Let’s take a look at this often underappreciated aspect of makeup artistry: the background makeup kit. Walk with me as I take you through the entire contents of my own meticulously curated BG kit, explaining why each item earns its spot and how it all comes together to keep your workload manageable and your back ache-free.
If you’ve ever struggled with kit organization or wondered how to streamline your on-set essentials, this one’s for you.

the bg makeup kit breakdown
small professional makeup kit

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How you can streamline your workflow and reduce hassle as a makeup artist
  • Downsizing and organizing products, and yes, deporting only when necessary ensures you can always have your day checking kit ready without it weighing a tonne
  • Keeping your kit well-stocked, clean, and replenished can help you to stay efficient and nimble


Episode 67: Show notes

No matter what you call it – daychecking, crowd room makeup, additional makeup, it’s a massive part of the workload that you can often undertake in your work as makeup artists.

And so what, you’re not doing the #1 name on the call sheet, but a background makeup artist is an often overlooked crew member, underloved yet always HUGE part of any look of any movie or tv show.

I often find that I’m taken with background actors when they cross frame and I’m like “ooh she looked great!” and they really bring a huge sense of mood and realism to a project. When done well.

I made a decision at a point in my career when enough was enough. I had had it with pulling palettes from my beauty kit, and then never seeing them again “who stole my….” oh it was me. And also pulling a hammy or throwing my back hauling my kit in and out of the car each day.

I made the commitment to invest in a single solitary, never to be dipped into, or taken out of background makeup kit and today Im opening it up and we are going to see just how much you can fit into this 10” x 5” kit thats about the size of a hearty lunchbox.

And you know, before we get into it – I have kept it up and running for 3 or so years now. It’s one of my proudest makeup moments – I posted a single photo of it on social media the other day and I discovered that so many people struggle with or loathe (or both) kit organization, so today, we’re gonna tackle the topic of a BG kit and why you should have one, regardless of whether you get into that crowd room 1 day a year, or 365 days a year.

There is a fine art to being a solid day-checker – you have to be self-sufficient, low maintenance, organized and reliable. Work quickly and have no ego. BUT youve still got to do good work, and sometimes not even make it onto set.

It’s definitely a behind the scenes role sure, but an aspect of it that has to be a burden of its very existence, is lugging your gear to a different set, a different location every single day.

And if you’ve read any of my posts about make kits, I’ll eternally remind you to never leave your makeup kit in your car overnight. I think it was an episode about building your kit from scratch – episode 30 that I talk about that often heard story – maybe it’s happened to you ro someone you know – that had their kit stolen out of their car overnight? Awful. And preventable, but so easily done, because its a pain to lug it in and out of the house after youve worked a 17 hr day right?

Not with this bad boy. Yep this is all good news

Okay enough lets get into it – I present you my beloved BG kit and all that it entails. I’m going to walkthrough my kit piece by piece – its like a virtual unboxing – is that what its called – ok here we go.

Main Section

In the main section of my extra small Relavel case, I keep the following beauty products:

1 Hourglass Vanish Cream Foundation collection into a Vueset Palette (yes I depotted into a Vueset Tahiti)

1 Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer Collection into Vueset Tahiti Palette

1 x MAC Cream Foundation Palette into Vueset Palette

1 x Various Lipsticks into Vuesette Tahiti Palette (at the time of this photo, I was working on a period project with 1940s, 1950s and 1960s days so made a custom lip palette for the job – I have now added some neutrals to the 4 or 5 empty segments in the bottom row)

1 x Makeup Forever Cream Cheek Palette

1 x Mini Nars Orgasm Cheek Palette

1 x Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Palette

1 x Viseart Neutral Mattes Eyeshadow Palette

1 x MAC Light Contour and Highlight Palette

1 x MAC Dark Contour and Highlight Palette

1 x Ben Nye Pressed Powder Palette – Bella

1 x Ben Nye Pressed Powder Palette – Mojave

1 x Blk Opal Pressed Powder Compact

1 x Senna Brow Book

1 x Pack Disposable Sponge Wedges

Top Section

In the top section, I keep a minimal skin prep and personal care stock of the following:

1 x Beauty So Clean Makeup Sanitizing Spray

1 x Hands Down Hand Sanitizer Spray

1 x 70% Alcohol Spray

1 x 99% Alcohol Spray 

1 x Tube Cream Makeup Remover

1 x Tube Hand Cream

1 x Small Bottle Blue Kiehls Astringent

1 x Kiehl’s Lip Balm

3 x CC Cups

1 x Tube Paw Paw Ointment

1 x Tiny Ziploc Bag with 3 x Refresh Eyedrops

3 x Disposable single-use packs of lip balm

1 x Small Bottle EBA Pro Seal but you could use any setting spray

Inner Lid

Lip Pencils

Eyebrow Pencils

Liquid Eyeliner Pens


Nail Files

Palette Knives

Small Tail Comb

Zipper Section

Wax Paper Palette

Small Makeup Cape

Outer Lid

Tissue Soft packs

Wet Ones Soft packs 

Small Glass Makeup Palette

2 x Powder Puffs

Qtips or Cotton Buds

2 x Tattoo Cover Cream Palettes – Jordane or EBA Palettes for tattoo Covering

And of course – the Relavel Case itself that houses everything.

And that’s it 

Now the lid sections I’m going from memory because I’m away and I can’t locate a photo, so there may be one or two things Ive let slip. But for a very bare bones kit for which the main focus is not weighing a tonne or breaking your back (which I love – cause it forces you to make it work right?) I have found that has worked a treat!

Now obviously, this does not include my makeup brushes. So yes, I do carry them in a separate shopping bag, but that is it.

If I know I will be airbrushing, and if there’s anything specific on a project, well thats a bit different, and you can obviously prepare accordingly, but for having a pre-packed, single hand carrying kit thats always ready to go, this is absolute gold for me.

It’s also really handy if youre on a project in the main trailer, or at basecamp, and one day as can happen, you have to jump over or travel a long way to the extras tent – youve got a kit already packed and ready when you are. Its like a little lightweight portable pouch – only you don’t have to wear this one! I love it so much – I tell everyone and now I’m telling you – it really is a gamechanger – and then in between jobs, it just sits and waits patiently for your next call. 

And then the only maintenance is you keeping on top of it being stocked and well replenished – because those little bottles can empty pretty quickly, but you can usually just keep on top of that while youre working too.
And speaking of tiny bottles, yes – there are at least one or two tiny, plastic bottles in there, and yes I did mention a few Vueset Palettes that I’ve depotted – but that’s it – and obviously, for such a tiny kit to function, there’s gonna be some downsizing.

And that’s it.

I hope this helps ease your day-to-day makeup life, and especially those days you find yourself daychecking – no prep required!

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  1. This is a great post for any makeup artist working background. Save your backs and listen to Kerrin’s solid & well-thought-out BG Kit. This article is pure gold for us all!

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