A-List Make-Up Artist Hannah Martin Reveals Her Beauty Staples

A-List Make-Up Artist Hannah Martin Reveals Her Beauty Staples

Ever wondered what pro make-up artists keep in their kit? In this series, we ask industry insiders to share their secrets. Known for creating soft, smokey eyes and radiant, healthy skin, A-list MUA Hannah Martin is a bit of an authority in the beauty world. From the brushes she loves to the formulas she swears by, here’s what she won’t be without…

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.


“I own so many brushes it’s ridiculous, but often, the turnover is so quick I need multiples of the same one. A few must-haves for me include an old Lip Brush from Charles Fox. The handle is falling apart but it’s the best, most precise lip brush I’ve ever owned – I’d feel lost without it. I always have a few Ultra Fine Liner Brushes from Bobbi Brown as they’re brilliant for tight lining. They are just the right size and firmness – when your brushes are too flimsy, you can’t apply gel liner right in-between your lashes. I also have a lot of fluffy brushes like MAC’s 217 and Zoeva’s 228. Both are excellent for blending eyeshadow through the crease of the eye, but I use them for concealer and cream shadows, too. Finally, I carry a lot of Louise Young’s eyeshadow brushes, as well as Morphe – they sell lots of finer, smaller brushes which are great for detailed work. As for sponges, I rarely use them. I was trained to use my hands, so brushes and fingers are my only go-to tools.”


“I absolutely swear by cream eyeshadows – light layers will create bulletproof eye make-up, so make sure you go easy to start with. They’re great as a base for all powder shadows, so I often start a look by using one – whether it’s in a pot or a stick. Charlotte Tilbury, Bobbi Brown and MAC pots are all my favourites if I want a long-wear cream, but I’ll carry sticks too from Beauty Pie, By Terry, Lancôme, Trish McEvoy and Laura Mercier

“Sometimes a powder isn’t necessary, but I’ll usually buff in a liner with a dark powder shadow to create a softer, smokier finish. Sometimes, I’ll soften the crease of the eye and bridge the gap between the shadow and the brow bone. In terms of shades, I carry lots of neutrals to suit all skin tones – think earthy shades and matte textures. A few of my favourite brands include Urban Decay, Mario Dedicanovic and Vieve. I also carry most of the Charlotte Tilbury quads and the Dior Backstage palettes, too – I love the combination of shimmer, matte and sparkle. For colour, I have all the Huda Beauty Obsessions Palettes and more Morphe Palettes than I could ever use, but I have them ‘just in case’ – you never know what kind of look you might have to create.”


“There are lots of long-wearing bases available – like Estée Lauder Double Wear, MAC Studio Fix and Hourglass Vanish – which is great, but most of them are quite full-coverage, so if you prefer a lighter look, there are a few things you can do. Go for some light skin prep, a liquid foundation, and then set it with powder to even out the tone, and keep the cheeks free to allow for a bit more glow. Then, follow up with a setting spray to lock everything in place. Light layers that are well set will last just as well as a long-wearing foundation. As for highlighter, I often use Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light. If, however, you want more of a glow, keep Ciate’s Dewy Stix and Pat McGrath’s Sticks nearby. For contouring, I love my Mehron Cream Contour Palette – it’s so easy to use and the textures are really malleable for seamless application that’s never stripy.”


“My little tool kit is full of obvious, and less obvious, bits and bobs. Eyelash curlers and tweezers are a must, of course, as are mixing palettes and spatulas. I also always carry hairspray, a comb, mints, plasters, toothpicks, hair grips, scissors, straws and nail varnish remover – they all sound quite random but often clients – or I – need them.” 


“Cleaning my kit and brushes is of paramount importance – even more so in a Covid world. I clean my brushes after each job using either Amanda Harrington’s Brush Cleanser or Joy Adenuga’s Brush Soap. First, I rinse the head of the brush under warm water before mixing my brushes with the cleansing agent, working the brush in circles over the palm of my hand or a textured cleaning mitt. Gradually, I rinse each brush thoroughly then ring out all the excess water, leaving them to air dry over the edge of a flat surface – that way the brush head can dry in its natural shape. I also take brush cleaning sprays on set – that includes Barbicide and Dettol wipes. It goes without saying that I always remove skincare products from the container with a spatula or a cotton bud when it comes to applying it on clients. Since the pandemic, these products seem to be easily available, but I still buy mine in bulk from Guru Makeup Emporium.”


“Waterproof and tubing mascaras tend to wear better, so I often keep these handy. I swear by the Trish McEvoy Tubing Mascara as it simply doesn’t move. I also carry Bobbi Brown’s No Smudge Mascara at all times, along with Lancôme’s Monsieur Big Waterproof formula. As for brows, I’ve recently fallen in love with the Iconic Brow Cushion and Urban Decay’s Brow Blade. Both stain the skin behind the hairs for more depth and definition – they also don’t budge. I still use brow powder, but I’ll always set everything in place with a clear gel – like the one from Blink Brow Bar. For eyeliner, Chanel’s Pencil Waterproof formulas are incredible – you need to be quick though, as they dry quite fast. Finally, I’m never without my Delilah Gel Line – that’s been in my kit for years.” 


“In my kit, I carry so many lip pencils as I tend to rely on them for overall colour. You can fill in the entire lip and get the shape, colour and long-wearing texture all in one – just make sure you finish it off with a balm or gloss so everything looks healthy and hydrated. I also carry a few lipstick palettes so I have several shades to hand. In terms of colour, I like to carry lots of neutrals so there’s something to suit everyone. A great neutral I always have in my kit is Olivia Bronze Rose from MyBeautyBrand. Dab a little onto a pale lip, try full-coverage against olive skin and pair it with a darker lip pencil on a deeper, warmer lip tone – it’s so versatile. I’m never without the MyBeautyBrand Perfect Pink Lip Oil either, which is essentially everything I wanted in a lip product. Finally, the Clarins Lip Perfectors are a staple. They give a healthy, glossy sheen to the lips, and look natural and fresh. Creamy lip textures will always be my preference. Super mattes have their place, but they can make lips look dry and they’re not always flattering – especially on thinner lips.” 

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily