Monday, 23 March 2009

Building a Makeup Kit: Part 1

What exactly do you need if you are just starting to build a professional makeup kit? This week I am going to post a mini-series of posts that cover all the products needed to get you started.

Building a makeup kit is a huge investment and with the amount of products on the market it can be hard to know where to start. I know I made mistakes, which looking back was money down the drain due to impulse buys and bad choices.

All the suggestions I have made here are products I would invest in if I was starting over, taking into consideration value for money, quality and performance.

Skin Care and Prep Products
You want products that are going to work on a variety of clients that are unlikely to irritate the skin. Moisturisers should be easily and quickly absorbed.

MoisturiserEmbryolise £14.68
TonerBody Shop Aloe Calming Toner £6.35
Tissue Off Cleanser/Eye Makeup Remover - Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser £17.30
Makeup WipesSainsbury's Cosmetic Wipes £1.45
Vaseline – For prepping lips £1.15 at Boots
Moisturising Body Lotion - Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Fresh £2.45

If you are doing bridal or any job that requires the makeup to last add a good primer such as Smashbox Photo Finish £26.75 to your kit.

This is one area of your kit you do not what to skimp on and I would definitely advise you go for a pro brand over a drug store product so you can be sure that the base you chose will read well on camera.

It is also important to know that you don’t need to carry all the colours under the sun. A competent makeup artist should be able to mix the right shade for any client from a small selection of bases.

The foundation you use in your kit is quite a personal choice so you need to play around with as many brands as you can get your hands on to find out what is right for you.

I prefer working with liquids and find that MUFE performs really well for me. Here is a list of shades that would build an excellent starter kit for covering a wide range of skin tones.

Make Up For Ever HD £27.03 each – 110, 120, 140, 155, 170, 180
Make Up For Ever Face & Body £22 each – 02, 12, 26, 48

If you prefer cream bases the RCMA Sampler Palettes in Shinto $60 and KO $60 should cover everyone that sits in your chair and is a favourite of many artists.

Graftobian, Cinema Secrets, Face Atelier and Yaby are also popular brands amongst pros.

You need a concealer of a consistency that you find easy to work with which blends nicely and gives good coverage for dark circles and blemishes. As with the foundation try out as many as you can to see what works for you.

The following shades should give you a good range of colours that can be mixed to get the shade you need.

MAC Select Cover-Up £10.77 - NW15, NC20, NW20, NW30, NW40, NW50

Setting Powder
Powder is essential for setting your makeup and counteracting shine. There is a whole array of powders on the market but a good translucent loose powder is all you need to get started.

Ben Nye's Neutral Set £4.99 is perfect for this.

All prices were correct at the time this was posted and do not include any pro discount that may be available to you.

If any other artists reading this have product suggestions please feel free to share them with us and leave a comment.

Related Posts:
Top 5 Tips for Keeping Your Makeup Kit Clean and Sanitary
Go Green With Refillable Makeup Palettes
Top 3 Products Seen Backstage at Fashion Week


  1. I personally love Keromask concealers. Really creamy and super pigmented. Or Graftobian and RCMA foundations work great as concealers too.

    Also on the primer front not sure you've heard the trick that Monistat chafing gel is almost identical to Smashbox Photo Finish and a fraction of the cost :)

    Cetaphil makes a moisturizer and face cleanser that are esp. great for sensitive skin - tons of derms recommend them.

  2. Thanks for the input Jessica especially helpful for the US readers!

  3. Are there any particular Keromask colours you would suggest for a starter set Jessica?
    (Keromask can be purchased from

  4. Great post, Alex. I always love reading your tips.

    For more makeup artist recommendations, I like to look at KJ Bennett's kit website -

  5. Great post! I'm about half way there ;) xx

  6. fantastic post..... wish i would have read this when i was first starting out!!

  7. The MUFE Flash Pallet is an essential!

    i carry way less lipsticks, blushes and contour/highlight colours because of it.

    Also, i only carry clear gloss. if i want colour i add something from the flash pallet.

    Yaby's best of both world eyeshadow pallet is incredible as well. i have a lot more shadows then that but time and again that's what i reach for.

  8. Ashley, You beat me to it! I have some of these products coming up later in the series ;)

    Amy, I know I wish I had known better when I started building my kit I wasted so much money at the start.

    DressJunkie, Its exciting building a kit, playing with all these new products isnt it. Hope you find the series useful as someone who is still building.

    Janett, I love! I practically use it as a shopping list when i need something new lol

  9. Hey

    For the Keromask I guess it really depends on your market and your clientele and what skin tones you work on most.

    I tend to work on a lot of fairly pale girls and Asians (shocking I know lol). I have Keromask in Light & Med. full size and I also have samples of white and yellow which go A LONG way! The white is actually great b/c looking back I maybe should have gotten the Extra Light & Medium as the Light isn't actually as light as I would have thought.

    I LOVE the yellow for Asians. You don't know how many times that has saved my ass. I don't know about others but sometimes the foundations just don't have enough yellow undertone for Asians...add just the tiniest amount of it to your foundation or concealer and Bam..perfect match!

    Sorry for the novel lol!

  10. I'm loving this series, Alex!

  11. Thanks Aziza! Nice to see you here on my blog ;)

  12. I have Ben Nye Setting Loose Powder and I love it so much ))) I live in Russia and there no Ben Nye here, I asked my friend living in USA to send it to me. Long way to Russia but it was worth it!

  13. What a great post. I am sure it will be very helpful to makeup artists who are just staring out in the industry. I am going to post this on FB and share it with new artists.

    About Faces Lynn Golovich Detroit, Michigan Makeup Artist

  14. Hi can the list of makeup forever Hd foundation shades can these be mixed and matched to fit peoples skin tones aswell? great blog! Iam doing a makeup course this year and iam hoping to start doing bridal and special event makeup. x
    Ashleigh xx