Pro Makeup the Pros Love (That You Can Buy!)

The world of professional makeup artists has long been something that dazzled me, beginning with my Grandmother's beauty shop.

For several years her salon was inside of a house, with each room designated for a different service.

This is fairly commonplace now in big salons, and even harkens back to the famous Max Factor studio in Hollywood, but as a kid, I was fascinated.

One room was for washing hair, one for styling, one for nails, one for the hair dryers, one for massages, etc. I remember thinking how cool I was as a kid, strolling into the break room to get a glass bottle Coke from the machine and watching the customers' transformations. But my favorite was the makeup room.

Inside was a full Hollywood setup--the big round vanity lights framing a mirror, a director's chair that you sat in, and tons of makeup, some even from her own makeup line. I felt like a movie star in there.

There was always a mystery between professional makeup brands vs what was sold in stores. Makeup artists use a variety of brands, including what's sold in drugstores, Sephora, etc, but I wanted to share brands you might not have heard of. You used to only be able to purchase some of these items if you had a cosmetology license, but now that's not the case. Today I wanted to demystify that world and share with you some makeup the pros use that you can buy.

The Basics:
  • Professional makeup is designed to be long-lasting, to look great on camera, and to conceal when needed.
  • The packaging isn't fancy, but that's not what you're paying for.
  • Palettes are the main draw--they give lots of options without a lot of products in a makeup kit.
  • I purchase mine from Frends (not an ad, not an affiliate code, just a BIG fan), but there are plenty of stores like Nigel's Beauty Emporium and Ricky's NYC. You won't get the prof discount unless you are licensed/certified.

There are tons of professional brands out there, so I'll pick one: Bdellium. They offer both natural hair bristles and synthetic vegan bristles. Bdellium also has a wide range of excellent SPFX Brushes, great for all your streaking, stippling, and splattering needs. Prices range from $8-$25 per brush. Great quality. I also like Cozette brushes.

Brush Cleaner:
One of my favorites for a quick clean/disinfection is Cinema Secrets (sold at Sephora too). The brushes smell like vanilla once dried.

EMBRYOLISSE LAIT-CREME CONCENTRE is one of the best moisturizers even (there's a matte version too) that is found in the kits of many makeup artists. I used to stock up on this when in France, but now you get even get this at Target!

One of the first brands that comes to mind for fx/theatre/professional makeup is Ben Nye. Thanks to Mario Dedivanovic (Kim K's makeup artist), the brand is becoming well-known to all consumers.
My faves: 
  • luxury powders (get banana only if you have an olive to darker complexion, but they have plenty of other shades)
  • camouflage/concealer wheels, palettes, and pots

Kryolan makes some fabulous Fx products, but you'll love their Dermacolor palettes (hide any discoloration) and their eye shadow palettes. Great color pay off.

Mehron also has tons of fun Fx stuff, but I love their tattoo concealer wheel (similar to Ben Nye):

Viseart (now old at Sephora) has some of the best shadows on the market. They are an investment, but they are so good:

RCMA (aka Research Council of Makeup Artists) carries an incredible line of makeup for FX, beauty, and theatrical makeup. I love their foundation and concealer palettes. You've probably heard of them for their amazing powders.

Other brands I love:
  • Inglot--everything is good from this brand
  • Face Atelier (great setting sprays, lip products, makeup products)
  • Graftobian (their creme foundation palettes are a must in a kit)
  • Skin Illustrator (if you want makeup to not rub off or move, try their green marble setting spray. It is intense but the best!)
Which products caught your eye?


  1. Great choices! I love ben nye. To bad we don't have it here in portugal :(


  2. I need to invest in some good brushes! I also want to try the brush cleaner! Have a great day!

    Doused In Pink

  3. I swear everything starts with good makeup brushes. This is one lesson I've learned!

  4. This is lovely, so easy to forget about makeup brands that are not in regular stores that often are even better! Xx


  5. Wow...dese makeup brushes are superb...xoxo, Neha

    LOve this post...hun...

  6. I'm going to have to check out this Cinema Secrets next time I am at Sephora. I've been looking for a new brush cleaner but haven't really found anything I like yet. And it smells like vanilla once dried? I'm in!!

    xo, Rachel
    A Blonde's Moment

  7. I have to say, that first brush looks LEGIT like the same brush I do my Bible Journaling with :) haha

  8. Those makeup brushes sound fun and I am going to have to look up Cinema Secrets because I need a good makeup brush cleanser. I don't like my current one.

