Inside My Make-Up Kit: Tania Grier

With A-list clients including Emma Thompson, Poppy Delevingne and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tania Grier is one of the industry’s most in-demand make-up artists. So, who better to show us what’s in her pro kit? From the tools that promise a flawless finish every time to the tips and tricks everyone should know, these are the products and techniques she relies on.
By Rebecca Hull /

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Brushes & Sponges

“The first brushes I ever bought for my pro kit were by Laura Mercier and Stila – and some of them have lasted for more than 17 years, which proves it’s worth investing in good brushes. My favourites today are a mix of Laura Mercier, Stila, SUQQU, My Kit Co, Chanel, Lancôme and Monika Blunder. I also keep a few from Glisten Cosmetics handy. They’re perfect for creating precise, graphic eyes on photo shoots. I probably own close to 70 brushes but I can edit that down to around 15 if I need to pack light. I wash them after each job and dry them flat to stop the handles breaking away.

“My favourite sponge is Laura Mercier’s Flawless Finish. It’s great for getting into the contours of the nose and jawline. I also love her oval-shaped four-pack sponge set which lasts forever and delivers a seamless finish. The Real Techniques Mini Miracle Complexion Sponge is great for applying under eye concealer, while Fenty Beauty’s Precision Make-Up Sponge 100 sits nicely in the hand and is good for full coverage looks. I never wet sponges first because it wastes the product, and I wash them as soon as I get home to prevent permanent staining.”

Beauty Tools

“Make-up artists always need some tricks up their sleeves when faced with puffy eyes or irritated skin. The Marie Reynolds Eye Balls are very effective at de-puffing – plus, they’re so lightweight. If I have access to a fridge on set, I will use the 001Skincare Cryo Press to tighten pores and wake up the skin – I also love the brand’s Micro Sculptor which is great for a quick lymphatic massage to get the blood flowing. Like many, I also swear by the Shiseido Eyelash Curler for a quick curl and lift pre-mascara, and the Tweezerman Every Lash Curler for when I want to get right into the corner lashes. I really rate the Eyelure Blend & Care False Lash Blender. It works to bind false lashes with mascara, so you get that extra protection on an evening out. Finally, the Kryolan Silcopad is a great time-saver. It protects the face from product fallout when you do your eye make-up.”

Eye Make-Up

“For matte shadows, I can’t live without the Chanel Eye Palette in 308 and 378 – these never leave my kit. Charlotte Tilbury’s Bella Sofia Palette is another essential for its warm shimmery coppers, while Urban Decay’s Naked Ultraviolet Palette is my favourite for intense purples and peaches. My go-to iridescent shimmers are by SUQQU, because the velvety texture and pigment are bang on and the shades are interesting but still wearable. The Armani Beauty Eye Tint Eyeshadows are essential for creating instant impact. Some high-street brands also have great shades – one of my favourite creamy taupes is ‘Galaxy’ by Elf Cosmetics.

Budge-Proof Buys

Chanel Longwear Intense Cream Eyeliner in Hyperblack 65 never budges. Applied with a brush, it’s easy to control for a thin flick or a bold winged eye. Trish McEvoy’s Intense Gel Eye Liner in ‘Aubergine’ is a waterproof plum that lasts all day – I love plums and navy as an alternative to black because they take the edge off and are more flattering. Trinny London’s Eye to Eye stays on all day, never smudges and there are shades to suit everyone – you can apply it easily with your fingers, too. Finally, the Suqqu Waterproof Mascara is monsoon proof – I got caught in a rainstorm once without an umbrella and it didn’t move an inch.”

Foundation & Concealer

“If I need a sheer hint of colour, I love the YSL NU Bare Look Tint. For really flawless coverage, you can’t beat SUQQU’s Cream Foundation which works especially well on drier skin. I also love the brand’s Liquid Foundation which suits all skin types – if I could only ever choose one base, it would be that. For concealer, Laura Mercier’s Camouflage has been in my kit since I began assisting. I couldn’t work without it for covering the likes of spots and sun damage. I swear by her Eye Brightening Powder too – it really helps everything stay put and eliminates shine. Speaking of powders, Fenty’s Beauty Pro Filter is great, especially for those with warmer skin tones.”

Highlighter, Blush & Bronze

“I love the Dior Backstage Glow Palette for highlighting the cheekbones – it works nicely on the eyes as well. For warmer skin tones, I use the Armani Luminous Silk Glow which doubles up as a powder bronzer and a highlighter. Another bronzer I rate it is Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Bronzer which gives skin a truly sunkissed effect. For a cream, you can’t beat the Chanel Les Beiges Bronzing formula which you can apply with a brush or fingers. For blusher, it’s got to be Sisley’s L’Orchidée and SUQQU’s Melting Powder Blush. I’m never without either of them.”

Mascara & Brows

“For drama, volume and lift I like YSL’s Lash Clash. If I want pretty big lashes with definition, then it’s Armani’s Eyes to Kill and I am never without M·A·C’s Gigablack. It has a thin wand and it’s my go-to when I need to create the most natural, spidery lash. For brows, I love SUQQU’s Framing Eyebrow Liquid Pens – they’re like using an art brush; you can’t tell there’s any product there. I also love the Rodial Glamobrow for its sharp thin pencil which twists up so there’s no sharpening needed. Then there’s also Anastasia’s Dipbrow Pomade which is a kit staple for good-looking brows.”

Lipsticks & Shades

“Every job is different, so I carry a mix of mattes and satins, as well as glosses. For the latter, my current go-to is the Clean Shine by GenSee. It has a high-shine finish that isn’t sticky and doesn’t bleed as the day goes on. The NARS ‘Red Square’ Crayon has been a favourite of mine for years – it suits everyone. I also love the Fenty Gloss Balms for a sheer wash of colour and La Perla’s Beauty Nude Red 101 for just a hint of something. You also can’t beat Charlotte Tilbury’s ‘Bitch Perfect’ shade and ‘Pillow Talk’. For soft peach and pale pink tones, I love Armani’s Lip Power range. I store all my lip products in my M.Y.O Cosmetic Case – you can get these at Guru Emporium and store at least 80 lipsticks in one.”

Kit Staples

“A hydrating lip balm is a must-have – I love Rhug Estate’s Nourishing Eye Cream. It soothes delicate skin and brightens dullness. I have to have a good cleansing balm on hand, too. They are great for removing stubborn make-up at speed – I like Eve Lom’s. If any legs are on show, I like to keep a good body oil in my kit, like OLVERUM’s Dry Body Oil formula which sets fast and never ruins clothes. Speaking of oils, I always have a good facial oil in my kit. The best one I’ve used is by Neo-Sephiri – it’s fragrance-free and has a lovely consistency. I also keep a multitasking balm in there, like the Kaea SOS Rescuer which you can use on the face and cuticles – it’s a lifesaver. Freckle pens are useful as well – I like the Missguided Frecks Appeal Pen for a more realistic finish.”

Cleaning Tools

“Last but not least are my cleaning tools. After a shoot, I wash my brushes with what I think is the best cleanser – Walford Richards. It gets rid of stubborn, greasy product and the scent is lovely. On set, I use Parian Spirit for a speedy clean. I like that it dries immediately so you can use brushes right away. I clean all my tools and my kit with Salon Services Cleansing Spray and I sanitise all my make-up with an anti-bacterial spray by ProHygieneCollection – it’s genius. It all takes time, but the results are worth it.”

Follow Tania on Instagram @TaniaGrier_Makeup

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