Let’s talk products for makeup artists. From time to time, we all need to reassess what we have, toss out things that are past their prime, and restock with some new items, like a top-notch palette or a professional makeup brush. If you’re feeling like it’s time to update the products in your pro kit, you’ve come to the right place!
Now, I know it’s not easy — or cheap — to build out your makeup kit and keep it stocked with fresh new products all the time. I mean, there are so many amazing products out there, and truth be told, I’m sure we all wish we had money to try every single one of them out.
But, that’s where we MUAs can learn from each other! I know I’ve had a lot of experience with various products over my years working with clients, and I know the same can be said of any working MUA out there. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all share our expertise with each other? I decided to put my money where my mouth is and write up this post with some of my favorite products and tools for makeup artists so you can plan your purchases for 2021!
Before we dive into the shopping list, I want to talk about something a little more serious… makeup kit sanitation.
A big part of going through your pro kit is determining which products you can hold onto a little longer. Those products should definitely be sanitized regularly for the health and safety of your clients. I wrote a Makeup Sanitation Guide that will help you undertake this important task in a way that’s effective and easy to do. The guide is totally free, and you can download it here:
If you want to learn more about how other professional makeup artists keep their kit sanitized, especially in a COVID and the post-COVID world, you must listen to my recent interview with Katrin Levi on my Be Your Own Makeup Artist podcast. Our “sanitation conversation” includes everything from LED lights to must-attend sanitation certifications (both free and paid) and sooo much more.
Ok, now that we’ve got this out of our way, let’s talk about my fave products for makeup artists for 2021 why I think they’re worth considering!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission if you purchase a product on the link. As always, I only recommend products I would (and do) use myself.
There’s nothing more fun than buying makeup palettes (all those colors!) but if you are a serious makeup artist who wants to find meaningful work and income, there are going to be some other things you need to stock up on. These are some of my go-to products for makeup artists, the things I simply can’t live without!
No more exposed brushes – it’s closed containers all the way in a COVID (and post-COVID) world. Cozzette Canisters are sleek, durable, and easy to sanitize. They are easily one of the best accessories to have in your makeup kit. I love them because they are specifically designed for makeup artists who are on the move and need something practical and dynamic.
These containers will protect brushes, mascara wands, sponges, and anything else you need to keep safe from dirt and contamination. They also come in different sizes so you can have multiple canisters for your makeup tools. The only downside is that they are not see-through.
I simply looooove these MyKitCo brush caddies. They are clear, look pretty, and are designed by makeup artists for makeup artists, so you know they are built for performance. With MyKitco brush caddies, you can store and transport your makeup brushes anywhere you want super easily. This brand actually has a bunch of products designed by makeup artists, so it’s worth checking their whole line!
If you work on set or have multiple clients (think bridesmaids), you can keep all the brushes separate and avoid cross-contamination by using clear pencil cases. Then, you can just douse and sanitize the pencil case and save them for your next multi-client gig. They are the perfect solution for keeping everything neat and tidy, too!
You may not want to scrape your eyeshadows, and that’s fine, but if you know you aren’t going to have time to sanitize between clients and you’ll be using the same palette for multiple people, this is a good way to keep everything safe from cross-contamination. Of course, if you have loose pigments, you don’t need to worry about it.
Anyway, if you’re going to scrape your eyeshadows, here’s what you will need:
Makeup mats are great for when you’re going to set up your kit on jobs. They keep everything neat and organized and they keep your products and tools from touching the table. Nothing screams unprofessional than leaving the area you are using dirtier then when you arrived. Silicone placemats are also a great option (and very easy to clean) if you can find one that’s large enough for your work surface.
You are always going to need more towels than you think you will, so it’s best to have backup sanitized towels ready to go at all times. I like to use black towels because white ones tend to be hard to keep clean. Opt for the hand towel size, too. This size is easier to handle than the smaller washcloth size. You honestly cannot have enough black hand towels! I travel with 2-3 for do-and-go jobs.
Zuca bags are fantastic! I love the rectangular ones that came with my travel kit. They are clear, deceivingly large, and I can lay them out straight from my case and be organized right out of the gate. I can fit both hair and makeup items in them with room to spare for a full day on set, so in my opinion, this is definitely a good choice if you want to invest in just one tool to transport your brushes and makeup. Plus, they double up as a seat when you or your talent have no place to sit.
I’ve even seen makeup artists set up lights off the top of the handles.
It’s crazy how much product fits into these MYO containers. These palettes are great when you need to build multiple kits for longer projects that need to have cream, liquid, and powder products. Honestly, their products are great and practical and save you a lot of time and space. Their cases are also super resilient. I’ve even heard of MUAs dropping them onto the floor, and nothing happened. That’s impressive!
Single-use sponges are a great choice, especially in COVID times. If you don’t want to use single-use items and you want to keep using your favorite high-end sponges, I recommend raising your price slightly to accommodate the cost of the sponges so that you can give the sponge to your client at the end of the appointment. If you’re going to use single-use sponges instead, don’t forget that most sponges are recyclable! Also, a great way to elevate your client experience is to gift them the sponge — you can’t reuse it anyways! I don’t love using things once and tossing them, but it’s nice to know that I’m not harming the environment in the process.
Velour puffs are super practical. I particularly like the Camera Ready Cosmetics ones. Velour puffs are usually a sustainable alternative because some of them can be thrown in the washing machine. While this is definitely eco-friendly and saves you some money, you can also gift these to your clients, and they’ll feel like a million bucks.
Did you know that you can replace mascara wands with multiple mini fan brushes? Disposable wands are so bad for the environment, and agencies like Wands or Wildlife are no longer accepting them because they have too many. A great alternative to disposable wands is carrying mini fan brushes and scraping your mascara onto your stainless steel palette, and applying mascara in this way! This method is great since you can get really deep into the lash line.
I don’t think you can call yourself a makeup artist without having a large supply of these disposable spoolie wands. I always keep a handful of these in my kit, not just for mascara but also to groom eyebrows, comb out clumps of mascara, comb out product from bears/mustaches, etc. Never double dip these into anything after use.
Again, disposable brushes are really bad for the environment, so I like to stock up on these and keep them in my kit for fast jobs so that I don’t have to use disposables. Because these lip brushes are so affordable — you can gift the brush to your client/talent and make them feel extra special!
Hello, Washable! I love my set bag – designed by Academy award-winning MUA Vivan Baker; if this bag is good enough for her to use on the set of Academy Award-winning films, it’s good enough for me. The best feature for 2021 is that to stop the spread of viruses and keep things clean, they have ensured that almost every part of this bag can be cleaned with bleach products. Apart from that, it is spacious, with a light interior to make it easy to find everything you need. It is an investment, but it’s definitely worth it!
I buy this alcohol in bulk and keep a glass bottle filled with me on every job I do. It’s perfect for sanitizing products. This is also great for making sanitizer wipes. I keep mine in a dark glass spray bottle, similar to here:
This is a fast-drying soap specifically for makeup brushes. Designed to keep your brushes protected but also deep cleansed. This is an amazing product to have around, it’s a soap I recommend in my Makeup Sanitation Guide.
Need help building your makeup kit or refreshing it?! Then check out my A La Carte Coaching program! It includes my Client Questionnaire Template + 1-hour coaching and will save you LOTS of money – since you’ll invest money only in the right tools – and you’ll always be prepared for your clients ($150) BOOK NOW!
That’s a Wrap!
While sanitation has always been a top concern for makeup artists before COVID, moving forward makeup artists and clients, COVID has changed how makeup artists pack, set up, and manage their kits probably forever.
I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!