Hello & welcome! Here you will find products I use in my kit, my personal favorites, and some tips on building a professional or day-to-day makeup kit!
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I've been using this makeup case and absolutely love it! I travel with the top case to every makeup appointment. There are two fold out trays that fit all my foundations, base products (primers, setting sprays, conceale
rs), and the other tray holds my tools, brow products, mascara, and several small eye and face compacts. In the larger section below, I keep all my palettes, lip products, lash spoolies, lip wands, q-tips, cotton rounds, makeup wipes, and business cards. I can usually fit a small container of brushes as well. The bottom section of the case has detachable wheels. So it can be used as a rolling case or a stationary storage system for makeup. It's about twice as big as the top case and holds LOTS of product!
Tip #1: Don't overwhelm yourself with too many products. Even as a makeup artist who needs to have every shade, for every skin tone, ever... I still have to limit myself on how many products I pack. Be strict with yourself and know what you actually reach for every time you do makeup.
Lighting can literally make or break how successful a makeup application turns out. The newest addition to my set-up are these Neewer lights from Amazon. Easy to say... I'm obsessed. I can control the warmth, coolness, and brightness of both. The "barn doors" allow me to direct the light to the subject. And the tripod is sturdy and adjustable. Highly recommend!
It's an investment.
Any professional kit is 1000% a business investment! It is a reflection of who I am as a makeup artist and I want that to be inclusive, professional, and well thought out. I typically use mid-luxury brands in my kit but there is absolutely nothing wrong with only owning drug store makeup. However, as a professional, I feel there are certain standards to meet and expectations to have a decent selection of products and brands. When I open my kit, I want my clients to rest easy, know they are in good hands, and feel assured by the quality of my products.
*Disclaimer: I am no Patt McGrath, Mario Dedivanovic, or Kevyn Aucoin. I still have lots to learn within the makeup industry. I simply what to share with you the products, techniques, and systems that works best for me in hopes they benefit you in some way too!
Although not the most exciting, it's one of the most important elements in the industry. Disposable mascara spoolies and lip wands, brush cleaners, sanitizers, mixing palettes and makeup spatulas are a non-negotiable for maintaining proper hygiene... of your client and your kit.
Tip #2: Disposable mascara and lip wands are incredibly cheaper on Amazon (e.g. $4.00 for 20 mascara wands at Walmart, vs. $6.00 for 200 mascara & lip wands on Amazon)
Tools are equally important. I carry two pairs of tweezers, small scissors for cutting lashes, a lash curler, Q-tips, cotton rounds, a "makeup-grade" pencil sharpener, alcohol-based spray for sanitizing products and tools between clients, and some makeup wipes. All of which are easily found at any Target, Walmart, Dillons, etc.
There's two routes you can take here. #1: Incredible quality, will probably last a lifetime, luxury brushes, going for $30-$80 each. OR #2: Affordable, good quality sets of synthetic brushes going for about $20 a set. Take your pick! I would LOVE to go with the first option (but, as I'm sure many of you can relate) I'm sticking with option #2 for now. This set from Real Techniques is my personal go-to. I also love these two brush sets from Amazon (linked below). Great quality AND price! Not shown here but Morphe has some stellar brush sets I use and love.
If you ever listen to one thing I ever say, listen to this... consistent and quality skin care is an absolute game changer when it comes to makeup application; how it applies to the skin, looks on the skin, and wears on the skin throughout the day.
1: Jan Marini Skin Care Management System is (in my opinion) the gold standard of skin care. I thought I had great skin until I started using this. One full-sized set lasts me about 3 months. So the price is definitely justified! Highly recommend this for everyone!!
2. The Ordinary is another great skincare brand I've used in the past and still love! Their products are simple, quality, and affordable. This reginine builder will help anyone who doesn't know where to start. I used the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, and Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.
Now that skincare has been addressed, let's move on to the pre-makeup prep work. On my clients I typically start with Natural Moisturizing Factors from The Ordinary followed by Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray or the Morphe Continuous Mist Setting Spray.
Whether you're building a house or applying makeup, a solid foundation is a non-negotiable. My go-to is the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. She's full coverage, 24-hour wear, and matte.
