MAC’s new Makeup Studio will give you a makeover for as little as $10 an application.

By Katie James
August 21, 2015

If you’re anything like me, packing for a trip becomes exponentially more complicated when it comes time to decide which makeup items to bring along. Between adjusting your look for the local climate (cue cream blushes and eye shadows for Caribbean humidity) and making sure you’ve got the right primers, brushes, pencil sharpeners, and more, it’s easy to suddenly have another five pounds added to your carry-on.

That’s why the global expansion of makeup and skincare retailers like Sephora has been a saving grace for travelers—forgetting something at home becomes no big deal.

But if you’re looking for a more specialized experience than a quick fix at the Sephora or department store makeup counter, there’s none better than MAC’s new “Makeup Studio,” located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

A debut concept for the brand—renowned for its global network of artists, who are regularly booked at the top fashion shows—the Makeup Studio applies everyday makeup as well as looks for special-occasions like date night or a wedding. They even do full-costume Halloween looks.

Even more genius are the “Focus Feature” applications, where guests can pop in for a 10-minute concentrated look—like a bold lip, a smoky eye, a liner and false lash application, a face sculpting (contour, highlight, and blush), or a brow shaping—for just $10 to $15.

My visit, however, included the Studio’s premier offering—a makeup lesson. During the 90-minute application and tutorial, guests can choose from a range of six pre-established looks, available for preview on a tablet device, or request that their MAC artist tailor the application to their event look or intended destination. My artist, the lovely Keandra Snagg, unveiled tips and tricks now securely stowed in my cosmetics arsenal (I’ll never again forget to set a cream eye shadow with matte powder!), as well as pointed out which shades and products are best for my skin tone and face shape.

What’s more, the store encourages you to lock down your look for posterity. As Romero Jennings, MAC’s cosmetics director of makeup artistry, explains, “Every inch of the studio was studied and set up so that the mirrors and lighting at each chair creates the perfect light for a glamorous selfie.” Because, after all, that’s the most lasting look a girl can get.