Tips for Building a Professional Makeup Kit

If you are thinking of becoming a make-up artist, you will no doubt be dreaming of your professional make-up kit!  After many years of trial and error (mostly error), I now have a professional kit that I am very proud of.  However, I did squander money over the years on silly products and equipment and I would hate for you to do the same, so here are a few tips to help you to create your own professional kit.

You will notice that I haven’t included a recommended product inventory below.  The reason for this is that everyone’s tastes and requirements are different, so what suits me and my clients mightn’t necessarily suit yours.  If you want specifics, simply comment below or send me an email and I’ll do my best to answer.



1.  Avail of Professional Discounts:  Many of the major make-up brands offer a discount service to make-up professionals.  Some will require you to provide copies of your make-up qualification / tear sheets / professional accreditation etc. has an excellent post written on this topic.

2.  Research prior to purchasing:  I weep when I think of the amount of useless impulse purchases that I’ve bought over the years.  Literally, money down the drain.  Nowadays I thoroughly research products before I buy.  I trawl beauty blogs (such as and and I watch trusted YouTube gurus such as Lisa Eldridge, Pixiwoo and Wayne Goss.

3.  Set yourself a budget:  When I first started working in the make-up industry professionally I got bit carried away and bought way too much of the wrong things.  Remember, when it comes to make-up, quality always trumps quantity.  Now I focus on key products that are versatile, long-lasting, non-allergenic, highly pigmented and easy to use.   Set out a strict budget at the start, and if you tend to buy bits and pieces regularly, then adhere to a monthly budget so as you’re not tempted to splurge.

4.  Spend money on creams/liquids:  An excellent make-up artist once told me to spend money on liquid and cream products and save on powder products – a piece of advice which has served me well.  I always buy high quality foundations, concealers, cream blushes and lipsticks as I find that they offer a long-lasting, non-drying finish, which is essential in my business (mostly weddings).   Unfortunately my expensive tastes mean that I have a lot of high-end powder products too, but I also have lots of cheaper brands in my kit such as Inglot, Sleek and Bourgois.  Incidentally, it’s worth having a bottle of white MAC Face and Body Foundation in your kit which you can mix with your own foundations to create bespoke shades.

5.  Get samples:  If you can, try and get samples of products to try out before you buy.  That way you can determine whether you like the product or not.  I also carry samples of uncommon foundation shades in my kit, rather than buying a full-size bottle which would never be used.

6.  Get high quality brushes:  Bad brushes will drive you demented.  Save yourself long-term hassle and money and buy good brushes from the start.  If you can, buy a few of your most-used brushes e.g. eye-shadow blending brushes, stippling brushes etc.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on brushes;  I have some excellent ones from Inglot, Sigma and Real Techniques, which are more than a match for my posh MAC ones…although if I won the Lotto in the morning I would buy these Rae Morris brushes…so luxurious!

7.  Save money on equipment:  Make-up equipment is ridiculously expensive, in Ireland at least.  Think outside the box.  When I first started, I bought a tool box (€33) and a tool belt (€12) from B&Q to store my make-up products and brushes respectively.  Click here to watch a video.  When it came to buying a chair (an essential!), I was quoted €300 in Ireland – way out of my price range –  so instead I bought this excellent chair from ($68, but I bought it for $99 from a different supplier – darn).

8.  Buy a good quality make-up case:  After a year or so my make-up collection outgrew the above-mentioned B&Q make-up box so I bought a larger one on-line…which turned out to be a complete disaster.  The quality is terrible, the retractable handle can’t support the weight of the case, it’s very difficult to manoeuvre, impossible to lift etc.  And it was expensive too!  I keep saying that I’ll have to buy a new one before I do my back an injury.  I have my eye on this one. 

9.  Keep your receipts:  You will be able to claim make-up purchases as business expenses.

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