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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My MUA Kit

Edit: This post is super, super old and I don't use much of the same stuff any more. I'll write an updated post soon as a *lot* has changed!

A little while ago, I asked people on Twitter if they might be interested in seeing my makeup artist kit, and the answer was yes, so, er, yeah, I wrote a post about it. I really hope this might be helpful to someone out there who wants to do this and has a really small budget. I'm not saying this is what you should or shouldn't buy, it's just what I have found works for me - and my budget, it ain't big. Apologies in advance for the long and boring post.

 The main problem I've found with building my kit is not so much the cost, as the fact that sometimes things just don't work, and you've wasted your money. I know that sounds silly as I'd love to do it as cheap as possible, but if you want to build a kit, you have to spend *some* money and whatever you buy, you want the value from it. I've been doing this for about 6 months now, so here's what I have so far and what I always take with me. If I don't use it at all, I take it out of my kit. A few things I forgot to take pictures of, or have run out of currently, but I've noted what is 'missing.'

e-Bay palettes:

  • 120 eyeshadow palette
  • 66 lipgloss palette
  • 26 blush palette
  • 15 concealer/corrector palette
These are essentials for anyone starting their kit on a budget. They're all really slim and light, and you have plenty of choice colour wise. You can also use the neutral blush colours as neutral eyeshadow (I find the 120 palettes to be quite lacking neutral-wise, although there are plenty of neutral palettes on eBay) and the brighter colours in the 120 as bright blushes. It's a bit of a pain in the ass, but you need to improvise a little if you don't have the cash! The 26 blush palette has great colours for all skin tones, and while the concealer palette isn't the best for under the eyes as they're a very thick cream, it's very doable and has great shades. 

Foundation, etc:

  • Revlon Colourstay (6 + colours)
  • Screenface cream foundation palette
  • Dermacolour concealer palette (really heavy coverage. Meant for scarring, etc, can be used however)
  • Sleek cream foundation testers (for dark skin tones as I find I use these less, and they're harder to buy)
  • e-Bay concealer/corrector palette
  • E.L.F Studio High Definition Powder (not pictured)
This pretty much covers all my needs, except I'd like to have creamier concealers for under the eyes. I'm going to invest in an Inglot palette of those soon - at the moment I'm tending to blend foundation under the eyes with a fluffy brush, which works out alright, but it's not the best. The E.L.F powder is a new addition to my kit and I'm loving it! I was worried it would leave a cast on darker skin tones but it's working really well for me so far. 

Lipstick and gloss:

  • Home made lipstick palettes
  • Lip liners - pinks, reds, plums and neutrals
  • Lip gloss - clear, light pink, hot pink, red, coral, nude, brown/nude
  • 66 lip gloss palette
These 16-well palettes are about £4 each from Charles Fox (Covent Garden MU supply store) and they are a life saver! They're light, easy to clean up with a Q-tip soaked in alcohol, and you can take loads of colours without having a million lipsticks knocking about and scrabbling for the right one - I have a pink/purple, a red/orange/coral and a nude/neutral palette. I use L.A Colours and Barry M lip liners, and tend to stick to Barry M gloss too. Don't forget to snip off the wands off of your glosses.

Pencils, bases, mascara:

  • 3-colour Kryolan cake mascara in white, brown and black
  • White and black eyeshadow bases
  • Eyeshadow primer
  • Sticky eyeshadow base (I use the tiny sample pots of Pixie Epoxy normally but have ran out. Plenty in those!)
  • Pencil eyeliners - white, black, brown, grey, navy.
  • Black gel liner (currently the Maybelline one but I don't like it!)
  • Coloured pencils, blues, greens, purples, silver etc.
  • Waterproof mascara
  • Eyebrow pencils - blonde, hazel/redhead, brunette, brown-black.
I couldn't take a picture and fit all this in! Cake mascara is my greatest discovery, kit-wise. Where it's water based, it's super easy to fix if you make a little mistake, and I love how easy to clean it is. I hate using waterproof mascara but I keep one in my kit in case I have a watery-eyed model.


  • Bright/unusual blushes - hot pinks/fuschia, oranges, reds, purples, etc.
  • 26 blush palette
  • Highlighters - pink and golden liquid, Nyx Mosaic powder (not pictured), pink shimmer powder (not pictured)
Sleek and more recentley, Evil Shades, are my choices for hot blush colours. Brighter colours are great for darker skintones, not just funky stuff. I always carry Benefit High Beam (pink) and MeMeMe Beat the Blues highlighter in Sun Beam (gold) as well - so many uses for these.

