Must Have Makeup Brushes in Your Makeup Kit

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Brushes are the most important thing in your makeup kit. If you have excellent quality brushes but don’t have expensive makeup it is all ok and you can still achieve a great makeup look. On the other hand, if you have poor quality brushes even with the most expensive makeup products it will be a real challenge for you to create a decent makeup look. You will have to try really hard! Luckily, the Online Makeup Academy has taken the guesswork out of finding  the best brushes to begin with in your professional kit, as they have included a full and complete professional brush set in their Essential and Master makeup kits! It’s also very important to know how to correctly use a brush or what product to apply with a certain brush – here we will give you the breakdown of the must have brushes to always have in your kit, and their specific uses!

Many makeup artists may have very expensive brushes in their kit and they will treat them like their “babies”, but brushes don’t necessarily have to be expensive to be of good quality – either way, your best brushes will be the star of your makeup kit, always! You can begin with just a few of the most important tools, and one by one, build upon the brushes, selecting and investing in additions that you will personally use depending on your clientele and techniques as you gain your own individual experience. 


It is true, when you have soft brushes your makeup application will become a dream and will look flawless. Below you will find must have brushes for your kit (as well as some extra brushes that are also always good to have, and of course tips!). These are the basics you can’t work without.

1. The first very important tool (though not a brush) is a beauty sponge. Nowadays we have a huge variety of them on the market and you can find great quality ones even in drugstores! See, when we mentioned about great quality brushes, we don’t mean they have to be super expensive! You can find amazing brushes for under $10. The same with sponges, I love drugstore ones even more than the original. The beauty sponge tool will distribute and blend your foundation so well that it will look flawless on your face, almost like an airbrush.


2. Concealer brush. Or you can find a dual foundation/concealer brush if you do not prefer to apply foundation with fingers on your clients. This would be a small synthetic brush that will allow you to apply concealer onto the areas where you need to lighten the skin: under the eye area, bridge of the nose, forehead, and jaw. You can blend it with a beauty sponge.


3. Powder brush. A fluffy brush that will help you set foundation. Maybe it is a good idea to get a powder brush that is on a smaller side as your clients will have different faces and sometimes large fluffy powder brush will be just too much for someone’s smaller framed face. Additionally, with a smaller brush you will also have more control.


4. Powder contour/blush brush. You can use one brush for 2 products: for sculpting powder and for a blush. Just rub off the excess bronzer on a dry paper towel and then go for the blush. An angled brush will give you more control and will apply a necessary amount of the product exactly to your desired areas.


5. Highlighter brush. You can use this brush first to set the under eye area with powder and later apply a highlighter with it on the highest points of your cheeks, on your cupid’s bow, jaw, etc… So basically you are saving space in your kit making it lighter for you to travel with it. This one is a smaller powder brush, it has to be small so that it is convenient to use it on smaller areas.


6. Eye brow brush. This will be great if again you will have a dual ended brush: an angled thin brush on one side and a spoolie on the other side. It is very convenient as you brush the brows first with a spoolie and then you apply product with the brush. If you applied too much this spoolie will also help you out. You can brush the brows with it to get rid of any excess product.


7. Eye liner brush. Here you can choose the shape that you like the most: thick, thin and tiny, angled. Any one that will make you more confident while applying eye liner will be great!


8. Big fluffy brush. To apply a transition color and to define the crease you will need this brush. It applies eye shadow like a hue which can be built up according to the eye look you are going to create!


9. More dense brush for the crease. To intensify the eye shadow in your crease you will need this brush. It allows you to add eye shadow more precisely into the crease.


10. Shader brush. This brush is designed to pack eye shadow onto the eye lid. It is better to choose a medium sized brush so it will fit to any eye shape even a small one.


11. Pencil brush. You will need this brush to apply highlighter into the inner corner of your eye, or to smudge the color along the lash line.


12. Lipstick brush. The name of this brush says by itself, you will use it to apply lipstick onto your client. Flat and synthetic brush is perfect for this.


Those are the basic brushes you will need in your kit to apply makeup on your clients. Of course you may choose more to make your work easier and faster but these are the main brushes it is almost impossible to work without. To find your own set of perfect brushes, read a lot of reviews, try them out and see what works best and is most convenient for you (each artist’s preferences will vary)!

