The Kit Angels
1. Temptalia; The Dupe List – I think I’m CURSED when it comes to brands discontinuing my favourite shades, it seems to happen at an alarming rate. But I’m not alone, and as such some generous souls at Temptalia have taken the time to painstakingly construct this insanely in-depth list of duplicate eye, lip and cheek shades, for any brand you can think of. Need to replace a much loved product that’s gone to the limited edition graveyard in the sky? Head here.
2. Findation.com – An absolute Godsend when it comes to ordering foundations for clients. Of course the ideal scenario is to colour match in person but that’s not always possible. Say a client loves a shade of foundation but finds it breaks them out, and has heard great things about another brand for tomorrow’s shoot. Or you want to try a new brand for yourself but don’t fancy squirting half the beauty hall in swatches up and down your arm, these guys will point you in the right direction. While you can’t beat trying shades in person, Findation’s matching process is surprisingly accurate.
3. DiscontinuedLipstick.com – If all else fails and only an exact replica of your cherished discontinued shade will do, you need these peeps. Send them a small sample and within a few weeks the men in white coats at Three Custom Colour Specialists will break down the formula, rustle you up an exact copy and send it straight to your door for an emotional reunion.
Kit Essentials and Pro Supplies
4. Tilt Makeup – Pro product heaven. A relative newcomer to London’s family of makeup pro stores, Tilt’s product selection reads like a list of kit must haves; Embryolisse, Ben Nye, Duo, a great range of pro bags, and disposables including our fave, sexy black Japanese cotton buds, all dished up with a healthy sense of fun. They stock a great SFX range, and kooky products like brush trees, thumb palettes, brush cleansing mitts and all that quirky stuff that could have you browsing for hours.
5. Escentual – Head here for all your French pharmacy needs. You name it from Bioderma, to Avene, Vichy to La Roche Posay, you’ll find it here. Along with a host of other wondrous brands (Eucerin and Ole Henriksen for starters) that you may not be so familiar with. They also stock a whole range of makeup from Mister Mascara to PaperSelf lashes, luxe ranges like Clarins, Dior and Guerlain, and their Beauty Buzz blog that runs alongside is just as classy and reliable.
6. Moo.com – For your business cards! They don’t come much cuter, more customisable and more affordable than Moo. You can even use a multitude of your own images. I’ve ordered my cards from here for years and the quality for the price remains fantastic.
7. P.A.M. – Precious About Makeup is a London institution when it comes to picking up your pro makeup essentials, from beauty to SFX they’ll have you covered. P.A.M. have been in business for almost twenty years now and they’re still going strong with their online order service. For all the Makeup Forever, Kryolan, Z Palette and Zuca fans out there, these are your guys!
Editorials, Photography, Inspiration
8. Models.com – To me, this place is the absolute bible of editorial and fashion images, and the talents and teams behind them. An in-depth, encyclopaedic and daily updated site of the models, stylists, makeup artists, hairdressers, photographers and more, responsible for creating the dreamiest of shoots. Search by makeup artist, by magazine, by designer, you name it. That’s not to mention their regularly updated lists of the hottest models in the industry, interviews, agency directories and fashion week shows in all their glory.
9. The Atlas Of Beauty – An ongoing project, in which photographer Mihaela Noroc travels the world, photographing real women, and beauty in all its flavours and colours. In a business often obsessed with adding, and embellishing, and moulding the faces in front of us, it’s refreshing to strip it back and be inspired by real beauty in its many forms. Beautiful pictures of truly, naturally beautiful women.
10. ShowStudio – Legendary photographer Nick Knight’s award winning website, where he collaborates with the best in the business to produce fashion films and multimedia projects, as well as live-streaming editorials as they happen. Nick has unprecedented access to legends in the field, and alongside producing unbelievable editorial films with top models, makeup artists and brands such as Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh, he also regularly releases in-depth and fascinating interviews with the likes of Kate Moss and Val Garland, where they dissect some of their most iconic images.
