18 MAC to School Makeup Tips

Published in: MAC Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, News, Top Posts

Guess what? I decided to go back to school on Saturday. Yup, I attended a 2-hour MAC Studio Talk makeup class at Bloomingdale’s in SF, and, like the Chanel master class at Macy’s a couple weeks ago, it was packed with makeup tips and new product information.


Watching a video at the start of class

If you love makeup, brand-sponsored classes like these are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I found out about the MAC Studio Talk class through the Bloomingdale’s website. Ask in the stores, as well (check with the counter staff), because other brands offer similar classes.

Makeup classes like these are often free, but sometimes stores or brands will charge a nominal fee. Classes are usually kept small (30 people or less), and in some cases hands-on (as was the MAC Studio Talk class), where you’re able to apply products on yourself. Other times, they’ll be more lecture-style. To reserve a spot in a MAC Studio Talk class through Bloomingdale’s costs $75, but that amount also applies toward the purchase of MAC products at the end of the class. If you were planning to spend some money on a new collection anyway, a class like one of these may be a fun way to couple your new products with some professional instruction.

MAC Studio Makeup Talk

Each student was given a choice to learn either a bridal look or a club-inspired look. I chose the club look, and the instructors described each step in the process. I picked up a few tips along the way.

1. Beat the Heat with MAC Wipes

When it’s hot out, store MAC Wipes ($17) in the fridge. It keeps them feeling crisp and refreshing against your skin when used to remove your makeup.

2. Fix+ to Soothe Red Areas

If you have red, splotchy skin, spritz Fix+ ($16) over your entire face before applying your makeup. Not only does the spray prep skin for makeup application, but it contains soothing chamomile as well.

3. Primer Reduces the Need for Touch-Ups

Face primers are great for oily skinned ladies and gents. You won’t have to reapply your makeup as often throughout the day if you use a primer first. MAC has two kinds, Prep + Prime Skin ($23) and Prep + Prime Face Protect SPF 50 ($28).

4. Use Fast Response Eye Cream to Minimize Fine Lines

If you have fine lines around your eyes or mouth, apply Fast Response Eye Cream ($28.50) to the areas before applying any of your makeup (even foundation). The formula contains optical diffusers to minimize the appearance of fine lines.

5. Layer Foundation: It’s Easier to Add Than to Take Away

A little foundation goes a long way. It’s better to start with less and to build it up to the coverage you want. It’s easier to slowly add product than it is to take it away.

6. Studio Tech Foundation for Medium Coverage

MAC Studio Tech ($29), a cream foundation in a compact tends to be lighter than MAC’s fluid foundations. I’m normally an NC 35, but Studio Tech in a slightly darker NC 37 provides great medium coverage and helps soften and diffuse lines on the skin.

7. Use Downward Strokes to Apply Foundation

Facial hair and fuzz tends to lie vertically on the skin, from top to bottom, so when applying foundation with something like a 190 Foundation Brush ($32), use downward strokes to and go with the “grain” of the hair.

8. MAC Blot on Your T-zone for a Natural Look

For a natural look, top MAC Studio Tech foundation with MAC Blot Pressed Powder ($21). In the class, I dusted the Medium Deep shade on my T-zone with a 187 Duo Fibre Brush ($42).

9. Apply Bronzer Like a Pro

When you apply bronzer, think of a capital letter E. With Refined Golden Bronzer ($21) and a 187 brush, start near the outer corner of your right eye, swiping down the curve of the cheek bone (under the apple of your cheek). Then, swipe back up the same way. From there, swipe over the right temple onto your upper forehead just below your right hairline. The overall shape you’re shooting for resembles a capital E on the right side. Do the reverse on your left.

10. Apply Blush Like a Champ

When applying blush, grab a 187 duo fiber brush. Swipe it on the blush pan once or twice, tapping off the excess powder. Smile in the mirror to make the apples of your cheeks more prominent and apply with the blush using a small, circular motion. Repeat the process, moving the color up from the apples to the hairline.

11. Tame Unruly Eyebrows

If your brow hairs lie in different directions, Brow Set ($13.50) is a handy product to have around. It’s a gel that acts like hair spray for yours brows, keeping them in place. It even comes with a mascara brush. In a pinch, you can also use it to tame stray hairs elsewhere on the face.

12. Prime Your Eyes with Paint Pots

Eye primer extends the life of your eye shadows. Painterly Paint Pot ($16.50) is a great multi-purpose eye primer. It’s a creamy, nude beige shade that goes with almost all colors. Apply the product over the entire eye using a flat brush like the MAC 242 ($23). You don’t need to use lots of product when it comes to Paint Pots; less is more.