Colours/changeable items:

  • Kryolan Aqua Color and Supra Color palettes
  • Sleek palettes
  • Neutral eyeshadows (e.l.f and others incl. MAC and Maybelline)
  • Loose pigments (indie/Barry M)
  • Body paints, glitters, gems, sequins etc.
Not all of this comes with me all the time - the Supra Colours, which are grease paints, often stay at home but the Aqua Colours which are great for bases and liners tend to come with me. I switch up my loose pigments and Sleek palettes as and when I need to, and things like glitter, etc, only come with depending on the shoot.


  •  Lash Curlers
  • Tweezers, pointed and slanted
  • Lash Glue 
  • Single lashes
  • Strip Lashes
I get my strip lashes off eBay - I got 4 styles, 10 pairs of each style for around £5 with shipping. They're not the best as sometimes the bands can be quite thick, although these ones are actually okay. The flat boxes they come in are less bulky than the boxes for one pair that you'd get in store, and I put all the lashes in one box. The main reason I got these is because models kept wandering off with my lashes and it was costing me a fortune!

I use DUO lash glue, as most people do. The last tube I had I squeezed too hard and it went EVERYWHERE - it's not a sausage-fingers friendly glue! You can get this in MAC, supply stores and online - I recently spotted it in Inglot for £7 which is the cheapest I've seen it for.


  • Disposables: Sponges, lip gloss wands, mascara wands
  • Setting sprays (I take an E.L.F one and a Kryolan one, which is more heavy-duty)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Quick-change brush cleaner
  • Vaseline
  • Hair grips/bobbles (not pictured)
  • Breath mints (not pictured)
  • Tampons (not pictured, for models who get caught out)
  • Bottle of eye drops 
  • Inglot Duraline (liner sealant/mixing medium)
  • Fabric powder puffs 
The eye drops are for mixing my cake mascara, mainly because the dropper is really convenient and it's a bit more viscous than water. The fabric powder puffs I hold under the models eyes to stop bright or dark shadows falling on their clothes - I just chuck them in the washing machine after I've used them. Vaseline is for sticking gems, used sparingly for taming brows, adding sheen, as an eye/lip gloss. I normally don't use Cosmo sponges - smaller packs are more expensive - but I ran out and had to buy some quickly.

I don't use spatulas for scraping product - I'll sanitize and use the end of the brush I'm using. Where I use and immediatley throw away mascara wands, gloss wands, sponges and cotton pads and buds I hate creating more waste if I don't have to.

  •  Cotton pads
  • Pointed Q-tips (better for cleaning up mistakes)
  • Face/eye wipes
  • E45 cream
  • Toner, facial cleanser (not pictured)
  • Isopropyl alcohol (in spray bottle, not pictured)
  • Water (in spray bottle, not pictured)
I use E45 as it's dermatological - no-one's really going to have an issue with it - and I know from experience it actually does what it says on the tin. Plus it's cheap! I use Boots essentials for cleanser and toner - again, cheap, and they more than do the job. I'd like to have fancier skin care as it looks better, but hey, I can't afford it for the sake of appearances. I take little spray bottles of water/alcohol as well. I keep meaning to decant my bigger lotions, etc, into the spray/mini bottles too but I never get round to it.

  • Nail Polish pads
  • Basic nail polish colours - red, pink, bright pink, burgundy, coral.
Quite often someone will come along with raggedy nails, which really bug me. These don't take up much room and if you take the pads, you don't have to worry about a bottle of polish remover.

Brushes and other tools:

  • Brush belt with brushes
  • Palette for mixing
  • Scissors (for trimming lashes, labels, etc)
 My brush belt was around £15 from e.l.f and I can totally recommend it as a bargain! Most of my brushes are from the e.l.f studio line, a big brush kit my mum bought me, drugstore, Screenface, or bought off of discount sites like FragranceDirect. I have some mega cheap ones in here - like a couple of 99p W7 ones which are acutally very good! I do have a few key MAC ones in here as well.

Phew. I *think* that's everything! Obviously, my kit is a work in progress, so I know that I'm missing a lot of things, for example, primers, a decent lip prep, creamier concealers, so suggestions are always welcome, however! Please let me know if you have any questions for me, I could have expanded more on each product but it would have been the biggest post ever!


  1. I love seeing MUA kits, so exciting! I'd love a makeup belt but I have no use for one :( Sad times.

  2. This is such an interesting post! :D thanks for posting this!

  3. I love seeing MUA kits too. I used to tell myself that it was OK to hoard makeup because I was an aspiring MUA... but now I'm not and have too much, more than what I see most MUA's have.

