Building A Professional Makeup Kit: Part 1 (Overview)

Recently I was on location, doing makeup for a bridal party & my clients began commenting on the size & components of my makeup kit. We all giggled as the girls ‘oohed & ahhhed’ over all the beautiful products. This happens often; probably about once per week. People generally ask me how much I’ve spent on my makeup, how long it took me to accumulate so much makeup, or make jokes about the sheer quantity of products I carry in my kit (usually a fella). A few weeks ago, one of my clients’ husbands compared my kit to his toolbox (which is a pretty fitting comparison, if you ask me). Anyway, all of this got me thinking about my kit, what I’ve spent, & the nitty-gritty of what I’ve got in there.

Here are the basics of the case I use to store all the glamorous & wonderful makeup goodies. I am using a professional rolling makeup kit with the dimensions 27.5″H x 12.5″W x 8.5″D. Empty, it weighs about 11 pounds. It has some heavy duty locks with dual keys (which I often do not use because I almost never find a situation where I am not within arms reach of my kit at all times). The case also has a telescoping handle, similar to a lot of large rolling luggage. It also had wheels to help with transport. I purchased my case used online at an amazing deal. These cases usually cost about $100-$200 new & can be found many placed online, including EBay. These cases generally come in black, but can also be found in silver, grey, or pink. I would have preferred a black case because I feel that it would be more professional looking, but I like pink well enough & couldn’t beat the deal.


As you can see from the photo, this case has lots of buckles & hinges; that’s because the whole box comes apart or opens up for ease of use & versatility. The top third of the case detaches completely & can be used alone or with a shoulder strap. The interior of the small upper box has two pull out shelves & a deep bottom for a variety of differently sized products. For a simple event where a huge number of products are unnecessary the top box is perfect. If you decide to use the two separately, this case comes with a second box lid that you can attach to cover the lower compartment. The lower compartment works very well for larger items & I have packed it with all the little extras that I’ve learned to bring with me ‘just in case’. I will go into more detail about what exactly I keep in my kit further down.  Inside the larger bottom box, there is a shelf & a pull-out compartment that rests atop the shelf. This portion of the box also features a drop down wall for ease of use (so you’re not having to reach from the top all the way down to the lowest items). Here are some more photos to help illustrate.


Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this case fits all of my products, particularly once I got good at taking advantage of all of the vertical space by organizing all of the products standing with the tallest side up & down (smaller organizing baskets have been very useful with this).


This is a birds-eye view of the very bottom of this case, with the top & middle sections removed.

Ok… so now that I’ve explained the case that I use, I’ll talk a little bit about what’s inside & my suggestions for building your own kit. Starting with the top, moving down; I use the removable top case to hold & organize eye shadow, pigments, mascara, disposable mascara wands, gel eyeliners, eye primers, & dusting powders.


Opening these shelves reveals the lower compartment where all of my palettes & lip pencils & eye pencils are stored. I also have tweezers &  small scissors here (small scissors have come in handy for me more times than I can count).


The next compartment contains all of my foundations (tipped upside down so that the colors are visible to me from their labels which are on the bottom). I also keep a hair stylist cape in this compartment in case I’m working on someone who is wearing their event outfit. The rest of the items are Beauty Blender sponges, concealer palettes, makeup setting spray, bronzers, blushes, HD setting powder, illuminizers/highlighters, skin primers, & facial moisturizer & cleanser. Essentially anything that could be needed for a client’s skin.


At the very bottom I keep replacement & backup items.  Washcloths so I can clean & sanitize as I work. Makeup removal wipes, nail polish removal wipes, hair clips, extra sponges, oil blotting sheets, a nail file, hand sanitizer, mints, makeup brush sanitizing spray, instant tanning spray, rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle (to sanitize makeup between uses), extra mascara wands, cotton pads, gentle eye makeup remover, small empty containers, my makeup brush roll & brush belt, band aids, a hair brush, travel size hair spray, business cards, a credit card scanner, a pen & small notebook, small empty bags for trash, a mixing palette, & a small hand mirror.

