As a professional makeup artist I often get asked, “What’s the best this?” or “Who makes the best that?”. Honestly, there is no right answer to those questions. Whatever you like, that’s the best thing for your mug.
I have the most sensitive-sally skin on the face of this planet so my personal picks are unique to me, just like yours will be to you. Things like mascara and skin care products have been a serious experiment in trial and error for me over the years. I also wear very little makeup unless it’s a special occasion, I’m being photographed, or I have (the world’s cruelest joke) a massive breakout of adult acne.
So while I have my professional kit curated with products that perform best for my clients in the genres that I frequently work in (which is 90% bridal), my personal collection of frequently used products is fairly basic. Just like me. *Tosses hair in messy bun and takes sip of Starbucks.*
That said, here are my personal favourite things for the inquiring minds out there. For everyone else, too bad, here they are anyway.
Celazome Code 4 Spray Lotion
Liquid gold. This spray lotion is one of my favourite products on the market. If I was going to choose only one skin care product to have for the rest of my life this would probably be it. I don’t use a makeup primer, although there’s nothing wrong with using one, but I make sure my face is properly moisturized before applying anything else. This leaves my skin quenched without feeling heavy or greasy. Midwest Laser Centre; $130
Face Atelier Ultra Foundation
This foundation is my go-to for myself and my clients. Of course, there are always other things I have because no face is the same, but this my #1 pick. A favourite among makeup pros, celebs, and consumers alike, this silicone-based formula actually looks like skin, is buildable, self-priming, self-setting, and 100% cruelty free. Another bonus? It's a Canadian company, based out of Calgary, Alberta.
MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Powder
I don’t always use a pressed powder but if I feel like I need a touch of extra coverage or need a quick touch up, this is my go-to. The shades are an easy match and it looks super natural on my skin. www.maccosmetics.ca; $38
Arbonne Glow On Bronzer
I have a million bronzers but there’s just something about this one. I rarely use blush; instead, I just use this. It has a very small touch of shimmer and a really natural sun-kissed colour. www.arbonne.com; $47
Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Highlighter
I HATE rocket man shimmery highlighters. They look insane. People have taken the idea of highlighting to a new planet that I never want to visit. Blechh. The purpose of a highlighter is exactly that - to highlight the points of your face that you want to bring forward. This product does just that. Minimal shimmer and a beautiful colour that looks good on almost everyone. I dust this so lightly on the tops of my cheekbones and above the Cupid’s bow of my lip to give my face some extra dimension and a bit of glow. I use the powder version but it also comes in a gorgeous liquid that gives such a dewy glow with a damp Beauty Blender. Sage Beauty Bar Saskatoon; $53
Lorac Pro Palette
This is another one that is in my makeup bag, but is also the Holy Grail in my kit. This palette has every eye shadow I would ever need for myself and then some (especially seeing as I usually only use one boring shade of brown in my crease), it’s long wearing, and it blends like a dream. This was a tricky one to get to Canada for awhile but now it's a breeze ordering from the States (prices are converted and shipping/duties are paid at checkout so there are no surprises)! www.ulta.com; $55.80
Arbonne "It's A Long Story" Mascara
I have super sensitive eyes and this is legitimately this only mascara I’ve found that doesn’t burn my eyeballs off. It also gives a nice deep colour, while adding thickness and length. I personally choose to make a huge mess and take it upon myself to curve the brush when I get a new tube just because I like the way it applies that way. www.arbonne.com; $49
Kevyn Aucoin Flesh Toned Pencil
These lip pencils are the best. I use the colour “Minimal” and I put that sh*t under everything. Lipstick, lipgloss, on its own... it's the Frank's Red Hot of cosmetics for me. I probably have 14 of the exact same pencil and one is in every purse I own, in every room of my house, and likely another 3 kicking around in my kit. Sage Beauty Bar Saskatoon; $30
SST Brow Fix
This local makeup company developed by Sharon Sharp-Titus, professional makeup artist and founder of ESP Salon Sales, has so many little gems of products that people don’t know about. I love this brow gel because it’s clear, lightweight, and holds my brows in place all day. Once you apply your brow pencil or powder, brushing this product through blends and holds everything in place. I shape and tint my brows every month so I rarely need any pencil or powder; instead, I just smooth them in place with this gel and voila! www.sstsignatureseries.com; $23.95
Lipstick. ALL the lipsticks.
Oh lipstick, how do I love thee? My one true makeup love is lipstick. I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I love it all. My favs are the MAC lustre finishes -- I especially love Spice It Up (pictured below) and Plumful, ($22). I love both the Clinique Long Last and Clinique Different Lipstick formulas. In fact, my mom can't remember that I've hated seafood for the entire 36 years I've been on Earth but she knows without question that All Heart is my favourite Clinique shade. ($22). I also love the Kevyn Aucoin Matte Lipcolour, especially in bold colours like Endless and Everlasting (Sage Beauty Bar Saskatoon, $42), and the Arbonne Smoothed Over Lipstick in both Terra and Aster (www.arbonne.ca; $36). When I reach for gloss I'm super-picky about consistency and my two favs are actually both from local brands! I love the Lia Reese Lip Gloss in Katherine (Just For You Day Spa, $25) and the SST High Shine Lip Polish in Chic (www.sstsignatureseries.com; $23.95). I mention all these shades simply because this post is about what's in MY makeup bag, but your fav shades will be all about you!
If and when I do a full face of makeup on myself, which is about as likely as finding Ogopgo, I will use all or some of these products. I have more makeup than you can shake a stick at (though I don’t know why you would shake a stick at makeup, but whatever) so there are clearly other things I throw into my routine once in awhile, but these are my ride-or-die products.
Are there other amazing products out there? OF COURSE! Cosmetics is a bazillion dollar a year industry, so lots of companies are doing something right. There are also loads of product types that I didn’t even mention... eyeliners for one, blush for another. Don’t even get me started on “contour kits”. #shityoudontneed
If you ask any other makeup artist what’s in their makeup bags, their lists will be totally different. That’s the beauty of beauty. It’s unique and it’s whatever works for you. So keep on being babes, bare faced or full faced.
Just please avoid the “Instagram Brows”. I beg of you. You’ll thank me in ten years when you look back at pictures.
Until next time, keep calm and makeup on!
P.S. Want to book your wedding party with me? Of course you do! You can find me on Facebook at Katie Martin Makeup Artistry & Esthetics, on Instagram @heyitskatie_yxe, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ... I look forward to working with you!