Whether you’re an aspiring MUA or looking to level up your professionalism, you need a proper makeup artist kit! Pro-quality products and a few simple tools make the difference between basic makeup and incredible design. Plus, a well-stocked kit will help you refine your craft and enjoy a glamorous makeup experience. Here’s what to include in your kit.
What Should A Makeup Artist Have in Their Kit?
First, let’s go over what you should not include in your kit. For the best makeup design (and best experience for your clients), avoid stocking your kit with products that are cheaply made and/or hard to clean and sanitize. Makeup kit no-no’s include:
- Pressed-powder cosmetics with sponge applicators. These include drugstore eyeshadow palettes and blush pads. Not only do these products often contain toxic ingredients, but they’re also notoriously likely to shatter.
- Lip glosses with internal brush applicators. It’s virtually impossible to sanitize these in between clients.
- Products that can’t be tightly closed. The more oxygen gets into your makeup, the more it can change colour, dry out, or become a bacteria breeding ground.
Otherwise, the sky’s the limit! You’ll want to have a variety of colours and products to suit all your diverse clients’ needs. Plus, you’ll need tools and supplies (brushes, sponges, etc.) to apply and blend the makeup. If you’re not sure where to start, read on to learn the essential makeup products and tools for your MUA kit — and how to create the perfect setup for your clients.
Essential Makeup Products
If your client’s face is a canvas, you need a smooth foundation for your art! Primer is crucial: it minimizes pores and fine lines, and it gives your makeup more staying power. Different clients have different skin care needs. Here are the various types of primers you can stock:
Colour-correcting formulas are ideal for brightening a client’s skin or evening out their skin tone. Choose green primer for reducing redness, pink for tired skin, purple for brightening, and yellow for hiding blue veins.
Mattifying primers reduce shine on oily skin. Great for photoshoot makeup.
Hydrating formulas perk up dry skin and add a dewy glow. This is ideal for bridal makeup.
Face Makeup (Concealer, Foundation, Contour and Highlights, Blush)
After applying primer, you’ll need face makeup to give your client a flawless complexion. Everyone’s skin tone is different, and you have to account for their skin type as well. We recommend stocking the following types of products:
Concealers can be used in addition to primers to provide colour correction and acne coverage. As with primers, green concealers hide acne and rosacea, yellow ones cancel out blue bruises and undereye circles, and purple brightens up sallow skin.
Liquid foundations are easy to dispense and blend. Avoid foundation sticks or pressed “cake” foundations. You want a variety of hues that you can mix to perfectly match the client’s natural skin tone.
Contouring and highlighting products help you add dimension to your client’s face and make their natural features pop. Look for a contouring palette with various hues and one shimmery option.
Last but not least, blush adds a beautiful glow to your client’s cheeks and can be used for eye colour as well. Stock your MUA kit with a range of colours, from peach to rose to plum.
Choose a range of high-quality eyeshadows that come in individual pots or palettes. You want something that can be easily dispensed onto your brush so you can control the intensity. Aim to have a variety of colours in your kit, including neutral shades, greys and dark colours for smoky eyes, and both matte and shimmer options. Here are some basic hues to have on hand:
- Blue and green eye colours (periwinkle, royal blue, turquoise, emerald, etc.)
- Orange and brown hues (bronze, peach, chocolate, etc.) for blue eyes
- Pink and purple eye colours (lavender, eggplant, rose) for clients with green or hazel eyes
- Silver and grey shades for blue and grey eyes
Lip and Cheek Colors
To save space in your kit, invest in premium colour sticks and pots rather than standard lipsticks and brush palettes. This way, you can use brushes or even your (clean) fingers to get the perfect blend and shape. Look for products that can double as lip and cheek colour. Lipliners are a must-have as well. Just be certain to sanitize and sharpen them between clients.
Stock your kit with hues in the following colour families:
- nudes and neutrals
- bright reds
- dark reds and burgundies
- plum and peach shades
- pinks ranging from pastel to vivid pink
Makeup Powders and Setting Sprays
Finish off your beautiful makeup design with powder and setting spray. There are colour-correcting powders, as well as bronzing and illuminating options. A translucent loose powder is always a good choice for an MUA kit; it’s easy to dispense onto a brush and it works with all faces and skin types.
