Make Up Lesson at The Session School with Dani Guinsberg

Tucked away in a row of pretty buildings, just a few minutes walk from Baker Street tube stop is The Session School, the place for people who want to launch a career in make up, or pick up new skills. They train in both hair and make up, and all of their teachers are seasoned professionals who have decades of experience and impressive portfolios.

I had a 2 hour make up lesson with the founder, Dani Guinsberg who has been working as a professional freelance make up artist for over 15 years. Her work features regularly in British Vogue, Teen Vogue, GQ, Esquire, Stella Magazine, ES Magazine, British Cosmopolitan and British Marie Claire – exciting for me because getting make up done by a TRUE pro, is not that easy!

Me and Mr C arrived at The Session School (top floor!) to find a very airy, clean open space, very comfortable but modern too. Perfect for learning!


We were welcomed with a cup of coffee (essential!) and I had a natter about the school with Dani. We covered the general things – how the teachers at the school are all professionals working in the industry.

I told her that I am doubtful of all these schools that pop up and aren’t accredited and don’t offer any support to students after they’ve spent a fortune training (not just in the area of make up, but in a lot of ‘creative’ professions).

In brief (we really chatted for ages about a number of things!) Dani told me The Session School is accredited by BABTAC (The British Association of Beauty Therapy) which is recognised world wide and crucially, allows students to get insurance which is important if you want to work!

Additionally the school does help (willing and able) students get jobs – Dani herself will recommend the strongest students for jobs because her experience and reputation means people trust her, plus she has all her students numbers in her phone (none of this, your training is done and your on your own business).

The Session School may even open an agency in the future – how amazing would that be, a make up school with an agency arm in the same company…anyway by the end of our conversation, I wanted to enrol!

On to the make over!

I had already emailed some photos to Dani to let her know what kind of thing I wanted to achieve – super smooth long lasting foundation and a dramatic eyeliner look.


Because I had told Dani what my skintone was beforehand and what I wanted to achieve, she already had products laid out:


Dani’s workstation had some classic products! Like Paw Paw balm, Embryolisse face cream, Bio Derma cleanser. She used Pixi silky creme cleanser and cream on me – I didn’t know Pixi did skincare! But apparently it’s very gentle and indeed it was comfortable on my skin:


I must explain, the morning of this session I had a facial which absolutely sent my skin NUTS. It was bright red and burning all over so…let’s just say I didn’t give Dani the best canvas to work with!

Dani removed what I was wearing gently:


You can see the redness on my skin which I don’t usually get. Eek!


After cleansing, toning and moisturising, we had to pick a base.

“What about mineral make up?” asked Dani….

I cringed a bit. Whilst there are a few mineral make up items I like, I am not the biggest fan of it. I told her I hated the dry crusty look and with dry skin too, it always clung to my flaky spots.

This didn’t phase Dani…in fact she already had an idea up her sleeve…mixing the base with Make Up Mixer from PAM London (any cream will do).


I have since tried this technique with my face cream and although it works I think the make up mixer is better, it has more ‘glide’ to it.


Dani painted the base under my eyes in a triangle type shape. You can see on this picture how red my skin was:


Afterwards – after some careful application – my skin looked absolutely. Amazing.

It was glowy, even, all redness had been covered and it looked so healthy. It was the NICEST I’ve ever seen a base on my skin. Mineral make up & Make Up Mixer = THE WIN.


Anyway then the eyeshadow primer was used, followed by a silvery base and a darker matte tone in the crease. Then eyeliner which is key to this look! Dani showed me the correct way to apply this at home – using a table as support and looking down into a mirror:


Dani used a pencil liner (black) on the waterline and Guerlain liquid liner applied with a brush across the top, then underneath the eye to add drama:


Everything was set with Ben Nye powder:


Dani used some fake lashes – long but feathery, not too dramatic on me.


See what a big difference it makes! Dani favours Duo lash glue in dark and pushed the lashes up with a cotton bud afterwards:


My eyes completed:


The lips were kept simple, a mixture of a pale white mixed with a bold candy lilac:


Ok so this was the look I gave Dani to work off (taken from a look by Clio cosmetics, a Korean brand):


Finish! Sorry my hair looks like string, but I’d had treatments in the day and had about 20 different types of oil in it! (no time to go and give it a wash!)


Dani, might I add is so completely, totally lovely, genuine and personable – I’ve met a few make up artists with egos the size of my Shu Uemura eyeshadow collection (DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH MY MAKE UP! NO! NO! NO!*) but Dani is not like that at all – no airs or graces just very professional and quick to make you feel welcome.

