Putting Together a Makeup Kit: The Basics

Applying Lipstick
Photographer: Thea Turnbow; Model: Roseline Klochkov

I thought I would share with you all some of the items I have in my makeup kit. Although I am a photographer, I have found it necessary to have my own makeup kit for shoots. I never know when I might need to do a touch up, change a look, or fill in for a makeup artist who can’t make it.

For my professional kit, I have a mix of higher end and lower end products. Since I’m not a professional makeup artist, I don’t have a ton of money to throw at expensive beauty products for my kit, and I’ve found that oftentimes drugstore & “low end” products perform just as well for my needs at a fraction of the cost.


Primer: After you clean and moisturize the face. A good primer provides a smooth canvas for the makeup. My personal favorite right now is bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer ($23; Sephora). It’s very silky, and a little bit goes a long way.


Face Basics
All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray (Urban Decay), Perfecting & Smoothing Eye Primer (Sephora), Prime Time Foundation Primer (bareMinerals)

Foundation: This is one of the products you can end up spending a lot of money on if you aren’t careful. Generally I work on models with a lot of different skin tones, so I opted for a budget friendly approach. Maybelline Fit Me Foundation ($7.99; Maybelline, Ulta) comes in a lot of shades, and they have yellow & pink based formulas, which is a must! If you don’t have a lot of money, I recommend getting a small selection of each formula in a large enough spectrum that you can mix any shade you need then add more colors when you can.

Concealer: Coastal Scents has a couple of great budget concealers. Unfortunately you don have to watch out for creasing under the eyes, but I have yet to find a cream-based formula that doesn’t have that issue. I prefer the formula of the Camo Quads ($7.95; Coastal Scents) but the Eclipse Palette ($14.95; Coastal Scents) is also worth a look.

Eclipse Palette (Coastal Scents)

Contouring: Another great palette I’ve found is the 6 Contour Blush Palette (18.95; Coastal Scents). This one comes with a couple of matte light/white shades, a dark contour color and two matte blushes. If you don’t need the whole shebang, bronzer works for warmer skin tones (but looks too orang-ey for cooler skinned ladies). For cooler skin tones, I’ve discovered NYX Blush in Taupe ($5; NYX) is fantastic!

Blush: I have two palettes for blush; the 10 Color Professional Blush Palette ($16.95; BH Cosmetics) and the Blush Too Palette ($15.95; Coastal Scents). Both of the palettes are very pigmented with decent staying power, and very reasonably priced. Between the two of them, I have just about any color I would need. I also love the NYX Powder Blushes ($5; NYX), so I have a couple of those as well.

Blush To Palette (Coastal Scents)
Blush To Palette (Coastal Scents)

Highlighter: This one of the products I splurged on. I’ve been using Too Faced Candlelight Glow Highlighting Powder Duo ($30, Sephora, Too Faced). It has a yellow gold on one side & a pink shimmer on the other, which means it’s great for warm and cool skin tones.

Finishing Powder: This is good for setting your foundation, getting rid of shine and finishing off your look. I find that I like translucent powders best, so right now NYX Studio Finishing Powder ($10, NYX) has a place in my kit.


Brushes: Good brushes can make a TON of difference in the way makeup looks. Elite Brush Set ($69.95; Coastal Scents) is definitely more of an investment, but nowhere near as expensive as other quality sets. You get pretty much every brush you could need, and if you are patient they do have some very good sales sometimes (I ended up scoring mine for 60% off during a sale). If you can’t wait, or would like to start with a more basic kit, I recommend to MiQQi set ($29.99; Amazon). Other than a slight tendency to shed, these brushes are quite soft and good quality for the price.

Q-Tips: Pretty self explanatory; very useful in cleaning up mistakes with precision.

Scotch Tape: I like to use this when I want to create a clean/straight line in a look, like the makeup for this photo shoot!

Photographer: Thea Turnbow; MUA: Linsi Matteson


Brush Cleaner: Keeping your brushes clean is of the utmost importance. I clean my professional set after every time I use them. I’ve tried a few cleaners, but I find I like Parian Spirit ($9.50-$30; Beautylish) the best. It doesn’t have a heavy fragrance like many other brands, and it really gets the gunk off.

Pond’s Cold Cream: This stuff is fantastic! It especially comes in handy when you have to clean up small mistakes without  redoing an entire look (like an eyeliner smudge, or fallout from eyeshadow).

I hope you guys found some useful information in this post! Check out part two, where I cover eyes & lips!


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