Few, if any, would argue with me when I say that it’s a great time to be a makeup enthusiast. Brands new and old have nearly perfected their formulas and a beautiful skin like finish is now the norm. Even so, it doesn’t mean that any makeup brand will end up in a professional makeup kit, no matter how great the formula may be.
What makes makeup “kit friendly”
Aside from the obvious — that is, the makeup I have in my kit should be good — the products I pick for my kit should be “kit friendly” and that could mean anything depending on the makeup artist. For me, that means it should be these things:
- It should be compact. A 30mL bottle of liquid foundation doesn’t seem like much, but if you think about how many shades of foundation one must carry in order to match any skin tone, it could get very heavy. So I prefer foundations that are compact and that would allow me to carry multiple shades while taking as little space and weighing as little as possible.
- It should be versatile. I appreciate professional makeup brands for their simple formulas that allow me to use a mixing medium to convert them into anything I might need. Most high pigment color creams for instance can be used on eyes, cheeks, and lips — that dramatically cuts down on the things I need to take to work.
- It should be neat. For this, I tend to stick to cream formulas and avoid liquids in glass bottles as much as I can. Imagine the monumental mess you could create if a bottle breaks in your kit… I know right? Perish the thought.
The following are the foundation brands that I’ve carried in my kit for 8 years and they have continued to be reliable to this day.
RCMA Color Process Foundation
RCMA was developed in 1963 primarily for the TV, movie, and theater industries and were so designed to withstand the heat of studio lights and the scrutiny of cameras coming up close. While there have been a lot of new developments in the makeup scene, they continue to have the highest concentration of pigment. To compare, RCMA is made up of 55% pigment while most full coverage foundations are just 18% to 35% pigment. This translates to versatility since I can thin out the product if I want a sheer application or use it full strength if I need more coverage around an area.
In my eight years of using this brand, it has remained stable — never darkening or changing after application — and reliable no matter what primer or finisher I use underneath or on top. Their shade range is also so extensive that there is virtually no skin tone they can’t match. Hands down, RCMA is hard to beat in my kit.
Graftobian is the brand I started with when I learned to do makeup professionally. Like RCMA it was designed to be durable for work on and off camera and the shade range is comprehensive. When I’m working, I tend to reach for Graftobian when I want a semi-matte finish.
Kryolan’s Derma Color 6-part Camouflage Cream has been my go to concealer and color corrector for a long time. It goes without saying that I’ve stuck it out with this brand because it works, but I find that my favorite thing about the product is its high adherence to the skin. (Nothing annoys me more than laying down a concealer only to have it move out of place upon laying foundation or powder on top). Because it is highly pigmented, I can easily thin out the product with a primer if I want a lighter application.
Not all makeup artists carry the same foundations that I do for a number of reasons and there’s no right or wrong — only what’s right for the individual. The above are my personal choice because they have worked for me and my clients through the years.
What is your favorite foundation? If you’re a professional makeup artist, what are your kit favorites?