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7 Essential Tools for Every Aspiring Makeup Artist

Since moving abroad to study, I have taken up a few part-time jobs and found myself with the most unexpected job titles I never would have had the opportunity to experience back home. I have been a bartender, a retail shop girl, an event hostess, and very recently, a beauty counter girl for MAC Cosmetics. Working that last job entailed so much more than smiling and selling products. It required actual makeup training with makeup pros, as everyone in the brand must have skills to apply cosmetics properly to clients.

Now, I love makeup and skincare. More than love, I am OBSESSED. But I had never really ventured into applying it to another face besides my own (and gotten paid for it) before. The first day of training was truly nerve wracking, I could see my brush slightly shaking. I had to apply and remove several shades of primer and foundation just to get the right shade for the girl whose face I was doing. I spilled products on the floor, tissues were everywhere.

It was hilarious. But—IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!I am by no means a pro, but I must say I am getting the hang of it with each shift. Honestly, swatching and testing out products on off-peak hours is one of the most thrilling things to do and kill time with. And if anything, what this entire shindig has taught me is that if you love makeup, you can definitely make a living out of it. And not just as a shop girl, but as a makeup artist. But hey, everyone’s got to start somewhere, and if you are considering taking your passion for makeup to the next level, here are some of the things you definitely need for your starter kit (I’ll leave out the more obvious ones like lipsticks, eye pencils, etc.):

For basic day-to-day makeup, one can get away with an eyeshadow brush, a blush brush, and a powder brush. If you’re looking to do a full face on a client for a special event though, you will need more than the basics. You will need something to properly contour, blend, highlight, and conceal to achieve whatever look your client wants. Also, though applying makeup with fingers works on your own face, it can be a bit unsanitary to use them on other people’s skin. Brushes (and sponges) are the way to go.

Suggested product: Pro Studio 9-Piece Natural Brush Set (P599.00)

And speaking of being sanitary, it is a must to always clean the brushes you use during a makeup job as soon as possible. Especially if you have to do several faces in one gig (say, an entire bridal entourage). You would have to definitely use clean brushes on each new face you paint.

Suggested product: Pro Studio Makeup Brush Cleaner 50ml (P119.00)

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to carry several palettes at a time or a humongous one with a hundred different eyeshadows, blushes, and lippies. Find a reasonably-sized palette with a quality mix of basic shades, neutrals, and a few unique ones that pop out. Of course, you can build your palette collection as you go, and also depending on the types of clients who book you. But to start, just go with a handy palette that will enable you to create a variety of looks.

Suggested product: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips All-In-One Custom Nude Palette for Face and Eyes  – Warm Nude (P850) 

4. A Mixing Palette and Spatula Combo

When working with several faces and a plethora of skin tones, you will have to hygienically mix and match shades and colors of foundations, liquid lipsticks, cream bronzers, moisturizers, etc. The best way to do this is to put small amounts into a mixing palette and using it as a painter would, with the face as your canvas. The spatula comes in handy when getting mini amounts of product from their containers.

Suggested product: Ofra Pro Mixing Palette and Spatula (P950.00)

Face wipes are an absolute essential in any makeup artist’s kit, as you will need them to quickly correct makeup mistakes, clean your client’s face prior to applying any makeup, or when you need to switch looks.

Suggested product: Simple Micellar Wipes 25ct (P249.00)

Before you even begin to work your makeup magic on anyone, remember it is important to start the entire process right. A good face base or primer applied at the beginning of your makeup session will guarantee that anything you put on your client’s face will be applied smoothly, look even, and stay put.

Suggested products: Milani Prime Light Strobing + Pore-minimizing Face Primer (P600.00)

After all your hard work is done, and you have created that perfect look, it’s time to make sure that the look does not budge for as long as possible. You’ll need a reliable setting spray to seal in the look and make it look fresh throughout the entire event or shoot your client is headed to.

Suggested product: Pro Studio Makeup Setting Spray 30ML, (249)

Written By:

Yasha Barretto


Yasha is currently a student taking up her Master’s Degree in Marketing Comms in Melbourne Uni. Aside from writing, she works as a bar waitress and retail shop girl on the side. She has two dogs (Max and Dani) back in Manila whom she misses dearly, is addicted to yoga / barre, and is obsessed with Britney Spears. She cannot live without her Korean face masks, the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick palette, and MAC lipstick in Lady Danger.

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