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Just like a hammer for a carpenter or paints for an artist, concealer, eye shadow brushes and lipstick are tools of the trade for a makeup artist. To create looks that range from natural to dramatic, professional makeup artists need a wide range of beauty products and tools in their kits. To start building a professional makeup arsenal all your own, you’ll need some major shopping skills and artistic flair to choose the products that will propel you to the top.

The Right Containers

To have a pro makeup kit, you have to have the actual kit that holds everything together. A lot of artists use toolboxes or even metal suitcases because they have numerous nooks and crannies to hold your makeup products. Many professional cosmetics stores also sell boxes that open from either side that can hold additional makeup products. While bigger kits are usually better, ensure it’s one you can comfortably tote around from job to job. Other containers you’ll need include pillboxes — these little sectioned-off holders can contain half-used lipsticks you can place in the box and use as lip glosses. Leave one spot open for petroleum jelly, a makeup artist’s go-to item for taming eyebrows, smoothing lips and highlighting cheeks.

Tools

You probably won’t see a makeup artist with a scraggly makeup brush — that’s because she know the importance of good, quality brushes to apply beautiful makeup. You’ll need lots of applicators, from cotton rounds and swabs to triangle sponges. On the brushes front, you’ll need foundation, blush, angled highlighter and eye shadow brushes ranging from large to small, and thin angled brushes for your eyebrows and eyeliner. Since you have lots of brushes, you’ll also need things to clean them with. Include a water spray bottle, hand sanitizer, brush cleaners and makeup remover towelettes. If you’re adept at airbrush makeup (a must for public appearances and high-definition television), don’t forget to pack your airbrush and tools as well.

For the Face

Since you never know what skin type and color you will come across, you need lots of colors and coverage options for the face. This includes powder, stick and liquid foundations, plus concealers in the same varieties and colors. Don’t forget foundation primer, highlighting powder and translucent setting powder to extend the life of your client’s makeup and make her look glowing. You’ll need blushes, too, in both cream and powder varieties in a number of colors.

Eyes and Lips

Eyes and lips are the two areas where makeup artists really feel they can play. This means you’ll need eye shadows, and lots of them. Large palettes can be a makeup artist’s secret weapon because you have a lot of color options in one item you can easily pick up. Don’t forget little details such as eyebrow pencils, false eyelashes and even some shimmering crystals to dot on the outside of the eye. A quality eyelash curler and mascaras in lots of different types and colors are other must-haves. For lips, look for stains, lipsticks and lip glosses in a variety of shades and tones. Take along lip liners as well to prevent feathering.

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