As a professional make-up artist who already has a good knowledge in Color Theory in Make-up Artistry, you are probably always searching and shopping for more and more products to add into your kit. Yes it is true that there are always new products out there in the market that you want to add into your kit, but do you really need them all, or are they just gimmicks?
This blog post is going show you some of my top-picked essentials for beauty make-up artist kit, and I will provide Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips as helpful knowledge for you to use on some of the products that I am familiar with.
In my opinion, the ideal beauty make-up kit essentials should be classified into three categories of products:
- Simple & Generic (簡單、大眾化產品)
- Palettes (顏彩盤收納)
- Multiple-use (多用途產品)
They are products that you can use for almost everyone in every occasions. Now, let’s have a look:
1. Simple & Generic (簡單、大眾化產品)
This refers to products or tools that are OK to use for all skin types with simple formula that will not cause irritation to skin. You want to choose skincare, foundation, or cleanser that are formulated with basic, gentle ingredients that is suitable for everyone to use, yet work effectively.
In most cases, if you see a well-known brand skincare that is labeled for “all skin types” or for “sensitive skin” with no harsh perfume or alcohol in formulation, it should fit the criteria.
You want to have a facial hydrating moisturizer, eye cream, primer, cleanser to prep the client’s skin in order to create that beautiful skin canvas for you to work on. You want to make the skin looking plumped and feeling comfortable with moisturizer and primer. As I have mentioned in my previous blog post Creating Perfect Skin, every good make-up application starts with good skin preparation; if the skin job is not done properly, everything else that you work on the face will not fall into places.
Here are some popular products for make-up artists to have in their kits under the category of “simple & generic“. You absolutely don’t need every item as shown below, but it’s definitely useful to see what are the popular items other make-up artists are using, and choose according to your need.
M·A·C – Wipes
CONVENIENT, CONDITIONING, REFRESHING. Swipes away makeup, smudges, dirt and grime. It’s saturated with special M·A·C cleanser (sugar-based emulsifier) infused with protective vitamin E. Hydrates and nourishes highly efficiently. Extremely refreshing.
Bobbi Brown – Soothing Cleansing Oil
Bobbi’s Soothing Cleansing Oil is a quick yet luxurious way to cleanse skin. Made with soothing jasmine flower extract (sourced directly from France), moisturizing kukui nut oil, and a blend of Italian olive, organic sunflower and jojoba oils to dissolve surface impurities and makeup without leaving skin feeling tight or dry.
芭比波朗 / 茉莉沁透淨妝油
Bioderma – Sensibio Cleansing Water
This is a MUST HAVE product as it cleanses, removes make-up, and it soothes skin as a toner. Sensibio H20 gently cleanses and removes makeup from face and eyes. The micelles contained in its formula effectively micro-emulsify impurities while maintaining the cutaneous balance. Soothing active ingredients prevent the skin feeling irritated. Excellent cutaneous (skin) and ocular (eye) tolerance. Non-detergent, non-foaming, neutral pH. NON-RINSE, and FRAGRANCE-FREE.
法國貝德瑪 / 舒妍高效潔膚液
MAKE UP FOR EVER Sens’Eyes – Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser
A mineral oil-free, gel makeup remover for eyes and lips.Instantly removes impurities and even waterproof makeup on the most sensitive eyes, and works well for contact lens wearers. Moisturizes and soothes eyelids. Extremely effective and incredibly gentle, this lightweight cleanser won’t leave the eyelids feeling greasy. HOW TO: Place cotton wool soaked in the product on the eyelids and let it soak on the eyelashes, without rubbing. On fragile eyelids, apply gel with fingers and smooth gently over the make-up. Rub it off with cotton wool moistened with Cool Lotion. Finally, use a paper tissue to dry, or Cool Lotion to freshen.