  9. Omg I love this! I've never heard of any of these brands! I want to try that brush cleaner!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  10. I love reading more about your grandmother! <3

  11. I love Ben Nye! But I haven't heard of most of these- which means I need check them out STAT! Thanks for the rec's, lady!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  12. Really great products. I've been wanting to try that RCMA powder.


  13. I need to try this brush cleanser...I won't even say what I use now ;) But, I love that they smell like vanilla after you use them.


  14. I have heard of and used many of these brands. I have the Ben Nye Banana Powder and I didn't know it was for Olive Skin Tones. Maybe I should be getting a lighter one. I don't think I have that skin tone especially in the winter. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I'm so curious about this Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate! I love that you can get it at Target now!

    1. Does it do well under makeup or is this more of a night time lotion?

  16. When I was in makeup school, it was such a joy working with pro stuff, and ended up carrying them on my kit when I freelanced. Til this day, I think nothing can beat the RCMA foundations IMO.

  17. Thanks for sharing these professional brands. I knew none of them so it's good to get some more knowledge. :)


  18. Your Grandmother's salon sounds amazing! I haven't heard of any of these brands, but I'm really curious about the moisturizer since you can pick it up at Target now!


  19. Thanks for sharing! I have never really thought about how the packaging would matter less, but that makes sense. I love how you have such a family history with make up. Tge moisturizer sounds great, even though it has gone "mainstream"!

  20. Pro makeup brands are super foreign to me! I song hear them talked about a lot. I have tried Ben Nye cameo powder before, it was great. And I haven't heard of any of the other brands you've mentioned besides viseart and inglot!

  21. It's great how easy it is to get ahold the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré these days. I used to swear by the Ben Nye Banana Powder when I still wore powder. Your Grandmother's beauty shop sounds like it was totally fabulous!

  22. not gonna lie, all of this stuff is super intimidating to me! but the Embryolisse moisturiser sounds amazing and sold at target? sold. now.. moisturiser totally does not count as shopping, it's necessary!

  23. Your grandmother's salon sounds like a dream! In my dream house, I will have designated rooms like that. Now to just win the lottery...I tried the banana powder a few years ago, but it was WAY too dark. I love the RCMA No Color Powder. I havne't tried any other brands or products you listed, but I'm interested in learning more about them. I loved this post!

  24. Oh these are so great to know! Thanks for sharing. Xo, Ellese


  25. Bdellium brushes by far my favourite brushes I have in my collection !! My Ben Nye powder is a dream specially for baking and under eye, find my makeup doesn't budge at all with that stuff ! I would love to get my hands on some RCMA powder but not sure if I could here in Canada. Your grandmother salon seems amazing and this was a great post !!

    Katie | https://ktmcgworld.blogspot.ca

  26. This is very interesting! I didn't know about lot of these!

  27. Wow, so many cool things and brands. I think I need to check out those brushes for sure. Love that your grandmother had her own place, that's really awesome.

  28. I agree, packaging is not important when you have a great product! The Embryolisse cream sounds amazing, I would love to try it :)


  29. There are a lot of brands that I still don't know in your list, thanks for the discovery!


  30. I've been searching for a brush cleaner, thanks for the tip!

  31. I've always wanted to try Ben Nye out and heard such great things. Might have to give it a try now that you've gave it the seal of approval! ;)

  32. Brilliant post! So many amazing products! xx


  33. I tried the Ben NYE Banana Powder but because im so pale it showed up yellow on me and didn't brighten at all. I have a Sonia Kashuk Palette which is very very similar to the Viseart one!

    EmmysBeautyCave | Bloglovin | ColourPop GIVEAWAY

  34. I'd rather pay for the makeup artists' makeup products, like you said, they stay longer, than for packaging! Now I want the Kryolan Dermacolor and I never heard of RCMA and now I also want it!

  35. This was really fascinating to me--I don't venture much beyond Target for makeup so I had no previous knowledge of any of these brands or products. They sound like fun to try though, especially the brush cleaner that makes your brushes smell like vanilla!

  36. Such a great list! Ben Nye will always have a special place in my heart for being what I used to learn how to do stage makeup on myself. I've been wanting to get a Viseart palette, and your recommendations just make me want it more!

  37. What a great post! I hadn't heard of most of these brands I really appreciate you sharing this all!

  38. Well I'm totally heading over to check out those brushes. I need a good set of shadow brushes for sure! I have two I swear by, but have been looking for smaller precision ones that are super dense!

    Does the RCMA powder flash back? I've been looking into a few powders for my wedding day. I have several at home, and right now the only one that doesn't, is the NYC Smooth Skin powder.


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