How I choose products for my pro makeup kit

About Sally the Makeup Artist_Julian BeattieWhen clients ask me which brands I use, it’s a really really long answer, because I am not a makeup artist, who sticks to one brand and I am introducing new products to my kit all the time. Seriously, on a weekly basis.

I certainly have some tried and tested longtime favourites, however as to which brands I use, this ever-evolving, because the beauty industry is constantly coming up with new technologies and applying them to new products. I love that there are always improvements in the products available to consumers and professionals.

I could really write about this all day, but I’m going to contain myself and simply take you through the process I have for introducing new products to my professional makeup kit. Let’s do this thing.

Image by Julian Beattie.


I spend what some might call an obscene amount of money on makeup and beauty products, so I don’t typically make impulse purchases. I will always make considered choices based on recommendations from trusted sources. Sometimes this is one of my amazing makeup artist colleagues or friends (I have been known to unashamedly go foraging through other MUAs kits!) or one of my fave beauty YouTubers.

Typically I will go in search of a particular product that is on my radar. If I want to try more than one product from a line, I will search for and pour over YouTube Top 10 videos about a particular brand and make lists of the products that pop up multiple times from different sources. One of the reasons I do this is to save on postage and simply to ensure I’m trying out new products regularly to stay on top of my game.


I made the choice a little while ago to refrain from purchasing any products, which are tested on animals, or which work within or in association with a parent company  that tests on animals. This is not an easy feat, because the big beauty companies are very stealthy with the way they can basically hide the fact that they test on animals. If I’m ever unsure about a company or brand, I will use the PETA search for cruelty-free companies tool.

Full disclosure: I do still have some products in my kit at present, which have come from companies that test on animals, because I’m not going to waste hundreds of dollars worth of makeup. I simply won’t purchase these products again once they have run out. The big one in my kit, which I need to find alternatives for, are my MAC Cosmetics products. It’s sad for me to say goodbye to this brand, but not nearly as sad as imagining the poor animals that suffer to create their (admittedly excellent) products. I’ve found so many fantastic alternatives to MAC, which are just as good and in some cases even better, so that’s the good news!

Guinea Pig Me

When I receive a new product, before it makes it anywhere near my pro kit, it hangs out with me in my bathroom for a short while so I can test it out on myself. This allows me to figure out how it wears throughout the day and night, to what degree it emulsifies on the skin, how it blends, and just basically whether or not it does what it says it does.

I am a fantastic guinea pig, because for makeup to stay put on my combination oily skin in the Queensland climate I happen to reside in, is pretty impressive. For example, I will try new foundations with a few different kinds of primers and setting powders, for eyeshadows I want to practice a bunch of different looks as well, and as I don’t wear makeup every single day, this can mean a few weeks or months of testing.

Further Testing + Second Opinion

Of course combination oily is not the only skin type out there, and I need to ensure I’m equipped with products, which will work for all skin types. So I want to give all my products a good try on someone who has a different skin type to mine. Because I do a lot of photo shoot collaborations, I might try out a foundation or a new eyeshadow look, highlight, blush or any kind of product, on a model for a shoot. I do this because typically the makeup only needs to last a couple of hours anyway, and I am on hand to do any touch ups regardless if it’s not wearing as well as I had hoped. If all is going well, I will later ask the model for feedback on how the makeup continued to wear after the shoot, and the best thing is I get to see how the makeup turns out in professional photos.

The other people I will ask for opinions are my sisters and friends. I will try out a look on them, or I will lend them a product for a few days to get their honest opinion.

Some Products That Have Recently Made the Cut

New Kit Products



It’s always exciting when I have new products I have been trying out that have managed to impress me enough to get a promotion from bathroom product to pro kit product! I’ll be honest, some of them I decide I’ll miss too much, so I’ll buy myself my own to keep. Shh…

Below are some products, which have passed my rigorous testing phase and just recently gone pro.

The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette is a new holy grail product for me. I absolutely cannot get enough of this product both on myself and clients.

The Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer is indeed as amazing as Jaclyn Hill claims, and I am about to purchase a whole array of these in many colours for my kit.

I have LOVED Harlotte’s collection of nude lipsticks for a long time, however their new bright range has a shade called Temptress, which I am now in love with. As you can see, I have used a fair amount of this lipstick already and I feel a backup order coming on! Another super exciting purchase was Harlotte’s Smokey Eye Palettes. I was very very impressed with the creamy texture and intense colour pay off from these eyeshadows. They are highly pigmented and blend beautifully.

Too Faced is another brand, which I have purchased a number of new products from. Most recently I have been trying their Primed and Poreless Pure Oil-Free Primer… and yes I did just purchase two more to ensure I always have enough on hand both in my pro kit and in my bathroom. This product really agrees with my skin – hooray!

I put off purchasing from Skindinavia for a little while, because it’s a really expensive product, and you can only purchase these overseas from the brand’s own website. I knew I would want them both for myself and my kit if I was going to go to all the effort of making an international purchase… but these Makeup Primer Sprays and Finishing Spray were so worth it. I took a chance and ordered four straight up – two for me, two for the kit, because I didn’t want to pay postage twice when I got it and inevitably wanted more, and I was not wrong in my decision.

So that’s how I make my choices for my pro kit!

Oh, you’re too kind!

One last thing – I was recently identified as being one of the Top 50 beauty bloggers in Australia! What an honour!

Top 50 Beauty Bloggers In Australia


Author: Sally T