TIP #3: For all the makeup artists out there. I have found these shades to suit all the light-medium skin tones: 0N1 Alabaster, 1C1 Cool Bone, 1N2 Ecru, 1w0 Warm Porcelain, 2N1 Desert Beige, 2W1 Dawn, 3N1 Ivory Beige, 3W1 Tawny, 4N1 Shell Beige. With 0N1, 1N2, 1W0, 2W1, and 3W1 being the ones I use most often.
For the deeper shades I use the Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation Pro Palette 200 Series & 300 Series (200 series is wonderful for the deeper olive toned skin). The coverage and finish of this foundation is absolutely stunning.
I often skip concealer... gasp... I know. But hear me out- the foundations I use layer well and can build up to the coverage a concealer offers. "Concealer" is ultimately the same product in a thicker, creamier form. E.g. use a full coverage foundation (about .5 or 1.0 shades lighter than your base foundation) as you normally would your concealer and it'll give you the same highlighted effect. However, the Kryolan Dermacolor Camouflage Creme Palette works wonders on the body when covering scars, tattoos, tan lines, etc.
We love a good setting powder. The PUR Translucent Powder is my current favorite. But have (and will) be repurchasing the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder at some point. The Cinema Secrets Ultralucent Setting Powder is also a great one!
I'd have to say bronzers are my absolute favorite makeup product. They create depth, and warmth, and (for my day-to-day) can be used as eyeshadow for a coherent, seamless look. Here's my favorites (in order from my absolute favorite -> still a favorite but not the best): Tarte Park Ave Princess Palette, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, Becca Sunlit Bronzer Capri Coast, Physicians Formula in Deep Bronzer, and the NARS Laguna Bronzer.
Blush is a fun one. And just like foundation, it's important to have several colors for each skin shade/tone.
Tip #4: The MAC Empty Magnetic Palette is a wonderful way to consolidate allll these individual blush compacts that would otherwise take up lots of space in your kit.
Highlighter... one thing we all know an love! My all-time, go-to, OG, personal favorite is the Becca Champagne Pop Highlighter. But these have also been a staple in my kit! The Juvia's Place Loose Highlight Royalty II is wonderful on darker skin. The MAC Hyper Real Glow Flash + Awe Palette suites lighter skin tones with 3 shades (warm, cool, and neutral). The Physicians Formula Iridescent highlight is fun if you're interested in light iridescent shimmers.
Becca Liquid Highlighters are perfect for the chest/shoulders/body. I use Champagne Pop for lighter skin and Topaz for darker skin (or for anyone who wants to look bronzed) *Becca is closed but will be able to purchase from Smashbox in October!
Eyeshadow primers, or just your foundation... whichever you choose, always apply a layer of product before your shadow! If not, the shadow will have nothing to stick to.
I typically reach for foundation as an eyeshadow primer. Set it with setting powder and you have a solid base. Or, the Anastasia Eye Primer will let you achieve more vibrant colors + the shadow stays put longer. The Smashbox Lid Primer White is also great for prepping for a dramatic eye look (e.g. a cut-crease).
Eyeshadow... where do we even start! The palettes I find myself reaching for daily are: the Smashbox Full Exposure Palette (similar mini version: Covershot Minimalist Palette) has the BEST neutral tones and often times can double as a brow palette! The Morphe Bronzed Babe 9B (discontinued) has the yummiest light-to-dark warm tones. As well as the Tartelette Toasted Palette - summer vibes all the way. Smashbox Cover Shot Petal Metal has my go-to rose golds and the Morphe 35N Palette offers all the deep purples, muted reds, and neutral yellow blending shades (35N is discontinued but 35W is still available. Same shades with some shimmers)
So what happens with all the single eyeshadows?... Use an empty magnetic palette of course! I use the largest MAC Magnetic Palette and it works like a dream. In it I carry the MAC Shadow Carbon, and No Me Queda Mas (discontinued), Colourpop Super Shock Shadows in Amaze and Peekaboo, along with a couple other blushes and bronzers mentioned above.
In another empty palette, I have created my ~vibrant~ shadows collection including MAC Shadows If it ain't Baroque, What's the Wifi, Trienielle Wave, Cobalt, Haute Sauce, Celebutante, Saucy Miss, & a few other discontinued shades. They are all extremely pigmented!
