Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - It¿s a quiet Sunday morning in Apgujeong-dong, southern Seoul, and most of the high-end shops in the area are closed.
But about eight women show up exactly at 10 a.m., at the MAC Cosmetics¿ Apgujeong-dong store. All of them are wearing no make-up, not even a dab of mascara, and are dressed casually in T-shirts or summer dresses.
They are here to attend their weekly make-up class offered by MAC Cosmetics. One of them is Kang Mi-jung, 42, who last year suddenly decided to learn how put on make-up ¿properly¿ after reading a beauty-themed magazine. The civil servant and mother of two children had never worn more than BB cream before taking this two-week make-up class which started on Saturday.
¿You certainly feel better about yourself once your make-up is done properly," she said. ¿You feel more presentable and confident."
In front of each student, there is a make-up kit to be used during the class. The kit has everything one needs to get any look she wants - a make-up primer, a bottle of foundation, concealer, a pack of powder and a wide variety of colors of eye shadow and lipsticks. On the side is a set of many make-up brushes, from an eyeliner brush to a foundation brush.
Today¿s teacher is Lee Hye-mi, who works as a specialist in MAC Cosmetics¿ pro make-up team. Her lecture sounds rather philosophical.
¿Putting on your make-up is like cultivating land," Lee tells her students. ¿It¿s also like building a building. You have to have the right land to build the right house."
As she applies foundation over her model¿s face, everyone tries the same on their own cheeks using brushes. Lee¿s assistant make-up artist walks around and helps whoever is unsure of what to do.
Applying blush to your cheekbones is trickier. For Son Sae-rom, who has high cheek bones, it¿s important to begin applying a light layer of blush at the center of the eyes and blend toward her temples to best accentuate her complexion.
MAC Cosmetics Korea first launched its make-up school in December 1999, after the opening of its Apgujeong flagship store. It started as more local customers expressed the need to learn the right make-up technique to apply the products.
In the beginning, the school only offered two sets of classes four times a year, with one set held during the week and the other on the weekends. Now, the number of the class has been doubled - eight sets of classes a year - and the classes are always packed.
¿We get a lot of students and housewives for the weekday classes and a lot of working women for our weekend sessions," said Kim Na-yeon from MAC Cosmetics.
¿The weekday classes are being held in January, February, July and August. These classes are so popular that a lot of people who study or live overseas book ahead so they can take the classes when they are in Korea during their summer of winter vacations."
For Kang, this is her second class. She learned how to put on natural make-up the day before. On Sunday, she used eye-shadows for the first time.
¿When I went home yesterday, my husband and the kids were shocked," Kang told The Korea Herald after her class.
¿They were shocked in a good way. They¿d never seen me wearing eye make-up before, and asked what I¿d done to my eyes. But I¿ve decided to take this class for myself. It¿s nice to look different for the first time in your life and learn something new that¿s both useful and fun."
For Son, who works in the fashion industry, make-up has always been one of her keen interests.
¿I get lots of information on beauty products on the popular TV make-up show ¿Get It Beauty,'" Son told The Korea Herald.
¿The show does lots of helpful demonstrations and gives you useful tips. But you can¿t try what they do on the show yourself. This class allows me to look at what the make-up artist does to the model and do the same to my own face at the same time."
Two high-school buddies, Cho Min-joon and Lee Eun-hye, came all the way from Asan, South Chungcheong Province, to attend the weekend classes in Seoul. The duo¿s dream is to become make-up artists.
¿We already know most of the techniques they are teaching us here," said Cho.
¿But I¿m here to learn how to use each and every product more effectively. I hope to become one of the principal make-up artists at some of the major cosmetic brands someday."
MAC Cosmetics¿ Apgujeong store offers its weekday make-up classes in January, February, July and August, while offering the weekend classes in March, June, September and December. Those who attend can master at least four make-up looks - natural, color, smokey and color. The weekday program consists of five classes, from Monday to Friday of the given week.
The weekend program consists of four classes in two weeks. Both weekday and weekend classes accept 10 people maximum. Individual lessons are also available and cost 150,000 won for two sessions. For more information, call (02) 541-1292.
Cosmetics brand The Body Shop¿s Apgujeong branch runs make-up classes every month. The classes are held once a week and last for a month - one can choose to come in either every Wednesday or every Thursday. Each session accepts 10 people maximum, and students learn about basic skin care, basic make-up techniques and ways to apply smokey eye make-up. Online applications are open during the second and third weeks of every month, and the slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The program costs 50,000 won, but every participant will be given a box filled with 50,000 won worth of The Body Shop make-up products. For more information, call (02) 759-0729, or visit www.thebodyshop.co.kr.
Make Up For Ever¿s make-up school offers a number of specialized classes. Its ¿Step By Step- Basic¿ program is for the absolute beginners while ¿Step By Step Intensive¿ lets participants explore the different colors and techniques that suit them best. Its ¿Eye Brow Master¿ class is recommended for those who can never get their eyebrows even despite tweezing and waxing. The class lets you find the best brow shape for your face, and master the technique of drawing and filling in eyebrows. Those who choose to attend the ¿Focus Make-Up¿ class can learn specialized techniques, such as the smokey eye make-up, the best way to apply an eyeliner for the shape of your eyes, and different ways to mix up different colors of eye shadows. The cost of the classes ranges from 70,000 won to 200,000 won. Those interested can book their classes by visiting makeupforever.co.kr or by calling +82 (02) 3438-5400.