  4. I think it's interesting that you keep tampons in your kit. Smart!

  5. You have reminded me that I have duo eyelash adhesive, I bought it for $5 from sugarpill (just shoved it in with an order) about a year ago and never used it! I've got some cheaper stuff to use up first. Also I hardly ever use lashes, think I wanna buy some of those cheap sets of ten to get me less precious about the whole thing!
    Interesting post :)

  6. Great kit!! I always love looking at others' kits, collections, etc.

  7. Awesome!! I was forgetting some stuff so now I have to go add them! I have the elf brush belt and I love it! =)

  8. nice kit! Love seeing what other MUA have and use =)

  9. wow you've got an amazing collection! I was thinking of buying the maybelline gel liner, but maybe not anymore! can you recommend a liquid eyeliner? I've got l'oreal superliner, but fancy a change!

  10. Ben Nye make a really great creamy concealer wheel. You should check it out, they are pretty reasonably priced

  11. Great post, I love living vicariously through other peoples' kits and stashes ;] And LOL @ sausage fingers

  12. This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing with us :)

  13. @Sepia_raven: Before I did this, a MAC MUA tried to sell me one 'for storage!' I was like, Dude, I have a DARTH VADER MUG fool, I don't need no £50 belt!

    @Ki: No problemo :D

    @JC: Ha, this is just my MUA stuff :D You could always have a blog sale if you have too much crap :D

    @VijiiS: Yeah, I keep meaning to make up a proper emergency bag, with tampons, plasters, safety pins, etc, but never get round to it. I just had an experience one with a girl who reeeeeeeally needed one and we didn't have any so since then...

    @Ruthy: Get them! They're dead cheap and well worth it for practicing.

    @Jackee: Me too, it's great for ideas :D

    @Priscilla: I always forget stuff I need!

    @MakeupbyThess: Me too, it's nice to compare and contrast - an odd item here and there you'd never have thought of yourself makes such a difference!

    @catflicks: For liquid, I've always used Collection2000 fast strokes - does the job, dead cheap, lasts for aaaaaaaages and the nib is really nice.

    @lycanthropica: Ooooh, I didn't even think of that! I'll have to check it out :D

    @Sari: No problem, it gave me an excuse to clean and re-organize my kit :D

  14. This is such a good post, I've not seen any like this before. I'd love to branch out into make up artistry but my job takes up so much of my time. I was wondering if you'd picked up the Sleek Bonaire blush from the Caribbean collection, if not do you want mine as it's really not my colour x

  15. I linked this on my Twitter and Facebook as I think it's a fantastic post! You have really stretched your budget so well and yet you have a great array of products. Side note: nasty nails at a photoshoot? On a model? Wow...

  16. I love the idea of nail polish and remover in your kit. I have never thought of that and all too often we get models that have half eaten polish on their fingers. People don't realize how that CAN throw off a picture. Thanks so much for the idea, great post!!

  17. Awesome post! It all must be so exciting. It's interesting to see a budgeted MUAs kit, usually they're all MAC or other high end brands.

  18. Interesting read....I'd like to become a make-up artist, I worked for the Body shop at home for a while doing make overs but I don't think I have the confidence. How did you get into it? Did you study first? xxx

  19. Thank you for posting this! I need to put a kit together on a budget and this was very helpful!

  20. brilliant, thank you! I'm going out to buy one today :)

  21. Great post! It's really interesting to see what goes in to a makeup kit!

  22. My kit is almost identical ha ha, great minds!

    I always take my sugarpill palettes with me too cause the brights in my 88 palette just don't cut it anymore now that I have tried sugarpill :( The pans are huge though so I don't mind using them on other people :)

  23. For primer, don't waste money on an expensive silcone based primer, either Monistat or Lanacane anti-chafing gel is the exact same ingredient as Smashbox but you'll save tons of money. Just make sure you're getting the silicone anti-chafing gel not the anti-fungal medicine stuff! lol This should work for most of your models/clients, but some women are sensitive to silicones, so you will still need to find a silicone-free primer, or just not use primer on those ones.

  24. Hi, I was wondering if you could talk a bit more about the screenface foundation palette? I've been thinking about getting this in kit 2, but can't find many reviews on it or swatches. I need a good foundation palette on a budget that has a good range from the lightest to the darkest possible shades. Thanks :)

    1. I haven't had this palette for a long long time - Kryolan and Ben Nye have palette with a good range of colours in. I'd get down to a pro store and have a look at what's on offer where you can actually test stuff. if you're in or near London PAM in Shepherds Bush is amazing :)

    2. Thanks :) I actually ended up ordering the maqpro pp22 palette from love make up and I've been really liking it so far, but it's small so I'll probably have to get a new palette before long. I'm from the north so London isn't easy for me to get to but if I go down this summer I'll check PAM out :)

    3. Maq pro is amazing! I use some of thier stuff now - if you sheer it out, a little will go a loooooong way! And if you're in London, unless you're going to Westfield, you don't need to go to PAM. Charles Fox in Covent Garden should see you set!


Thanks for reading! Got a question? Catch me on Instagram @staybeautifulmakeup or on Twitter @robynheartsslap