Aspiring MUA's & MUE's | Building a BOSS Makeup Kit Part 1: Makeup to Buy!

By | 10/09/2014 6 comments

Hello MUA's and MUE's (Makeup Enthusiasts)!

I'm dropping all kinds of info on y'all today!

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Ahhh...look at this beautiful pile of makeup mess. This is the aftermath of a serious beat! This week happens to be pretty slow client wise, so I thought it would be great to catch up on some blogging. Those who are new to my blog, I'm a Professional Makeup Artist based in Atlanta, and I love to blog....when I can.  I' have yet to master the art of balancing Motherhood (I have 2 boys 1 & 3 years of age), Married Life, many other things in between, and doing this makeup thaaang full time! But I me. I will. 

Any-who, you're here! I assume by clicking on this post you aspire to enter the world of Make-up Artistry! COOL. Many of the questions/emails I receive are all about How to get started/ Kit building. I'm going to do a series of posts of sharing with you a few ways to expand your kit for less money. Trust me I know that in the beginning it's tough! Your clients are you siblings, best friends and cousins, so its hard to put out so much money on makeup when you're charging a low (beginners) fee. That's if you're even charging at all.  Here are a few questions you may have, that I'll be answering; "What should I buy?" "How much should I buy?" "Does everything have to be name brand?" All Items recommended I have purchased or used myself. No need to ask if its worth what ever price, the answer is YES if its suggested. Take a look at your budget and build your kit accordingly. Do note that my makeup kit took me 2 years to build, and I'm still adding new things. Though I'm providing a number options,  you don't have to buy everything at one time. Pick on from each category and together it will make one great starter kit. I apologize for the length in advance. In future posts, I will go more into depth about some of my favorite products here and the proper ways to use them.


I understand that many of you are working with a budget. Some more and some less than others. So here is what I'm going to do. For each item I suggest, I will provide a pricy item and a budget friendly options. Some people like to buy name brand and that's completely fine. I just want everyone on any budget to be able to put together a stellar kit. That with that right skill, can produce a flawless face. The skill is something else that you will build over time. Keep practicing!

1.) SKIN CARE:  

Before I even begin suggesting makeup we have to talk about skin first. You can have the best/most expensive products in the world, and it would mean nothing if the foundation (SKIN) is not moisturized or primed properly. Here are products I recommend to prep the skin.


Prep + Prime Skin Refined Zone • M·A·C • $22.00 - GREAT for oily Skin
M·A·C Prep + Prime Skin • M·A·C • $30.00 - Great for Dry/Combination Skin
Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional • Benefit • $31.00 - For Large Pores
Photo Finish Foundation Primer • Smashbox •  $36.00 - Combination Skin
COVER FX Calming Primer • - $38.00 - Great for Sensitive Skin


Of course you've heard of people using milk of magnesia (a laxative) to prime the skin. It works! As a matter of fact, most clients ask for it. Just be sure to pour some into a travel size bottle to place in your kit. It's just weird placing a laxative in its original packaging with the rest of your makeup. You can find it at any drug or grocery stores from $4-$7! Also, be sure to apply to well moisturized skin.

Moisturizers I use: 

Nivea Body Creme • Nivea • $5.94
Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream • Olay • $28.99


In your kit all you REALLY need is one GREAT Neutral Eyeshadow Palette. I'm telling you, don't get caught up in what everyone has or the newest/ "hottest" palette on the market. If you are into color that's fine, feel free to purchase palettes with varies colors, but mastering color shadow application will become 1000x easier if you master neutrals/ shadow placement FIRST. This blog post is all about the basics. 1 palette with neutral colors is all you need! Here my "Neutral Eyeshadow Palette" suggestions:

Pricey Options: 

Lorac PRO Palette • LORAC • $42.00
Lorac PRO Palette 2 • LORAC • $42.00
Urban Decay Naked Palette • Urban Decay • $54.00
Urban Decay Cosmetics Naked3 Palette • Urban Decay • $54.00
Eye Shadow x15: Cool Neutral • M·A·C • $100.00

Eye Shadow x15: Warm Neutral • M·A·C • $100.00

Affordable Options:

e.l.f. Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette (144 Piece) Neutral • $15.00
NYX Eye Shadow • NYX • $14.99
FOREVER 21 Shades of Love Eye Palette • Forever 21 • $8.80
Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Eyeshadow Comfort Zone 738 • Wet n Wild • $4.79
Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Eyeshadow Petal Pusher 736 • Wet n Wild • $4.79

All items suggested are great items! Also, with the inexpensive options feel free to pick a few. Because of the price, you'll be able to get a little bit more. Save the bulk of your money for foundations! We will get there. Next up...


