To create out of this world looks with makeup, you need to have the right equipment and tools. Makeup artists the world over have their own special kits suited to the kinds of clients they work with and products they love to use. If you’re just getting started – or need to refresh your current setup – we’ve put together a handy makeup artist essentials list so that you’ll be ready to wow the masses with your amazing creations.
If you’re aiming to be the next Pat McGrath, then you’ll want to make sure you’re in the know on everything you might need. Makeup artists need a range of products and tools to tackle all the different scenarios they might find themselves in – from studio photoshoots and catwalk shows, to film and television work.
To get your makeup kit from client to client, you’re going to need a durable cosmetic case or trolley. For those quick jobs or touch ups, you might only need a small cosmetic case. But for full day gigs, investing in a trolley with wheels means you can take absolutely every option with you. Getting to a job and realising you don’t have the right shade of eyeshadow for your client isn’t a great look, so treat yourself to a trolley or case with enough space.
Makeup aside, there are a few other key pieces of equipment you might need as you go about your work, such as:
This is by no means an exhaustive list – you’ll also discover other things you need as you become more and more experienced at your craft.
Before you go splurging on all those fancy powders and colour palettes, it’s important to make sure your kit has the essentials. Let’s start from the base so you can get yourself on the path to makeup artist glory!
We bet you love experimenting with makeup – it’s likely why you became an artist in the first place! So you might already have a pretty good idea of what products are considered essentials. But just in case, make sure your makeup artist kit has the following:
Once you’ve got your products sorted, it’s time to talk about brushes!
You don’t have to go overboard with brushes when you’re first starting out, but if you’re working with clients, it’s best practice to use brushes and other tools to apply makeup (and it’s good hygiene). So think about what you want to do – whether that’s applying foundation or blending eyeshadows – and make sure you’ve got a brush specifically for that. There’s nothing worse than trying to use a clogged up brush to apply blush!
Here are a few different types of brushes you might like to research:
Your selection of brushes will keep growing as you learn more and improve your skills, but pro tip: make sure you clean your brushes regularly to avoid any nasty buildup!
It might sound obvious to you, but make sure your makeup artist kit has a decent travel mirror with lights, like the Wanderlite Travel Mirror. You can’t always rely on getting the kind of lighting you need to do your best work everywhere you go, so why not take it with you! Portable mirrors with LED lights are the perfect companion to any makeup artist kit because they’re lightweight and easy to fold away when not in use.
When you’re ready to hit the big time – we’re talkin’ fashion festivals and film sets here – your makeup artist kit might need to get a little bigger. Especially if you start working with prosthetics and other kinds of specialist products.
The MUA Professional Roller Trolley is a one-stop shop for organising and carrying everything you’ll need to get the job done. It’s basically a vanity on wheels and is built to withstand the high-rolling life of a professional makeup artist! Its customisable compartments make it simple to set things up how you like, while its heavy duty buckles keep everything in place when you’re on the move. You’ll never have to leave out those extra lipsticks again.
Nobody wants to clean their makeup case - but it’s a necessary chore. Even if you routinely clean your tools, putting them in a dirty makeup bag accomplishes nothing. Your cosmetic equipment is still dirty if it's stored in a messy space, which could lead to acne or illness.