Setting sprays help keep your client’s makeup from sweating off during the day. You can get these in both mattifying and dew-ifying options. Aim to have one of each.
Essential Beauty Tools
Many beginner makeup artists neglect eyebrows. However, a well-defined brow can pull an entire look together! Add these essentials to your makeup artist kit:
- clear eyebrow wax or gel
- a range of brown and black browshadows
- a brow-grooming brush
- eyebrow pencils in several shades
Brushes and Applicators
Don’t rely on the applicators that come with your makeup products. Not only are these hard to sanitize, but they’re also low-quality compared to professional tools. Invest in well-made brushes and applicators (clean mascara wands aka spoolies, eyebrow brushes, sponge-tipped applicators, and makeup brushes). No more stray brush hairs stuck to your client’s face!
Here are the main types of brushes to keep in your kit:
- Eye colour brushes come in several shapes, including angled, flat, and liner. Aim to have a variety of shapes and sizes so you can do everything from a fine line to a wide wash of colour.
- Foundation/concealer brushes have dense bristles to help apply and blend face makeup evenly.
- Blush brushes are full and fluffy to provide an even wash of colour.
- Highlighter/bronzer brushes are angled with medium density, so you can easily contour your client’s face.
- Lip brushes are small and compact, allowing you to smoothly apply lip colour and gloss.
Be sure you stock your kit with makeup remover wipes, Q-tips, cotton pads and balls, and brush disinfecting spray. Small bottles of rubbing alcohol and hand sanitiser are great additions as well! Remember, bacteria breed quickly in liquids, so you need to be ready to clean and disinfect your products immediately after use.
Essential MUA Equipment
Makeup can be hard to transport. If you’ve ever opened up your purse only to find your favourite eyeshadow shattered, you know the importance of protecting your products. Plus, you’ll need easy access to dozens of products, as well as a well to easily set up for your client.
A makeup trolley, also known as a cosmetics train case, is a must-have for any makeup artist on the go. These cases typically have a series of stacking drawers or trays. Some have pouches or side pockets as well. A makeup case on wheels lets you easily roll your kit wherever you need to go.
Ideally, your trolley can fit all your makeup products and tools yet make it easy for you to find what you need quickly.
We recommend our trolley case, which is designed for professional MUAs. Unlike standard train cases with non-removable stacking trays, our trolley bag has detachable trays, zippered pouches, and side pockets to hold all your supplies. Plus, it has an extending handle and wheels for easy transport! Buy the Lumina Pro MUA Rolling Travel Case here.
Poor lighting can throw off your makeup design by casting shadows or tinted light on your client’s face. Illuminate your setup with a portable ring light. These devices contain powerful LEDs that resemble natural daylight — the perfect light for doing makeup. Investing in a ring light means that you can easily do your clients’ makeup no matter where you are.
Our 18-inch ring light produces brilliant illumination with balanced white light. It comes with a mirror as well so your client can see themselves. Or swap out the mirror for a camera to record your work! Buy the Lumina Pro 18-inch Professional Ring Light here.
You and your client both deserve to be comfortable as you do their makeup. So, why have them sit on a low couch or hard stool? Invest in a professional makeup artist chair that places them at a good height for you to work. Plus, most clients find these director-style chairs more comfortable. It’s easy for them to sit upright and feel supported.
Our MUA chair also comes with a footrest for your client’s comfort, and a headrest to support their head — crucial for helping them keep still without getting stiff! Buy the MUA Makeup Chair with Headrest here.
Now that your kit is fully assembled, you’re ready to embark on your career as a professional makeup artist! As you grow your skills, you’ll learn exactly which products best serve your needs. Remember to monitor your supplies and disinfect all products after every use, then tuck them away in your trolley for the next gig! (Tip: Get your makeup chair, trolley, and ring light in one convenient package with the Lumina PRO Artist Starter Kit.)