One of the questions I get asked most when I teach is what products to buy when you start building a kit. This is a very personable thing because what one makeup artist loves, another might not get on with. Of course, there are certain essentials you will see lots of makeup artists use but my best advice is to build slowly and take your time to decide what makes it into your kit.
Don’t be tempted to buy every product you see in a YouTube demonstration or blog post. You have to remember that professional makeup artists have spent time building their kits, and also that some artists will favour lots of cream products whilst others will favour powder textures. It all depends on how that individual likes to work. Over time you will find your own style and textures you like so, until then, stick with a basic kit to avoid buying costly products you won’t ever use. Trust me, I’ve done it.
Instead of following the band wagon take a minute to think about what type of makeup you will primarily be doing, bridal, fashion, film etc and then look at the properties of each product you need, and how what you already have might work. For example, the results from that orange Bobbi Brown corrector you’ve seen someone use online could be achieved by using the orange cream eyeshadow you already have in your kit. It’s the same tone and texture. By understanding, and being creative with, the formulas and textures of your products you will be able to much more effectively multi-task the products in your kit.
I am a big fan of multi tasking products, not only does it reduce the amount of products you have to carry around with you, it saves money too. Win win.
So all that said, here is a quick overview of my top tips for building your kit when starting out:
Play with products first. Don’t just buy everything, borrow from friends, ask for samples. Try before you buy!Ask for samples from the makeup counters. If you don’t often work on very dark skins ask your favourite brand from some foundation samples in the dark shades. This way you will always have a couple of colours to fall back on without spending out on the full size products.Road test products on yourself before adding them to your kit, if you are working on a bride you need to know that the foundation you use really is going to last all day.Buy eyeshadow palettes. Where possible buy palettes, these inevitably work out cheaper to buy and take up a lot less space in your kit bag. You can find empty palettes everywhere (not necessarily makeup ones – try craft stores) to decant your existing products in to.Team up with a friend and share lipsticks. For example you buy 5, your friend buys 5 and you both decant half of each one into empty palettes. Voila, you now have 10 lipstick shades each to mix and match from. Endless possibilities.Think about ways your products can do more than one job for you. Even a lipstick could work as a corrector.Build your kit slowly. In the beginning it’s worth noting that you only need a few essential items to get practicing your craft. As you progress you will find that you need more colours, different textures and new items so buy them as and when you need them. You don’t need to have it all at first.
Here is my essential kit list, these are the things I think you really need, everything else can be added as and when you need it for a job.
Translucent powderEye shadows; black, brown, beige, white plus a few colours in a palette – don’t forget you can mix!Liquid or gel linerKohl sticks; black, white and flesh.Black MascaraPencil sharpenerA couple of glitters, to add on top of looks if required (top tip – keep them in a separate bag to avoid a glitter explosion)Lashes, singles and one full setLash GlueEye drops (clear)Foundation bases; every other one in same rangeBlusher; pink and peachBronzerHighlighterShader (beige shadow)Lipsticks, range of light to dark and include a true redClear lip glossLip balmMake up remover, non greasy and baby wipes.Cleanser, moisturisers (for dry and oily skin) Simple is a good range to include at first.Nail vanish remover – trust meCotton wool, cotton buds and tissuesBrush cleanerHand cream, small body lotionSmall tub vaseline; can be used as a highlighter on a shoot, cuticle cream, lip gloss etcSet of brushesScissors, Tweezers and Lash curlersMirrorHand sanitiserMintsDisposables – mascara wands, spongesYour business cards (very important – give them to everyone)
This should give you all the products you need to get a good professional start. You can then start adding products in as and when jobs come along that require them, e.g high colour fashion work, waterproof filming and so on.
I talk about what to use to carry your kit in a separate post, but my advice? get clear bags for your products and a cheap suitcase. It really is all you need.
Do you have any tips to add? I’d love to hear them. x

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