11. Eyeshadow Lipstick – A site dedicated to beauty editorials, with over 5,000 to amble through, you could get lost in this site for hours. What more can I say? A great little bit of makeup porn.
12. Beauty Is Boring – An absolute dream of a beauty blog. A simple concept executed perfectly by the awesome makeup artist Robin Black. She regularly posts a series of self-produced images; stripped back beauty shots of unique beauties in flawless, clean and modern makeups, with a list of products used. Simple but effective, inspiring and addictive.
13. Honestly WTF – This site is tricky to explain, but came about when stylist and designer duo Lauren and Erica chose to start a blog covering everything that inspires them. It’s a lifestyle blog I suppose. And while their categories range from Art to DIY it’s the Beauty and Editorial sections that keep me coming back. Their style is modern bohemian and effortlessly cool, feminine without being frilly or girly, carefree, contemporary beauty. If you’re looking for stripped back, gorgeous editorials, and modern, uncomplicated and wearable catwalk trends, for the street or the studio, this is a great resource.
14. National Geographic – The most inspiring moments and images as a makeup artist are very often completely un-makeup related. Just as great movies, books and pieces of art are inspired by life itself, it pays to absorb those influences in all their forms. There is no greater resource for world images that National Geographic. Head to their picture stories and galleries, or photo of the day archives. I’d imagine no two makeup artists would be drawn to the same images. Today for me it was a traditional bride in remote Kosovo, and Parisian ballet dancers of the 50s. Just gorgeous.
Expert Product Picks
15. Caroline Hirons – Caroline is a third generation, no bullshit, skincare guru. An advanced facialist, trained in over 100 brands, and I trust her opinion implicitly. Plus she’s really funny. As makeup artists we’re often expected to analyse and treat people’s skin issues, and while I consider myself to be up on my skincare products, real skincare is a world unto itself, with people like Caroline who’ve dedicated their lives to the subject, and sometimes, really you need an expert. For all your skincare needs and queries, head here. You’ll find no nonsense answers, and a stream of super effective product recommendations. Your skin and your client’s skin will thank you for it!
16. BeautyMart – I heart BeautyMart. Have done from the day they first threw open their doors in Harvey Nichs back in 2012, with Millie Kendal (MBE no Less, of Ruby and Mille fame, legend in the world of beauty PR) and Anna Marie Solowij (former beauty editor of Vogue) at the helm. BeautyMart are your best beauty mates. They present a handpicked, curated selection of the absolute best the world of makeup, skincare, hair and beauty has to offer. They don’t stock entire product ranges, but the individual favourites from a multitude of brands, you can guarantee that if beauty mart sells it, its worth having. They have a few London outposts in Knightsbridge, Topshop Oxford Circus and Shoreditch, but you can shop their full range on line and their websites blog is damn entertaining too.
17. Space NK – I once had the pleasure of making up Space NK founder and MBE Nicky Kinnaird (that’s what the NK stands for!), and spent the time chatting to her about what drove her to begin the company and how they select the products they sell, and after that, I was hooked. Back in ’93 Nicky revolutionised the industry by launching the first hand selected collection of beauty picks from around the world, and as such her stores became a Mecca for those wanting to get their hands on the best the beauty biz had to offer, all under one roof. No more drowning in oversaturated beauty halls, with salespeople pushing a particular brand. Nicky introduced names such as Laura Mercier, Eve Lom and Ren to our shores and continues to lead the way, keeping standards sky high with brands such as Hourglass, By Terry and Tom Ford, as well as plenty of budget picks from the likes of Yu-Be, Caudalie and Dr Lipp!
18. Sephora – Sephora really needs no introduction to most makeup aficionados but the French/American cosmetics giant doesn’t draw me in for the browsing so much as for their product picks. Head to the Editor’s picks or Pro Picks section for the best selection of classic and new products from across all their brands, and the breakdown as to just why they love them. It’s basically like having fellow makeup artists review hundreds products for you and then just presenting you with the ones you need to know. A great way of keeping abreast of what’s new and what’s genuinely good without drowning in blogs and press releases.
