I’m Kristel. I vlog. I blog. Professional makeup artist based in Manila. 300 hours training in Make Up For Ever Academy, Seoul, South Korea. I live makeup, you have no idea.

Shops to Check When Starting Out as a MUA

As a beginner MUA, assembling your kit is one of the hardest things. You can always just watch Youtube or go to school to refine your techniques, but it seems like nobody really talks about the hard numbers involved in building your kit.

I'm going to share the shops and my must-haves as a beginner MUA, not including color cosmetics. When you go professional, you need to provide for things you never had to worry about when working on your own face. I hate putting off these purchases because there is nothing more stressful than preparing for a (rush) job and then suddenly needing to go out and sprig for huge investments.

Also, tools and equipment are so hard to shop. As a makeup blogger, I know how much makeup should cost. But equipment is sold in such wide, varying ranges and it tends to overwhelm. Let me help you have an idea of how much you should be spending, and for what.

Here are my beginner pitstops:

Donna B Pro Makeup Gallery

Donna B was recommended by my blogger friend (and fellow pro-MUA), Genzel. I like this store for their tables, chairs and clear bags / pouches.

What to get:

Bisou Portable Makeup Table - PHP 3499

I like this table. It has a catch-ledge that keeps my pens and gizmos from rolling off the table. It's also much higher than the ubiquitous Lifetime tables - Bisous are waist-height. I still get a lot of use out of this table, though I hate carrying it as much as possible because it's so heavy and bulky.

Size: length- 23’/width- 36′ size wit75 klh bag (folded table)
length – 43’/width- 36/depth-5/weight- 3.75 kL.

Calin Makeup Chair - PHP 4999

This is a wooden, foldable chair. I've retired it from location gigs because it's so bulky and heavy. I thought it would be much lighter than a telescopic! I definitely don't suggest getting a wooden chair, and newbies should go straight to telescopics. I got my telescopic chair for PHP 4400 only (promo price) from Francesca Villanueva. I highly recommend looking for her on Facebook, she's very attentive with your orders (constant updates of Grab rider) is fast and easy to transact with. I see telescopic chairs going for 7-8k, definitely don't get those.

A chair is non-negotiable for me. I can do without a table, but it's so hard to do makeup on a low chair. I've heard of so many MUAs with wrecked backs and I don't want to be a statistic.

length- 37″/width- 18″/depth- 21″

Clear Bags and Pouches

I have the Envie Clear Bag (PHP 649). I highly recommend it because the number and sizes of the pockets are good, though the stitching isn't super durable. Pouches and makeup bags range from PHP 59-PHP 449. 

Apex Digital

I go to Apex for my lighting solutions, though it has the full collection of photography equipment. It was a recommendation by Sam, and I like shopping here because they have a lot of products and they seem generally cheap. I just hate having them book the Grab driver for me because the owner always makes me pay PHP 300-400 on a PHP150~ bill.

Things I got:

18" Ring Light - PHP 6500

This is the complete package, and the cheapest I could find at the time. Other shops sell ring lights for at least PHP 8000 so I was pretty happy with it. But as I got deeper into the MUA-buying threads, I saw that ring lights could go as low as PHP 4480 in Kimstore, but it's not like I could return mine after x uses, though. So I just take it as a lesson learned. I love my ring light and still get a lot of use out of it even after upgrading to a The Makeup Light Key Light 2.0.

1. Apex 18in LED Ringlight 5500k Temperature
2. Orange filter diffuser for warm light 4pcs
3. White filter diffuser for cool light 4pcs
4. Vanity Half Mirror – FREE (while supply lasts)
5. AC power supply adaptor
6. Camera bracket and holder – FREE (while supply lasts)
7. Bendable Gooseneck – FREE (while supply lasts)
8. Cellphone holder – FREE (while supply lasts)
9. Carrying bag for Ringlight and accessories
10. 6ft lightstand
11. Carrying bag for lightstand
12. Bluetooth Remote Control for Cellphone – HOLIDAY GIFT (while supply lasts)

A co-MUA friend, Mila, has a pretty clever and portable lighting solution for herself. She has an LED panel (as low as PHP 1800 from Apex) which she installs with a chargeable battery (can't find the price) fixed to a tabletop stand (PHP 400). I've seen it in action, and it's pretty nice!

You can also scout MUA Facebook groups for secondhand items. Many people sell their things in pretty good condition, but I guess I just wanted the assurance of having brand new items.

Other shops worth a look:

Gladkingfor makeup brushes, tools and trolleys / traincases.

Kimstore - for electronics, lighting and photography equipment.

Shopeefor disposable mascara wands and lip gloss wands. I get the cheapest disposables here, and my only rule is to never pay more than PHP 2/pc of anything.

Mumuso / Miniso - for cotton squares and cotton buds. Squares that fall apart are the worst because it takes so much time having to be careful during skincare, and I'm always trying to work as fast as I can. I like Miniso cottons because they come in super useful plastic boxes, which I just top up with those squares that come in bags. I also get my cotton buds here because they have wooden handles, which feel firmer and steadier than floppy plastic handles.

Those are the shops I love/d as a beginner MUA! Do you have any other places to find good deals? Let me know :)

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