*Naming no names

Make up used:

Make Up Mixer from P.A.M
Bellapierre Mineral Foundation
Make Up For Ever Lifting Concealer
Ben Nye Colourless Powder to set

Bellapierre Star Shine as a bronzer on the cheeks


Bellapierre Eye Primer
Bare Minerals Shimmery White Shadow (any will do)
Illamasqua Heroine Eyeshadow in the crease
Guerlain Liquid Liner in Black (Dani recommended Navy to me to make my brown eyes pop)

Make Up For Ever Lip Palette No. 5 – mixture of a silvery white and lilac

Lashes from Ardell and Duo lash glue in Dark.

Recommendations for my sensitised skin:

1. A few drops of lavender oil in water to rinse the face day and night
2. Pixi skincare

Lucas Paw Paw on the lips


I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Session School and picked up loads of handy tips (my favourite being the lavender oil in water one and mixing up my own base with mineral foundation which I will totally do now, but probably a months worth in advance).

I also loved meeting Dani, Julie and the rest of the team – the environment and teachers are professional but relaxed too. If I do ever take up a make up course it will be at The Session School.

For more info:

Check out the make up & hair courses here (foundation, advanced, professional, combined hair & make up etc.) and you can always try the taster classes for just £15.

For further information or to reserve your place please email: or call: 020 7224 3127

What do you think of the makeover? Have you ever considered studying make up?

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  1. says

    You look fantastic and that is one glowing review! I’ve been wanting to take a professional course for a while, so thank you for this.

    The taster classes sound great too.

    I noticed that Dani has bottles of my favourite Red Earth Secret Potion Highlighter there! I LOVE that stuff – such a shame we can’t get it in the UK anymore.

    • Row says

      Thanks Nazia :)

      Oh my, I remember Red Earth, it had a brief run in Debenhams I remember them having a clearance sale 😀 I liked their stuff it reminded me of ‘Awake’ the Japanese brand. I noticed Dani had odd pieces of make up from random and discontinued brands, it’s so interesting seeing what artists used. I will definitely study further at some point in the future would love to do it here – I dunno I have done courses in my home town and it was forward thinking enough for me – often you get teachers who are great and all that, but they aren’t ‘in industry’ so they can’t really teach you the really up to date stuff!

  2. Maxine says

    I could’ve sworn I saw you in manchester town near the post office on tuesday! But I wasn’t 100% sure it was you ><

    • Row says

      Hi Maxine

      Oh really!? I was wondering about at lunch that day. That’s so weird… O,o If the girl you saw was eating something, it was probably me

  3. says

    How runny did the mixer cream need to be? Do you think Clinique DDMlotion be good for it? You look really good. It sounds like a good place to get lessons. If you google beauty courses you get a lot of rubbish looking stuff and you just don’t know where to begin.

    • Row says

      Hi Stacie

      Its been yonks since I used Clinique DDM and I think it’s medium thick isn’t it? I used my medium thick cream with one and it was a bit lumpy to be honest. The mixer is veryyyy emollient and glidey but I definitely think you don’t need a special mixer, just a very wet texture lotion, very light, something that won’t get sucked into your skin too quickly, cos then it’s cakey city! In fact you could mix it with a primer, hmmm, like Laura mercier or perhaps the Illamasqua satin primer I remember has a glidey feel….

  4. Pam says

    That lip color is AMAZING. It’s a beautiful pinky nude (I’m not good with descriptors). Gorgeous. So flattering to your skin – brightens it actually. Who would’ve ever thought you achieved that with lilac. Here I’ve been trying every pink nude shade I can get my hands on.

    I have extremely shaky hands when it comes to applying eyeliner so I like that tip she gave you. Going to have to try it out.

    • Row says

      Hey Pam

      Yeah I would never have bothered to choose such a colour – it was a really loud lilac and silver in the pot I remember thinking eek – but she was right it was the perfect sort of shade! 😀

  5. Jen says

    That base makes you look so glowy and fresh! And it’s covered up the redness so well. She used so few products to get the look! Definitely a glowing review for the Session School :) Me and my friend have enquired at a few makeup schools in and around Manchester, but it seems that there’s more options down south…the £15 taster class sounds good to get some idea of what they’re offering without having to part with large amounts of cash! Thanks for sharing the experience with us :)

    • Row says

      Hi Jen

      I would so try it too, I mean £15 is nothing and I guess you get to see what the school is like – I like the fact they aren’t scared to open their doors because these courses are expensive and you need to be sure :)

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing your experience, I love reading posts like these. And it is truly amazing to meet real pro’s. I like when people are down to earth, don’t think I could ever go to the type of “pros” you’ve mentioned in the post 😉 x

    • Row says

      Hi Marina

      Yes it is a REAL pleasure when you meet someone who truly, truly knows what they are doing because there are so many people who definitely have talent, but aren’t quite ‘there’. But now I am a bit spoilt after this experience everything else seems lame after Dani! x