19. Cult Beauty – Another must visit for curated product picks. When Alexia Inge and Jessica De Luca Moore set up Cult beauty in 2008 neither had any previous experience in the industry. But they did have a passion for beauty and were tired of all the half unused, poor quality products they’d amassed over the years. What they created is a family of almost fifty industry experts, who give their professional stamp of approval to cult products found in pro kits and celebrity makeup bags the world over. They stock both of our favourite Japanese mascaras Fairydrops and DJV Beautenizer, and brands like Kevyn Aucoin, Becca and Egyptian Magic. Plus their blog is fantastic. One cult I’m happy to be a part of.
20. Celebrity Close-Up – This rather absurd site gets a category of its own as I have no idea where else to put it. I’m not kidding myself with this one, I’m sure the point of this site is mainly gross voyeurism, but as makeup artist it takes on a whole different angle. Celebrity Close-Up does what it says on the tin, and is just a stream of images of celebs, on red carpets, papped, right up in their face in high resolution. And while the average viewer might be there to gasp at the fact that these people have actual “flaws” like you and I, what I love to see is the makeup, warts ‘n’ all. Usually we see the tiny, low-res image on a website, or the final photoshopped version, and think they, and their makeup, are flawless. But these guys suffer bleeding lip lines, shiny T-Zones and eye boogers too. It’s just reassuring don’t you think, not that we shouldn’t strive for perfection but that makeup is very rarely 100% fault free? Long story short we’re all human, and that includes both the A-list and their makeup artists!
Videos And Behind The Scenes
21. Lisa Eldridge – Lisa needs little introduction in the world of makeup, and her decision to begin filming makeup tutorials and build a real online presence a few years back was unprecedented for an artist of her calibre at the time. As makeup artists it’s nigh on impossible to find tutorials or YouTube videos that cater to us, but many of Lisa’s bridge the gap between what the girl on the street and the pro’s want to see. You can trust that her product recommendations get the makeup artist stamp of approval (and her on site product directory is vast and ever growing!). She often recreates looks she’s shot for the likes of Elle and Vogue, and with guest stars such as Alexa Chung and Charlotte Tilbury cropping up in her videos, what’s not to love?!
22. MAC Cosmetics Tumblr – I’m not big on the world of Tumblr, it never sucked me in, but I make an exception for Mac’s Tumblr account. They regularly update with behind the scenes shots of everything from the National Ballet to Cirque Du Soleil and share many shots of their pro artists and events teams in action along the way. It’s a great site for a rummage at any time of year but with Mac’s ongoing involvement at Fashion Week each season it really comes into it’s own during the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter shows, with daily doses of the backstage shots makeup artists really want to see.
23. Sali Hughes YouTube – I’m mentioning Sali Hughes YouTube channel specifically, as while her blog has a stream of loyal followers, it’s been her videos with top makeup artists that have really caught my interest. In the last year Sali has produced videos with Charlotte Tilbury, Mary Greenwell and Val Garland, that rack up to literally hours of footage, of incredibly in depth interviews, where they even take you through their kits in great detail. Totally addictive viewing for a makeup artist. I know these videos have been insanely popular and as such can only imagine (and hope!) there will be many more to come.
24. Behind The Scenes; Vogue Italia – I discovered this subsection of Vogue Italia’s website through their Pinterest account (which is also worth a follow), where for the majority of their main fashion stories these days, they will post awesome behind the scenes videos. Often you can watch the industry’s greatest makeup artists at work and even pick up techniques as though you’re there assisting. It’s basically like being on set for some of the greatest editorials in the world right now, but you can do it sat on the sofa in your PJs eating toast. And that’s the dream right?!
25. MascaraWars.com – Ahem. Just sayin’ *wink wink*
For more of the skills you REALLY need to make it as a makeup artist, check out our ;
To Follow Mascara Wars, click here!