When I think back to how I began my journey using makeup as self-expression and art, here are some tools and gifts that I received that helped me along the way.
1 - Basic Cosmetic Kit
Nowadays, you can find a simple kit at general store (i.e. Wal-Mart) or beauty store for the higher end products (i.e. Ulta, Sephora, & MAC) that include the basics for starting. When shopping for someone who just needs the basics for everyday makeup, a good starter pack would include: mascara, blush, eyeshadows, and maybe an applicable foundation. My starter pack was the “Naked” palette by Urban Decay. The basic tones in this collection really began it all for me everyday use and mastering the basics of application, blending, and so much more.
2 - Brush Kit
A brush kit that has at least 5 different brushes is a great start. There are many more kits that include more brushes than this, but it is best to keep it all simple. One thing to note when shopping for a brush kit is the difference between the low-end and the high-end products. For high-end brushes, the construction of the brush may be made of real materials (especially if you looking for ecologically sustainable ones), be cruelty-free, and the design may give precise finishes. My personal favorite is a brush kit made by Smashbox – the precise brow brush is the most used in my collection!
3 - Brush Cleaning Set
Cleaning brushes is one of my least favorite chores to do… but, the process can be made much easier depending on the tools you have for the job! My sister gifted me an electronic brush cleaner set that is complete with different brush holders. I have a four step system depending on the brush. Use the electronic brush with 1) Japonesque solid brush cleanser and then 2) reapply to to the bowl with facewash. Finally, 3) rinse and 4) dry!
4 - Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro
Since I don’t have a formal education in cosmetology, I purchased this eBook to make sure I had the basics down, or to learn what details I may have been missing. Although I generally recommend eBooks for the ease of travel and storage, I would actually recommend a physical copy of this book to better see the images and lessons.
5 - Mehron Face Paint
When diving into the creative side of makeup artistry, this Mehron kit really “upped my level”. I was actually hired to do a Halloween look (a half-skull face for a friend) and this was the purchase for the project. Ever since, I’ve used this kit to turn myself into an alien princess, and others into a multitude of characters.
6 - Facechart Booklet
Once I began major projects that required planning, I started using a face-chart (that I found online for free). However, this book is quite handy in planning multiple looks in an organized way or at least getting some practice in on some ideas before actually executing them.
7 - Makeup Artist Magazine
There are two ways to subscribe – 1) Digital and 2) Print. Once you’ve decided on which method to receive the magazine, you are given option to choose from 1) Beauty and 2) Character. I personally selected character because it interested me more to see how makeup was done for cinema and contests. (And trust me, I learned a lot on the time and talent it takes for characters like Deadpool and Gamora to be created.)
8 - Michael's Gift Card
There are elements that are not characterized as cosmetics that I use for the themes in my shoots. Truthfully, there are so many more products that you can incorporate into a look that won’t come from your beauty store. Gems, glitter, and headpiece accessories can all be found at Michael’s. I’ve got an entire bag of such goodies gifted from my mother-in-law!
9 - Cosmetic Storage & Organizers
If you’re looking to help out an aspiring makeup artist / hobbyist who doesn’t know what to do with all of their makeup and tools, gifting items for storage and organization would be an immense help. Back in Seattle, I had an entire hide-away desk that I used as a vanity. Inside, were basic organizers that are typically used for office supplies. I also have bead organizers that hold makeup and have used a label maker to clearly categorize every compartment.
Where to begin? Shop “Storage & Organization” on Amazon
10 - Neutrogena Wipes
With all of that makeup… you’ve got to find a way to get it all off! This is a brand that I have used for years for multiple reasons. 1) The wipes are effective and easy to use, 2) They travel well, and 3) You can buy them in bulk at Costco. (I probably buy a large box of them every other year…)
When starting an interest, hobby, or profession like this, it can be difficult getting everything you need to start. Hopefully, this list will benefit the gift-giver or receiver on ideas for what to collect first!
Hi there! I am the creator of the post that you’ve just seen. To give you some background, I am a photographer located in the Orlando, FL area. I am also a self-taught makeup-artist, blogger, and have a background in primatology & conservation.
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