The eyebrows frame the face so its important that they are filled in correctly and with the correct shade. Here are some product options to help you achieve the perfect brow.

Budget Friendly:

H&M - Eyebrow Pencil - Dark brown - Ladies • H&M • $2.95
NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil • NYX • $5.00
L'Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Pro Brow Stylist Brow Shaping Duet Pencils • L'Oreal • $9.99
NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder • NYX • $6.00


M·A·C Eye Brows • M·A·C • $16.00
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade - Soft Brown • Anastasia • $18.00
Anastasia Beverly Hills 'Brow Wiz' Mechanical Brow Pencil • Anastasia • $21.00
Anastasia Beverly Hills 'Brow Genius' Sealer & Powder • Anastasia • $24.00

M·A·C Brow Set • M·A·C • $17.00


Dark Circles,  Scaring, discoloration, tattoo cover ups, etc. These concealers will give you the ultimate coverage. As far as pricing, concealer can be up there with foundation, but here I've provided you with less expensive options that are just as great. Remember...this post is for beginning/ aspiring makeup artists!


Studio Conceal and Correct Palette/Light • M·A·C • $40.00
Studio Conceal and Correct Palette/Dark • M·A·C • $40.00
Studio Conceal and Correct Palette/Medium Deep • M·A·C • $40.00
Studio Conceal and Correct Palette/Medium • M·A·C • $40.00
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer/0.05 oz. • Bobbi Brown • $25.00
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer • NARS • $29.00

Budget Friendly: 

Milani Secret Cover Concealer Cream • Milani • $4.99
NYX Concealer Jar • NYX • $4.99
Black Radiance True Complexion Custom Concealer • Black Radiance • $6.99
Sonia Kashuk® Liquid Light Concealer • Sonia Kashuk • $8.99


When it comes to foundation, I do believe that price and quality matters most. Somethings you just should not cut corners and foundation is one of those things.  Luckily for you, here are some great foundation options for every budget! Until you have the budget to purchase every shade, start off purchasing three of the lightest colors and three of the darker color. This way you'll learn mixing. If you pick correctly, you should be able to make any shade. No matter how dark or how light.


Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 • M·A·C • $27.00
MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microperfecting Primer • Make Up For Ever • $34.00
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup • Estee Lauder • $37.00

Budget Friendly: 

I have to be honest and say that I haven't found a low budget foundation that I absolutely love. If you are reading this and you know of some, let me know and I will try them.  Though I've tried the ones below and felt they didn't necessarily work for me, they've worked on clients of mine. Every once in a while you get that client that is allergic to MAC or doesn't like MUFE, etc. These come in handy for those moments. So that's a good things. You're aren't shopping for you....remember that. So if you find something doesn't work for you, it may be just right for someone else. Like I said above, if you can..spend the bulk of your money on 3 light and 3 dark premium foundations. IMO


Nyx Cosmetics Mineral Stick Foundation • NYX • $9.99
Rimmel London Stay Matte Foundation • Rimmel • $4.99
Maybelline Fit Me Foundation • Maybelline • $7.99
CoverGirl Queen Collection Oil-Free Natural Hue Liquid Makeup • $8.29
Black Opal True Color Creme-Stick Foundations • $9.50


As the great Sam Fine says "Powder is to foundation, what top coat is to nail polish!" I swear when I saw him during that segment on Queen Latifah's show I soaked up as much as possible. Setting your makeup is very important. Not doing so can leave your client with a messy finish. Here are some of my favorite pressed powders (mainly used to set foundation) and loose powders (mainly used to set concealer).


