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Essential Tools: The Must-Have Items for Any Professional Makeup Artist's Kit

Updated: Apr 2

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Behind every flawless makeup look lies a treasure trove of essential products carefully curated by makeup artists. Whether it's for a glamorous photoshoot, a red carpet event, or a bridal party, a professional makeup artist's kit is their arsenal for creating magic. But what exactly are the must-haves that every makeup artist swears by? Let's dive into the top ten essentials that every makeup artist should have in their kit.

1. Primer: A smooth canvas is key to a flawless makeup application. A good primer not only hydrates the skin but also minimizes pores and evens out texture, ensuring that makeup stays put throughout the day. My current favorite is found here!

Milk Makeup's Hydro Grip Primer has gained popularity and positive reviews for several reasons:

1. Hydrating Formula: The primer is infused with hemp-derived cannabis seed extract, which is known for its hydrating properties. This helps to moisturize the skin, providing a smooth canvas for makeup application.

2. Longevity: Many users report that the primer helps their makeup last longer throughout the day. Its gripping properties help to hold makeup in place, preventing it from sliding off or fading.

3. Versatility: This primer is suitable for various skin types, including dry, combination, and oily skin. It's lightweight and doesn't feel heavy on the skin, making it comfortable to wear throughout the day.

4. Cruelty-free and Vegan: Milk Makeup is known for its commitment to cruelty-free and vegan products, which appeals to consumers who prioritize ethical beauty choices.

5. Easy Application: The primer comes in a convenient pump bottle, making it easy to dispense and apply to the skin. Users appreciate the fuss-free application process.

However, it's important to note that what works best for one person may not work as well for another due to differences in skin type, preferences, and individual experiences. While the Milk

Additionally, there are many other primers on the market with different formulations and benefits, so what's best for one person may not be the best for another.

2. Foundation: Foundation is the base of any makeup look. Investing in a range of shades and formulas to cater to different skin types and tones is essential for achieving a seamless and natural finish. My current favorite can be found here:

The ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation has gained popularity for several reasons:

1. Skincare Benefits: One of the key features of this foundation is its skincare-like properties. It contains a blend of hyaluronic acids, niacinamide, and plant-based squalane, which help to hydrate, soothe, and protect the skin. This makes it appealing to those who want a foundation that not only provides coverage but also offers skincare benefits.

2. Lightweight and Natural Finish: Many users appreciate the lightweight feel of this foundation. It has a serum-like texture that blends easily into the skin, providing a natural-looking finish. It's buildable, allowing users to customize the coverage from sheer to medium.

3. SPF Protection: The inclusion of SPF 40 provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, helping to shield the skin from sun damage and premature aging. This is especially beneficial for those who want added sun protection in their daily makeup routine.

4. Clean Beauty: ILIA is known for its commitment to clean, non-toxic ingredients. The Super Serum Skin Tint is formulated without potentially harmful chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin or those who prefer clean beauty products.

5. Wide Shade Range: The foundation comes in a variety of shades to suit different skin tones, making it more inclusive and accessible to a diverse range of consumers.

6. Ease of Application: The foundation can be applied with fingers, a brush, or a sponge, making it versatile and easy to use for both makeup novices and enthusiasts alike.

7. Natural Glow: Many users appreciate the natural, radiant finish that this foundation provides. It gives the skin a healthy glow without looking too dewy or greasy.

Overall, the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation has become popular due to its combination of skincare benefits, lightweight texture, SPF protection, clean formulation, shade range, and natural finish, making it a favorite among those who prioritize both performance and ingredient quality in their makeup products.

3. Concealer: Whether it's to camouflage dark circles, blemishes, or imperfections, a high-quality concealer is a makeup artist's secret weapon. Look for a formula that offers full coverage without creasing or caking. My longtime favorite is found here:

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is my personal favorite for several reasons:

1. Coverage: It provides excellent coverage for imperfections, dark circles, and blemishes without feeling heavy or cakey on the skin. Its creamy formula blends seamlessly into the skin, giving a natural-looking finish.

2. Longevity: Many users report that it has long-lasting staying power, making it suitable for all-day wear without the need for frequent touch-ups.

3. Formula: The formula is enriched with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which helps to keep the delicate under-eye area moisturized and prevent creasing throughout the day.

4. Shade Range: NARS offers an extensive shade range, catering to a wide variety of skin tones. This inclusivity has made it a favorite among makeup enthusiasts and professionals alike.

5. Versatility: Not only does it work well as a concealer for covering imperfections, but it can also be used for highlighting and contouring, adding to its versatility and value for money.

6. Packaging: The packaging is sleek and practical, featuring a wand applicator that makes it easy to apply the product precisely where needed.

7. Brand Reputation: NARS is a well-established and respected brand in the beauty industry, known for its high-quality products and innovative formulas. This reputation adds to the allure of the Radiant Creamy Concealer.

Overall, the combination of excellent coverage, long-lasting formula, inclusive shade range, and brand reputation has contributed to the enduring popularity of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.

