Blog Build Your Own Traincase

Building My Traincase (And How to Build Yours Too!)

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I remember the days well. I was praised for my ability to watch makeup how-to videos and execute it well to my friends and family’s faces. I became a part of a Freelance Events Group and I built my skills from there. More often than not, I made mistakes, but I think I’m quite lucky because the clients loved it anyway.

Fast forward to today, I left the group in order to focus on my work, since my new work eats a lot of my time than necessary. I’m planning to build my brand as a MUA in a span of two years. To cut it short, I’m planning to start from scratch with brand new contacts and network.

If you’re planning to start from the very beginning, with or without any experience, I hope that this blog post will be helpful to you. In my newest project (Which you can see in my “Building My Traincase” Page), I’ll post any advancement, tips and tricks, and everything I learned in the industry.

Since this is the first post, I’ll list down things that we need in order to start our kit and what are the best brands for beginners.


1. Diploma/Certificate Course

Even if you think you know a lot about makeup, you’ll be surprised at how little you actually know. Plus, you’ll get to be exposed in the industry and build your own portfolio with the help of the professionals. The best schools for me are:

  • Makeup Designory Manila –  This is the Harvard School of makeup artists. The last time I checked, their price ranges from 44,000 pesos for basic bridal make up up to 110,000 pesos for a diploma course. The advantage of getting the latter is that you’ll get to be certified in America, Japan, and other countries that has a Makeup Designory Branch.
  • Center for Aesthetic Studies – This is a subsidiary of Franck Provost, which is one of the leading hair salons in France. The Price ranges from 12,000 for one on one makeup, and up to 30,000 for Basic Makeup Artistry. The good thing about this is school is that they are all professionals in the industry which will get you some exposure. Plus, you’ll get to have a 12-hour internship and all of your beauty shoot projects will fall under your portfolio.
  • LaSalle College International – This school offers one of the lowest rates I’ve seen. For 15,000 pesos, you’ll get to attend their Makeup Certificate classes. I don’t know if this is in per semester basis. According to reviews, the professors are also professionals.

If you don’t have money to shell out, some makeup centers and shops offers workshops for beginners that are either for free or for less. One of this is the Suesh Workshop that ranges from 1,000-15,000 pesos. Not bad!

2. Train case/makeup bag

Of course, we all need this right? there are different types of makeup bags, and I promise to tackle that in my future posts. But for starters, I think we need to buy an ordinary-sized train case and upgrade from there once we already have a lot of makeups.

I think the famous train cases in the Philippines came from Gladking (price starts from 1,800), and Suesh (price starts from 3,500). If you’re very adventurous and you feel like haggling, Divisoria and Quiapo offer low-priced makeup train cases.

3. Tools 

One thing I learned when I first started is that you can always opt for cheaper makeups because there are local brands that still offers professional quality. But you can’t do that with your tools. You can have the cheapest make up and still do well, but your brushes and tools are your investment and BFF.

Anyway, these are the tools you need:

  • Brushes. It’s okay to buy this either individually or in sets. I’m planning to buy in set first, then purchase the others individually. For starters, if you want to buy professional-quality brushes but you don’t have enough funds, I heard that Bdellium Maestro brushes and Real Techniques brushes are great. And no, they’re not a drugstore brand.
  • Brush Cleaners. Of course! Or you can DIY this using Johnson’s baby shampoo + Drops of Virgin Coconut Oil.
  • Tweezer, Eyelash Curler, Sharpener, and Cosmetic Scissors. You can buy this anywhere as long as it’s sturdy and high-quality. My favorites are Anastasia Beverly Hills tweezers and Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. I’ve been using them before and it’s really, really amazing. If you’re asking what’s the difference between these and the ones found in drugstores, I’ll say that it’s the precision, plus it’s custom-made for makeup artists. *wink* Also, do your pencils a favor by buying high-grade sharpeners that are tailored for your liners. My favorite for this one is the Eye of Horus Pencil Sharpener.
  • Beauty Blender And Cotton Pads. Beauty Blender is the most amazing invention next to Clarisonic. Hands Down. Cotton Pads can be bought in almost any grocery stores.
  • Mixers and Spatula. For mixing make up and creams. You can get these to make-up specialty stores, and it’s not that expensive.
  • False Eyelashes and Eyelash glue. Need I say anything more? Just be careful about the eyelash glue, they tend to be a problem when you bought the cheap one. I’m using The Face Shop’s Eyelash adhesive and it stays strong even after 5-6 hours!

4. Skincare

Makeup Artistry isn’t about makeups. It’s also about taking care of your client’s skin. If they breakout, they are less likely to come back or refer your service. Buy what you need first, then invest in a special skincare line later.

  • Makeup Remover. My favorites are Human Heart Nature’s Makeup remover (diluted with water) and Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil.
  • Facial Wash/cleansers. To be safe, choose a facial wash that caters to all skin types. I’m using the Neutrogena Gel Cleanser before in my makeup gigs and it didn’t fail me ever since.
  • Toner. Alcohol-free is your best bet like the ones from Kiehl’s, Neutrogena, and Thayers Witch Hazel.
  • Moisturizer. Best Pick: Neutrogena Hydroboost Water Gel Moisturizer. 
  • Eye Cream. You need to pick one that doesn’t cake the makeup and at the same time, effective. I think that this is the most expensive in the bunch. And my all-time favorite is the Bobbi Brown Eye Repair Cream.
  • Pimple Gel. When you’re doing your gigs, it’s common that your client’s not well-rested, and she got zit on her face that you’re more than willing to pop if necessary. That’s why you need to invest in a pimple gel. Although I’m doing this the DIY way (By popping a capsule of Advil and putting it in the client’s zit), I’ve heard that Duac is also doing a pretty good job.

