Book Review:Makeup is Art

Hurray for husbands! Mine bought me a fantastic Christmas present in the form of “Makeup is Art”, a book designed to help teach professional makeup techniques and show you how to be creative and original! It’s written by a host of people and the Creative Directors are Jana Ririnui and Lan Nguyen from AOFM (Academy of Freelance Makeup).

I haven’t read the whole thing yet, only flicked through a couple of times, so I guess this isn’t really a true review, but I had to let you all know about it as it looks incredible! It starts off the same as any other makeup artistry book, telling us how important skincare is and moving onto primers etc. but then the images turn into Art! You get beautiful clean beauty shots, taken through recent eras and trends and then comes the really fun stuff. There’s glitter, colours galore, and some great body art (you should see all the bling!!;-) ).

At the back of the book is a Q & A section with questions such as “How does a new Makeup Artist get an agent?”, “What is the best way to build my kit?” and “How does a new Makeup Artist build up their portfolio?”. There’s a few pages that are dedicated to brushes and exactly what each one is typically used for (useful when you have a set of 23 and haven’t used some because you’re not totally sure what the hell they are for, haha!).

I honestly could go on for ages, but I’ll stop myself here. The front cover gives you an idea of what you’re getting!

Where to Save on Make-up Brushes

Okay, so the general idea for professional make-up kits is to buy the best quality you can find and afford, but the same doesn’t nessessarily apply to make-up brushes. There are times when you don’t need to pay 25 quid for a single brush!

After asking around, in forums and pestering working MUA’s that I meet, I’ve found that you don’t have to spend a fortune on every brush in your kit which is a great relief seeing as most MUA’s buy a LOT of brushes! It seems that there are some you can save on and some you should splurdge on. For example, the word is that we are better off buying decent foundation brushes as we will get better results, but we can save on lip brushes as they all work pretty much the same way (1.50 pound brushes at here I come ;-) ). Kabuki brushes are best to splurge on, but you can find some really affordable eye shadow brushes in all shapes and sizes. Personally, I’d advise buying a decent crease brush but other than that brushes from the likes of CrownBrush, Avon and even my E.L.F travel kit are standing the test of time for me.

If you want to work in Special Effects Make-up then your brushes will probably get ruined quickly from the various glues, bloods and pastes that you will use, so don’t worry too much about buying from MAC or the likes. You can even find paint brushes that are affordable and good enough quality to use!

I just wanted to put this little post together because I know how daunting it can be to look around at all the brands and prices of brushes, trying to figure out which ones are “the best”. I’m lucky enough to have people in my life who have already been through all this and so I want to let others know that there is room for savings. Starting out in Make-up Artistry can be expensive enough without having to buy a load of expensive brushes when you don’t need to.

Shop around! Do your research before commiting to anything! :-)

Make-up Artist Kits

I’ve been looking online for ages for professional make-up kits and have found various quality kits from different brands at varying prices. It’s a little daunting since I haven’t tried most of the brands but I have been searching for reviews. I figured there would be others out there who are as confused as me so I’ve put together a short list and description of the ones that I’ve found (some prices are in dollars and some are in pounds, as I found them).

The idea is for me to buy a simple, affordable starter kit and to add to it as I go, choosing which products I like and want to work with. I have a few bits and pieces (liners, shadows, and my new Make Up For Ever flash case ;-)) but am no where near having a full kit. So here’s the ones that I’ve found online… has a collection of kits from small mineral kits at $75, Basic Mineral Kits at $499 to their Hollywood Kits at $1499 and Professional Mineral Kits at $2390. I haven’t found any reviews for these products so if anyone has tried them I’d love to hear about them. They have some cheaper kits designed specifically for students but you have to buy them in bulk. has 2 professional kits. The Starter Kit is 73 pounds and the Pro Kit is 95 pounds. I found a few reviews for these. Some people say they are okay for students and people just getting into the MUA business and most agree that they wouldn’t use them for professional use too much. I can’t give an opinion as I haven’t tried them but I dare say for the price they would be a good starting point, especially if you’re doing photo work and don’t need them to last all day. has a selection of products and kits. The main one is their Professional Kit at 50 pounds (was 75). They also sell a Global Kit which has some products aimed at darker skin tones for 30 pounds, and a SBC Foundation set with 3 mousse, 3 liquid and 3 compact foundations in light medium and dark for 30 pounds (it’s 65 pounds on the SBC website). have a Student Kit which also includes brushes and some disposable tools (mascara wands and sponges). This is 110 pounds Worth over an astonishing £250 !!! if you bought the products individually”. They also sell a Global kit which is similar to the Beauty Express kit but looks to have different colours and is 65 pounds. Like I said above, their Foundation Kit has 9 foundations in 3 shades and is 65 pounds. The reviews I found for this brand were similar to the Fero reviews, i.e. okay for a starter/student kit.