MAKE UP FOR EVER 眼唇卸妝凝乳
Avène – Skin Recovery Cream
This gentle Skin Recovery Cream is specifically designed for naturally sensitive skin (fair, thin, prone to redness), and even helps repair skin after a chemical peel, laser treatment, or exposure to harsh weather. It helps to restore the lipid layer, meaning it heals chapped skin over time. It’s lightweight and feels immediately calming. Free from paraben, fragrance and coloring agents.
雅漾 / 修護保濕精華乳
M·A·C – Fast Response Eye Cream
FIRMING, DE-PUFFING, REDUCES DARK CIRCLES. The super-charged, caffeinated cream with instant effects. De-puffs, erases the look of dark circles, firms, soothes and softens skin around the eye. Special optics act like magic to fade away fine lines. I have been using Fast Response Eye Cream for years!
Smashbox – Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Create a perfect canvas for foundation application with this silky, lightweight blend of Vitamins A & E, grape seed extract and green tea. Worn alone or under foundation, this oil-free primer helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for flawless skin with a velvety-smooth finish.
M·A·C – Lightful C Vibrancy Eye Cream
BRIGHTENING, DE-PUFFING, PRIMES EYES. Instant eye prep! Lightful C Vibrancy Eye Cream is a quick-fix eye cream that reduces puffiness and under-eye shadows while imparting a bright natural radiance to your entire eye area. A potent addition of vitamin C gives skin its brightened effects. It even perfectly primes your eyes for makeup and with regular use its instant benefits become permanent.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: This product is extremely effective to brighten up the under eye darkness. Use it before you apply concealer, and think about color theory when applying concealer to cancel out the darkness.
2. Palettes (顏彩盤收納)
It’s all about organization! As mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, the idea of a make-up artist palette is to condense as many “color” products into one single palette as possible, so when the artist is working, he or she can just open up the palette and do all the mixing and blending effortlessly. There is no need to carry lots of different products. It takes too much time to look through colors, to open up separate packaging – it’s not very make-up artist user friendly in that way. Also, by having them in palette form, it’s much easier for product transportation as well.
if you like to custom-make your own DIY pallets of foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadow, or lip colors, please refer to my previous Make-up Artist Palette blog post for some tips and videos on How-To’s. Do keep in mind it’s very time consuming to organize all products at the beginning, and make them into palette form with labels of the shades. However, the result of all that palette organizing work will save you so much time and energy later on as a professional make-up artist.
PICK YOUR PALETTE, CHOOSE YOUR SHADES, CUSTOMIZABLE, PORTABLE. Designed to take 15 Eye Shadows of your choice. A backstage or on-location essential for artists and those who want to personalize their shade palette. Fits perfectly into the Duo or Single Pro Palette Large.
You can go to M·A·C Cosmetics website or any freestanding M·A·C stores to build your custom-make pallet in ease, by choosing preferred colors in: eye shadow, blush, sculpt & shape powders, or color correctors. They have already made in a palette-size form that fit directly into M·A·C clear top palette containers. However, if you prefer the convenience of pre-made pallets produced for professional use, there are also tons of selections on products to choose from various cosmetics brands. Some of the ones that I like are as follows:
Eve Pearl – HD Pro Palette
This high quality professional face palette from 5-time Grammy Award Best Make-up Artist winner Eve Pearl includes: 12 shades of HD Dual Foundation, all 6 shades of Salmon Concealer Treatment, all 3 shades of HD Foundation Cream Blush, three universal enhancers: a Mattifier/Eye Primer, an Illuminator and a Lip Treatment. There are 6 empty wells in the palette for custom blending shades to meet all your clients’ needs. Please check out my previous post on Eve Pearl Pro Artist HD Face Palette + TV Makeover for this product’s review.
M·A·C – Conceal and Correct Palette
8-HOUR WEAR, NON-CREASING, STAY-TRUE COLOR. Developed with the professional artist’s need in mind, M·A·C Pro Conceal and Correct Palette features four Studio Finish Concealers SPF35 and two Studio Finish Corrector shades organized into four palettes: Light, Medium, Medium Deep and Dark. Featuring formulas enriched with antioxidants and suited for all skin types, they can be used individually or combined to perfectly match any skin tone.
