Pro Makeup Artist Essentials: 5 Products Every Makeup Artist Needs

Starting out as a makeup artist is no easy task and it’s partly because our “tools of the trade” can be extremely expensive. We need to cater for all types of skin tones, and buying every single shade of foundation can dry up our wallet – and we might not even end up using every single shade. Such a waste!

I’ve been a makeup artist for over 4 years now. Yes, I’m fairly new at this because I decided to pursue makeup artistry during my last year of graduate law school (which was driving me nuts!) but I’ve had my fair share of professional experiences. I’ve done makeup for magazines, runways and of course, special occasion. You can check out my portfolio here if you’re curious 😉

Challenges I’ve faced as a makeup artist inspire me to help out other starting makeup artists out there who are struggling to build their makeup kit, and believe me, no makeup artist needs to have every single shade of foundation, concealer and powder on the racks.

Read on to see the five items I feel every makeup artist should have, aside from a complete set of brushes of course.

1. Cream Concealer/Foundation Palette

Let’s start from the base because I’m all about that base. That stunning, flawless base.
As I said, no starter makeup artist needs to have fifteen to twenty different foundation shades in their kit. What I recommend is getting three to four foundation shades (lightest, medium, and darkest shades) and getting a concealer/foundation palette such as the Kryolan Dermacolor Camouflage Creme Palette.
Yes it can be expensive, BUT they have a multitude of uses!
So, what can these be used for?

1. Foundation: Find a liquid foundation that is the closest match to your model’s skin and simply mix it with colors from this palette. It’s easier and much more cost-efficient.

2. Concealer: Imagine also having to buy every single concealer shade out there! I’d be broke! This Kryolan palette comes with so many shades and is so high coverage that it can even cover tattoos.

3. Color Correction: Not only are these concealers, but the yellow, green and orange/salmon shades are color correctors. This means you won’t have to invest in a separate color correcting palette, which could cost up to $40 for only four to five shades.

4. Contouring: An Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit costs $40 for only six shades – with this you get 24 different shade choices for only US$99.95. I’ve contoured with this palette and the results are amazing.

5. Eyeshadow Base: These creams do not crease easily and can act as a “white base” for bright and vivid eyeshadow looks.

You can get this palette in the Kryolan website for US$99.95, but AU$220 in the Australian website. I fortunately got this in Indonesia for about US$110. 
If you’re looking for something much cheaper, Coastal Scents has one and is only US$14.95, Zoeva‘s is AU$27.95, and Ben Nye’s MediaPro HD palette is US$80.

On top of this, I recommend getting a translucent setting powder instead of coloured setting powders so that it can be used across all skin tones. A makeup setting spray is also a good option.

2. Blush Palette

Every skin color requires different tones of blush, and having a palette with a wide range of color is always handy.
I highly recommend the BH Cosmetics 10 Color Professional Blush. It’s only US$16.69 (currently only US$9.95!) and you get 10 amazing shades – from cool toned baby pinks to bright, warm corals. There’s even a very dark shade for darker skin tones, which could also be used as contour for lighter skin tones.

Much cheaper than building your own MAC blush collection!

3. Highlighter

Dewy, glowy skin is currently trending and I believe it will always be on trend because it gives the skin such a beautiful, luminous brightness. So it’s important to invest in a good highlighter.
If you have a bit more allowance in your budgeting, I highly recommend the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow (US$68 at Nordstrom and Beautylish) and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder Palette (US$58 at Sephora and AU$76 at Mecca) because they create the most flawless highlighted looks.
If your budget is a bit tight, the Benefit Girl Meets Pearl (US$30 in Sephora) is amazing. I honestly have never found a good highlighter in drugstores, most I’ve tried are very patchy and artificial-looking. If you have a good drugstore recommendation, do let me know in the comments below!

4. Urban Decay Naked Palette

Yes, this is not just a general category, it’s a specific product recommendation. 
I honestly haven’t been able to find anything much more perfect than the Urban Decay Naked Palette. This is one product I would feel lost without whenever I’m on a makeup job.

The shadows have astonishing pigmentation and incredibly soft texture. Very blendable and long lasting! It’s also very versatile and neutral-warm toned, which makes it very wearable for all skin tones.

This is an eyeshadow palette, but it has a number of other uses too, namely:
1. Eyebrow Powder
2. Cheek Highlight
3. Cheekbone Contour
4. Eyeliner (applied with wet brush)
In the photo below, I used “Buck” as an eyebrow powder and cheek contour.
Also… One of my first photoshoots was with a gorgeous African model, but I didn’t have a dark-enough contour shade for her in my kit. So what did I do? I mixed a bit of the foundation used with the shades “Creep” and “Darkhorse”. 
And… voila!

They have shimmers but when blended in with foundation, they’re not too obvious. I love the end result!

5. Lip Palette

One thing I forgot to include in my photo for this blogpost is a lip palette. You will be asked to do colorful eye and lip looks every once in a while, and as a pro, saying “I don’t have” this and that is not an excuse.
To be safe, it’s always great to have a palette with a multitude of color choices such as the Coastal Scents 66 Lip Palette. It’s currently only US$9.95 and you get 66 different colors! How crazy is that?
If you have a bit more allowance, I highly recommend the Make Up For Ever Flash Color Case. It’s darn expensive at US$99 (Sephora) but if you’re going towards the commercial and high fashion direction, I highly recommend this. You can use this as blush, eyeshadow, contour, lip color and special effects makeup/face painting.
You definitely won’t need this if you’re going down the bridal/special occasion route, but since my focus is commercial and high fashion, this palette has been my best friend.
Check out this abstract face painting I did using this palette a while ago.

So, there ya go! I hope you somehow found that useful if you’re starting out as a makeup artist (or thinking of becoming one!).

Got more tips?

Do share and let me know in the comment section below!

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