Here is a basic list of what a beginning makeup kit might require:

  • Foundations of multiple colors & tones (rose, gold, olive, neutral). Fewer are needed if you are skilled at custom blending colors; however this method can be wasteful &/or time consuming if you are unfamiliar with custom blending.
  • Multiple concealers or a concealer palette. Creams work differently than liquids; depending on your clientele you may want to have a variety of formulas.
  • Foundation primer (clear or green are my most used)
  • Basic skincare: Cleansers, Moisturizers, Gentle eye makeup remover, cleansing cloths, cotton pads, acne cream. Again, choose according to your clientele & build up as you expand.
  • Blushes of multiple colors & tones
  • Highlighter. A light yellow/gold is often the most versatile. I prefer loose powder, but these also come in cream formulas.
  • Bronzers. Typically I only carry one or two. Often time, a versatile shade can work on many, many skin tones. Matte bronzers are more versatile than those that contain shimmer.
  • Eye primer. I typically only carry one or two of these; one dark & one light or white. They do makeup skin tone shades, but a skin tone shade wont enhance the color of the shadow like white or black primer.
  • Eye shadow: This is something that you might have many, many of depending on your own preferences. I suggest starting with a palette that contains many neutral shades (browns, greys, blacks, whites, & nudes) & another palette with brighter colors. Brown & grey shadows can also be used for eyebrow filler.
  • Multiple eye liner pencils & gel eyeliner (my most versatile & commonly used. They can also be used as primer for eye shadow). I do not use liquid eyeliner because it is impossible to properly sanitize.
  • Mascara, both waterproof & a standard formula. Disposable mascara wands are a necessity for sanitization.
  • A variety of false eyelashes, if this is a service that you would like to offer.
  • Lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss. I personally feel that lip primer is unnecessary, lip balms are sufficient.
  • As for random/generic items that you might consider adding to your kit: hair clips or bobby pins, a nail file, nail polish removal wipes, I have heard of makeup artists carrying feminine hygiene products, but I personally don’t; a razor, instant tanning lotion, washcloths, a cape, small scissors, safety pins, & aspirin.

Chicken with Mushrooms & Asparagus: Low Calorie & Satisfying

I know that as a makeup artist, my blog centers on makeup & beauty, but I wanted to share this recipe because I absolutely love it. In an effort to shed some unwanted weight, I have been counting calories, increasing my water consumption, & increasing my physical activity. For me, the biggest component to weight-loss has always been counting calories. In an effort to maintain a nutritious & balanced diet while counting calories, I find that I cook at home much more often because, let’s face it, restaurant diet food is just never very good (if you can find it at all).

This recipe is my ‘go to’ for calorie counting, when I’m not sure what else to make. It contains a good amount of healthy fat & protein; it is filling, tasty, & satisfying & very quick & easy to make. The asparagus offers a bit of ‘crunch’ to satisfy the need for texture too. Adding garlic or red pepper flakes is also wonderful for adding flavor & I’ve recently read a lot of information which suggests that spicy foods help to stimulate the metabolism. The final thing I really love about this recipe is that it is versatile; in the past, I have eaten it for four or five lunches in one week by swapping out peeled shrimp in place of the chicken or by adding other veggies like broccoli, onions, spinach, or thinly sliced squash.

Here is the basic recipe for a single serving:

1 TBSP organic garlic infused olive oil (basic olive oil is also good. We purchased our delicious oil from Albuquerque Olive Oil Co.)

4 oz frozen chicken strips (I used Fully Cooked Tyson Grilled Chicken Breasts)

4-5 large stalks of asparagus with the bottoms snapped off & broken into 1 inch pieces

2-3 sliced mushrooms

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic salt

Start by heating  the oil on med-high in a small skillet. Add the garlic, asparagus, chicken, spices & mushrooms & sauté, covered until the mushrooms begin to release their juices & the chicken is fully thawed & begins to form a golden brown color. Stir occasionally, cooking takes approximately 5 minutes.