Eyeliner... you either love it or hate it. I personally don't love wearing it, BUT I love using the L'Oreal Eyeliner Lacquer because when I tell you it stays put, it STAYS PUT! The double-ended Huda Beauty Life Liner gives you a liquid or pencil option, both very waterproof. Lastly, the Sephora Retractable Waterproof Liner is also a great option!
The L'Oreal Paris White Eyeliner is a solid choice if you're wanting the white waterlined look. MAC's Fluidline Liner in Macroviolet and Julep's Smokey Plum Liner work wonders to compliment those green eyes. Finally the Urban Decay Eyeliner Pencil in Demolition and Smoke are my go-to brown and grey shades.
Mascara is fun... because even if you "don't wear makeup" I'm sure you have a tube or two of mascara at home somewhere. My personal favorite is the Lancome Lash Idole Mascara. It's not waterproof but it doesn't get clumpy, and it doesn't smudge throughout the day. Pair with the Lancome Cils Booster XL Primer and you'll have the best set of natural lashes!
Still mentionable (but not my favorites) are the MILK Makeup Kush Mascara, and the well-known Better than Sex and Damn Girl mascaras both from Too Faced. In my experience, these 3 tend to transfer and smudge a bit after several hours of wear. But if you're into waterproof mascara, you would love these! The PUR Fully Charged Mascara is another option but I have experienced it becoming a bit flaky after hours of wear.
Eyebrows seem to be the single most expressive thing on your face. When done right, can give you an extra 10 years of youth to your look... or 10 years of age when they're done wrong. Take your pick! Brows are also a very personal feature. So as an MUA it's important to get the brows just as the client likes. Always go one shade lighter than the clients hair. Because it's easier to start light and keep building color, than to start dark and try to take away color.
For clients I love the Tom Ford Brow Pomades. Mostly because they aren't waxy! I use shades Espresso and Chestnut most. The Benefit 01 Brow Pencil is best for blondes, and the It Cosmetics Universal Taupe... somehow magically works for almost all dark blonde-neutral brunettes.
Last but not least... lashes! For day-to-day use they aren't too necessary. But for any type of special event, photoshoot, etc. I can't recommend them enough! My personal favorite is the Kiss Pompadour Lashes however most of my clients choose the Kiss #11 Lashes and LOVE them. Below is a list of lashes I have worked with and recommend!
Drama queen lol: Eyelure Luxe Silk Marquise.
Tip #5: Dupes! Kiss #11 Lashes are similar to the Ardell Demi Wispies.
Kiss #03 Lashes are similar to the Ardell 110 Black Lashes. Kiss Pompadour are similar to... well, they're unmatched ;)
As for lash glue, I personally love the Duo Lash Adhesive. It's not waterproof, but it works great since I don't often burst out in tears. However, I always use something waterproof for clients. The Duo Quick Set Lash Adhesive has a better quick-drying formula, but I prefer the applicator wand of the Kiss Strip Lash Adhesive. Both are great options!
Instead of writing a book about every lip color I carry in my kit, I'll list my favorites and most used lip products. You'll have to trust me that if it's listed here, I approve of it!
*If it's not linked, it's probably been discontinued.
Liquid Lipstick: Sephora Lip Stain #77.
Gloss: Smashbox Gloss Angeles (clear),
Cream Lipsticks: MAC See Sheer, Snob, Show Orchid. Elizabeth Arden Pink Pucker,
Cream Lipsticks: MAC Rebel,
Liquid Lipsticks: Stila Vino.
Liners: NYX Club Hopper.
Liners: Butter London Red Hot. NYX Vintage.
Liquid Lipsticks: KVD Witches (best black lip!), KVD Dagger, Woolf (both gray tones)
Always end your makeup routine with another layer of setting spray. I typically use the Morphe Setting Spray or Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. Both listed above. Body bronzers and highlighters are always a big hit among brides and their bridal party, or any client with an off-the-shoulder, plunging neckline, sleeveless, or backless outfit. The Becca Liquid Highlighter is my go-to. But I have heard rave reviews about the Scott Barnes Body Bling and it's definitely on my "need to try" list!
Tip #6: always use a liquid highlighter (not powder) and a large body/foundation brush for a more skin-like natural finish.