September 2013

The Evolution of My Makeup Kit

September 24, 2013


A makeup artist’s kit is their home away from home. . . the thing that houses the stuff that makes brides & models feel happy & beautiful, TV personalities feel mattified & confident, and helps bring life to photo shoots.  It’s no wonder that we take a lot of pride in its form and functionality.  Plus, like a home, it’s always in a state of flux; neatness and disarray.  I’ve put together a history of my own kits and a little of what was going on in my head when I operated out of each one:

IMG_2859Meet my family of 7 kits.


IMG_28401st kit: MAC’s train case. I purchased this when I worked for MAC. Most artists had 2 or 3. Big purchase for me. . . $300+ for this little baby, but the symbolism was immense: I was a MAC makeup artist with a MAC train case.  Bonified.  Verified.  Certified.


IMG_2851Kit #2. . . generic train case, without telescoping drawers/compartments.  Purchased off Amazon, cheap.  I needed something that would house my (large) Iwata compressor that I had just purchased from MAC Pro.  I was moving up in the world of Pro programs.  This held the airbrush compressor beautifully, but showing up on-site with two train cases was cumbersome, to say the least.  Got the job done, though.

IMG_28483rd kit. I felt like I’d made it. This rolling, 2-piece train case was the ultimate in roominess. The top kit lifted off the larger bottom; it held all my paint pots, powders, pencils, and liners. The bottom portion held my compressor and had a particle-board box compartment that held all foundations. This was my introduction to the world of kits on wheels. However, it was nightmarish caring this and my chair up the winding staircases of Charleston plantation venues.

IMG_2844Kit #4. My first name-brand kit, Tas Merah. I thought I’d died and gone to Kit Heaven. This was so easy to work from. . . it’s compact (made me hone my kit), had drawers to pull product from in case space was an issue and it  had wheels. Alas, it was the narrow wheel-base and skinny wheels that proved to be its fatal flaw. Too many tip-overs made me begin my research into other rolling options.

IMG_2846Kits 5 & 6. Both Zuca. The back pack is currently my editorial/TV kit. I love its portability and almost always I have room on-set to spread out my wares. The rolling Zuca Pro is the standard for most MUAs. The big drawback is the bags that have to be compactly packed and unpacked and RE-packed; that means you MUST have room or a table top to work from, which doesn’t always happen. The Zuca’s wheels are very much like in-line skate wheels. . . the best of the best. Smoothest roll around. I have retired the rolling Zuca, perhaps for travel (a great TSA-approved carry-on).

ImageCurrent Kit, #7. My Stilazzi Gone Topless. This is my favorite, so far. I’m back to the drawers, which I love. There’s plenty of room on the top of this kit for my compressor, lashes, pencils, and skincare. That leaves the drawers open for foundations, concealers, blushes, lippies, palettes, etc. My one wish: if I could only have the Zuca wheels on the Stilazzi case, my life would be nearly perfect. Purchased this kit from Frends. Phenomenal customer service and prompt delivery.



ImageWhen I find something that works for me professionally, I’m the kind of gal who likes to shout it from the rooftop.  Yes, I post lots of things about products, people, and techniques, but this is a tool that helps keep me organized and on-task as a professional makeup artist.  Kim Greene and Melissa Street, two California-based makeup artists, have developed the best face-chart app for MUA’s that I’ve yet to come across.  The options are plentiful and easy to use.  (A face chart is a way to record info about clients; their physical characteristics, the products I choose for them, and their needs and wants.)  This app is available at the iPhone App store under MyFaceCharts.  It’s a very reasonable $6.99.    I can customize a face chart as much or as little as I’d like, save it, then send it off to the printer. . . all from my phone or iPad.  I can choose the very plain, face only chart. . . or I can choose to have some pro tips (such as where to highlight and contour) included on the chart.  I can also upload a client photo and customize the chart according to her face/eye/lip shapes.  Thank you, Greene Street Beauty, for this wonderful, useful tool.  I have a lot more to play around with and learn, but already you’ve made my life a bit easier!