4. Setting Powder: To lock in foundation and concealer and prevent shine, a translucent setting powder is a must. Opt for a finely-milled powder that blurs imperfections without leaving a heavy or cakey residue.

The Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder is the MVP and is frequently found in MANY pro MUA kits for a reason including: Laura Mercier's Loose Setting Powder has garnered immense popularity for several reasons:

1. Finely-Milled Texture: The powder is known for its ultra-fine texture, which allows it to blend seamlessly into the skin without leaving a heavy or cakey finish. This finely-milled texture helps to set makeup without adding extra weight or texture to the skin.

2. Translucent Formula: Unlike colored powders that can alter the shade of foundation or concealer, Laura Mercier's loose powder is translucent, making it suitable for all skin tones. This universal appeal makes it a go-to product for makeup artists and enthusiasts alike.

3. Long-Lasting Performance: The powder is designed to set makeup for extended wear, helping to control oil and reduce shine throughout the day. Its long-lasting formula ensures that makeup stays in place without the need for frequent touch-ups.

4. Soft-Focus Effect: One of the standout features of Laura Mercier's Loose Setting Powder is its ability to create a soft-focus effect on the skin. This blurs the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and imperfections, giving the complexion a smoother and more flawless appearance.

5. Photograph-Friendly: Many users appreciate that the powder is free from flashback, meaning it won't cause a white cast in flash photography. This makes it an ideal choice for special occasions, weddings, or any event where photos will be taken.

6. Versatility: While primarily used for setting makeup, Laura Mercier's Loose Setting Powder can also be used for baking, highlighting, or even as a standalone product to control shine on bare skin.

Overall, Laura Mercier's Loose Setting Powder has earned its popularity due to its high-quality formulation, versatility, and ability to deliver professional-level results for a wide range of skin types and makeup looks.

5. Eyeshadow Palette: A versatile eyeshadow palette with a range of shades from neutral to bold allows for endless creativity. Look for a palette with a mix of matte and shimmer finishes to create dimension and depth. A great neutral palette that works with both cool and warm tones is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam Eyeshadow Palette. It's versatile, excellent quality and a great 1st palette to have in the collection. You can find it here:

6. Eyeliner: Whether it's a classic black pencil, a gel pot, or a liquid liner, having options for creating different eyeliner looks is essential. A waterproof formula is ideal for long-lasting wear, especially for special occasions. I've consistently admired the subtlety and user-friendliness of the Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner. Its pot packaging enhances hygiene practices with clients, as you can easily scoop out the product using a sanitized spatula to prevent any risk of cross-contamination. It's pigmented enough for your natural clients but if you are looking for a jet-black rock star-esque liner then look elsewhere because this won't do it. I'll give more suggestions for those in a later post so stay tuned. The link for the liner is found here:

7. Mascara: No makeup look is complete without a coat (or two) of mascara to define and volumize lashes. A lengthening and volumizing formula in classic black is a staple in every makeup artist's kit. The L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara stands out as the top mascara in my experience. I came across it when I first began exploring makeup techniques. Seasoned makeup artists and various beauty blogs highly recommended it for its exceptional performance. Its non-flaking formula and affordability make it a standout choice. Personally, since I use disposable spoolies, the wand's design isn't a significant factor for me; what truly matters is the quality of the formula, which this mascara excels at. Remember to get the waterproof as well as the regular formulas! It can be found here:

8. Blush and Bronzer: Adding warmth and dimension to the face is crucial for achieving a healthy, radiant complexion. A blush palette with a mix of shades and finishes, along with a bronzer for contouring, is essential for sculpting the face.

A cream blush that I will ALWAYS recommend for its perfect healthy glow is the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Cream Blush. It has the ability to make the skin look perfectly glowy and natural. It's swoon worthy and I have every shade in my pro MUA kit as well as my personal stash because I cannot imagine living without it.

Another great option is using products that are multi-purpose and that save you money like the Julep Skip The Brush Contouring Trio.

The Julep Skip the BrushTrio has gained significant acclaim for several reasons:

1. Convenience: As the name suggests, Skip the Brush offers a hassle-free alternative to traditional makeup application. The creamy formula allows for easy blending with just your fingertips, eliminating the need for brushes or sponges. This makes it perfect for on-the-go touch-ups or for those who prefer a minimalist approach to makeup.

2. Versatility: The trio typically includes three multi-tasking products that can be used on the eyes, cheeks, and lips. This versatility makes it a great option for creating a cohesive makeup look with minimal effort. Whether you're aiming for a subtle wash of color or a more intense pigment, Skip the Brush offers options to suit your preferences.

3. Texture: The formula of Skip the Brush products is often praised for its smooth and creamy texture. This allows for seamless blending and buildable coverage, ensuring a natural-looking finish without any streaks or patchiness.

4. Longevity: Despite its creamy consistency, Skip the Brush products are known for their long-lasting wear. Once applied, they tend to set to a comfortable, semi-matte finish that stays put throughout the day without fading or smudging.

