Thursday, June 20, 2013

Readers' Corner: What to Pack (Make Up Artist Edition)

Happy Thursday AMW friends! Are you in a good mood today?  I hope so as I don't like people frowning as they read my blog!  People beside you might have this crazy idea that reading AskMeWhats gives you stress!  Well, I can, if you like me too!  *evil laugh* :P

To future makeup artists and to my lovely readers interested for makeup artistry who requested me to share what I pack for makeup gigs, Halleluiah!!! I finally got the time to finally answer this most requested "Readers' Corner" topic.

As much as I wanted this post to be as organize as I'd like it to be, I apologize if it isn't as my life has been upside down (in a very good way) since Baby AMW came along!  So bear with me :)

The Basic Needs
MAC Fix+ - I love setting my clients' make up with MAC Fix+, it does not only "set" the makeup but it refreshed the client after 30minutes to an hour of prettifying session.
Bench Pure Mist Facial Water - the inexpensive version of Evian, I like using this to spritz and refresh the client prior to makeup application.
Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner - I use this to clean brushes in between clients.  Quick drying and smells wonderful!
Kleenex - I carry loads of these!  This also helps when the bride gets sentimental and starts to cry.

There's more!

Skincare and Primers
I tote with me moisturizers, different types of primers (for oily control, brightening, moisturizing) and also some wrinkle-filling skincare from GoodSkin Labs, I am devastated to learn that GSL aren't available locally anymore!


Okay, the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil and Clinique Facial Wash are supposed to be on the photo above!  Yes, I carry these just in case client needs a quick wash!  Some clients need to remove all their makeup before I can do their makeup, I prefer a clean canvass so removing their makeup before anything else is a must!

Instead of using my hands as a "plate" for foundations and concealers, I prefer using the Monda Oval Steel Mixing Palette since I love mixing foundation to suit clients' skin tone!  The plastic blue thing on photo below is a pencil holder divider in which I use to put lash glue for false eyelashes application.

More Tools
Hair clips - an unsung hero!  This is very important to keep the hair away from the face for easy foundation application.
Spatula - Used to scoop out foundation or concealers.
Eyebrow shaver - some clients sit in front of me with thick, uneven brows.  With their permission, I prefer shaving their brows to redefine it.

Mini Scissors - to cut excess brow hairs, this tiny scissors is also useful to cut extra false eyelashes.

Calling cards - no need to explain!  A must for all makeup artists!


Foundations, Powders, Concealers and Correctors
As a makeup artist, you do not need to tote all shades of foundations!  All you need to do is to invest on light, medium and dark foundation from the same brand and mix them up to get the perfect shade for your clients!  Keep in mind that it is very important to purchase not only different brands of foundations search for different foundations for different skin types!  I make sure to have inside my kit several foundations for oily, combination, dry, normal and sensitive skin!  If you want to tote a lighter makeup kit, ask your client what skin type they have before "the day" or better yet, ask for a clear photo of them so you know you can leave your dark shade of foundation behind if client is fair skinned!  

Correctors and concealers are SUPER important!  I used to think Correctors are useless but after going through different makeovers with different individuals, I reckon I cannot live without correctors!  Once I have a client with huge birthmark on face requesting to cover them up!  Same with dark under eye circles (most requested) and freckles, sometimes, it is very difficult to cover them with just regular foundation, so bring out your correctors and show them your magic!

Finishing powders are the key to a long lasting makeup aside from primers!  Setting the final look with the right powder foundation/setting powder can make a look last for the whole day!  Keep in mind to use specific powders for specific skin types!  If a client suffers from dry skin, use a powder foundation meant for that skin type!  If a client has very oily skin, pat the area with oil-control powder to prevent makeup from sliding off!  Of course, keep in mind to match the shade of setting powders/powder foundation to the neck, it is very easy to create white cast on flash photos with the wrong powder shade!


Additional Powder Foundation/Setting Powders
 I have a Z-Palette with various powder foundation shades for retouch!  I plan to fill this up with more shades as soon as I have time to depot! :P

Quick tip: The darkest powder foundation can also be used as contouring powder.

Eye Shadows, Brow Powders, Cream Shadows and Gel Liners
This is my eye makeup case!  I prefer toting eye shadow palettes rather than single eye shadows to prevent losing makeup on duty!  I also have different palettes for different demands --- neutral makeup, colorful makeup, avant garde, photography makeup, etc...


Blushes, Contouring and Highlighting Powders, Lipsticks and Lip glosses
Again, lipsticks and blushes are changed depending on clients' need!  If I am going for a bridal makeup gig, I tend to bring with me more natural-looking blushes and long-lasting lipsticks and lip tints!  If I'm going for shoots, I change my blush case into something more vibrant (purple blush, sparkly blush etc...)  Same with the lipsticks, I bring along brighter and louder colored lipsticks for non-bridal gigs.


Brow Pencils, Brow Gel, Eyeliner Pencils, Lip Pencils, Mascaras, Eye Primer, Eyelash Curler
All pencil products and mascaras are put together for easy access!  I like it that until this very moment, I didn't lose any makeup products while on duty!  *knocks on wood*


Makeup Brushes
One reader asked me how many makeup brush sets she need to be a professional makeup artist.  My answer is quite simple, you can own as many brush sets as you want (as they don't expire, unless you pull the hair out on each washing).  As a startup makeup artist, 1 set is enough but please invest on quick-drying brush cleaner or brush cleaner wipes to sanitize your tools in between uses.  If you are lazy to clean your brushes while working, invest on as many brush sets as possible so you have a good amount of clean eye brushes, face brushes, lip brushes etc...  I cannot stress how important it is to sanitize your tools, no matter how beautiful the look you did for your client, if they ended up with itchy skin, you may never see them again!

