Makeup Artists : Building your professional kit

***UPDATE 03/2018 —-> I’ve had a problem with Photobucket stealing my photos which is how I used to upload my photos to my blog way back when (aka THIS POST!) I am working on an updated 2018 version and new photos ASAP. 

I had an amazing and overwhelming reaction on my post about How To Become a Makeup Artist. It’s more of a guide/ kind of route that most professional makeup artists will pursue to the goal of success….whatever that goal may be.

I lightly touched on the subject of building your pro kit, and I was lucky enough to have David Horne as my tutor so he gave us a list of makeup products from lots of different brands which are a great starter for your professional kit ; A selection of ‘must have’ makeup artist products…and I am going to share this with you.

Obviously, you don’t need all of these , and you may have dupes, or products that do you just fine… This isn’t a dicatation, just a helpful list that may help you pick and choose key pieces for your pro makeup kit.

I have been a makeup artist for over 13 years…and my kit is always changing and growing and being cleared out for new, better products, some of the products are ones I will always use. It’s an expensive habit, but if it makes your job easier then it’s worth it. My full kits and storage can be seen here. (UPDATE 2016: This is now out-of-date, but I will do a fresh post on this soon!)


Base products:

Primer – Benefit Pore-fessional / Laura Mercier hydrating

Laura Mercier Secret camouflage – SC1 – SC3 – SC5

Touche Eclat or similar (I have both touche eclat and By Terry Touche expert)

Estee Lauder Maximum cover – Light, Medium, Dark (these are sha-amazing..I use as concealer around eyes/face or as a foundation: One of Charlotte’s Tilbury’s most used base products)

MAC Face & Body – White, C3, N5  C7

Illamasqua skinbase foundation – 2, 3,5, 6.5, 8, 12, 15
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturisers Oil-Free in shades Nude, Sand, Tan & Mocha


Laura Mercier secret brightening powder (a must!)
Shu Uemura Colorless loose powder

– A pressed translucent


MAC Strobe cream

NARS Copocabana stick or liquid

Benefit High Beam
Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight & Starlight

Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting powder Medium
Chanel Soleil De Tan
Crownbrush Contour Palette is a great one for newbies and will see you through highlight & contour for a variety of skintones.


MAC brow pencils – Stud, Fling, Lingering

Kevyn Aucoin Brow pencils – Blonde, Brunette

Mr Eyebrow Givenchy / Kiko do a great dupe of this

Tweezers (I use tweezerman & Shu Uemura)

HD Brow Palettes (also double up as eyeshadows)

A Clear brow gel


MAC kohl pencils – Smolder, Teddy, pale yellow, fascinating (pale yellow is one of my kit favourites: absolutely great for using on the inner rim of the eye to brighten and colour correct – I learnt this tip from top makeup artist, Kirstin Piggott who uses this all the time!!)

Shu Uemura painting liner – M brown

Illamasqua gel liner – Infinity (blacker than black!)

MAC pigments – Vanilla, Naked, Pink Opal, Dark Soul, Golden olive, Silver fog, Melon, Tan, Reflects Gold, Reflects Pearl

[What we did at college is got into groups of 2-3 and all bought like 4 pigments and then split them up into small pots = you end up getting loads more colours and don’t spend too much £££]

 – MAC eyeshadows – Gesso, Carbon, Vanilla, Soba, Omega, Brule, Smut, Kid, Shroom

– A selection of bright shadows – Even ones from Sleek will do initially I think ; invest more money in your neutral tones (above) as these are what you will use more.
MAC Paintpots – Painterly, Groundwork, Quite Natural, Groundwork, Constructivist

Illamasqua cream pigments – Hollow, Emerge (Hollow a great cream contour)


Stila convertible colors – Peony, Fuschia, Rose (these are handy as double up as lip stains too)

Illamasqua cream blush Zygomatic

Benefit Hoola bronzer


MAC clear lipglass

Selection MAC lippies – Ruby Woo, Russian Red, Rebel, Snob, Hue, Cyber

Illamasqua lipstick – Box, Test, Scandal, Eurydice

Japonesque 35-well palette (below) is super handy and a space-saver. Like with the Pigments, you can buy and share with a friend /another MUA so it halves the cost

Lipstick Queen invisible lipliner

Lipliners : MAC Cherry, MAC Spice, Laura Mercier Plumberry, Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk (a couple of reds, a nude brown, a nude pink and a coral will see you through initially!)

Lash curlers – Shu Uemura or Kevyn Aucoin
Lash glue – Duo
Individual lashes & selection of false lashes ; Ardell are fabulous.
– Black / Brown / Clear mascara (I always have a waterproof too)


Lucas PawPaw or a good multi-balm

Bioderma Sensibio cleansing water (micellar)


– Antipodes Rejoice Face Cream

Jurlique Rosewater

Heavy Duty Makeup Remover (I use Shu Uemura cleansing oil followed by – Bioderma water)

Baby wipes

Origins spot remover

Shaving oil & Razors


Isopropyl / alcohol spray (CLEARLY label this!)

H20 Spray (remember to empty and refresh this WEEKLY)


Cotton buds

Cotton pads


Hand sanitiser

Disposable applicators (wands/lips/sponges)

Pencil sharpener

Extra things/ AOB I also carry;  Mints, Deodrant, painkillers, eye drops, tampons, nappy bags (for rubbish), straws (for keeping lipstick in check when model wants to drink), phone charger, occasionly mini speakers, blue tack, business cards


– A basic set including foundation, a variety of eyeshadow brushes, blusher, powder, spoolie, duo-fibre, lip, concealer etc.

Budget makeup brush brand Crownbrush have a great selection of brushes at very reasonable prices. They also do sets which end up being great value for money if you want to buy a bunch to build up your kit. If you are at college, then you can see /ask if your college has a discount scheme with them as I know Crownbrush also run these offers to students. I have an abundance of reviews and picks of my favourites on this blog ; just type ‘Crownbrush’ into the searchbar.


Public Liability Insurance. You should have this as a professional makeup artist. This protects you and your client. A lot of jobs will require proof of this.

Makeup Case to carry your kit in. A lot of artists use Zuca bags, but these are too small for me. I have 3-4 suitcases I use depending on the job and the size of kit I need for the day. Lately I have become pretty good at packing lightly and using my smaller case but on lots of occasions you need a large case. Try and invest money on a good quality case as it will be well-used, pushed, pulled, sat on and pulled around a lot. Try and opt for ones which are protective and have lots of pouches & compartments.

Set bag. A see-through (usually) mini bag to put essentials in for when you are touching up on set or moving locations during the day whilst shooting and you don’t want or need to carry your entire kit with you. You can get great ones from Charles Fox / Screenface / PAM.

Brush belt / Apron / work mat – All optional but can make life easier. A great makeup artist, called Emily Jane has a company called EMJ where you can buy all these items from & more which are great quality and also they look really pretty ; they come in all different prints & patterns.

If you would like me to e-mail you a copy of this or anything then please comment below with your email address – or leave any other questions or comments! I hope this is helpful.