How to build a pro makeup kit

If you are just getting started as a professional makeup artist, I know a lot of you look to Youtube and Instagram for ideas on how to stock your professional kits.

To be a really kick ass makeup artist you need a really kick ass makeup kit. Your kit needs to be organized, professional and make a good first impression when you show up to any job.  Let's make you really bad ass..ok...

NOTE: Since you aren't a pro yet, it will be very rare that you will qualify for a pro discount.  Don't be angry when you don't qualify. Just because you have a makeup certificate doesn't entitle you to pro discounts. Mmmmkay? Cool.

Before you begin, one question you should ask yourself:

  1. What kind of makeup will you primarily be focusing on?
    Bridal? Fashion? Movies? This is crucial.  If you are just beginning, I assume a basic kit will be all you need to start. 

This list is a very basic kit but has some tried and true products in here that won't break the bank.  As you start working as a professional makeup artist, you will be able to build on this  as you discover your very own unique way of painting.


How to build a pro makeup kit

Many pros like the Zucca bags….however I am not one of them. I don’t particularly like it because I need to see everything in once glance when time is tight. Plus its expensive.  Save money on your bag.

One of my favorite things is to use a small suitcase and pack my kit into other smaller bags.


It saves on your back, easier to carry up stairs (I once had to walk up 5 flights of stairs with my kit one day. It happens and that shit SUCKS!) A suitcase is a lot sturdier than most “makeup cases” and is great for those last minute jobs when they need you to fly on an airplane to do a job.  

I don’t like backpacks or shoulder bags because they will get heavy and it will hurt your back and shoulders.

This is my newest obsession. 22-26" Duffle Suitcase and it comes in fun colors. It's duffle bag and really lets me see inside pretty easily.  Plus the side pockets are great when you packed your kit and you forgot something and don't want to open everything just to put one thing in. Just stick it in the side pocket.

And guess what? $28 with free Prime Amazon Shipping. Sweet. 



Skin prep is my serious shit for any makeup pro. While I have a wide range of skincare stuff in my kit from high end to low end, building your first skin care prep bag  is crucial. Spend your money here.

As a beginner, you will more than likely work with all kinds of skin tones. I put a few crucial skin prep items on my list for you. These are for all skin tones and great for even the most sensitive skin.

I have a wide variety of things for you to choose from but will cover almost any situation. As you discover textures and formulas you will be able to find which products work best for you.


When it comes to foundations, you will need a full range of colors in your kit to suite any skin tone. I personally love palettes and creams and find these work well in almost any situation. Plus it takes up less space.

I am a huge fan of RCMA & GRAFTOBIAN. Both are excellent and depending on my mood and skin texture I like to have both in my kit.  

Since Skin Prep and foundation are the most important things, I will spend more money here. Best part? You can also have these work as a concealer with the right brushes and set it with a little powder. 

*Note: Graftobian just came out with a universal palette. Great to add to your collection. 


Once again I'm gonna keep you in a simple palettes. Easy to travel and easy to use.  
I do like to have a few loose in my kit. Just for good measure.


I am a huge fan of what we call "underpinning". I love cream blushes laying under the skin for that dewy lit from within glow. Here are some of my favorite products for blush and highlighting and eye priming. 


Since palettes are the theme to smart makeup artists, I'm going to put you in more pre-made palettes! :)

Holy Gasp! I hear you all now.
What? No shimmer blushes? No shimmer bronzers?  Have no fear. Use your Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecting Powder on top of any matte blush or powder for an added radiance. :) See. Now you're thinking like a pro! Use these darker powders to act as "bronzers" Double duty.


This is going to be a hard pill to swallow Glossibutts. I call this section "No color left behind". You want all the shiny pretties, but you really need a good selection of key matte shades to round out your kit.  Think like a pro and you will soon realize you don't need as many as you think! I know. I have a hard time with this too.

Below I have added Senna Eyeshadow Envelopes. I think her range is good and it has a few blushes inside. Her brow book is what the pro's use. Colors are better than the, um, other brow company and pigment is much better. One of my favs. The Ben Nye has blushes and matte shadows that will never fail you.

Prestige is making a pretty good impression on the brow pencil category. They have been a staple for years. I can get them really sharp with my classic metal eye sharpener. Save money here. Once you get working you can invest in better brow pencils like the Senna Sketch-A-Brow™.

For gel liners nothing is more waterproof than our Aqua Gel Liners. Check out Raven, Espresso and Posion Apples for a plum burgandy. I prefer gel liners over liquid because I can get the same effect and it's sanitary.

Save on mascara. You will go thru this the most. 

When it comes to tweezers, have some you use for lash application and one set you use for tweezing. 


Here is another place you can save money with palettes. Nothing is worse than digging for lipsticks in an already full case. With the lip palettes seen here you can literally mix any shade you like and get ready to go. Set with the classic Lancome Juicy tubes and you're set. (I love these because they travel well and are petite size)

Also, as cheesy as you may think, these lip pencils from Prestige Cosmetics are some of my favs and have been for almost 15 years. Sometimes you don't need new technology. Sometimes classic always wins. I love these more than the new "waterproof" pencils. They are much easier to work with and keep lipstick on just as long if you use all over and blend out with lip brush before applying lipstick.  I also added a lip oil and lip scrub for those days when your clients have really jacked up lips. 


This is going to be hard for even me to narrow down because I absolutely am obsessed with brushes. To date I think I have over 3,000 in my collection. Is this wrong? HA!

I have ours on sale just for this post. (No code needed) Once we are sold out I will come back and add more styles for you to choose from. 

Take care of them and they will last you for years to come.

I also added the Apple iPad Mini.

Why you may ask?

I house my portfolio on my mini so I can take it wherever I go. And of course I have this Paris case to go with it. Paris is always a good idea, right?

Notice the long CD case? That is one of the best cases for carrying brushes in. I have 2. Once for clean, one for dirty.  Then I put them in coffee mugs at my locations. I pack them on the top of my kit.

The other clear mesh bags are for odds and ends. The black stackable bag is what I put all my palettes in to keep them organized and in one place.

The clear black bags hold any incidentals as well. 

As you see, I saved where I could and splurged where I thought it was important.  Keep in mind this kit is never to be used for personal use. This is for your clients only. 

Tip: Shop all online to keep a good tracking and receipts for tax time.

If you already have an iPad then you are coming in right under $2,000 ($1,911 at the time of this writing) If not you will come in right at $2500 give or take. Add airbrushing and iPad  and come in right at $3,000. 

I hope this helps you build your very first pro kit. Please leave me a comment in the section below if you enjoyed this post.