As for brush belts, I love my Charm Pro Makeup Artist Toolbelt so much I cannot do a makeup gig without it!  Why?  I have my brushes close to me and I never lose a brush with this!  This is not a requirement but my own preference.


False Lashes
Loads of them!  Sometimes, clients suddenly request for false eyelashes and it's wonderful if they can also choose the lash designs they want!  Of course, always bring your lash glue and tweezers!

Extra Extra!
I love bringing extra eyebrow shavers!  The blades of these eyebrow shavers get dull easily so having backups are always important!  And of course, I also inserted an eye pencil sharpener for eye and lip pencils.

Since I bring with me a lighted mirror, I bring my own extension cord.  Even without lighted mirror, I still bring this with me as who knows?  A hairstylist may need an extra "extension" for their tools!

You think they're nothing but they mean everything for your clients
Resealable bags!  Giving clients extra oil control film, tissue paper, a swab of lipstick that you used on them and some cotton buds will make a client feel extra special!

 Promise, this is the last photo...
Okay, you think I bring too much makeup with me?  Well, just because I am making sure I HAVE everything a client needs, I also have an extra bag on the side wherein I put makeup essentials (a.k.a. my favorites) for retouch and change of looks! Instead of dragging my whole Zuca case on location, I just have a small pouch with me with all the makeup I need for succeeding makeup looks!  The content of the pouch changes depending on client's needs.

Whew...that's a lot of makeup in one blog post right?  Well, I hope this simple Readers' Corner can help start-up makeup artists out there.  Please do not get overwhelmed by the amount of makeup pictured here.  Just so you know, when I started doing makeup 5 years ago, I started with only a small train case with only a few and basic makeup products!  (My first train case HERE, got to purchase more and more products after several makeup gigs HERE, then thanks to Avon I got a bit bigger train case HERE, then finally upgraded to THIS and finally my love -- the ZUCA ) As I get more makeup gigs, I get to understand my needs as a makeup artist and that's when I start to invest on makeup essentials that I'm comfortable using!  There's no formula to which is the best foundation for oily skin or mature skin, practice makes perfect and do not be afraid to make mistakes, keep on practicing, keep on educating yourself and always be open for criticisms.   At the end of the day, it is your skill and love for makeup artistry that will shine through, clients can see that! 

Fellow makeup artists, any other tips on what to pack?

Keep smilin'
Stay happy!


  1. thank you so much for this I am putting this on my notes! I love it.. will bookmark it.

    1. No problem, thanks for bookmarking it! it's my pleasure

  2. No graftobian palettes? didn't you study in HD?

    1. Yes I have graftobian palettes and it was on photo but not really exposed. With re: to HD , I didn't study there, it's at Basement Academy that time with different teacher.

  3. Hi Nikki! I've been a quiet reader of your blog for years :) This is the first time I'm leaving a comment (nahihiya lang haha) Let me just tell you that I have countless of traumatic experiences with makeup artists. A few of what should have been memorable experiences in my life were ruined by some who made me look like (insert all the ugly adjectves here). When I encountered your blog and saw your transformations, my fear over makeup artists somehow subsided. At some point I even wished na sana friends tayo haha In that way, I will also learn how to look beautiful :)

    Keep writing and sharing your transformations :) I will always be a silent fan.

    1. Hi Diane! Super thank you for your sweet comment, I'm glad you finally did! Nawala ang pagod ko sa comment mo! :)
      I am sorry re: your bad experience on other makeup artists, hiyangan lang yan! Once you find a good one, stick to him/her! :) Thank you , thank you for this! Take care!

  4. Wow, this is interesting. So nice to know. But do you bring all these pa rin even if you've ha a pre-makeup trial with a client beforehand?

    And this is a silly question, but what lash glue do you use (hehe)?

    1. Hi sis, actually, there are times I bring smaller case but minsan, tamad na to change so I bring these all! LOL

      I use DUO lash glue :)

  5. Okay, I just saw the lash glue in the last pic. Yun pala yung white tube. At least I know now what to buy if ever. Do they also work on individual lashes (clusters type)? Thanks!

    1. For individual lashes, you can use regular lash glue but beauty bar also sells the "liquid" version for individual lashes, these lash glue are for strip lashes but still, they are work-able naman

  6. Finally! A blog post for aspiring MUA's like us! Thank you Ms.Nikki, I'm gonna jot this down and I'll read it all over again so I can remember all the important points! More inspiring and helpful blog posts to come and look forward to Ms.Nikki!

    Can you please make a blog post specifically explaining the difference, usage and importance of different types of primers (for oily control, brightening, moisturizing you mentioned?

    Thank you and More power to your blog Ms.Nikki!



    1. hahah Finally right? So sorry it took this LONG! I just don't have the energy to take out my makeup cases and take photos! Good thing I was inspired! :P

      I will try to remember to create a blog post about primers but for now, you can check out my previous post about primers

      Hope this helps

  7. That's a lot! I can't carry that many. Mawawala ko lang yung ibang gamit. Haha. It takes a lot of responsibility to bring that many products to a make up gig, especially pag nagkaka cram na and you can't watch all of your things all the time.


    1. Sis, kaya ok sa akin ang Zuca case cause they are housed in an individual pouch so every time I finish using the pouch, I can easily zip it and put it back to my Zuca Case. That way na cocontrol on the amount of makeup na plaplace on the table.

  8. i saw you you behind Sam Pinto in her IG photo before. and i think in andi aigenmann's ig too. hehe sana ako rin :))

    1. Yes, I was the one behind Sam Pinto on IG! hahahah


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