Beginner's Guide to a Pro Kit: Eyeshadows

Hello, future pro makeup artist! Welcome back to my series where I discuss the best tips and tools that I've come across in my time building my own career. Don't get me wrong - I still have a long way to go, but when I was brand new, I researched every piece of info I could find from all parts of the internet and from books, so I decided to combine some of that, along with my own experiences, here on my blog. A lot of becoming a talented professional is figuring out how to work things out on your own, but I do want to share some good info that will help you along the way.

So far, we've talked about the first steps in your journey, foundation suggestions, and skin prep. Let's move on to what most clients focus on when asking for a makeover: the eyes.

When I was first starting out, there weren't as many well known options as there are now. It seems like new brands and palettes are popping up every day. But in the beginning, I only carried a few things in my kit:

The Naked 1 palette from Urban Decay
The Lorac Pro 1 palette
A few MAC single shadows
L'Oreal Infallible Single Shadows (Amber Rush and Eternal Sunshine)
Maybelline Color Tattoos

I still have most of these actually, I just don't use them as much and some have moved from my client kit to my own personal stash. The Urban Decay shadows are decent, but they have a ton of fallout, so I would suggest doing eyes before foundation. I don't think the Naked 1 palette is anything to write home about, but it works and I used it almost exclusively for awhile. In fact, I'm pretty sure I used only shades from the Naked palette for my first bride, and she looked beautiful. And although I've nearly retired these items, the Lorac Pro Palette still gets used semi-regularly. The Infallible shadows are pigmented and long lasting. I do love the quality, but they only come in shimmer and are not cruelty-free if that is important to you. And the Maybelline Color Tattoos can be used alone, but they actually make awesome bases for other shades as well!

However, I'd say Viseart palettes are your best bet, to be honest. If you can save up and buy some Viseart, you truly won't need anything else for a long, long time. The quality is remarkable and well worth the price, and the packaging was designed with makeup artists in mind, so it is simple and sturdy. The integrity of the brand is also important to me, and Viseart has plenty of integrity. Aside from their regular $80 palettes, they do offer a $30 Petit Pro Palette, which is a small version that includes 8 matte and shimmer shades.

 A look using only Viseart shadows

A look using only Viseart shadows

I also really enjoy the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette. It has beautiful warm, orange and red shades that pick up where my Neutral Viseart palette leaves off. You can do a lot with the MR palette. It has some lovely shimmers and mattes, although it won't achieve any cool toned looks you may want to do.

 A look using mostly Modern Renaissance

A look using mostly Modern Renaissance

Another option is to buy a few single shades and design your own palette. You really won't need as much as you think you will: a few shimmer shades, some good neutral mattes, a pop of color. Don't be afraid to mix shades, or use blushes or highlighters as eyeshadows. Inglot, Makeup Geek, Ben Nye, Graftobian, Kryolan, and ColourPop are all good, quality options. 

And I know Morphe, Coastal Scents, and BH Cosmetics are popular among enthusiasts because they're big palettes for super cheap. But I can tell you why they're cheap: they are low quality cosmetics made in China using bottom of the barrel ingredients, with less emphasis on hygiene standards than here in the U.S. $19.99 for a 35-pan Morphe palette... the consumer is only paying 57 cents per shade, and Morphe needs to make a profit so that means they paid even less than that. What kind of quality can come from that? I don't care what YouTube told you. I don't care that Jaclyn Hill acts like she had an actual hand in creating the formula. I don't care how "buttery and creamy and soooo pigmented" they are (of course they're going to look pigmented when you're using your finger and pressing down as hard as you can). They're "affordable" because they're made with super cheap ingredients (and probably some lead and asbestos thrown in) that could cause reactions on your clients. The Beauty Gurus of the world get paid beaucoup bucks to shell out their affiliate codes to you, so uh yeah, they're going to push their codes when most of their audience can actually afford to click their link and buy it. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to be serious about the profession. Hey, we're makeup artists and we can be a bit snobby but it's because we research this stuff and are more informed than the average consumer. We're not just liable for the products we use on ourselves - we are liable for hundreds of different faces with different allergies and sensitivities, so we need to keep only quality products in our kit.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest...

There are good options out there that won't make your wallet shrivel up and die. I've listed some brands that are a good starting point. Don't try to collect every color of the rainbow at first, because I guarantee you you won't need it. If I had a dollar for every client who pretty much wanted the same exact smokey eye - I'd buy myself a new Viseart palette ;)