Professional makeup calls for more than just good quality products and tools. You’ll also need a good work station that lets you see details well and reach everything you need easily. Whether you’re setting up a home studio or building a traveling studio kit to work anywhere, you’ll need a few essentials.

Here are nine must-haves for every home and traveling makeup studio!

1. Good lighting

Look around your home or the space and choose the spot with the most light. Natural light is best, so set up near a window if possible. If there’s no window, or the space near the window is small and dim, look for an area with the best artificial lighting. You need to see the details of your client’s face and your work. Avoid places where the light casts shadows or where you can’t see well enough to blend properly.

Makeup Blog Professional Makeup Aritst Studio Good lighting

2. Extra, portable lighting

Adjustable lights are useful in case you’re stuck in a space with no good lighting of its own. Choose a light that has a bright, white bulb so your client’s face won’t appear yellow, which makes it harder to color match.

Lights that clip in places and adjust to different angles are the most helpful, especially if your studio is temporary.

3. A mirror

In a home studio for you, including a mirror seems obvious. Look at your space and consider what kind of mirror is best.

If you’ve got the budget and space for a permanent set up, lit vanity mirrors are great. For a small makeup space near a bright window, consider a self-lit, free standing adjustable makeup mirror. These are usually portable, so they’re also great for traveling.

If you’re doing a client’s makeup rather than your own, you need a mirror to see how the makeup looks in 2D. Pictures and videos are 2D images, which look different than if you look directly at them in regular 3D. A mirror will also allow your client to see your work as you’re applying their makeup, which will make them feel much more comfortable with the process, and allow them to ask questions if they’re uncomfortable with what they see.

4. A table

You’ll need a table large enough to lay out all your supplies in an organized way. In your home studio, it should be low enough that you can sit to do your own makeup, but high enough to reach while you stand to do your clients’. When you travel, your options might be limited. Make do with what’s available unless you have the budget for a portable folding table and the means to get it there with your kit.

Makeup Blog Professional Makeup Aritst Studio Table to hold professional makeup

5. A chair or stool

If your studio is for personal use, choose a chair that is a good height for your table. You need to see into your mirror well and reach everything you need. If you’ll work with clients in this studio, consider a higher chair that lets you reach the client’s face without hunching over.

Adjustable chairs that raise and lower (and swivel!) are great for permanent studios. For travel, you might have to use whatever chairs are available. Some makeup artists who travel frequently and have cars invest in tall, portable chairs that fold up.

6. A sink

Makeup gets messy. Setting up near a sink lets you keep everything clean or use water-activated products without going to another room. Maybe a sink isn’t absolutely necessary to your application but it stops you from wasting time trying to find water if you suddenly need it.

7. Product organization

No matter where you set up, keep your products and tools organized. It looks more professional and lets you find things quickly and easily. In your home studio, use containers to keep your brushes, sponges, and cosmetics sorted. While traveling, organize your products and tools in your kit beforehand. Invest in a brush roll to keep brushes organized and contained, and sort cosmetics in small zippered bags. When you set up, you’ll know exactly where things are and can lay them out for easy access while you work.

Makeup Blog Professional Makeup Aritst Studio Staying Organized

8. Cleaning materials

No matter where you set up, bring everything you need to keep the area clean and tidy. In your travel kit, include paper towels, an actual towel, hand sanitizer, cotton swabs, cotton balls, moist wipes and an all-purpose cleaner. At your home studio, store these supplies nearby so you can reach them in case of spills. Having everything you need for a clean, hygienic workspace sets clients at ease and looks professional.

9. Electricity

Nothing is worse than finding the perfect lighting and then realizing there are no outlets nearby. You might not think you need electricity for makeup if good lighting is already there, but leaving yourself without the option is a mistake. Natural lighting fades and changes. Whether you’re at home or traveling, bring a good extension cord or power bar so you can set up wherever you need and still have access to electricity.

Make it easy for yourself!

Think about your space and your needs during each makeup application. No matter where your makeup studio is located, make sure you have everything you could possibly need while still remaining organized! Building a well-stocked, prepared studio saves time and lets you concentrate on the makeup.

writing a Makeup Blog for Professional Makeup Artist Studio and Makeup Artist Career

Are there other studio staples you’d recommend? Tell us about them in a comment! Check out Part 2 to learn how you can source supplies for your makeup studio!