If you decide to invest in additional brushes that will help you improve your makeup game you should consider these additional useful tools:

1. Flat definer brush. It makes smoking out the lower lash line so much easier and more precise. It allows you to get to the lash line as close as possible, making your smokey eyes perfect!


2. Synthetic brush. This brush will help you to apply cream products onto the eye lid: cream eye shadows, gloss, etc, as well as blend it out to create a nice effect. Cream eye shadows are often used as a base for your powder eye shadows.


3. Pointy crease brush. You will need one to apply eye shadows into the crease the most precisely, usually with the darkest color. It can be any size you are comfortable with. Keep in mind you will have to be experienced to work with this brush, as your application must be very neat.


4. Super tiny crease brush. You might want to use it to blend the eye shadow edges into the skin, to hide all the sharp lines and make the transition of an eye shadow into the skin invisible.


Here is some additional insight on brush care: 

If you want your brushes to serve you the best, and always look like new, you have to really take good care of them! Product build up can ruin your brushes while dirty brushes used on your clients can ruin your reputation! Wash your brushes thoroughly and regularly, at least once a week (the ones you use for yourself!), 2 times a week for the ones you use on your clients! Clean brushes apply products in the best possible way!

In between washes you can and must use a special brush cleanser which disinfects as well as conditions them. MAC Cosmetics offers a great brush cleanser/sanitizer. You also have to sanitize and cleanse each brush in between your clients if you have them one after another or don’t have enough time for a deep clean! Keep in mind, this solution also needs time to dry so it is better for a makeup artist to have duplicate brushes in their kit; you will apply makeup with one set while another one will be drying!

If you need to clean your brush the quickest and most effective way (and please note that this is only if you are working with this brush on the same client) you may remove powder products by using Vera Mona cleanser or its dupe. It is a kind of sponge that lets you get rid of the color on your brushes and then take another one without mixing them.

Choosing the right brush for a certain application in the beginning of your career is hard but as you become more experienced you will not even pay attention to what brush to use for what, it will pop automatically in your head and become second nature. With experience and practice, you will learn, and be skilled enough to multitask your brushes in order to keep your kit most streamlined.

Drugstore 'Dupe' Makeup Kit

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We all know that makeup can be expensive, and as a professional Makeup Artist, you may need to buy products more often (foundation, powder, mascara) while others less often (eye shadows/palettes, lipsticks, brow products); however we also know that either way, as a professional who is running their own business, it is always a positive benefit to save money whenever and wherever you can!

How to save money?

1) You can keep in close contact for sales from time to time when you can get high end makeup products at 30-50% off or even more (Sephora has an amazing sale section, especially after the holidays!).

2) Utilize those PRO cards! Remember, you will always receive up to 40% off brand name makeup products from our partners, once you have completed our Online Makeup Academy course(s).

3) Recently (and this may be the most interesting to follow), you can locate that “coveted new makeup product” (the style that was just released and is hot and on trend!) through a drugstore makeup ‘dupe'. Makeup aficionados have recently honed in on the fact that multiple drugstore brands will produce “makeup dupes (duplicates)”- that’s how they started to call it- of the high-end products, which do the same job, or sometimes can be even better than some expensive products.

Today, we have a lot of inexpensive brands that produce amazing quality products at great prices. Think it over, can you justify paying much more for a product if there is one that is available that is similar and is the same color, texture and looks and feels the same way? Depending on your need, budget, and reason for purchase – it may make the most sense to go for the comparable product that is less expensive.

The concept of makeup dupes have recently become so popular that you will see a lot of makeup artists (or aspiring artists!) and beauty influencers making it their goal to find duplicate substitutes of a current hot product. There are even newly created groups on social media discussing makeup products, drugstore brands, and their hits or misses. As well as asking for reviews to see if a specific more expensive product is actually worth the money, or if there is in fact a dupe instead for the high-end product. Especially once a new product is released, you will almost instantly find information pertaining to what dupe can be used instead of this new release. This makes it great for the average makeup lover, but pretty tough for high end brands to compete with, right? Let's use this to our advantage!

