Tips for building a make-up kit

I thought I would share some pointers on how to build a professional make-up kit for those who are just getting started. Your kit is never going to be complete, it will be constantly evolving as you keep refining it, taking things out and putting new things in its going to be an ongoing process. It becomes impossible (for me anyway) to carry around everything and its difficult to leave little things out just in case you might need it, so it’s a good idea to break your kit down, have a basic kit and then extra small bags of additional kit for the more specialised jobs that you don’t get everyday. It might take you a while to figure out what you are typically going to use for each job but you will soon start to notice that some things just sit in your kit unused for years, this is when you realise it needs to come out.  If you are doing a photoshoot then try to find out the type of looks you are doing and if possible the model you are working on so you get a good idea of what you will need to bring.

Foundation and concealer

When I organised my first make-up kit I had a few simple stacks of supercover foundations, these are full coverage foundations that doubled up as concealer so I didn’t need to buy a separate range of concealers. Supercover have an extensive range of colours particularly for more ethnic skin tones so I bought quite a few colours from the light shades, medium shades including yellow and gold undertones, dark shades in both red and blue undertones, a black and a white.  With this range I could mix all the colours together and create a lot of different colours in between. If I wanted to lighten the consistency then I would spread the foundation onto a palette and spray some moisture spray on top, this could then be mixed down to make the foundation more like a liquid. You can also spread cream foundations onto a moisturised face to help thin down the product for less coverage.

Over the years I’ve bought various other cream and liquid foundations but found I was mainly using either a sheer foundation (such as MAC face and body), a medium coverage (such as MAC studio fix) and a heavier foundation (such as MAC full coverage). With the ever growing range of different types of foundations out there it might be wise to start with the three types of coverage in a handful of colours ranging from very light, medium and dark. This way you can mix the colours together to expand your range as needed.


I like to stick with one translucent no-colour powder that can be used on all skin tones.


The majority of the time I find that I use a baby pink and peach coloured blusher on lighter skin, a deeper rosy colour for darker skin tones and a bronzer. Initially start with powder blushers (I use powder more than creams), you can always get a range of cream blushers later on. As I don’t use a lot of cream blushers I’ve got a few of the darker pinks, reds and corals, these will suit the darker skin tones. To lighten them I just mix in some white or light coloured cream foundation, this will make them more pastel which will suit lighter skin (only use a tiny amount of colour to turn it more pastel).


A few earthy colours such as brown, bronze and grey along with a black and white are basic essentials. When it comes to colours choose all the vibrant stronger tones this way you can layer them with white eyeshadow for a more pastel version till you can start to build up more variety in your palette.

Lipstick and gloss

Start mixing your lipsticks together to create your own colours, buy both the light and dark versions of reds, pinks, and browns etc, then mix together the dark and light shades, try some with more of the dark and some with more of the light so you will be able to get various shades of the colours in between. Try mixing some pinks and reds together too and you will find you can create lots of different colours (use less of the darker stronger colours or you might end up with no change in colour).

I have bought so many lip glosses and I hardly ever use them, so recently in an attempt to make my kit a bit lighter (it seems to keep getting heavier!) I took them all out and selected just a handful of colours that would go back in. You don’t need too many glosses, one clear lipgloss can turn any lipstick into a gloss. Either finish with a coat of clear gloss  for a  dense look or mix a tiny amount of lipstick into a clear gloss to create a sheer colour.

lipstick thinned with gloss
Make more use out of your lipsticks.

Thin out the dense colour of a lipstick by mixing them with clear gloss for your own tinted lipgloss, add some fine glitter dust for your own sparkly gloss (I did a silver one on the left).

There are lots of professional make-up boxes and bags around for your kit but I prefer to put my products into small clear plastic zip bags and pencil cases, then pack these into a cabin sized suitcase. I find this to be the most practical way to carry my kit around especially when travelling by tube. You might want to check out my other post on how to lighten the load of your make-up kit to read a few more tips on how to make your kit more compact.

If you can’t afford to buy expensive make-up brands then some of the budget brands are pretty good, its more about what you can do with the product.  A full kit of expensive make-up isn’t going to make you a make-up artist if you can’t do anything good with it. Some make-up companies such as MAC and Inglot offer discounts to make-up artists which is really helpful when you are starting out as you will spend a lot of money getting your products together.  No make-up kit was built over night so start off with the basics listed above and add in the extras as you go.


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