13. Eye Shadow on Your Brow Bone

Shading and color gradients with eye shadows aren’t just for the lid and crease area. When applying color onto the brow bone with eye shadow, start applying color with the brush directly beneath the highest point of the arch of your brow, applying less color in either direction from there. The center beneath the arch is where you’ll want the most color. Concentrating color here creates a focal point and further defines the shape.

14. How to Apply Eye Shadow in the Crease

When applying crease color, use a 224 Tapered Blending Brush, and start with the brush head at the outer end of your lashes (the side near your outer eye). Then, move the color into the crease using a back and forth windshield wiper motion. Lessen the pressure of the brush head as you move the brush into the inner crease; this creates a lighter application of color. The result should be a color gradient that gets lighter as it moves into the crease.

15. How You Hold Your Brush Makes a Big Difference

Where you hold a brush on the handle affects your control. The closer your fingers are to the barrel (the silver section beneath the brush head), the more pressure you put on the brush head. To apply color evenly, place your fingers in the center of the brush handle.

16. Get Big, Bold Lashes with Primer

If you have wimpy lashes like I do, then apply two layers of Prep + Prime Lash ($13.50) after curling your lashes but before applying mascara. It dramatically lengthens and thickens your lashes.

17. Double Your Fun with False Lashes

To take false lashes to the next level, double ’em up. Glue one row of 7 Lash ($12) on top of a row of 3 Lash ($12).

18. Using Gloss to Create a Pouty Lip

Dab a small amount of gloss in the middle of your bottom lip for a simple pouty look that doesn’t look too goopy or overdone.

A Bridal or a Club Look

Bridal look face chart

Club look face chart

In Saturday’s class, I chose to do the club look, thinking I’d leave with some crazy, colorful eye like in the above chart. Instead, we ended up doing more of a smokey blue eye, with light cheeks and bold pink lips.

I used several MAC products for the look.

Blue Flame eye shadow

For the eyes:

  • Painterly Paint Pot cream shadow over the entire eye
  • Ricepaper eye shadow on the brow bone, lid and in the inner corner
  • Brown Script eye shadow in the crease
  • Blue Flame eye shadow in the outer V and lower lash line
  • Blacktrack Fluidline gel liner on the top lash line
  • Prep+Prime Lash on the upper lashes
  • Zoomblack Zoomlash mascara on the upper lashes
  • MAC Selectmoisture Cover in NC 30 concealer on my dark circles

For the cheeks:

  • Peachykeen blush on the apples
  • Refined Golden bronzer on the cheeks

Peachykeen blush

For the lips:

  • Half-Red Lip Pencil all over the lips
  • Girl About Town Amplified Creme lipstick layered on top of lip pencil
  • Bateaux Lustreglass lipgloss on center of lower lip

Bateaux Lustreglass

For the face:

  • MAC Studio Tech foundation in NC 37
  • MAC Blot Pressed Powder in Medium Deep

My new passport photo, lol!

The MAC Studio Talk class at Bloomingdale’s was a *blast*! I learned so many new application tips, and I also discovered a few new MAC products I really like (Brown Script eye shadow and Prep + Prime Lash). I’m thinking of whipping up a how-to tutorial for the club look I did in class. Do you think I should? Let me know what you think in the comments. πŸ™‚

Well, I got myself up off the couch and decided to do a little writing. I’m still not feeling my usual spunky self, but I do feel better now than I did this morning. How about you?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 83 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Nosh says:

    You look hawt! I think blues and greens look phenomenal on you πŸ˜€

    Great tips!! Makes me wanna go shopping πŸ˜‰

  2. Jess says:

    Karen good that you’re feeling better. These are some excellent tips! You got all these from one single class? Do you know if Macys has the same class? Thanks

  3. Tiera says:

    I’m such a huge fan of MAC’s blot powder. I use the loose powder over foundation (or alone on a light makeup day) and I keep the pressed powder in my makeup bag for touch ups throughout the day!