Chicken Recipe

See? Very quick & easy. I hope you enjoy it & if you’re calorie counting right now, like I am, best of luck- we can do this 🙂


Sugar: Another Amazing Multi-Purpose Beauty Item

After a positive response to my prior post about the multi-functionality of  Coconut Oil, I’ve been thinking about all the other multifunctional items I incorporate into my daily beauty routine. As much as I love makeup, lotions, creams, balms & all things beauty, I also really appreciate a clean, tidy, organized space. Because of this, I prefer to have only a few really wonderful products that I can use for multiple purposes; it’s nice not to have handfuls of products cluttering up my counters.


Sugar is AMAZING for exfoliating the skin. The molecular structure of sugar is 8-sided which causes it to be rounded instead of square or jagged. Because of this, sugar doesn’t cause micro-abrasions to our skin, the way salt or walnut shells might. Exfoliating with sugar is gentle enough to be done a couple times per week and it does an incredible job of removing all the yucky dead and dry skin that sits around, clogging pores & making a mess of our complexion.

Although there are many companies that sell salt-based scrubs, I find that sugar is just as effective & much more gentle. I have had hundreds of clients come to me with sensitive skin & my homemade sugar scrubs have worked wonderfully. I always recommend a sugar scrub for all my clients with an upcoming special event. As long as you apply this scrub gently (as you should any time you apply any cream, lotion, or scrub to your face) there will be no redness or sensitivity. As an added bonus, sugar is all-natural!


Pre-shave scrub: Mix 1/4 C granulated sugar with 3 TBS gentle, fragrance-free lotion, jojoba oil, or olive oil. Mix sugar with lotion or oil to create a thick paste & scrub legs in a circular motion for 3 to 5 minutes. There’s no need to apply pressure while scrubbing, the sugar will do all the hard work for you & slough off all the dry skin. The sugar may begin to disintegrate as you scrub & that’s okay. Once you’re finished, rinse well & shave as normal. You’ll notice your legs will feel incredibly soft & smooth. Additionally, the exfoliation helps to prevent razor burn or ingrown hairs; this is especially helpful in the armpits. Exfoliating helps avoid bacterial build-up by removing dead skin, & therefore may help reduce sweat-odor. Exfoliation helps prevent bumps, blemishes, & ingrown hairs by unclogging blocked pores & hair follicles. This mix also works wonders for dry elbows or knees. *NOTE: avoid the bikini area with this mixture.


Lip Smoother: Mix 1 TBS granulated sugar with 1 tsp. skin-friendly oil of your choice (vitamin E, jojoba, olive oil, grapeseed, coconut oil), you may also want to add a drop of spearmint, peppermint, or cinnamon essential oil. Create a thin paste & scrub over lips in a gentle, circular motion. This gentle scrub is totally safe, edible, & gentle; it will leave your lips completely soft & smooth, eliminating all dry skin. This is a great treatment for dry/cracked lips, especially followed-up by a rich, moisturizing lip balm. (This recipe is similar to Lush’s lip scrubs, which are far more pricey to purchase than to make yourself).


Dandruff Eliminating Scalp Scrub: Before mixing your scrub, part & clip your hair into 1 inch sections. Mix 3 TBS shampoo with 1/4 C brown sugar and 1/2 tsp. water. Mix thoroughly & use quickly (as the brown sugar will begin to dissolve). Apply the paste along the parted sections of your hair & scrub, gently into your scalp for five minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Rinse thoroughly & condition, dry, style hair as normal. *NOTE: I recommend using a sulfate-free, phthalate-free shampoo for this mixture, particularly if you have a sensitive scalp. As an inexpensive, commonly-available brand, I like Organix which is widely available at most chain drug stores.