As a benefit to our Online Makeup Academy followers and students, we have decided to embrace this trend and provide a makeup dupe list of our Professional Makeup Kit that we offer as an added bonus for our students. This way – if you have received our kit, and you are looking for an alternative replacement, you will be able to replenish without worrying about the cost (we provide you with the brand name products, but we realize that not everyone can afford this or would like to replace the same product within their kit!). You may even want to substitute and/or create a brand new kit with the comparable versions (the “dupes”) of the products that we include in our exclusive brand name professional makeup kit, which will save you money in the long run.

This list will also help our students who choose to sign up for the course without the option of our Professional Makeup Kit (maybe we are unable to ship to your location, or you have other reasons for opting out of our brand name kit). With this comprehensive list, you will know exactly what product you can substitute with to create the foundation of the professional makeup kit that is right for you.

First and foremost, our course provides knowledge and education, the specific tools (makeup products) can be different depending on your needs (we provide the makeup kit selected from our instructors as an added bonus!) You can achieve the same great look by using these suggested drugstore products. It’s all about your education, practice and technique. Our goal is to deliver top notch industry education, value, and tools (including cosmetics), but which brand of cosmetics you select, are not crucial – it will be dependent upon what works best for you and your clients. Your skills, practice, and dedication to your client satisfaction are what will always matter the most. This is what we hope our students will take away, and the backbone of what our online course provides you with. 

Here are the list of ‘Drugstore Dupe’ Makeup Kit products which you can substitute with our brand name exclusive Online Makeup Academy Professional Makeup Kit:


1. First of all, you have to have a variety of foundations in your kit. Or at least you can have lighter and darker shades and then mix them together to create a custom color for your client (this is what we provide directly in our kit with the Make Up For Ever HD Foundations + MUFE 11 Foundation Palette).
Here, as a drugstore duplicate, we recommend getting MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation $8 each:

Truffle 362

Classic Tan 335

Classic Ivory 120

Natural Beige 220

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You can purchase the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation here:

This foundation will substitute our Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation and will be a great alternative option.

2. As for concealers a great option will be MAYBELLINE Fit Me Concealer, $7 each:




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You can purchase the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer here:

This concealer will substitute our Make Up For Ever 11 Foundation Palette.

3. Eyeshadow - there are a lot of great quality but inexpensive eyeshadows available on the market, but we would love to recommend BH COSMETICS Neutral Eyes 28 Color Eyeshadow Palette, $14.

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You can purchase BH Cosmetics Neutral Eyes 28 Color Eyeshadow Palette here:

4. For color corrector, we recommend BH COSMETICS brand 6 Pc Color Concealer & Corrector Palette, $7.

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You can purchase here:

5. Drugstore mascaras sometimes are even better than high-end ones. We highly recommend L’Oreal® Paris Voluminous Original Mascara, $8.

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You can purchase here:

This concealer will substitute our Make Up For Ever Excessive Lash Arresting Volume Mascara.

6. Best drugstore eye liner to substitute Inglot gel liner will be RIMMEL LONDON ScandalEyes Gel Eyeliner, $6.

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You can purchase here:

This eyeliner will substitute our Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel #77.

7. To set your makeup we recommend using NYX Professional Makeup Studio Finishing Powder, $10.

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You can purchase here:

This powder will substitute the Inglot setting Powder found within our kit.

8. For lips, we recommend the BH Nude Lips - 28 Color Lipstick Palette, $13.

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You can purchase here:

9. Blush and Contour we recommend using ULTA Complete Face 3-in-1 Palette, $14.

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You can purchase here:

10. For excellent quality yet affordable brushes, we recommend the SHANY Ombre Pro 10 Piece Essential Brush Set with Travel Pouch, $15.

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You can purchase here:

11. Last, but not least, the Mixing Plate with Spatula, $7.

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You can purchase here:

So your TOTAL for the whole kit is $147, not bad, right?! The money saved can apply to continued education, new products to increase your kit's benefits, or more color options to offer to a wide variety of clients.

With your clients, the best thing that we recommend is to use a mix of brands in your kit. All brands do different things well, they all have hits and misses. You must choose products that work best for you and the type of client you are working with. It will take time for you to familiarize yourself with what works best for you and for each individual job. Some clients may think that the more expensive product the more benefits it will bring them and it will look better. Of course, using luxurious brands can make a client feel pampered (so maybe splurge on one or two products eventually to have in your kit, if you’d like!), but as we would like to continuously emphasize; the products are not what makes the difference but your skills do! Any client will recognize this once you have made them feel their best through your talent and artistry!

