Choosing your first kit can be pretty tricky, and even with your carefully selected kit you’re going to find there are one or two things (at least!) that you missed out. Before you start, go on a google and youtube spree to find some looks you love and see what’s being used to create them, that should give you a nice idea of what kind of things you might want. The list of kit here is pretty big and you definitely don’t need to get everything on it, your kit will be built up over time so there’s no point blowing a huge amount on things like Rigid Collodion and Bald Caps if you don’t intend to use them yet, those kind of things you’d be better buying when you want to do a look that needs them. Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of things that you should consider for your beginner kit.
This one’s kind of a no brainer, face paints are the bread a butter of your kit. When you’re starting out you’ll probably want to experiment with different types and brands of face paints so it’s really worth getting basic palettes to try out before you commit to getting larger cakes. Basics colour ranges (usually the primaries) are a good place to start as you can mix the colours to create whatever colour your going for (and doing this is going to give you loads of valuable practice with mixing and blending). You’ll want a load of white as this is probably the most used colour, and a lot of people say the same about black however I have found my black supplies last far longer than my white – it really depends on what you are painting.
Don’t feel like you have to choose one brand and stick to it, some brands are great for blending and others are great for layering and detail work, you’re totally free to mix and match however you like.
- Basic colour palette – blending
- Basic colour palette – layering
- Extra White
- Extra Black
There’s a tonne of different applicators out there and everyone has there own preferences, but the most important thing is each applicator will give you a different type of application. It’s nice to have a variety of different types so that you can create different effects, for example ripped up sponges and stippling sponges are great for bruises, while makeup brushes are great for the beauty part of the makeup, and regular paintbrushes are great, some of my absolute faves are regular cheap paintbrushes.
Don’t feel like you have to get all of these things at once, regular beauty sponges are fairly cheap and you could get a few makeup brushes or paint brushes to start out with (go for at least one thin detail brush and one base brush). Fingers are also pretty great for applying a base colour.
Some things that are not specifically for makeup/face painting can turn out to be great for adding textures, like those natural sea sponge things or regular bath sponges. The stippling sponges are remarkably similar to what you would find in a fish aquarium filter and make a nice cheap alternative. Get creative and keep your eyes open for anything that could give you an interesting texture.
- Makeup Brushes
- Paint Brushes
- Beauty Blenders
- Makeup Sponges
- Stippling Sponges
- Cotton Buds
- Textured things
Update: I recently got an 120 Matte colour palette from Blush Professional and that’s my new bae because it’s all mattes, so many shades to contour with!
Unless you’re planning to stick with full coverage face paints, then you’ll end up with a fair amount of makeup, starting out I wouldn’t go for the super expensive stuff as you’ll use up a lot of it experimenting. Top of the list would have to be eyeshadows, try and get yourself a big palette with a huge range of colours as you’ll use these not just for the eyes but to do shading on top of your face painting. I never knew what a difference eye primer could make until I got some and you can pick this up fairly cheap (mine was £2).
- Eyeshadow palette
- Eye Liner
- Translucent setting powder
- Lip liner
- Brozer, blusher & highlighter
- Fake Eyelashes & Eyelash Glue
- Lip Gloss
The main things you’re going to want to clean in your kit are the applicators, your work area, and whoever you’re working on.
- Isopropyl Alcohol (for deep cleaning)
- Baby Shampoo (for light cleaning)
- Work Area
- Cleaning wipes
- Kitchen Towel
- General Makeup Remover
- Eye Makeup Remover
- Black Towel
- Cotton Balls/Wool/Pads
- Makeup Remover Wipes
- Shampoo/Conditioner/Shower Gel (if there’s a shower)
- SFX Removal
- Spirit Gum Remover
- Isopropyl Myristate
You know those fancy makeup boxes MUAs have that are all full of treasure, as much as you might like to have one, you don’t need one. If your not intending to take your kit anywhere then you don’t even really need a bag to keep it in, you could keep it in a cupboard, or on your makeup table. A lot of the products are best kept out of direct sunlight and heat so choose somewhere that fits those requirements. If you are planning to take your kit out and about then consider getting a toolbox or a bag with lots of pockets to keep it in.