Facial Scrub: This is my personal favorite recipe for using sugar in my beauty routine. I use this mixture, on average, once or twice per week. I mix 4 TBS granulated sugar with a couple squirts of bottled lemon juice (fresh lemon juice is better, if you can squeeze it, but I don’t usually have the time for that). I make a thick paste with these two items & gently scrub my face in circular motions for a few minutes while showering. Avoid the eye area & don’t scrub too firmly; a light touch is sufficient because the sugar does all the work removing dead, dry skin. Rinse thoroughly and moisturize well. *NOTE: Even though this mixture is gentle enough for the most sensitive skin, it is important not to exfoliate more than twice per week for extended periods of time. Exfoliating too often can cause thinning of the skin, which isn’t apparent immediately, but it causes visual thinning of our skin as we age. For those who may already have thin-looking skin, a chemical exfoliation is likely a more appropriate choice (lactic acid from dairy products is a great, all-natural, gentle option).

The final use I have for sugar in my beauty routine is ‘sugaring’. Sugaring is a hair removal process by which you boil sugar, water, & lemon juice to create a thick, sticky, glob (for lack of a better word). You then, use the sticky, candy-like, sugar mix to remove hair from the body, similar to waxing. I am not include a full description of this process in this post today, however I will create a dedicated post in the future. Sugaring is very inexpensive & easy to do. It is also a process that has been widely used for many, many years. More info to come…

For now, I hope you enjoy these super simple, easy sugar beauty recipes. Are there any sugar uses that I missed? Please let me know.


Christy J.

Bridal Beauty Checklist


This is the checklist I provide to all my brides when they book their bridal makeup application with me. It’s just a few simple guidelines & tips for the days & weeks leading up to the wedding to help prevent bridal beauty emergencies. This list also makes a great guideline for any special event that requires beauty preparation in advance.


If possible, make arrangements to have your facial, spray tan, waxing, & reshaping of brows done early in the week so your face has time to heal from potential redness & breakouts. It is also advisable not to try any beauty treatment that you have never before experienced, particularly a new hair color, hair cut, or facial. It’s best to stick with procedures that you know work well with your style, hair, complexion, etc… If you’re set on trying something new, plan to schedule a trial at least a month before the wedding to ensure that you don’t have any negative reaction.


Exfoliation should be done 1-2 days prior to the wedding. I recommend a simple mixture of granulated sugar & lemon juice (lightly rubbed in a circular motion over the face for a few moments then rinsed off with cool water); for sensitive skin, try a mixture of olive or coconut oil & sugar. (This mixture is also an excellent remedy for chapped lips, leaving them supple & deliciously smooth.)


When having a makeup application the day of your wedding brides & bridal party clients should arrive with a clean, freshly moisturized face or bring their favorite facial care products to cleanse & moisturize with. Because skincare products are so personalized & because our skin prefers consistency, it is best to use products that you are comfortable with. While most reputable makeup artists are happy to cleanse & moisturize your skin, there’s no guarantee that your skin will be receptive to the products that makeup artist might use.


It is ideal to wear strapless bras & loose clothing during your makeup application if your wedding gown exposes the shoulders or other areas of skin; makeup will not conceal strap marks or clothing indentations. Not to mention, you want to be able to relax & enjoy your morning before the festivities!


This one might be a no-brainer, but it is worth stating. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to the wedding. Hydrated, glowing skin is the ideal canvas for a beautiful makeup application. Additionally, you’re probably planning on popping the bubbly during your wedding reception & the best weapon in combating a honeymoon hangover is hydration, so make sure to sip plenty of water.

*Notes & other tips:
At my bridal consultations, I also give my brides the option of having a custom bridal beauty kit put together for touch ups. I like to include oil-blotting sheets, mints, makeup refreshing/setting spray, lip liner, lipstick, & tissues. However, of course, these items are a simple guideline & are customized based on the bride & makeup look. I also offer my brides the option of hiring me on as their “personal makeup artist”; meaning I’ll stay with them on an hourly basis, touching them up throughout the reception, as needed.