5. Skin Benefits: Many Skip the Brush products are infused with nourishing ingredients such as vitamin E, shea butter, and antioxidants. These ingredients not only provide hydration and protection for the skin but also contribute to a healthier-looking complexion over time.

6. Variety: Julep offers a range of Skip the Brush trios in various shades and finishes to cater to different skin tones and preferences. Whether you prefer soft neutrals, bold pops of color, or shimmering metallics, there's a trio for everyone.

Overall, the Julep Skip the Brush trio stands out for its convenience, versatility, and high-quality formula, making it a must-have addition to any makeup collection.

9. Highlighter: A touch of highlighter on the high points of the face adds a luminous glow and enhances features. Opt for a finely-milled powder or cream highlighter that blends seamlessly into the skin for a natural-looking radiance.

The Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder creates such an ethereal glow and has gained popularity for several reasons:

  1. Natural Radiance: It provides a soft, natural-looking radiance to the skin without appearing overly glittery or shimmery. This makes it ideal for creating a subtle luminosity that enhances the complexion.

  2. Versatility: The powder can be used in various ways, including as a traditional highlighter to accentuate the high points of the face, as an all-over finishing powder for a luminous glow, or even mixed with foundation for an overall radiant effect.

  3. Flattering Shades: Hourglass offers a range of shades to suit different skin tones, allowing individuals to find the perfect match for their complexion. The finely-milled texture also ensures seamless blending for a flawless finish.

  4. Quality Ingredients: The formula of Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder is known for its high-quality ingredients and innovative technology. It often contains light-reflecting particles and finely-milled pigments that contribute to its luminous effect.

  5. Longevity: Many users appreciate that the product tends to have good longevity, meaning it stays put throughout the day without fading or becoming patchy, providing a consistent glow.

  6. Luxurious Packaging: Hourglass products are often praised for their sleek and luxurious packaging, which adds to the overall appeal and makes them coveted items in makeup collections.

Overall, the Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder's combination of natural radiance, versatility, flattering shades, quality ingredients, longevity, and luxurious packaging contributes to its popularity among MUA's.

Find it here:

10. Setting Spray: The finishing touch to any makeup look is a setting spray to lock in makeup and provide a long-lasting, dewy finish. Choose a setting spray that not only extends the wear of makeup but also hydrates and refreshes the skin.

The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray has become popular among makeup artists for several reasons:

1. Long-lasting Performance: Makeup artists appreciate the setting spray for its ability to lock makeup in place for extended periods, ensuring a flawless look throughout the day or night. Its long-lasting formula helps makeup withstand various conditions, including humidity and sweat.

2. Fine Mist: The setting spray dispenses in a fine mist, allowing for an even application without leaving droplets or disrupting makeup. This feature is crucial for achieving a seamless finish, especially in professional settings.

3. Matte Finish: Many makeup artists favor the matte finish provided by the Charlotte Tilbury setting spray. It helps control shine and oiliness without leaving the skin looking flat or dull, making it suitable for a wide range of skin types.

4. Hydrating Formula: Despite its matte finish, the setting spray contains hydrating ingredients that help keep the skin feeling comfortable and looking fresh throughout wear. This is particularly beneficial for clients with dry or dehydrated skin.

5. Makeup Enhancing Properties: Some users report that the setting spray not only prolongs the wear of makeup but also helps blend products seamlessly, giving the skin an airbrushed appearance. This makes it a versatile tool for achieving professional-looking results.

6. Versatility: The Charlotte Tilbury setting spray can be used in various ways, including as a primer to prep the skin before makeup application, as a setting spray to lock makeup in place, or as a refreshing mist to revive makeup throughout the day.

7. Luxurious Experience: The packaging of the setting spray exudes luxury, which adds to its appeal among makeup artists and clients alike. Its elegant design and user-friendly nozzle enhance the overall experience of using the product.

It can be found here:

In conclusion, building a professional makeup kit requires careful consideration of essential products that cater to a variety of skin types, tones, and preferences. With the right tools at your disposal, you can unleash your creativity and transform your clients into their most beautiful selves. Whether it's a timeless bridal look or a bold editorial creation, these top ten makeup artist must-haves are the foundation for crafting unforgettable makeup masterpieces.

I hope you found these makeup tips and insights helpful in enhancing your craft as a makeup artist. Whether you're just starting out or looking to refine your skills, there's always something new to learn and explore in the world of beauty.

Stay tuned for future blog posts where I'll be sharing even more tips, techniques, and industry insights to help you elevate your makeup artistry to the next level. From product recommendations to advanced techniques, I'm committed to providing you with valuable resources that will inspire and empower you on your journey.

Remember, makeup artistry is a dynamic and ever-evolving field, and there's no limit to what you can achieve with passion, creativity, and dedication. So keep experimenting, keep learning, and most importantly, keep expressing your unique artistic vision through makeup.

Thank you for joining me on this journey, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the future. Stay beautiful, stay inspired, and until next time, keep shining!

Warm regards,

Jen :)

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