Show Makeup sells products for MUA’s working in theatre, face painting and some cream bases for brides. Their kits include simple personal kits for 29 pounds and a full MUA kit which includes cream lipsticks, eye-shadows, bases and brushes for 145 pounds.

Blush Cosmetics sells some small makeup sets that could be good for beginners to practice with. If you want to start off really small then they have 2 Oumeidie 24 Colour Make-up Sets for 4.99 each both with 20 shimmer eye-shadows and 4 blushers. For something bigger they have a Professional Make Up set from The Color Workshop which has 32 eye-shadows, 16 lipsticks and more for 30 pounds (usually 50 pounds).

The London School of Beauty and Makeup sells an OPEN Makeup Kit for 150 pounds. I haven’t found any reviews about these. It is the kit that the school suggest buying when you start their course.

Stage Services Ltd is another site that sells makeup for theatre and amateur productions. Their Aquacolour makeup kit is 65 pounds and includes face and body paints and tools. Each kit is specific to a chosen skin tone, so you would need several kits to cover everyone.

BeeRoyal has a couple of kits. The Small Pro kit is $95 but doesn’t include any foundations. The Deluxe Pro Kit is $275 and includes foundations, correctors, shadows and more. Next is their Ultimate Mineral Kit for Professionals and Makeup Fashionistas. It has a lot of products including loose mineral foundations and eye shadows, and comes in a nifty tote bag. This kit is $495 but has “over $800.00 of Retail Mineral full size products”.

Make Up For Ever has a couple of kits available to purchase which look great. The Essential Kit is $372 and contains $700 worth of products. Their Comprehensive Kit is $563 and is worth $1125. I’ve used a few products from MUFE and like their foundations (even though, in Elizabeth’s words, “they smell like Grandma’s make-up”!), I love their concealer palettes and they have great range of eye-shadow colours. I think their Essential kit would be great kit to build up from!

Camera Ready Cosmetics sells a few different make-up kits. They have a  Graftobian kit for $260 which has lipsticks, foundations and a corrector palette (if I don’t buy the MUFE corrector palette I will buy this one). They then have three CRC kits which are made up of a collection of products from different brands such as Graftobian, RCMA, Cinema Secrets, La Femme and more. You can buy them with or without a case, obviously being cheaper without the case. The Budget Student Kit is $400, Basic Make-up Kit is $460 and the Deluxe Make-up Kit is $585. They also have a Yaby Kit which is $450. If you’re looking to buy your pieces separately then this is a good site for you. They sell products used by MUA’s across the globe.

Mehron sells cream make-up kits which are said to be good for Tv, film, theatre and photography application. There are individual kits for $16 and a full kit for $70. There’s an “All Pro” kit that is “persperation resistant” and “non-streaking” for $55. sells two kits. There is a Pro Make-up Kit for 210 pounds and a Master Make-up Kit for 340 pounds. The Pro kit contains a bit of everything a beginner will need to get them atsrted and there is review of the kit from a college tutor saying that her students really like it! The picture shows mostly neutral colours but you could easily add more vibrant colours to your kit from whichever brand you like.  The Master kit is basically a bigger version of the Pro kit, with more colours and shades. Each kit comes in a black case and has a brush kit. The products in these kits look very similar to those you get from teh likes of Coastal Scents, which everyone is raving about as being a great affordable brand. I’m not saying that they are the same, just that they look very similar. The more I look at these, the more I think they would make a great first kit, especially the Master one with it’s vibrant eye-shadows and six shades of liquid foundations!

