How to Build Your Pro Makeup Artist Kit

Nov 1, 2023 | Pro Makeup Kit

Budget busting tips to build a better pro kit for new makeup artists

Your makeup kit will evolve constantly so it’s a myth that you need to have every product and every cult range in your kit when you’re just starting out.

As a new makeup artist, you are not yet generating enough paid income to justify buying all the latest ‘must have’ makeup products that everyone is raving about on Instagram (and remember they’re often getting paid to tell you they’re ‘must have’ products.)

Instead, you want to use what budget you do have – usually your own hard-earned cash – to invest in quality products, that are multipurpose and cost effective.

You need to think of your kit as an investment.

You need to know that it can take years to build.

Be patient and be wise with the budget you do have available.

You Don’t Need Every Product and Every Shade

As a new makeup artist, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious about your kit.

You worry about budget and being able to afford quality products for your kit.

Sometimes it feels like an impossible task to build the complete full kit you need to work professionally in the industry. But you really don’t need to worry.

Focus on Quality and Multi-Purpose Products

There are so many makeup products on the market now that it’s easy to get distracted by ‘shiny new syndrome’.

When you are first starting out focus on building a basic affordable kit.

You want good quality products that you know always deliver and you can always rely upon.

 As your career progresses and you gain more experience you will discover where you want to specialize in the makeup industry and the kind of kit you need.

Take advantage of multi-use products. Your contour powder is also an eyeshadow, your hair gel is also brow gel, and some colour products like pigment pomade can be used all over the face so you can use a pink as lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, etc. 

You don’t need more products to be a good makeup artist. Stay creative and inventive with how you use products.

Curate Your Kit for the Type of Makeup Jobs You Want

Your kit will be driven by the makeup work you specialize in.

For film work your kit will evolve based on the types of the film productions you work on. There will be products that you will need to create key looks for the film scripts and for the makeup designers you work for.

The truth is your pro makeup kit will always be changing and evolving. It will become your life-long mission to build your ultimate makeup kit!

Makeup Manifesto

How to Save Money on Your Pro Makeup Kit

1. Sign up for makeup brand Student Discounts

Some makeup brands offer Student Discounts whilst you are studying in college or university.

Every brand has their own criteria to qualify for the different tiers of their discount programme. To qualify usually you need to provide proof of your student status, qualification and/or certification.

You will need to register with your institutions student email account which will be verified by the makeup brand. Discounts tend to range between 10% and 20% for student MUAs.

Your Student Discount will usually remain valid for 12 months after you complete your makeup course.

2. Work toward getting your Pro Discount

To join a professional discount programme, you will need to complete the brand’s application form and prove your professional makeup artist status. This does take time but will be so worth is as many brands offer significant pro discounts – as much as 40% discount with some brands.

Each company has its own criteria, and you will have to prove you meet their individual requirements. Some brands such as MAC also charge an annual fee to join their discount programme.

Check out our Makeup Brand Pro Discount Guide here

To Qualify for Pro Discounts – usually need at least 4 of the following:

  • Professional Website
  • Magazine Tear Sheet
  • Call Sheet with a Name Credit
  • Business Card
  • Course Certification
  • Letter of Employment
  • Photo ID

3. Bulk buy at makeup industry Trade Shows

Industry trade shows are a great resource for building and re-stocking your kit. They are also fantastic networking and training events, as well as an opportunity to meet legendary makeup artists in person.

Always compare the value of your student/pro discount with the brand discount on the day as the show. You always want to ensure you’re getting maximum discount available.

Usually though brands specifically offer up to 50% discount at Trade Shows to encourage bulk buying.

And that’s where it gets dangerous! Always go with a plan and make sure you are buying according to your planned list of kit products you really need.

It’s ok to be lured in by fantastic value but if it’s for a lime green eyeshadow palette that you will rarely use then it’s not helping you build your core pro kit, that will help build your successful freelance career.

Be savvy as well as excited. Trade shows like IMATS (International Makeup Artist Trade Show) are global events that showcase in London, LA, Vancouver and Australia. They are huge events lasting all weekend.

The tickets are not cheap and you will also need to pay for travel and possibly accommodation if you choose to stay overnight. You need to factor in all those costs and make sure you shop wisely for the right discounts to truly make it worthwhile.

If you’re not careful you can end up bankrupting yourself.

Get the low down and ticket information on the annual INTERNATIONAL MAKEUP ARTIST TRADESHOW (IMATS) here

4. Shop at Professional Makeup Suppliers

Specialist pro makeup suppliers are often run by professional makeup artists with industry experience who understand the needs of working artists.

They specialise in stocking pro artistry and special effects makeup brands that have been created specifically for pro artist use on film productions, on editorial shoots and all professional makeup artistry settings.

These brands such as RMCA, Ben Nye, MaeKup and Kryolan, to name just a few are not commercial cosmetic brands in the traditional sense. These pro brands products have been created specifically for pro makeup artist use and are highly pigmented and designed to be worn under HD cameras.

They offer a huge array of specialist product categories to meet every possible creative need of a pro makeup artist working in all areas of the industry. They also offer curated palettes that are multi-functional and designed to help you build your core professional kit and beyond.

Check the Makeup Manifesto list of pro makeup suppliers here

5. Get a Job with a Cosmetic Brand

One of the best ways to build your kit, build your skills and gain excellent training is by working for your favourite makeup brand.

Working at a makeup counter in a department story has many benefits for early career makeup artists.

It’s one of the best ways to test products and decide if they are worth your investment. Working with a brand will also entitle you to significant makeup discounts as well as free sample product.

Many commercial beauty brands offer their staff excellent in-house training with very talented brand artists.

Working on a makeup counter also gives you a fantastic opportunity to refine and hone your makeup application skills. You will get to apply makeup on a huge array of faces of all age ranges and skin types.

And its great practice for feeling confident regardless of who sits in your makeup chair.

Kit Conclusion

Building your kit may feel daunting as a new makeup artist.

But if you follow this guide, you will be well on your way to building a brilliant pro kit that will be as hard working as you.

Remember bigger is not always better,

You don’t need every shiny new product on the market. Instead get makeup savvy and keep your kit streamlined, curated to work for you and fully customized.

Start you Freelance Makeup Career Now

Are you passionate about starting your own makeup business? Do you want to launch your freelance career but you’re not sure how to start?

Sign up now for the Makeup Boss Pro course.

Makeup Boss Pro will guide you step by step on how to plan and start your freelance career and fast track you to success.

Makeup Boss Pro will guide you on how to setup and structure your business as well as create your own unique brand.

Makeup Boss Pro shows you how to:

  • Plan your business
  • Brand your business
  • Market your makeup business
  • Attract Clients who can’t wait to work with you
  • Set you up the right way to build a successful business you will love.

Sign up now for Makeup Boss Pro VIP list



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