Brushing up: Anna Sokel gives women the tools to look their best

When Anna Sokel was still a teenager in suburban Maryland, the aspiring model would test makeup techniques and ideas nearly every night before bedtime. “I knew I’d be washing it right off, but it gave me a chance to practice,” she recalls.

Anna Sokel says women leave her hands-on makeup classes at Sokel MakeUp & Skin Care with fresh ideas, a better understanding of tools and products, and – perhaps most important – a feeling of confidence.

Anna Sokel says women leave her hands-on makeup classes at Sokel MakeUp & Skin Care with fresh ideas, a better understanding of tools and products, and – perhaps most important – a feeling of confidence.

Within a few years, the looks she created for herself got her noticed by top fashion consultant Yolanda Voss, who asked if she’d help other models with their makeup. Soon she enrolled in classes and found herself on a career path that included high-profile gigs across the country.

These days, Sokel still works as a makeup artist for weddings, fashion shoots and other special occasions, but she also enjoys leading “Makeup 101” classes from her salon on North Charles Street in Charles Town. The classes’ objective is simple: Give women the tools they need to look their best every day.

“What I always tell people is that makeup is fun – and it washes off at the end of the day,” she said. “You create a look, see if you like it and then you get to create a whole new look the next day.

“The idea is to practice and get just the look you want.”

Next month, Sokel will offer her basic how-to class three times. The class, which lasts two hours or so, costs just $25 and offers women the chance to learn about everything from the basics of good skincare to shaping their brows to picking the right foundation. Also covered: eye makeup (shadows, liners, mascara), lips, cheeks, and how to highlight and contour the face.

“It’s very basic, and we go through everything step by step,” she said. “I do a step and then the women do that step on themselves. I keep the classes small – usually it’s six to eight women – so that I can go around and check with everyone.”

Makeup 101 class members each bring their own makeup from home along with their brushes, sponges and the like and Sokel has on hand makeup and tools of the trade for participants to test out. “Everyone comes away with some new tricks, new tips, some things that work better for them,” Sokel said.

Through the year, Sokel also holds some specialized classes, including ones for teens just starting to wear makeup, but she’s equally happy to include teenagers in her regular classes. “It seems like we usually end up with a perfect mix, some young women, some older, some in between – it’s always so much fun.”

Sokel, who opened her shop in 2011, also offers private makeup lessons and a host of other expert services, including facials, waxing, anti-aging treatments, aromatherapy massage and much more. Sokel schedules sessions Tuesday through Saturday by appointment.

Want to go?

What: Anna Sokel’s hands-on “Makeup 101” class

Where: Sokel MakeUp & Skin Care, 123 N. Charles St. in Charles Town

When: Her next two-hour class begins at 3 p.m. on April 6. Other sessions coming up include April 14 and April 30 (both at 6:30 p.m.)

How much: Just $25

To reserve a spot: Call 304-728-8801

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