Case in Point: Makeup Artist Legend Rivera
Building a durable makeup kit can be something of an art form: assembling a collection of products with time-tested benefits, pigments with versatility, and artistry staples that ooze efficiency, all while considering the specific demands of clients and editorial shoots. It takes patience and a certain eye for multi-purposing products.
We’ve unpacked (and re-packed) makeup artist Legend Rivera’s must-see kit, and learned a few things about multi-tasking beauty on the way. Click through the slideshow to get a glimpse into the tried and tested products of a pro.
Military Style Assault Bag
Who says the beauty industry is all glitz and glam? Known as an Enhanced Medium Molle Assault Pack, this military-grade backpack is designed for extended occupations during over-sea tours. The compartments and straps are built in to attach any extra gear needed, such as ammunition. Or in Legend’s case, liquid foundation and matte lip colors.
“The sturdy construction was the main factor for using it,” says Legend. “I intentionally constrained myself to this unit so I had to de-pot and re-purpose products for the most efficient travel means.”
The backpack includes deep compartments and room for attachments, features that certainly come in handy considering the amount of product that Legend carries on a daily basis. Take inspiration from the pro and divide your products into several clear bags.
Efficiency is the name of Legend’s game. Everything gets de-potted in his kit, regardless of the brand. When choosing products, he considers how important the tone, texture and color payoff are to his arsenal. And if they’re even worth the effort to de-pot.
“I find that companies like MAC, Smashbox or Face Stockholm use simple packaging that is very efficient and easy to manipulate,” says Legend. “Others like NARS or Tom Ford use extravagant packaging. And this can sometimes mean ruining the product altogether.”
Arsenal of Pigments
“Loose pigments are great as shadows, blushes, highlighters and even foundations and lip colors,” says Legend on his stash of de-potted pigments. “If you have the know-how, you can mix them into various textures to get the payoff you need when such a product may not exist—or does exist but comes in packaging that is too bulky.”
Viva La Viva
There’s no Brawny here. Legend’s paper towel of choice? The strong and absorbant fibers in Viva Paper Towels for easy touch ups throughout the day.
Once a brush is used on a specific color, it’s done. “No one gets pink eye on my watch,” says Legend. His lengthy cleaning process is extensive, but certainly appreciated by his clients. In addition to cleaning his brushes nightly, Legend removes everything from its case and wipes it down with a combination of water, oxy clean and rubbing alcohol.
“I won’t be able to sleep until it’s done,” he added.
Forget stackable wrist candy, Legend won us over with his wearable application tools.
Personalities of a Lash
Falsies are not one size fits all. One person may be better suited to a lash that is flared at the corners. Whereas another person may prefer length on the inner corner. Using lashes with a clear filament (band) allows you to layer or mix and match shapes that suit a specific lash line.
Legend suggests loading lashes with black mascara, then layering brown falsies for a “full but feathery look."
“The same [look] can be done with various styles of lashes if you have a good pair of scissors and a steady hand… and some free time,” says Legend.
“I need products that perform, not ones that look pretty,” says the pro. “So things like foundation powders or bronzers have to pass a battery of tests to make it into my kit. If I have to constantly touch up or if the packaging is too extravagant, they don’t make it in.”Advertisement
Face Stockholm Eyes/Lash Glue, lotion, SPF, moisturizers and balms are part of his emergency kit. But Australian Scent Balm of Gilead ($24) will always be Legend’s go-to. Its multitasking performance on the face, eyes, hands and body is exactly the type of efficiency that Legend looks for in products.
“My heart belongs to Balm of Gilead,” he says.
Divide and Conquer
You won't find any bullets in this military casing. Legend removes the lipstick (only rich, matte shades. Sheer products are too one-dimensional) and re-pots them in these 7-day pill cases found at Walgreens. Trick of the trade: use nail polish remover to erase the letters on the plastic.
“If I see a container that would be really useful, I give it the same test as a cosmetic," says Legend. “Is it multi-purpose? Is it convenient? Is it worth the price?” If containers meet the criteria, Legend invites them into his inner circle. When it comes to conquering glosses, he finds that easily accessible materials like cardboard make for great dividers—he separates them by color and category.
Foundations and concealers must blend easily and serve multiple purposes to get a coveted spot in his mesh compartment. As for the signature black bandanas seen here, they're placed under every product for easy cleanup.
Vivid Color Palettes
Rainbow lids and vibrant hues fall short of realistic outside of editorial shoots. Legend suggests making the most out of a vivid eye shadow palette by smudging a bit of black liner on the lash line, then gliding a bright color on top of it. The result is a super wearable shade.
Every item has a proper home in Legend's kit; it's organization at its finest. Each palette is color-coded and labeled based on the product and color scheme found inside.
Legend lays every brush and palette out to dry over night after a thorough cleaning process.