I hope this list has been helpful. The advice I’ve been given from a few MUA’s is to buy the best quality products you can afford! This doesn’t mean the most expensive, as you’ll find out more and more when you start trying out different brands, so do your research. There are some web-sites out there that will send you samples of their products or sell mini sized products which is definately something to keep in mind when building a kit.

If you’re already a working MUA it would be interesting to hear which products you have in your kit and which brands you favour :-)

Last day!

So today was the last day on the production and it’s so weird. I received a thank-you gift from Elizabeth (I haven’t bought hers yet but I know exactly what I’m buying her ;-) )which was the Make Up For Ever Professional 12 Flash Color Case that we have been working with on this production, which is great as it has sentimental value and loads of great memories attached to it! She wrapped it in paper which had her kisses on it and those of one of the actors, which is just so Elizabeth :-) It’s a good little palette that I’ll refill with things once all the colours are gone, although you can get so many faces out of each colour. A friend of Elizabeth said that he used the white for 10 Kabuki faces (the white Geisha face) and he barely scratched the surface! It has a creamy texture and so is great for blending and spreading out so you only need a little but you do need to use powder to set it so that it doesn’t move or crease, especially on the eyes. Fantastic gift, and great addition to my growing professional kit!! Thankyou Elizabeth!

As for the day itself it was a really light day and I left early as I have to go earn some pennies at work in a couple of hours. Over these last weeks on set I feel like I’ve learned so much, mostly about being a professional MUA but also about how life is when working on a production. Granted, this was a small production and I’m sure there are many differences between this and others but it has been a great experience working around the set and watching things work (and break, and be fixed or adapted ;-) ). I don’t think I could have asked for a better introduction and for anyone who is thinking about getting into make-up for TV or Film I think you should really get out and hit the smaller productions (even student productions) to get a feel for things and gain experience, then work your way up. But that’s just my opinion!

Kind of a sad day in a way, but what an experience!

A found a review for the Flash Colors on you tube and thought you might like to see it, especially if you don’t know the product I’m talking about…

Last Weekend on Set

I’m so sad :-( This is the last few days of shooting! We’ve been saying goodbye to some of the actors since last weekend as they have finished all of their scenes and it’s strange to think it will all be over soon. Obviously we all hope it isn’t totally over and that it will be picked up by someone and we’ll all be asked back to work on it, but for now it’s almost done! I’ve met so many great people and feel as though I’d really feel at home doing the make-up for Tv or film on a permanent basis. Obviously it’s not as easy as simply making up my mind and I might end up in bridal or fashion, but for now it’s a start and I can push forward from here.

I can’t believe how much fun these last weeks on set have been, or how much I’ve learned from Elizabeth about make-up for on screen and about being on a set. I’ve been really lucky as she’s kind of taken me under her wing during all of this and has been so patient, teaching me and introducing me to products (some of which I’d never heard of, most of which I’d never used!) and techniques. Today she showed me how to create bruises with the bruise wheels from Kryolan and Ben Nye, so that was fun :-). There are more colours in the Kryolan wheel but we’ve been using the Ben Nye under eyes to make some of the people look tired. Useful little things (and very affordable!).

I sincerely hope this isn’t the end for the production, even if it goes on without me (which it probably would as that’s how things go). I really think it’s a great idea and think it’s worth being given a chance to prove itself. Sorry. Still not allowed to tell you what it’s about . You’ll be the first to know when I am though ;-)

Christmas make-up with Jackie Tyson

Check out this great christmas look from Avon and Jackie Tyson! It’s a cute, simple look  and you could do it with similar products, not just the ones used in the video, if you’re not a fan of Avon (although I don’t know why you wouldn’t be!).