Ten Essentials in a Model’s Make-up Bag part 1


Until a few years ago I wore very little make-up.  And, to be honest, when I did wear it, it was only inexpensive drugstore brands.  Make-up wasn’t something I cared much for, nor did I see the need as a stay-at-home mother whose social life consisted of mums and tots groups and the occasional outing with the husband or friends.  But that all changed almost two years ago when I was scouted by a local model agency (me?  a woman in her 40s as a model??).  As my career developed into also being a TV presenter and actress, I realised that 1) make-up was essential to a professional that was often on camera and 2) quality make-up was essential to achieving a natural, fresh look.  What I also didn’t realise was that a make-up artist was a luxury on many of my commercial model shoots, and I had to learn how to create a natural photographic look.

So enlisted help from a few make-up artists for tips and product information especially during shoots when I had an MUA.  I have to say I am converted as I see the difference in my look and my complexion since I have started using more quality brands.  As I researched and experimented, I found that there are items you should spend the money on as there are quality differences.  A few items came down to personal preference versus a well-known brand.  So I have put both in the following list of the essential items in a model’s make-up bag.


HD Foundation – Foundation is to even out skin tone, not for coverage.  This is a misconception that leads to that cakey, fake look.  You need someone to help you get the right colour to complement your skin tone.  HD refers to High-definition cameras that expose any crease or blemish. Thick makeup is obvious through an HD lens so to avoid the cakey texture; high-definition foundations are sheerer while still hiding uneven skin texture and other flaws.  HD foundation simultaneously camouflages imperfections, cover blemishes, and still manage to appear invisible. It’s great not just for the camera but also for everyday wear.  The one I used (and there are others) is long lasting, a very skin-like, so it doesn’t look like I am wearing foundation, which I think should be the purpose of a great foundation.




Matte eye shadow (also used for brows) – Although shimmer can look great when applied properly, in natural photography matte is always best.  Matte makeup won’t reflect light, making it easy to apply and easy to photograph.  This is especially true the older you are as ‘sparkle’ can age you. I have found very difficult to find inexpensive pure matt colours and many brands had a bit of shimmer.   I also get a matte eye shadow for my brows instead of a pencil.  It creates a more natural looking brow as you need to fill them in.  Even if you don’t fill in your brows on a daily basis, fill them in if you know you are going to be doing photos.  Your eyes and face will look so much more complete if your brows are filled in.  This especially goes for blondes as blonde eyebrows will disappear in photographs.  It is also important to get high pigmented quality shadows as 1) they last longer 2) the colour is accurate on your lid and the shadow doesn’t fall onto your cheeks when you apply or throughout the day.

I use  . . Mac matte colours and urban decay naked 1 palette.

Primer – Primer helps makeup stay put longer by smoothing the surface of the skin and, sometimes, by gripping onto your makeup, so it stays in place until you wash it off. But it can also create a protective barrier over the skin, as well as seals in and protects products used during your daily skincare regimen. So, primer seals products you layered on before it, ensuring all the benefits you layered on work.  I have several different ‘primers’ depending on what I am doing that day.  I have a simple SPF argan oil for everyday wear as it not only acts as a primer, but also a moisturiser and protection from the sun.  However, for shoots use the SPF, and I use Mac or Smashbox primer on my face.  On my eyes, I use Urban Decay when I know I will need my make-up for a long day of filming, but f I use a MAC paint pot for everyday wear that acts as a primer.


Nude/lip coloured lip liner – There are a lot of different lip liners out there.  But for fuller, more flawless lips, take a liner that is as close to your natural lip and not just line them but also fill in the whole lip.  Then add any colour lipstick.  I have found that darker lip liners tend to bleed on your lips and not look natural versus a nude lip liner works to cover the imperfections in your lips then you can use any colour on top. You can also just add gloss for a very natural, fresh look.  I use both inexpensive, and high-quality lip pencils as nude colours tend not to feather as much.

I use . . . No7 nude and Mac natural lip coloured pencils.

Mascara/Blush/gloss – I put these all together as quality is not as big an issue.  I have found that some drug store items are just as good as and sometimes better than higher quality.  It comes down to what works for you and your personal preference and how it complements your eyes and face. I’ve also heard rumours that the same mascara formulas are used to both inexpensive brands and pricey ones – sometimes the difference is the quality of the brush!  For photographic work, non-shiny is best with all your make-up EXCEPT for gloss.  In many of my shoots, I wear a lip liner, a matt lipstick and extra gloss on top.  The gloss gives the illusion of bigger, fuller lips that is helpful for lips that thin as you age.

I use  … things that are on sale though for mascara I prefer L’Oreal’s Telescopic mascara.

So stayed tuned for next month for part two of 10 essentials in a model’s make-up bag . . . .



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