Professional Makeup Products For High-End Taste On A Budget

We would all love to afford the most expensive and lavish makeup brands, but let's be serious! Even for the Makeup Artists that have amazing incomes: it is not practical in the long run to have a kit filled with only high-end products (especially since you can find some equally comparable products that are easily affordable!). Makeup goes fast when you are working a lot, doing multiple looks and people on a job. Also, if you are a beginning Makeup Artist and are already struggling with getting your business off the ground, finances may be slim, and discovering those amazingly efficient beauty brands that don't break the bank will be your saving grace.

In our professional experience, these are the best affordable beauty brands that never cease to amaze us. Of course, keep in mind, it is always about trial and error. Whatever does wonders in the hands of one artist, might not work for you. It's whatever fits with your style and technique - so play around with these options, and find what works best for you and your individual artistry!

1. NYX

This one is a wide range Makeup Artist favorite. It's diverse, with an amazing range of colors and options and it's more than affordable. Somehow, it flies under the radar because (please don't gasp) it’s a brand that can be found in your local drugstores! However, don't be fooled by appearances, NYX always delivers and you'll hear Makeup Artists raving about it. It’s easily accessible for those last minute on the job necessities. May I also mention? The lip glosses galore and lipsticks ($4.55-$9)! They are a must try, definitely don't miss this one.

Try: Their liquid illuminators ($5.25-$7.50)! They give such a natural subtle glow-from-within type of finish. Absolutely gorgeous!


2. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics or OCC

What we love about this brand (besides it's catchy name) is that it is vegan, cruelty free and it comes with a very affordable price tag. Founded in New York City in 2004 by makeup artist David Klasfeld, Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics started with one singular product (a lip balm duo) and has grown into an extremely popular brand. Best known for offering up colors and textures you didn’t even know you wanted, the line today includes everything from the beloved Lip Tar liquid lipstick ($17) in 60+ shades to OCC Skin ($23), one of the first collections to cater to HD beauty needs.


3. Catrice

Another cruelty-free beauty brand which is also affordable! If you're not familiar with the brand you for sure have been missing out! Catrice Cosmetics is a budget friendly, drugstore makeup brand that has amazing makeup products of the best quality. Also, they have a new 2017 collection that we are all currently obsessed with. They are also well known for their super pigmented and high-end eyeshadows ($2.99+).

Try: Their matte baked eye shadows ($4.99+) are an absolute must!


4. W7

W7 Make Up, the inspiration of two entrepreneurial young men from West London was created in 2002. Their aim – that every woman should have access to an extensive range of high quality cosmetics at an affordable price – is now definitely a reality, thanks to them! The company has grown exponentially within the past few years and now W7 boasts a collection of over 500 products including: nail polish ($5.95), lipsticks ($4.95-$9.50) and glosses ($5.95-$7.95), eyeshadows ($4.95-$19.50) and more mascaras ($5.95-$10.50) than you could dream of. In other words, W7 Cosmetics offers affordable makeup products with great quality and fun fancy packaging. 

Try: Their matte bronzer ($7.95) or nude palette ($7.95)!


5. Coastal Scents

In addition to being easy on your bank account, Coastal Scents is also cruelty-free. If you’re looking for affordable makeup palettes perfect for professionals, Coastal Scents should be your go-to brand. This brand provides the variety you need in your kit—at a fraction of the cost. What’s cool is that they also have individual color selections that let you build your own palette. In our opinion, the Coastal Scents ‘Revealed Palette’ ($19.95) is actually the best beauty budget pick up for those really strapped for cash because it combines the greatness of color options that you would find, for example, in the Urban Decay Naked 1 and Naked 2 into one great palette. It’s packed with 20 natural eyeshadow shades in a range of matte, metallic, frost, shimmer, and satin finish, shades that range in color from the most basic of beige to the most rocking of taupes. This is a no fail destination palette that will be sure to provide you with that highly coveted natural nude glam look!

Try: Any of their 88 Palettes ($11.95-$14.95) - with a variety of colors in cute packaging!