  4. Phoebe says:

    LOVE your lip color!!! πŸ™‚

  5. bgirldskco says:

    i love this post it was super helpful with what essentials i need to purchase next!

    bgirldskcos last blog post..Weekend Clothing Haul & Date

  6. Holly says:

    Those eyes look amazing, i never seem to wear much colour on my eyes at all but this looks so wearable that i may just give it a try!! I love the crease colour too!
    I love MAC blot powder soooo much i have both the pressed and the loose but i find that the pressed works much better at keeping my oil prone t-zone at bay!
    I keep meaning to fill you in on a great makeup experiment that has really been working for me, for about the past week I have been wearing a combo of maxfactor 2000 cal mascara with YSL false lash effect mascara over and my lashes have never looked so good!! Even my own mum asked me today if i was wearing false lashes because they looked so long and thick! I have really rated the YSL mascara highly for a while but these two together seem for some reason to be a winning combo!!
    Also while im yabbering on for too long I keep meaning to thank you again for reconmending carbon eye shadow and blushbaby blush they are both incredible and particularly with blushbaby i never would have looked at that twice in the pan but it is amazing when applied!

  7. Dao says:

    Wow, they’re such great tips. My hat goes to you Karen! Today my eye look is exactly like that, blue smokey eyes. I guess we’re telepathic πŸ™‚ How’s Tabs doing today. I heard he was reading my blog, good boy! Thanks for stopping by Karen and I hope you’ll turn that frown upside down soon.

    Daos last blog post..Smokey Eyes the Easiest Way!

  8. Aranya says:

    You look great Karen! Love the eyes! Btw, is peachykeen similar to Margin?

  9. Music_Is_Freedom says:

    That look is gorgeous! I love the lipcolour Girl About Town (yet I still haven’t bought it), and it looks really nice toned down with the red liner and beige-y gloss. But I agree with you that the club face chart is one hella cool look; they really should have gone with that!

  10. KK says:

    That class sounds amazing! I am so jealous! Do you know if other department stores do these too? We are not lucky enough to have a Bloomies! ;(

    Your eyes look so good!!

  11. Karen says:

    Hi Nosh,

    Thank you. πŸ™‚ I’m officially obsessed with both those shadow colors.

    Pick anything new up from MAC lately?

  12. Karen says:

    Hi Jess,

    Yup, it was from one class! There were two artists doing demonstrations, so maybe that’s why there were so many. I haven’t attended a Studio Talk like this at Macy’s, but a few years ago for Barbie Loves MAC I went to a seminar at Nordstrom. If you call your counter or stop by then they’ll be able to tell you if they host the classes. πŸ™‚

  13. Karen says:

    Hi Tiera,

    It’s great, isn’t it? It really keeps the shine away and never looks too heavy.

  14. Karen says:

    Hi Phoebe,

    Thanks! I was pretty surprised at how it turned out because the lipstick was scary in the tube!

  15. Karen says:

    Hi Bgirldskco,

    Yay! You better snap up Painterly (if you don’t already have it), Ricepaper and Brown Script ASAP. They are fab!

  16. Karen says:

    Hi Holly,

    Oh great! I love it when the products I like work for others, too. Yay! You are now part of the Blushbaby cult, too.

    Max Factor 2000 is a fab drugstore mascara. I’ve never tried layering it with another kind but you know me… I’ll do anything for big lashes. Will have to try this on my own. Hopefully it’ll work for me, too. πŸ™‚

  17. Karen says:

    Hi Dao,

    LOL, yes, he likes to read beauty blogs. He left shortly after 10:00 (things to do, places to go), but he managed to eat his fill of Friskies and relax. I wish he’d stay all day, because he’s safe here and I don’t have to worry about him being out and about.

    Hope you had a nice day today.

  18. Karen says:

    Hi Aranya,

    I think it’s less gold. I’ve tried Margin but it doesn’t read very well on my skin… I have the tan girl’s equivalent, Sunbasque, though, and Peachykeen is def. less gold. πŸ™‚

  19. Karen says:

    Hi Music_Is_Freedom,

    I know! I was really looking forward to the crazy green glitter and being pushed out of my comfort zone. Sigh, at least the blue smokey eye turned out okay.

    I didn’t pick up Girl About Town but now I’m hemming and hawing over it. I like this lip look a lot, too.

  20. Karen says:

    Hi KK,

    Thanks! I’ve attended a MAC seminar at Nordies! Do you have one of those near you? You can always ask your counter, too, if they host these events. πŸ™‚

  21. Elena says:


    You look amazing! Peachykeen is my new favorite blush on you. Yes, please post a tutorial, especially regarding lashes. I’ve heard so many good things about Zoom Lash mascara, but when I tried it out on myself it looked horrible. I know everyone’s lashes are different, but I’d love to learn some tips to improve application.