The creamy concealer provides opaque coverage. It can be used as a concealer or a full-coverage foundation. It’s water-resistant, fragrance-free and non-acnegenic. This emollient-based concealer can effectively covers dark circles, blemishes, moles, tattoos and birthmarks.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: This concealer is heavier in formulation as it provides maximum opaque coverage. You can always sheer the formula by mixing with a moisturizer or facial oil (essential oil), and use it as a foundation.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: In concealing an under-eye dark circle for people who have lots of dark blue under-eye color (which is often found in darker, brownish skintones), it is best to use an orange color corrector (or a mix of orange & ocher colors) first to neutralize the dark blue under-eye, then use a concealer on top to match the person’s natural skintone. It works the magic every time!
VIDEO: Contouring & Highlighting for Different Skin Tones
“You want to see the effect, not the makeup.” Senior Artists Fatima Thomas and Michelle Lee Collins sculpt, shape and shadow the natural structure of the face with Studio formulas and brushes.
M·A·C – PRO Lip Palettes
BACKSTAGE-READY, PROFESSIONAL, PORTABLE. M·A·C’s top lipstick shades organized by color in five pro lip palettes with six stylist variations of tint and finish–even more when you blend. Customize within the same shade family, or cross-pollinate between palettes. The five palettes of shades are: Select Plum, Modern Browns, Preferred Pinks, Editorial Reds, and Editorial Oranges.
- Make-up artist Tip: a lipstick can instantly turn into a cream blush – all you need to do is to dab a bit of the lip color on the cheek, blend it with your finger (as it provides a bit of warmth), and there is your cream color blush with a sheen!
Urban Decay – Naked Eye Shadow Palettes
From a make-up artist’s point of view, it makes life a lot easier when the mostly-used eye shadow colors are put together in a palette for you to create the most natural eye make-up looks to smokey eye looks, and everything else in between, so you don’t have to go through and open each eye shadow packaging to mix and blend.
These Naked eye shadow palettes include monochromatic colors that work for pretty much everyone as they can be used as eye shadows, eye brow colors, or eye liners. I have seen these palettes in a lot of freelance make-up artists’ kits because they are awesome in color selection, great in value, size, and color pigment are good (easy to blend and work with)!
M·A·C – Neutral Color Eye Shadow Palettes
15 WARM-TONED SHADES, MULTIPLE LOOKS, VERSATILE. Two M·A·C Pro palettes of 15 exquisite shades of long-wearing, highly pigmented powdered eyeshadow applies evenly, blends and builds beautifully—so you’ll be gorgeous in any hue. They come in Warm neutral and Cool neutral tones. In addition, you can also get a ‘Nordstrom’s Finest’ Eyeshadow Palette (Nordstrom Department Store Exclusive in the US). It’s a well edited, well priced and well worth it, Nordstrom’s Finest features an exclusive selection of 15 on-trend neutral M·A·C eyeshadows.
MAKE UP FOR EVER – 12 Flash Color Cases
This 12 Flash Color Cases are found in the kits of many well-known makeup artists. You can create an array of looks with this palette and it’s great for traveling. It can be used on the face, eyes, cheeks, lips, or for special effects coloring.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: Think of color theory (in a color wheel) when working with these colors. For example, by adding white, you can create a lighter color in tint; by adding black, you will create a darker color in shade. Mixing two colors on the opposite side of the color wheel will produce a neutral gray. For an full blog post on color theory, please link to read Makeup 101: Colour Theory & Make-up Artistry.
MAKE UP FOR EVER 12色油彩
3. Multiple-use (多用途產品)
You want to use a product that can do more than just one job: maybe two, or even three! As a make-up artist, it is essential to exercise your brain to find creative ways of using your products.
For example, it’s a smart idea to have a foundation in your kit that serves multiple purposes. A few shades of HD (high definition) foundation will be great for everyday beauty make-up application, but the foundation is made ready for photography and HD media (TV or film) use. This way, you don’t have to carry 2 different sets of foundation in your kit for different needs.
