Kelly Dawn, What's In My Pro Beauty Kit

Kelly Dawn, What's In My Pro Beauty Kit

Where better to find fresh beauty inspiration than a pro make-up artist’s kit? In this series, we ask industry insiders to spill their secrets. After 16 years of training, Kelly Dawn is known for her beautiful red carpet and bridal looks, working with some of the UK’s biggest celebrities. From the tools she’s never without to the make-up brands she loves, this is what she keeps in her professional kit…

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Brushes & Tools

“Brushes are a make-up artist’s most important tools, and as long as they’re good quality, they can last for years. Some of my favourites include Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation Brush, Tom Ford’s Blusher Brush, Spectrum’s KJH Collection of Eyeshadow Blender Brushes, My Kit Co’s My Smudge Brush and finally, the Delilah Lip Brush. In terms of sponges, I’ll mainly use them over the top of foundations or cream textures to smooth out the product and remove any excess – you get a totally flawless finish that way. My favourites are from the brand Super Sponge – if you’ve not tried them, give them a go.  It’s essential to always clean your personal brushes and sponges, too. I always take lots of brushes on set so I can throw the used ones in a Ziplock bag to be taken home and washed, and still have plenty of fresh ones ready for the next client. If you really need to reuse brushes on different clients, then alcohol and make-up brush cleansers are a quick and dry solution. 


“Any professional make-up will tell you how important it is to have a range of different foundations on hand – you need options to suit all the different skin tones and types of individual clients. What looks beautiful on one client might end up looking like a shiny mess on another. I swear by the ALLEVEN Beauty’s Instant Perfector. It offers medium to full coverage, is long-wearing and universally-flattering – plus, it’s infused with skincare. For concealer, the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye is always in my kit – it’s the best in my opinion. As for setting powder, my go-to is Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder. I worked with Charlotte on product development and all of her products have treatment elements to them. The powder contains rose wax and sweet almond oils, so it sets everything in place without taking away your skin’s natural glow – it’s genius! I always like to have a range of highlighters in my kit. My favourites include Chanel’s Baume Essentiel Stick, The Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wands, and the Dior Backstage Glow Palettes – they’re great for brightening up your skin, but they work well as eyeshadows, too.”

Kit Staples

“My kit weighs around 30kg, which only goes to show how prepared I like to be. Some of the ‘extras’ I always carry include brightening eye drops, a small electric fan, straws, scissors, nail polish remover and little empty pots to make up testers for my clients. I love to have a good mini speaker with me, too. It’s good for setting the right vibe on set. Likewise, I’m never without safety pins – this sounds like a lot of things, but trust me, everything has a purpose.

Eye Make-Up & Brows

“There are so many eye products I love. The Beautopsy Palette by Hindash is one of my latest favourites – it has everything you need, and all in neutral, matte tones to suit everyone. Tom Ford also does great palettes for the red carpet and I love the Charlotte Tilbury Exaggereyes for creating my signature, glowing bridal looks. You never know what kind of look a client will ask for, so I also like to carry Danessa Myricks primary colour paints so I can mix literally any shade in the rainbow. Just make sure the lids are clean before you start – avoid applying any rich creams directly to the area, too, although a small amount along the orbital bone is fine to prep. If your lids are oily, use a primer like the one from Urban Decay. As for eyeliner and brows, I love Dior Brow Stylers, Anastasia Brow Freeze and Glossier’s Brow Flick – also, the Victoria Beckham Kajal Liners are second to none! Two mascaras I keep on rotation are Sweed’s Lash Mascara and Lancôme’s Hypnose Waterproof formula – both are brilliant and Sweed lashes individual lashes really complete any look.” 


“For lips, I have a huge range of mattes, glosses and satin lipsticks. If you can’t decide between a matte or a gloss, a satin is a great choice as it tends to be more comfortable.  In my kit, I’ve decanted my lipsticks into pro palettes for ease, and I always make sure I have every shade ready to go. I tend to mix shades to create custom colours for my clients, too, and this is easier to do from a palette. It’s heart-breaking to decapitate a beautiful Chanel, Dior or Charlotte Tilbury lipstick, but it’s far more convenient than carrying hundreds of heavy products around.” 


Follow @LifeOfKellyDawn on Instagram.

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