    Now I’m going to go put my make-up wipes in the fridge, lol. Thanks for the tips. πŸ˜€

  22. Janelle says:

    Wow I’d love to attend a class like this! And you came out looking beautiful in the end. πŸ™‚ Your blog is one of my fave reads. Keep ’em coming!

    Janelles last blog post..Currently Reading…

  23. Karen says:

    Hi Elena,

    It took me a while to get the Zoom Lash right. It comes with practice, eventually. Have you tried Mascara X? It’s actually really great!

    I’d be happy to whip a tutorial. They usually take a while, though, so hopefully I’ll be able to get it up before the week’s end (crosses fingers).

    LOL, the moment I got home I put mine in the fridge. πŸ™‚

  24. Roxy says:

    that class sounds like so much fun! too bad we don’t have bloomingdales here =[ i wanted to ask what you thought of the blot powder, my t-zone is super oily and i wanted to try it out but i’m kind of skeptical because i haven’t seen any bloggers review this product!

    Roxys last blog post..MIA again…

  25. Mariah says:

    Wow!! Thanks for sharing your notes Karen!! These are awesome!!! πŸ˜€ And OMG! How hot is that lipcolor??? SO PRETTY! It looks great on you!!

  26. that color looks gorgeous on your lips.

    beautymakeupdivas.coms last blog post..some sparkly glitter graphics you will enjoy

  27. sophia says:

    Love this post, and the MAC workshop sounds so fun, especially to a MAC addict like myself.

    sophias last blog post..Look of the Day – Going to the airport

  28. Heids says:

    hi Karen,

    Thanks so much for these tips. We don’t get to have these sessions in Eidnburgh – not as far as I know! I will be posting a link to this on my blog cos you’ve been so great a sharing. Thanks again and I am a big fan of your blog!

    Heids xxx

  29. Chess says:

    You are rocking Girl About Town! It’s one of my very favourite lippies, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to go out wearing bright pink lips, y’know? Seeing it on you here has inspired me to wear it ASAP, though!

    I hope you’re feeling chirpier today, love!

  30. gio says:

    The class sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing these great tips!

    I love that lip color!

    gios last blog post..Fall 2008 makeup trends

  31. Jaimie says:

    Thanks for the Karen, I’m definitely going to see if they have these in my area.

    Jaimies last blog post..And The Winner Is….

  32. Ping. says:

    wow this is really helpful! thanks karen.. hehe
    and i just bought dainty! so excited. the collection only come out here… sigh

  33. Tania says:

    OMG I love this look! Though I love Bang on Blue a whole lot more. Lurve me some blue eyeshadow on brown eyes with a pink lip and peach cheeks. Clubbing? Girl I’d wear this to work! Work it girl!

  34. Tiffany says:

    Hey Karen! Wow, thanks for all the great tips! I once attended a MAC class-type thing at Nordie’s, it was a blast.

    If you do a tutorial I would definitely give this look a try. I haven’t yet mastered smokey eyes. It always ends up looking like one blob of color, instead of the different gradations.

    Hope you’re feeling better today!

  35. Elle says:

    Thanks for all the tips, Karen! I love Blue Flame on you. That was one of my favorites out of Cool Heat and I even got a backup for it.

  36. Glosslizard says:

    You look fab, and what a gorgeous red coat! That class looks like a lot of fun!

  37. Karen says:

    Hi Roxy,

    I like it a lot. I have it in medium-deep. I even wear it just by itself sometimes when I’m feeling extra lazy. It really keeps the shine away all day long.

  38. Karen says:

    Hi Mariah,

    You’re welcome, girl! I know, I didn’t get the lip products and now I’m all lusty for Girl About Town! Agghhh!

  39. Karen says:

    Thanks Beautymakeupdivas!

  40. Karen says:

    Hi Sophia,

    I am way addicted to MAC, too. What are your faves?

  41. Karen says:

    Hi Heids,

    Aww, thanks girl! I hope these tips come in handy… they sure helped me a ton, especially the bronzer tip. πŸ™‚

    I hope you guys get one of these sessions, soon. You never know!

  42. Karen says:

    Hi Chess,

    I totally know what you mean. I passed that day on the shade but now I’ve got major hot pink lipstick lust! What do you pair yours with?

    I’m feeling much better today, thanks for asking! πŸ™‚

  43. Karen says:

    Hi Gio,

    It was a blast. I hope you can go to one soon!

  44. Karen says:

    Hi Jaimie,

    You’re welcome! πŸ™‚

    Even if they don’t have the Studio Talks, the seminars are also very fun and informative. I hope you get to go!