In this section, we will explore some of the versatile & multiple-use products that’s worth having in your make-up kit as essentials.
Pointed Q-Tips (Cotton Swabs)
This is a MUST-HAVE as they are so handy! Pointed cotton swabs are specially designed for makeup touch-ups. I use this so much in each make-up application. The ideal cotton swab is to have one pointed tip and round at the other. I don’t know if a make-up artist can ever do make-ups without them!
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: you can use the pointed tip to erase any smudges that require a clean edge (eye liner, lip liner), touch-up on the false lash glue, clean up tears coming out from the eye, make-up blending on face chart, or dip the Q-tip in make-up remover to erase a specific area of the make-up on the face.
M·A·C – Fix +
HYDRATING, REFRESHING, FINISHES MAKEUP. M·A·C Prep + Prime Fix+ Finishing Mist is a lightweight, mineral-rich formula that refreshes the skin and finishes makeup while helping to create an even surface for smooth makeup application.
It’s a vitamin mist to hydrate the skin with ingredients such as cucumber, green tea, chamomile and glycerin. It’s a drink for skin that can be used before and after make-up. It instantly adds hydration to the skin as a light moisturizer. As a make-up finisher, it adds radiance and takes away the “powdery” look after the makeup application. Fix+ also comes in a little travel size which fits perfectly into your make-up bag for traveling.
Urban Decay – All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
All Nighter keeps your makeup looking gorgeously just-applied for up to 16 hours – without melting, cracking, fading or settling into fine lines. Developed in an exclusive partnership with SKINDINÄVIA, the product is suitable for all skin types and features patented Temperature Control Technology. It lowers the temperature of your makeup to keep foundation, eyeshadow, blush and concealer in place – even in hot and humid or cold and windy conditions. The result? Smoother-looking skin and vibrant makeup that lasts all day (or all night).
M·A·C – Prep + Prime Lip
HYDRATING, PREVENTS FEATHERING, RETEXTURIZING. A color-free base to wear under lipstick. Adds light moisture, smoothes and refines the lips. Improves the appearance of applied lip products.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: apply a thine layer of this product just right outside of your traced lip-line, this color-free product helps to lock the lip stick color stay inside the lip-line instead of feathering out.
MAKE UP FOR EVER – HD Invisible Cover Foundation
An oil-free medium-to-full-coverage liquid foundation that covers skin imperfections flawlessly while remaining invisible on-screen and in real life. This foundation comes in 26 shades to suit all skintones. You don’t need to get all shades but do pick: light, light-medium, medium, medium-dark, and dark shades for your kit – you will be able to mix all other foundation shades in between.
M·A·C – Prep + Prime 24-Hour Extend Eye Base
LONG-WEARING, CREASE-PROOF, FADE-PROOF. M·A·C Prep + Prime 24-Hour Eye Base is an innovative new primer that keeps your eye makeup looking fresh and vibrant all day long. The humidity- and sweat-resistant formula prevents shadows from creasing and fading while allowing the hues to stay color true for up to a full day. Comfortable and lightweight, the primer is infused with the rich antioxidants of vitamin E and is ideal for all skin tones and types.
A true multi-purpose product and a make-up artist’s secret weapon, the cult Boiron Homeoplasmine ointment heals and protects dry and chapped skin. Antiseptic, decongestant and repairing, Homeoplasmine cares for damaged skin, working to alleviate irritation and restore calm. Its rich texture is particularly good for soothing nasal irritations and sore, cracked lips, as it rapidly smoothes and heals without heaviness. The homeopathic blend of plant extracts and active ingredients is great for all sorts of minor irritations, including cuts, grazes and abrasions. Well-loved by make-up artists and models, Homeoplasmine smoothes and intensely hydrates the skin and dries to a matte and satin-soft finish.
