Building Your Professional Makeup Kit

As a Makeup Artist, your professional makeup kit is the core of your work. This is where the magic comes from, it’s your practical tools for expression and of course the materials that will help you gain your source of income. If you’re a fresh graduate from a makeup course, the first step to becoming a successful Makeup Artist is to build (or expand on!) your own makeup kit.

Professional makeup kits take a long time to build and are a pretty serious investment. It takes a lot of time, research, and of course, trial and error. You have to try and see what fits your style and budget, but remember you spend money, you make money. Basically, don’t be afraid to invest. A good purchase will pay off in the long run. Like your portfolio, your kit will constantly grow and change.

Envision the bigger picture. Ask yourself the right questions: What type of makeup will you be doing? How will you carry the makeup? Will it travel? Visualize the kit, take a notebook and create your fantasy bag - your kit is a reflection of your unique artistry and the industry specialization you wish to focus on. Also, keep in mind that durability and versatility should apply to all of your investments.

Now let’s get started!

Step 1 The Bag

This one is a big one, as a Makeup Artist is always on the go. Set life, far away locations, personal homes, fashion shows -  the list goes on. Truth is that most of the time you will have to go somewhere for your job. 

In order to be efficient, not to over carry products, but also not be underprepared you need to ask yourself the right questions. Also take into consideration your usual form of transportation. It’s much easier to carry a larger kit if you are driving as opposed to using public transportation. Be smart, keep it clean, keep it organized.

What’s great is that nowadays you have so many options: train cases, tackle boxes, backpacks, professional makeup cases. The last ones can be great, but they can also be a bit pricey. Honestly, any piece of luggage can become an efficient kit holder with some work and imagination. Remember this has to work for you. You are the one that is in control.

Step 2  Brushes

Brushes are the bread and butter of your kit. They are your most important tool, and choosing the right ones is crucial for getting the job done. You can definitely choose to begin with a prepared brush set, but with a little bit of research you can create your own basic set that will be tailored for your style of application. 

Take into consideration materials: natural vs synthetic. Traditionally natural hair brushes are better for dry products/powder and they come in numerous varieties of types of hair with different attributes. Synthetic ones are best for cream or liquid products. Again do your research. What’s important in the end is that the brush you choose gets the job done.

Just a quick list: make sure you have face brushes, eye brushes, lip brushes, and cheek brushes.

Step 3 Skin Care/Skin Prep

As a beginner, building your first skin care bag is a very important step. Spend some money here. You will probably work with a multitude of skin tones and complexions. You should have a variety that works for all skin types, but be careful to have something even for the most sensitive of skins.

Step 4 Face

Liquid Foundation: A range of 5-6 shades should do the trick at the beginning. This is definitely an important buy as not all your clients will have the same skin tone and you will want the foundation match to be perfect and their skin to be flawless.

Concealer: Light, medium, and darker shades – dependent upon the color tone of the skin on your client.

Powder: In order to set the foundation. Powder application color should be translucent (no color) so it applies to all skin tones.

Step 5 Eyes

Eye Shadow: Have a good color selection, in a different range of colors, shades, mattes and shimmers. Professional palettes are a great investment.

Eyeliner: You need to have a good combination of pencils and liquids/gels in staple colors black and brown! Get fancy later!

Mascara: Again, black and brown mascara for clients with different tones and desired makeup techniques.

Brows: Powders and pencils in different shades of brown for filling and shaping.

Bonus: Fake Eyelashes - if you feel like you need them, stock up on them. You only use them once so find an affordable option.

Step 6 Lips

Lip Conditioner/Balm: A basic balm is all you need to start. Remember, a lip oil and lip scrub are a lifesaver for days when your client has very dry lips. This will allow your lip application to go on smoothly.

Lipstick: Here is another item where you can save money with palettes. Singular lipsticks can be hard to reach in your travel bag. With a good palette, you can mix colors and create the desired that you want for each individual client. 

Lip Liner: A rage of lip pencils to match your lipstick selection. Keep your pencils sharp and sanitize them after each use.

Lip Gloss: If your client wants a glossier lip vs. matte. Think Clear (which can go over any lipstick which makes it the holy grail of lip gloss), and basic (think red, pink, orange), neutral, and later you can add bright colors, metallic and darker colors.

Step 7 Cheeks

Blush: A pre-made palette should do the trick, around 6 shades that have varying degrees of warmth – you will use this to create the perfect blush color based on individual skin tone.

Bronzer: One to two universal bronzers (for a lighter complexion and darker complexion). If you are really on a budget you can also substitute by using the darker shades from the blush palette.

Step 8 Miscellaneous

Last but not least, here is everything that will make your life easier and cleaner (sanitiziation in Makeup Artistry is incredibly important in your professional kit!): makeup remover, disposable mascara wands, cotton balls and swabs, face cleanser, face wipes, brush cleaner and hand sanitizer. 

There it is - a small guide to building your own kit and starting your makeup career! Having a base, researching and testing your own products will help you build your unique makeup artist kit that will set you apart.