1. Tool Belt
All hail the mighty tool belt! As a MUA--especially if you’re working on a set and moving around--you will thank yourself continually throughout the day for having this. No rushing back to your station for that one item, no feeling unprepared as the director calls for a quick touch-up, running over with hands spilling with supplies. With a belt, everything you need is at your fingertips, without hogging up your hands real estate. Keep your go-to touch-up equipment stored in your belt, a water bottle to stay hydrated, a small energy snack, and any and all MUA essentials, including some of the ones we’ll list below!
So simple, yet so vital, the tissue is one of the MUA’s most important secret weapons. Mother of the bride having an emotional moment on the big day? Lead actor got a cold? Photography model’s eyes streaming after standing in the wind for that perfect shot? Whip out the tissues before the waterworks (or otherworks) threaten to ruin their perfect face of makeup.
But the wonder of the tissue doesn’t stop there. They’re great for dabbing away extra makeup, for wiping pigment off of a brush, for cleaning up spills at your makeup stations, and for holding your snack! They also work as impromptu palettes if you need (though they will get soggy). Suffice to say, a MUA with a pack of tissues is a force to be reckoned with and you (and your team and clients) will be happy you brought them.
3. First Aid Kit
This is one of the ones you hope you’ll never need, but will be grateful to have on hand. No matter the occasion--whether it be a film shoot, a bridal party, a modeling session, or countless other occasions where you and your skills are needed--things can, and do go wrong. Whether that be someone getting a nosebleed, cuts and scrapes, sunburn, or other injuries, you want to be prepared to handle the situation and restore order (and beauty). This is where a well stocked first aid kit will come in handy. Useful items to include in your first aid kit would be: bandaids and larger bandages with medical tape, antibacterial ointment, alcohol pads, cotton balls and swabs, tweezers, eye rinse and drops, and a good ol’ set of tweezers. While that isn’t a comprehensive list, it’s a great place to start to get yourself a kit that helps you meet your average MUA emergency quickly and professionally.
When you’re dealing with clients, they might choose to get dressed before showing up to your salon or location. Or you might be on a bust film shoot and some of the talent has already had their hair done before coming down to see you for makeup. Working around a client who is already dressed or already has their hair styled can be tricky. The last thing you want to do is ruin a style, or stain a piece of clothing.
This is where drapes are a blessing. A drape secured carefully over a client’s wardrobe will allow you to work your magic without worrying about loose makeup dust or product getting in the clients clothes. And the hair drape will keep the hair out of the way of styling. In addition to drapes, we recommend getting a good, wide hair band to pull the client’s hair away from their face, if this won’t disrupt the look (otherwise, just go with the drape.)
5. Cleaning equipment
This one is a MUST. Between clients, you will need to clean off your brushes and your equipment and your hands. You might not have access to a full sink and soaks. So make sure you bring hand sanitizer to all your jobs. It works a treat for cleaning your hands and small items, and is also a nice thing to offer your clients should they like.
In addition to hand sanitizer, buy yourself an antibacterial brush cleaner spray to sterilize your brushes between clients. Nothing turns a job sour like dirty brushes messing with your client’s skin. To ensure the spray is doing its job, wipe down the brushes first to remove all product that could have accumulated and then spray the brush itself to ensure the bacteria is no longer an issue. Bear in mind, while the spray works as a good portable fix, it isn’t a replacement for a thorough scrub of all your brushes and kit at the day’s end.