M·A·C – Matte
A matte-ifying cream that acts like a powder, M·A·C Matte adds a sheer, no-shine matte texture in one smooth layer. This silicon-based mattifying product may be used on bare or made-up skin. Apply over the entire face or in the T-zone to reduce the appearance of shine. Apply M·A·C Matte after moisturizer, but before foundation to prime the skin for makeup.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: If you make a little boo boo’s with a mascara or eyeliner, and you wanted to clean it up without ruining the rest of the make-up, try to use M·A·C Matte Texture. Just wait for the mascara or eyeliner to dry first, then take a pointed Q-tip with a tiny amount of Matte Texture, it will erase it right away.
Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Pencil “Perversion”
Creamy, forever-lasting, award-winning and waterproof, 24/7 pencils delight you with lush tropical hues, deep metallics, and unusually vibrant neutrals. The best Eye Pencil ever, ever, ever! Never before has a pencil this creamy and brilliant been waterproof, too. Velvety-soft, this never-before-seen formula stays soft and creamy for blending (about 30 seconds), then dries down to a long-lasting finish that WILL NOT budge. Created with 50% moisturizing ingredients suspended in a sophisticated waterproof formula, 24/7 Eye Pencils offer long-lasting color and a dreamy, creamy feel when applied. With Jojoba Oil, Vitamin E and Cottonseed Oil.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: A black eye pencil pretty much goes with everyone. If you are skilled enough, you can do a black smokey with just this creamy pencil with a good blending brush. Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Pencil “Perversion” is a serious deep black pencil that is very creamy, easy to apply & blend, and also waterproof. It slides on smoothly and stays soft and creamy for blending (about 30 seconds), then dries to a long-lasting finish that won’t budge. It’s waterproof which means it’s great for swimming, sports, or for bridal make-ups (tear-proof).
M·A·C – Mineralize Skinfinish “Soft and Gentle”
A luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish. It adds buffed-up highlights to cheeks and brows, or an overall ultra-deluxe polish to the face.
- Tommy’s Make-up Artist Tips: Buff this nude/champagne color product onto the skin with a Kabuki brush in a circular motion, it will give you an illuminated shimmering appearance—instant glow on the skin! Spritz the brush with M·A·C Fix+ mineral water, and apply the product on the skin, you will achieve a hyper-real, plastic-looking skin!
M·A·C柔礦迷光金屬光炫彩餅 #Soft and Gentle
M·A·C – Lipglass (Clear)
MIRROR-LIKE SHINE, CONDITIONING, ICONIC. A unique lip gloss that can create a high gloss, glass-like finish or a subtle sheen. Designed to be worn on its own, over Lip Pencil or Lipstick, Clear Lipglass is the perfect product for creating shine that lasts. It contains Jojoba Oil to help soften and condition the lips and a tiny bead of this highly concentrated product is all that’s needed to cover the lip area. Packaged in a convenient squeeze tube, Clear Lipglass is easy to apply using a lip brush. Clear Lipglass can be mixed with other products, like Pigments, and can be applied anywhere on the body except for the eye area to create interesting effects.
一款像玻璃般高度晶亮的透明唇蜜，給予唇部高度的光澤，柔軟雙唇，可單獨使用，特別適合在唇膏之後做提亮，呈現完美的閃亮光澤維他命E衍生物，抗氧化，滋養雙唇；苛苛芭油，柔軟雙唇；提供清新的香草味， 呈現完美的閃亮光澤， 令妝效持久；擠壓式軟管包裝，可以隨意控制用量。
YSL – TOUCHE ECLAT Radiant Touch Luminizing Highlighter
Touche Eclat is a cult favorite among top makeup artists, models, celebrities and women everywhere. Not just a concealer, Touche Eclat is the original face highlighter that launched a new generation of makeup. It emphasizes radiance over coverage and does not mask the skin for a more natural, luminous complexion. You won’t see Touche Eclat makeup, you’ll see the light. Apply Touche Eclat to erase fatigue, highlight features and lighten dark spots and circles. The evanescent texture blends seamlessly on bare skin or over makeup. Touche Eclat is 8 hours of beauty sleep in a click.
