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Tuesday 7 June 2011

Rouge Make-up School

I adore make-up - I look like an insane devil child without it - but my application of same Needs Work. I'm stuck in a rut, too: I only started lipstick two years ago, and last week realised I'd been using the same eyeshadow palette since I was 15 (Rimmel’s trio in Orion – amazing with blue/green eyes). I needed a clue. I needed to know what blusher was and how to not apply it in stripes.

Handily, Rouge Make-up School were offering a day course (six hours) at their north London branch for £65 instead of £135. Even better, another email came asking if I’d like to try it for free. Hurrah! (Sorry in advance for the many pictures of muggins, my classmates wisely banned me from snapping them).

Rouge is just round the corner from Euston station in a gorgeous boudoir over two floors. Downstairs, six of us with very varied colouring and skin types – black, white, Asian, 20s-40s – got to play with a ton of make-up, tools and those lovely lightbulb mirrors that make you look like a princess. This would be a brilliant place for a party (as the fridge full of Champagne suggested – jealous)

My 'evening look' station!

We were each given our own station neatly laid out with everything we'd need to put together our 'look'. While we all scribbled notes frantically, our incredibly skilful and patient tutor Sonia showed us a daytime look on her equally patient model, Tatiana. After watching her, we got to have a go on ourselves and pelt Sonia with questions. Contouring! How to use a Clarisonic properly! Eyebrows! Good beauty ranges for black and Asian skins! Sonia was a glorious answers dispensing machine.

Slap happy

My bugbear is suncare. Being very pale, I need a high SPF on my face, but most facial sun creams make me look like an oil slick. Instead of the pitiful SPF15 found in most moisturisers and foundations, Sonia recommended something like Shu Uemura’s SPF30 mousse primer which I’ll be investigating soon.

I was pretty chuffed with this daytime look – apparently, the secret of blusher is to pop it on your cheekbones rather than apple. Who knew?

Sadly, I totally flunked ‘evening’, a fantastic smoky eye. We started off by applying kohl all over the eyelid and then blending eyeshadow on top. Then I panicked and cocked the whole thing up. Rubbish. This was my Beauty School Dropout moment.

Once I’d taken the whole lot off and started again, Sonia very kindly took me through it step-by-step and while my classmates were absolutely leagues ahead (Caroline, who runs her own beauty blog, did it in about five minutes) I was happy with the end result.

Unleash the montage!

Individual fake lashes turned out to be a cinch and I’ll definitely consider using those again. After we'd all finished exclaiming over each other's looks and taking a million photographs of ourselves, we played around with red lipstick to get the perfect one for us.

It was heaven for me to get help choosing the right shade of foundation, blusher and so on and to try out lots of swish stuff I’d never ordinarily be able to afford. If you’ve got into a rut with your slap, or want help getting a particular look in a friendly, glamorous environment with advice on tap, I would absolutely recommend Rouge – thank you Sonia!

Rouge Make-up School, Chalton Street, Euston, NW1 1JD, 020 7836 5891.

Contact [email protected] to get on the mailing list for details of future offers or to book a session


  1. We still need to go liptstick shopping. I need reds. And I need to help you with unsticky lipglosses.

  2. Wish I lived closer to Laaandan. This looks fabulous! Great price even when it's not on offer too.

    If it's any consolation to your pale skin foundation woes Kat, I'm about two shades paler than you and only two places stock a shade light enough. (Bobbi Brown and Chanel)

    You look amazing!

  3. @Siany WIN! When are we going? I want to play with more Mac stuff.

    @Anonymous Thank you! And yes, Sonia said Bobbi Brown was the ne plus ultra of varied foundation shades.

  4. I can't find info on day courses on their site now which is such a shame as I live too far away from London to justify going on a longer course.

  5. Hi there, please email me for info on our one day courses at [email protected]


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