5. Makeup

It depends on how you want to start. You can buy a kit/palette and build from there. I saw a Student’s kit in and it costs 22,000 pesos. But it already covers the basic so no worries about it. But if you want to purchase individually, here’s what you need:

  • Face and Eye Primer. This helps in achieving the HD look. It minimizes pores, and evens out the application of foundation. The eye primer is put on before the shadows to avoid creasing. My favorite is the Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish in Face Primers, and the Urban Decay Primer Potions for Eye Primers. Again, if you’re on a budget, you can rely on E.L.F primers that sells 300-350 pesos.
  • Foundation. This is bought in sets to avoid the clutter in your train case. If you’re a starter, the rule of the thumb in choosing foundations (if purchased individually) is that you only have to choose 3 colors. For fair, medium, and semi-dark skin tone. And for your starter train case, you have to buy two sets. a.) Gel/cream foundations and b.)  liquid foundations.
  • Tinted Moisturizer and BB/CC cream. Tinted Moisturizers and BB/CC creams are for lightweight coverage. When I was working for clients, I use this for touch-ups. BB cream is for skin imperfections like dull skin and dark spots. While the CC cream is for discolorations. But since you’re starting out, you have an option not to buy this.
  • Pressed Powders/Loose Powders. Again, I urge you to buy in 3 tones. Put this on right after your foundation, and after your BB/CC cream after touch ups. One of the best loose powder that I used is the MAC Loose Mineralize Foundation.
  • Corrector/Concealer. This can be bought in a palette form. There are many types of concealers like there are many types of skin issues. My favorite is the one from Suesh. Which is a custom-made 16 pot corrector/concealer for every skin type. 😉
  • Highlighter, Contour, and Bronzer. Although bronzers always come in a separate form than the highlighter and contour, these three are the best buds when it comes to re-shaping your client’s face. The best part is the pencil highlighters like the one from Nyx. It’s perfect for brows and the lower rim of your eyes.
  •   Blush. The best colors for this are light pink for fair-skinned, medium orange and pink for medium-toned, and medium bright orange and pink for the dark-skinned. You can either buy a shimmer or matte one, But you need to buy in three forms:
    • Liquid
    • Cream
    • And Powder
  • Setting Powder. If you’re a Makeup Buff, I know what you’re thinking. BEN NYE!!!
  • Setting Spray. Like the skin care, there are finishing sprays for every skin type. The safe spot for starters is to choose one that’s perfect for any skin types. My favorite is the Skindinavia setting spray.
  • Lipbalms/Lipgloss.
  • Lipstick. I want to have these in Matte, Satin, And Sheer. And the most sought-after color is Reds, Orange, Pink, and Nudes. After a few gigs, you can now invest in a much more complicated tones like Violet and Dark Browns.
  • Lipliners. The more velvety it is, the better.
  • Eyeshadow. This is the trickiest part. It comes in a pencil, shimmer, and matte form. I’m not a fan of the pencil ones so I think I’ll focus on the matte and shimmer. There are a lot of eyeshadow palettes in the market, but we don’t have to buy all of them. Invest in neutral colors first, both in matte and shimmer. Then gradually add bright colors and other palettes from there.
  • Browliner. For Outlining the shape of your brows. Back in the days, I remember using Anastasia Beverly Hills since they’re quite famous for brow products. And true to its promise, it is.
  • Brow gels. This type is perfect for longer wear and waterproof makeup. The most famous for this type is the Makeup Forever Aqua Brow Gels.
  • Brow Powder. Perfect for filling your brows!
  • Brow Mascara. It’s like the hairspray for your brows. The Korean makeup lines like the K-Palette have this. Or you can just use your ordinary mascara for this.
  • Mascara. I use this after putting in the falsies. And it makes it more natural. But don’t put too much or else it will get clumpy!
  • Liquid Eyeliner. For cat eyes. I like the pen ones. They are easier to handle than the ordinary liquid liners.
  • Pencil Eyeliners. Because going back to the basic is always a good thing. I have a thing with Velvety Pencil eyeliners like Kohl. They are easy to smudge and perfect for smokey eyes.

There are a lot of things to invest in after this. And you’ll have to constantly upgrade in order to catch up with the trend. There will be days when you’ll be dreaming about Becca’s Summer Souffle, and times when you’ll trade anything for a Guerlain Meteorites.

You’ll come to a point when you’ll think that you’re the worst makeup artist alive, but you need to keep growing and moving and practicing. You need to exceed your expectations and grow your network. And with this post, let’s embark on a journey together.

If you’re wondering where to buy online, I found these shops reliable:

  1. MUP Store
  2. Digital Traincase
  3. Suesh
  4. Props, Tools, And Cosmetics

 Happy Kit-Building, Everyone!

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