’re free! [Photo by Driely S.]

9. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

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174 Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002
The indie makeup brand’s sole outpost on the Lower East Side offers makeup demo applications for $75, all of which goes towards the vegan and cruelty-free OCC products of your choice. Be sure to call for an appointment in advance. [Photo]

10. Pucker Makeup Studio

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129 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013
At this makeup studio, one-hour lessons run at $100, and can involve pretty much whatever you're most interested in at the moment, whether that's learning how to apply a crazy new technique without looking, you know, crazy, or to nail down an easy, five-minute morning routine. [Photo]

11. Pioneer Works

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159 Pioneer St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Natural beauty expert and herbalist Jessa Blades offers a wide range of services for new and curious makeup lovers, including private and group lessons, and even a virtual consultation ($60) over Skype or the phone. Upcoming public events include a natural beauty workshop at Pioneer Works in Red Hook (10/22) that includes a lesson on DIY beauty products, plus a makeup tutorial in Fort Greene (10/28) on day-to-night looks and how to do your makeup on the subway. Both classes ($45-$60) involve herbal cocktails, too. [Photo]

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1. Kimara Ahnert

1113 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10028
The Madison Avenue studio's makeup lessons are led by either a salon-approved artist ($200) or Kimara herself ($300), who will give you detailed instruction and even a written beauty profile to help you remember everything you’ve learned. [Photo]
1113 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10028

2. John Barrett Salon

754 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10019
The uber-luxe salon, whose oddly specific services include everything from eyelash application to beauty parties and even a ponytail bar, will loan you one of their makeup artists for $150 per hour for a private lesson. There’s also the Fast Face option, which is comprised of a simpler version of their full makeover for $80. [ Photo]
754 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

3. Sephora

750 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022
Aside from staff, who are generally the let-me-help-you-with-that type, the megachain also offers workshops and classes that are free for Beauty Insiders on makeup basics like contouring and highlighting, falsie application and day-to-night smoky eye. If you’d rather have one-on-one time, a 90-minute consultation with a personal beauty advisor is complimentary if you spend more than $125 at the store. [Photo]
750 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10022

4. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa

663 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
Make a (very relaxing) day of it at the Fifth Avenue location of the national spa chain. Makeup lessons are $90, but you're likely to be tempted by the spa's additional services, ranging from Swedish massage to an intensive healing manicure. [Photo]
663 5th Ave
New York, NY 10022

5. Cheek to Chic

520 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10018
Makeup artist and expert Raychel Wade doesn’t just do weddings and photo shoots. Her brand, Cheek to Chic, also offers two types of makeup tutorials—one for aspiring makeup artists, and another for those who simply want to improve their skills in a small, intimate setting. Choose between a two-and-a-half hour class for $150, or an in-home lesson with product recommendations for $250, during which Raychel will apply makeup to one half of your face and have you complete the other. [Photo]
520 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

6. E.L.F. Cosmetics

741 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Recent workshops at the Greenwich Village studio store (there's also one in FiDi) include a free tutorial that shows you how to create a 60’s-inspired makeup look and a silver smoky eye how-to. While there currently aren’t any classes scheduled for the future, check back on the store’s events page to find out what’s coming up. [Photo]
741 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

7. Rouge New York

130 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012
With the new Ransack package ($125), you bring your makeup bag to the salon, and the pros at hand will help you decide what to throw out, what to keep, and what to add while applying a whole new look for your face—handily using the products you already have at home. [Photo by Driely S.]
130 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012

8. Birchbox Soho

433 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012
Now that the e-commerce service has gone offline with the new Soho shop, they’re hosting one-off beauty workshops. Upcoming subjects include easy updo hairstyles, perfectly sculpted brows, fall nail art and cold-weather skincare—all are $30, unless you’re a Birchbox subscriber, in which case, they’re free! [Photo by Driely S.]
433 W Broadway
New York, NY 10012

9. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics

174 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
The indie makeup brand’s sole outpost on the Lower East Side offers makeup demo applications for $75, all of which goes towards the vegan and cruelty-free OCC products of your choice. Be sure to call for an appointment in advance. [Photo]
174 Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002

10. Pucker Makeup Studio

129 Grand Street, New York, NY 10013
At this makeup studio, one-hour lessons run at $100, and can involve pretty much whatever you're most interested in at the moment, whether that's learning how to apply a crazy new technique without looking, you know, crazy, or to nail down an easy, five-minute morning routine. [Photo]
129 Grand Street
New York, NY 10013

11. Pioneer Works

159 Pioneer St., Brooklyn, NY 11231
Natural beauty expert and herbalist Jessa Blades offers a wide range of services for new and curious makeup lovers, including private and group lessons, and even a virtual consultation ($60) over Skype or the phone. Upcoming public events include a natural beauty workshop at Pioneer Works in Red Hook (10/22) that includes a lesson on DIY beauty products, plus a makeup tutorial in Fort Greene (10/28) on day-to-night looks and how to do your makeup on the subway. Both classes ($45-$60) involve herbal cocktails, too. [Photo]
159 Pioneer St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231