M·A·C 'Mineralize' Skinfinish Natural • M·A·C • $32.00
MAC Select Sheer Loose Powder No.NC45 for Women, 0.28 Ounce • M·A·C • $27.50



Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder • Cover Girl • $6.49
Almay Smart Shade Loose Finishing Powder • Almay • $10.99
Iman Second to None Semi-Loose Powder • Iman • $16.00
Black Opal Deluxe Finishing Powder  •  $8.95


Any blush lovers out here? *waves hands in excitement* 'Cause I sure am! After we've highlighted the face and even out the skin tone, we have to bring some color back into the face. Blush is another item in your kit that does NOT have to be expensive. Here are my blushing suggestions:


M·A·C Powder Blush • M·A·C • $22.00
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush (Allure Best Winner) • Bobbi Brown • $27.00
NARS Blush • NARS • $30.00
Domination - 4 Well Cheek Palette • NARS • $49.00

Budget Friendly:

Milani Baked Powder Blush • Milani • $7.99
Sonia Kashuk® Beautifying Blush • Sonia Kashuk • $9.79
Bh cosmetics 10-Shade Professional Blush Palette • UO • $17.00


Ok so these are items that you need multiple shades of. I'm going to provide you with one option in the department because its such a good deal for those of you new to makeup. Its affordable, great quality, and you receive a wide range of colors. Without breaking the bank... or these down below.

NYX Lip Liners deal on AMAZON! If you purchase both sets suggested below, you'll receive 12 lip liners! On set is $16.50...about the same price as (1) MAC Lip Pencil!!! 

If you prefer MAC lip liners the best ones are; Chestnut, Vino, Currant, Nightmoth and Cork :)


If you haven't had a chance to try these, they are amazing. with the color provided in the set, you should be able to pull of any kind of lip you want. Oh, it is missing something. A clear gloss...that's it. 

AND LASTLY...well...for today,


Once again, don't get caught up in all the name brand stuff. So many cheap lipstick palettes out there that are great. Here are my picks. I've used them, I loved them. You're kit will grow with take your time.


If you can afford it, these MAC Lip Palettes are Wonderful! 

PRO Lip Palette / 6 Select Plums • M·A·C • $40.00
PRO Lip Palette / 6 Editorial Reds • M·A·C • $40.00
PRO Lip Palette / 6 Modern Browns • M·A·C • $40.00
PRO Lip Palette / 6 Editorial Oranges • M·A·C • $40.00
PRO Lip Palette / 6 Preferred Pinks • M·A·C • $40.00

Budget Friendly: 

This is a great lip palette. The colors are very pigmented. Only con is there are no matte colors.

Or you can purchase a empty M.A.C palette/ insert, depot them and make your own makeup palette. This way you can choose whatever colors you want and add mattes to the mix. Here are some great affordable lippies you can depot.

Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color Don't Blink Pink 966 • Wet n Wild • $1.99
Nyx Cosmetics Matte Lipstick • NYX • $5.99
Milani Color Statement Lipstick • Milani • $4.79–5.49

Then depot what ever lipsticks you purchase in MAC's Pro Large Palette and Insert. They don't have to be mac lippies to go in the palette. (someone has asked me that)

Here's mine that I was making last year. I have lippies in here from MAC, Auraline Beauty, Wet n' Wild, and more.

AND THAT'S ALL I have for you today! Gosh, this post is a lot longer than I planned. I hope it's making sense and helped someone out there feels better about building a kit. Once again, your kit will grow with you. As you grow as an artist, and as your clientele grows. With the Items suggested here you will have what you need to produce a flawless face.

I know what you're thinking! "What about BRUSHES and TOOLS?" Well, that will be discussed in Part 2! I'll be sharing links to where I get the best brush sets over sea's for under $20. I've found the best Beauty Blender, Real Technique, Sigma Beauty Dupes and MORE!!!

Until then, catch me on Facebook, Instagram an Twitter! All under @AllThingsBee

6 comments : Leave Your Comments

  1. Thank you so much for taking the time out to share all of this info with us. I soooo needed this!

  2. This post was extremely helpful. I am going to purchase some of the budget friendly items and try them out.

  3. Thank you soooo much for this!!! I am a beginner MUA and the foundations and powders are things I really need to expand in my kit. My foundations are a MUST and I need them ASAP!

    Btw...since starting my kit I have actually incorporated Beauty Supply store products into my kit. To name a few: Ruby Kisses 3D face creators, Ruby Kisses mineral powders, LA Girl Pro Conceal, lip glosses ( various brands). If you have any input on any of these products, please let me know. Thanks for this post!

    1. Those are great products as well! By all means, yes add them. Instead of added it to this post which is already really long, I'll be doing another post specifically about Cosmetics found in Beauty Supply stores.

  4. this was really informative thanks for taking the time to make this...

  5. I love Ruby Kisses foundations although they are primarily for women of color.


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