Buying a new lipstick or a new eyeshadow can be a great pick-me-up, but if you tend to impulse buy makeup too frequently, it can also eat into your budget. A good way to save cash while also keeping up with the latest trends in makeup is to get a complete makeover when the urge to spend bites.

Many cosmetic counters offer a makeover service for free if you are interested in buying some of their products. Spending over a certain amount at a number of counters, however, makes you eligible for scheduled makeup classes that are more in-depth. Several brands also have separate specialised institutes that you can attend for lessons – some completely free, others charging an amount that you can then redeem against a purchase of their products.

Bobbi Brown provides a free no-obligation makeover to interested customers at their counters located at Central Chidlom, Ladprao and Pinklao, Emporium and Zen. Appointments are recommended, so call in advance. If you spend more than Bt5,000, however, you become eligible to register to attend a three-hour workshop conducted once a month in the relevant department store’s classroom. Class size is limited to 15 to 20 people, with everyone given their own station of cosmetics to use. One teacher takes the class, with seven or eight makeup artists assisting the class.

For the month of July only, Red Earth customers at Central Chidlom, Ladprao and Bang Na are being offered a free day-long class if they purchase Red Earth products to the value of Bt2,800. Normally, customers are provided only with a free short suggestions as to how to wear their makeup at counters.

The Body Shop offers several types of makeup classes. Their 90-minute basic class costs Bt1,500, but you can redeem up to Bt1,200 on any Body Shop purchase, effectively making the class Bt300. If you don’t want to buy any products, the class costs Bt590. Heading out into the world of work? They have a specialised 90-minute class on interview makeup, priced at Bt1,500, with a Bt1,000 rebate offered, or a flat Bt690. A two-hour advanced class isBt1,500, with Bt900 redeemable, or a flat Bt690. A 60-minute trend lesson will keep you up with what’s happening this season. Cost is Bt1,500, with Bt1,200 redeemable, or pay Bt590 for just the class. Classes are available only at their Central Ladprao and Pinklao stories in Bangkok, and at Central Airport in Chiang Mai.

Clarins and Lancome have their own institutes located at The Curve Lane, Central Chidlom. At Institut Clarins Paris, a one-hour class costs Bt2,000, but this amount is then redeemable against the purchase of any Clarins products. At Lancome Institut de Beaute the classes are longer: a ninety-minute class will also set you back Bt2,000, and again this amount is redeemable against purchases of Lancome products. Lancome also has group classes: take yourself and three friends along for a three-hour class that will cost each of you Bt1,500, then choose products up to that amount for your rebate.

Shiseido also has its own institute with beauty consultants to provide advice on their products free-of-charge. Individual customers are encouraged to drop by, while groups of five to 10 people can book in advance for a series of free lessons. One bonus here is that there’s no pressure to buy – products are not for sale at the institute, you need to head to a counter once you’ve decided whether you like what you’ve tried.

Clinique counters provide demonstrations to customers on how to apply their products, but they also have a special workshop event coming up from August 20 to 31. At selected counters customers can register from August 1 to be entitled to make an appointment for a full at-counter makeup lesson during that period. Bookings are limited.

/ Health & beauty