Cute & Thrifty Makeup Storage

I love saving money however I can because that means I can splurge on the really important things (like high-quality makeup!). One area where I often save is in makeup storage & display. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers & makeup artists feature storage ideas like office storage or Ikea products which are both nice & work well, but they can REALLY get pricey fast. Instead, I like to use vintage tea-sets or dishes from the thrift store. Here’s what I found, & I got everything for under TEN DOLLARS!

Ceramic Finger Bowl $.99

I use this small finger bowl for MANY things in my makeup routine. It is the ideal size for cleaning makeup brushes. The small size helps prevent too much cleaning product from being used &/or washed down the drain. It is also important not to wet the handle when washing makeup brushes (it loosens the glue & causes the bristles to fall out) so this little bowl is great because it’s not too deep.

I also use this bowl to hold mineral makeup or loose pigments. I never use any kind of powder makeup directly from the container in order to prevent cross-contamination (getting bacteria in your product container). I always dump a little bit of the powder out & dip my brush into the powder, not the container. Dumping the powder into the little bowl is also great for avoiding wasting the mineral products; just cover any excess in the bowl after your done & it’s fine to use the following day. No more wasted product & no powdery mess in your makeup bag, on your counters, or anywhere else!

The final thing I love this little bowl for is mixing makeup. Sometimes I need to darken or lighten my foundation & this little bowl is easy to clean & the perfect size to custom-mix a day’s worth of foundation. The ceramic is the ideal surface to clean because it doesn’t stain or absorb any of the makeup or pigment. It is very easy to wipe out & sanitize.

I have also seen small containers like this at Target recently too, however the ones I saw were plastic.

Rose Ceramic Creamer Container $1.99

This little rose-covered ceramic creamer container is so adorable & the perfect height for standing up makeup brushes on my bathroom counter. I think it might just be the cutest container I own. I occasionally use it to hold other small items (lip-gloss, chap stick,  mascara) that I use daily.

Rose Pie Pan $3.00

I use this larger dish to set all of my other containers on & to keep everything in one place & tidy. I always have one or two of my current favorite perfumes sitting out on it for easy access. When I wash my face & need to remove my rings or earrings this is where they temporarily go. This makes a great ‘catch-all’, without looking crowded or boring.

Ceramic Flower Cup $.99

I use this in a similar way to the ceramic creamer container. I put things in it that I use often & that fit easily. Right now I have hand cream & a nail file in it but it sometimes holds mascara tubes, lipsticks, lip liners, lip gloss, eyeliners etc… I also have a matching one that I keep in my medicine cabinet for toothbrushes/toothpaste.

Small Rose Bowl $.99

I currently have a handful of mini perfumes in this little bowl, but I have also used it for my contacts cases, chap sticks, eye shadows & various other small items in the past. It sits perfectly with the rest of the ceramic items & can hold larger items that wont stand up in a cup well. It also makes a great spot for miscellaneous jewelry, loose buttons, or nail polish. The possibilities are pretty much endless for these little dishes.

Opaque/Shell Candle Holder $3.99

I added this container to the collection recently & use it to hold all the taller things I can’t put in the cups or other shorter containers. Right now it holds a couple combs, hair trimming scissors, hair clips, & a full-size hairbrush. I like that this container is tall enough that I don’t have to see all the items inside but can reach them easily when I need them. (The items in this container actually sit a little lower & aren’t visible unless I’m standing right over it, but I pulled them up a bit so they’d be visible for these photos).

None of these items were part of a set, but they all coordinate well. The great thing about finding a variety of cute dishes at the thrift store is that you can look for any item that ‘speaks to you’. The items you choose can be as unique as you are. You can look for sets that match perfectly or do what I did & look for items that coordinate, but don’t match.