  45. Karen says:

    Hi Ping,

    Yay! I’m glad these tips are helpful. What do you think of Dainty so far?

  46. Karen says:

    Hi Tania,

    You are too cute! Yeah, I thought the same thing about the look. I was actually looking forward to some crazy glitter, but I guess this gives me another smokey eye option. πŸ™‚

    I don’t have Bang on Blue… *tears*

  47. Karen says:

    Hi Tiffany,

    You’re welcome! Aren’t those classes really helpful and fun?

    Yeah, smokey eyes are tough. I still don’t ever feel like mine turn out the way I want them to. I’d be happy to do a tutorial — I’ll work on it this week and try to have it up by the weekend or early next week.

  48. Karen says:

    Hi Elle,

    You’re welcome, girl! I really like Blue Flame’s lil’ sparkles. πŸ™‚

    Cool Heat ended up being one of the “surprise” releases for me. You *can’t* have enough blue eyeshadow, apparently!

  49. Karen says:

    Thanks, Glosslizard! That coat is Old Navy, baby! On sale!

  50. kia says:

    hope you are feeling much better! that’s an expert eye right there! for my usual crease i use soft brown, but i need brown script to complete the browns! also i LOVE bateaux lipglass.. so glad i got it! i need the right combo of lashes to double. for a dramatic look, two pairs of natural lashes just don’t cut it! LOL fun though

    kias last blog post..Yummy411: I Dream of Lashes

  51. Marisol says:

    Great tips! I am bookmarking them for sure. Do you remember the MUA’s who held the class?

    I really like the eye color combo. You look very pretty!

    Rock on!

    Marisols last blog post..Work Pet Peeves

  52. Karen says:

    Hi Kia,

    Thanks! I like Soft Brown in the crease, too. Brown Script is some good stuff, though, too. I am going to start wearing it with Painterly and Ricepaper for a simple, no-fuss work eye. Do you have Saddle?

    I’m the fence with Bateaux. What do you like to pair it with?

  53. Karen says:

    Hi Marisol,

    One was Jesus and the other MUA was Christine (or Christina?). They were both very bubbly, fun and full of great tips.

    Do you have Brown Script? If you don’t ya better get it, girl!

  54. Marisol says:

    I don’t have that one. Is it comparable to Soft Brown?

    Marisols last blog post..Work Pet Peeves

  55. Disha says:

    Can you please explain how to apply the bronzer with the help of a face chart like you always do to show the eyes?


  56. Devi Girsang says:

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  57. Mandy Smith says:


  58. alix says:

    looks good πŸ™‚

    I wish MAC was cheaper tho. Its amazing stufff. A little bit does go along way. I had my tube of MAC for a year and its not even run out yet. Iv just bought more of maccosmetics because i want some when i run out :).

  59. Farrah says:

    Hey Karen! I found your blog by accident and now I am hooked. I still have a lot of back readings to do. Yeah, its just amazing!!!!!!!!!

  60. Karen says:

    Hi Farrah,

    Heya, it’s good to meet you! πŸ™‚ Are you a makeup junkie, too? Or are you just starting out?

  61. AYANA says:

    It’s Ayana from Jour115 class!!
    your web site is awesome! i love it!!
    are you taking mac class at bloomingdals?
    I’d love to join that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  62. Jonni says:

    Hiya Karen,
    I just love ur site. I am a guy that loves to look her best. I have been reading up on all of ur posts. I am a huge MAC fan and always looking for fun cool looks. Living here in Las Vegas definately gives me opportunity to try them out. After reading ur post on the new invisible set, I went right put and got some. I do like that it is not as shiney. I also picked up some skin refine. I hope to see that it actually reduces pore size. Anyway, ty for such an informative site.

  63. Mary Anne says:

    Lovin’ this blog!

  64. Dee says:

    I really love the face charts, especially the one of the club look! The blue eyeshadow looks incredible! I just discovered this blog… Great job, keep it up!

    J’adore La Dolce Vita

  65. Amanne says:

    I know this is old but I just stumbled on this. Love it because this is the MAC counter I used to work at. I even recognize some of my former co-workers in your pics haha.

  66. Alex says:

    Stumbled across this blog by accident – what a great find! I love MAC products and hoping to go there soon.

    Thanks for sharing.

  67. shishir says:

    My face is very oily. acne hole. Bright color of my face. I’m an actress. I would like to use Mac brander makeup.But I do not know how the numbers will use cosmetics and what do cosmetics use.

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