Whether you’re planning a permanent makeup studio for your home or building a travel kit to set up anywhere, you’ll need a few key pieces of equipment. Besides your makeup brushes, you should have
- Proper lighting
- A mirror
- A chair
- A table
- A portable makeup case (for traveling studios)
- Makeup organizers (for permanent studios)
- Bulk disposable tools
Where you source your makeup studio supplies from depends on where you live. Browse online options and physical stores in your area to find supplies of a quality and price that works for you. You might be able to find this equipment at locations like
- At makeup suppliers like Sephora
- On websites of cosmetic brands like MAC or NYX
- At department stores like Target or Wal-mart
- At beauty outlets, in store and online
- In online markets like eBay or Amazon
Evaluate your space and make a list of what you’ll need. Check out these supply suggestions!
Natural lighting is best, but it’s not always available. You need a light that lets you see the details of your work without casting shadows or giving off a yellow glow. Poor lighting makes it more difficult to color match and blend properly. Choose a lamp with a warm white light, like an LED light, that can be clipped and adjusted.
- For permanent studios, some makeup artists choose high end professional lighting. Check out this clip light available from The Makeup Light starting at $330 USD.
- Some artists prefer more affordable light for their studio. Consider something like the Jansjo LED clamp spotlight, available for $14.99 USD from Ikea.
Whether you’re doing makeup on yourself or your clients, a mirror is essential. Looking at the finished product in a mirror shows you a 2D image, so you know what it’ll look like in pictures and video as opposed to 3D life. If you’ve got good lighting then you might make do with any undamaged mirror, but many artists prefer lit makeup mirrors.
- For permanent studios or artists with a bigger budget, standing or wall mounted metal mirrors with an LED light are stylish and functional. Something like Zandro 10x/1x Super Bright Luxury vanity mirror, available from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $159.99 USD, gives a clear image and is easy to clean.
- For traveling studios or artists who want something more compact and affordable, try a portable lit mirror like the Jerdon Tri-Fold Lighted Magnification Mirror, also from Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $49.99 USD.
The ideal chair for your own makeup is high enough for you to comfortably see your mirror and reach your supplies. The best chair for a client is high enough that you don’t have to stoop down and they don’t have to look up. The chair should also have a back so your client stays comfortable.
- Some artists with permanent studios invest in adjustable chairs. Think of chairs that raise and lower like the ones in beauty salons. These are expensive, but they’re versatile. Check out this hydraulic salon chair from BestSalon for $98.99 USD.
- Traveling makeup artists prefer chairs that fold. These are available from makeup suppliers, beauty stores, and online markets for various prices. Consider the Tuscany Deluxe Pro makeup chair with storage features from Paint and Powder Cosmetics for $112.00.
- More affordably, try something like this tall foldable chair with a foot rest from TTC Inc’s Amazon store, available for $80.00 USD.
At home, any table will do as long as you’re comfortable with the height and have enough room to organize. Most traveling artists forego including a table in their studio kit. They use what’s available when they get there. Some artists, however, carry small portable tables just in case.
- Professional home studios might feature a vanity. These are solid tables with lit vanity mirrors. You can purchase them or build one with a table and professional vanity mirror like the Broadway Lighted vanity mirror from Amazon for $390.00 USD.
- There are traveling makeup cases with extendable legs so they become a table. They’re expensive, but they’re versatile. Check out the X-Large Makeup Artist Train Case with extendable legs from NYX Cosmetics for $500.00.
- For more affordable options, consider portable folding camping or art tables. As long as it’s sturdy, big enough for your supplies, and tall enough to reach, it will work for a traveling studio. Consider something like this Aluminum Roll-up Side Table, available for $21.99 USD from Camping World. It even folds into a bag for easy carrying!
5. A travel case
We’ve already mentioned cases that double as tables. If that’s not for you, there are plenty other styles to choose from! Most makeup artists choose hard sided cases so their makeup doesn’t get damaged, but some soft cases have plastic compartments inside. Some cases are small and handheld, while others have detachable compartments stacked on wheels. Other makeup artists simply choose a suitcase or bag, keeping their makeup organized in baggies inside.
- For a small case, try something like the handheld Sunrise 3-Tiers Expandable Trays all black makeup case, available for $42.99 from Overstock.com.
- “Train” cases have detachable compartments, wheels, and a handle. These are popular with professionals setting up studios on the go. Consider ones like these hard and soft sided travel cases from Yazmo, ranging from $100-$200 USD.
6. Makeup organizers
In your home studio, you want your cosmetics accessible. Consider acrylic makeup organizers with compartments, drawers, and stacking levels to keep your makeup organized and your studio clean. Square shaped containers are easier to store.
- Plastic containers and baskets from the dollar store make affordable organizers, as do stacking bins and plastic drawer sets.
- If you’d like something more professional or customizable, consider acrylic makeup organizers like the Luxe Acrylic Modular System from the Container Store. The price depends on how many compartments you choose.
7. Disposable tools
Every makeup studio, no matter where you put it, needs disposable tools. Spoolies and cotton swabs keep your products hygienic and paper towels or disinfecting wipes keep your workspace clean, so stock up! When it comes to things that you’ll use regularly in large quantity, sometimes it’s better to buy in bulk. Sourcing disposables from a wholesaler can save you money and stop you from having to buy more every week.
- Bulk stores like Costco sell many beauty products in large quantities. Buying their multi-packs is cheaper than buying the same number of boxes individually elsewhere.
- Online markets like EBay and Amazon are stocked full of suppliers offering tools like spoolies in large quantities for as low as $5!
Check out different stores, suppliers, and wholesalers and remember to price shop! Makeup studios can be built affordably if you’re smart about what you purchase and where you source it from.