M·A·C – Strobe Cream
Strobe Cream is the ultimate quick fix for the skin. Super-powered with potent botanicals; de-snoozes, de-stresses, moistens, freshens and boosts the look of dull, flat or tired-looking skin with a fully loaded vitamin zap and a mega dose of green tea. Brightens and clarifies with iridescent particles and antioxidants. Enhances the effects of light on all skin and in all lighting conditions from sunlight to spotlight.
Shu Uemura – Slant Tweezers
Professional tweezers with a precision slant tip for accuracy in hair removal. It’s also useful for handling of false eye lashes application.
M·A·C – Safety Scissors
STAINLESS STEEL, ERGONOMIC, CONVENIENT. Crafted from stainless steel. Ergonomically designed for comfort and control. Rounded ends. Convenient size for easy handling, storage and transport.
Having a pair of safety scissor with the rounded ends sure comes handy (the reason why it’s called safety scissor is because the ends aren’t sharp which could be harmful). At the recent fashion show that I was involved in, out of 10 make-up artists at backstage, I was the only one who had a pair of scissors in my brush toolbelt. It sure was the most highly requested item to be borrowed – trimming of false lashes / hair / brows, cutting off clothing tags / paper… it’s really one of the must haves.
M·A·C Brush Cleanser
CLEANSING, DISINFECTING, CONDITIONS BRUSHES. A product to clean, disinfect and condition brush fibers so that brushes last longer. Remove excess makeup and residue while disinfecting and conditioning your brush bristles. The Brush Cleanser is convenient to use and specifically designed to extend the life of high-quality brushes while leaving them smelling fresh and clean. It also helps shorten drying time. How to use: Apply the cleanser directly to the brush or on a towel. Run the brush along a towel until it no longer distributes any makeup remnants.
M·A·C Brush Canister
HOLDS 25 BRUSHES, COMPARTMENTALIZED, CONVENIENT. A large M·A·C brush canister that holds up to 25 brushes with compartmentalized sections. Any artist will appreciate the convenience of compartmentalized sections that allow for distinguishing between used and unused tools. Stores up to 25 brushes. A small size canister that holds up to 16 brushes is also available.
Clear Make-up Bags
Clear Make-up Bags
Clear make-up bags work to your benefit because you can see what’s inside without even touching anything (way better than digging around inside a cluttered case). Made of transparent plastic, makeup smudges and spills are not an issue. A makeup remover wipe or a damp cloth removes stains, unlike fabric bags where this is basically impossible to fix! Monda Studio carries varieties of make-up bags for your to choose from. It’s a great idea to buy them in different shapes and forms to compartmentalize your make-up kit:
Monda Studio – Clear Cosmetics Bag
Whether it’s being stored away on a shelf, or traveling from one location to another, keep your products, palettes and tools tidy, organized and ready to go when you are. Great for storing all your travel sized products as well as organizing any small items.
Monda Studio – Clear Pencil Case
It is the perfect choice for storing all your eye-liner/lip-liner pencils, brushes, scissors, mascaras, etc. It’s an ideal choice for professional and personal use.
If you are looking for a detailed make-up artist kit essentials with LOTS of product recommendations, I came across an article What The Pros Carry | 42 Makeup Must-Haves in Celena Hancock’s Basic Essential Kit by Maegan Tintari that you may be interested in taking a look. It’s always nice to see what other professionals like to include in their kit, right? I hope you enjoyed this blog post!
Don’t forget to enter your e-mail at the right sidebar to follow Tommy Beauty Pro blog for more updates on beauty / fashion / lifestyle posts! You can also find me at Instagram & Twitter @tommybeautypro. 若想不定期收到部落格的發文，可以在部落格的右上角空白格填入你的電郵地址，也記得在IG上面追蹤我(@tommybeautypro)精彩的生活喔！
Related Blog Posts 延伸閱讀:
- M·A·C PRO Master Class: Creating Perfect Skin
- M·A·C PRO Master Class: Makeup Essentials
- Make-up Artist Palette
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