There are certain products that you don’t want rolling around loose, especially not in a bag, for example makeup brushes, either get a brush roll, brush canister, or if they are going to be on your table then a cup will do (I like to have two cups, 1 for clean brushes 1 for dirty brushes).
There’s a whole wealth of SFX stuff out there and this list isn’t going to be exhaustive because there’s probably a ton of stuff that I don’t even know exists yet, and you really don’t need to go to crazy to start out with, you can build this up over time when a look you’re doing calls for a certain product. So here’s the basics.
- Fake Blood (there’s a big variety out there)
- Liquid latex
- Toilet paper/Cotton balls for texture
- Extra Flesh/Scar Wax/Skin Putty
- Spirit Gum (sticks things on)
- Rigid Collodion (scars)
- Bald Cap
There’s a whole load of accessories that you could need, and there’s some the you will definitely need. A mirror is an absolute must, whether your working on yourself or a model, whoever’s covered in your creation is going to want to see it.
- Spray bottle (activating face paints)
- Light (don’t work in dim lighting)
- Black Towel (wiping hands etc)
- Straws (for no smudge drinking)
- Small scissors
- Fishnet tights (snake skin effect)
- Lace (lace effect)
- Cotton Wool (burns effect)
- Nipple Covers (to cover up for full body painting)
- Bandeau bra/Strapless bra (to cover up for almost full body painting)
Hair is the icing on the cake for your look, you wouldn’t do a Seven Sins Lust look without some sultry hair, just like you wouldn’t do a zombie look with a perfectly curled shiny set of ringlets. Not only are you going to need to get your head around styling hair, you’re going to need a few products to help it on it’s way. If you’ve got hair straighteners and hair curlers lying around then they are going to come in handy, but almost all the looks you can achieve with them you can do with a hairdryer and some styling products.
If you are going to be heat styling your hair a lot then you should probably invest in some heat protecting spray so that your hair doesn’t end up turning to straw.
At party/fancy dress shops you can get colour sprays for your hair, they tend to be quite sticky and powdery so I doubt you would be able to do a Jessica Rabbit shiny hair colour with them, but they will work for a variety of looks if you need a quick non permanent change of colour. Check out your local pharmacy/cosmetics type shop and see what they have, for the lighter haired folks there’s a load of temporary dyes that would work, for the darker haired souls you’re probably a bit limited in what will show up.
An absolute must is a big old elastic hair band so that you can hold all your hair off your face while you are working on it, if you have fine straight manageable hair you might be able to get away with just tying it back.
- Hair Gel
- Hair Mousse
- Hair Brush
- Hair Clips & Grips
- Hair Bands
- Hair dryer
- Heat protecting spray
- Coloured hair sprays/mouses
- Temporary hair dye
- Wigs (I dream of the day when I can afford to get a load of funky wigs)
While face paints may be a kit staple, contact lenses definitely aren’t. Contacts are like the finishing touches to a look and there’s plenty of times you’ll do a look and wish you had a pair of *insert colour here* lenses but they can be expensive and hard to get hold of – especially if you need prescription lenses.
If you feel like you absolutely can’t live without some coloured lenses and want to get a set I would go for some black out and/or white out lenses that make your irises black/white as they can up the creepiness factor in any look.
Don’t just buy these online or from a market, your eyes are really important and it’s not worth risking your vision just for a more dramatic look, go down to your optician and get some professional advice on what lenses would be suitable for your eyes. You need to know not only your sight prescription but the size and curvature of your eye, without these you could damage your eyes and aside from that wearing the wrong contacts will be really uncomfortable. If you’ve never worn lenses before then your optician will teach you how to put the lenses in, take them out, and how to take care of them. You will need to regularly get your eyes checked if you are wearing lenses to make sure your eyes are in good health and you can continue to wear them.
- Prescription from your optician
- Contact lens case
- Contact lens solution
Hopefully I’ve managed to remember everything that you might want to consider for your kit. I know that there are constantly things I wish that my kit had, but face and body painting can be quite an expensive hobby and having to save up and wait to get those dream bits of kit just makes finally getting them that much sweeter.
If you can think of anything I’ve missed out let me know in the comments. If you’ve already got a kit and have something in it that you just can’t live without let me know, mines got to be the BH cosmetics 120 eyeshadow palette + eye primer (aside from face paints and brushes of course).