Best Foundation Palette for Makeup Artists

Best Foundation Palette for Makeup Artists
August 17, 2020 Ellis James

How many foundations should a makeup artist have?

Professional makeup artists know that unless the client’s skin looks great, nothing looks great. The foundation palette is the most important tool in their kit, because it’s literally the foundation of every look, for every occasion, and every skin type. So in this post, we’ll be recommending the best foundation palette for makeup artists.

SHANY Professional Cream Foundation and Camouflage Concealer - 15 Color Palette

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Best Foundation Palettes for Makeup Artists

Best Foundation Palette for Beginner Makeup Artists: Ben Nye Foundation Color Palette, Essential Matte Foundation

Ben Nye was the legendary makeup director of 20th Century Fox, designing makeup looks for over 500 films in over four decades.

Today, Ben Nye foundation palettes are particularly noted for their ability to match and compliment the skin of women of color. This essential, 12 color matte palette gives moderate coverage, or layer for greater opacity. The foundation is high-definition ready, ideal for broadcast, fashion, bridal, or theater clients.


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This is a great starter set for new makeup artists because it’s affordable in price, blends beautifully, and you can get refill pots of specific shades, allowing you to stock up on your most popular, most-used shades without buying a whole new palette. Each pot gives you approximately 100-200 applications, provided you use the makeup correctly.

The Ben Nye Foundation Palette is available in the 18 “classic” shades that suit a huge range of skin tones, or the 12 color “olive-brown” palette with more nuanced shades in the deeper skin tone range. However, you can always get refills of the 21 total shades in the product line, and mix-and-match to suit your clients.

RELATED: Ben Nye Powder for Dark Skin

Best Foundation Palette for a Busy Professional: RCMA VK Palettes


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RCMA palettes are the staple of a makeup artist’s toolkit. These hyper-pigmented colors can act as a makeup or concealer, saving time and space, in a compact palette that goes anywhere. The whipped-cream texture blends beautifully and wears weightlessly, and the foundation has no perfume, lanolin, or mineral oil.

RCMA palettes are preferred and recommended by MUAs everywhere, and this fantastic review by senior makeup artist Cassandra Stephen, not only explains why these products are so great, but gives great tips on how to use them as well.

RCMA foundation palettes are refillable, and you can replace foundation shades with contouring or cheek coloring shades if you choose.

RELATED: Cream to powder foundation

Best Foundation Palette for Professional Results at Home: Graftobian Creme Foundation Palette High Definition Makeup Kit

For Warm Skin Tones:

Graftobian Creme Foundation Warm Super Palette High Definition Makeup Kit – 18 Warm HD Full Coverage Pigment Concealers for Smooth, Buildable Application and Creaseless Finish

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For Cool Skin Tones

Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Foundation Cool Super Palette - 18 High Definition Cool Undertone Cream Shades

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Graftobian is a US-based makeup company established in 1978 and is incredibly popular among online beauty gurus and influencers. It’s a full-coverage palette, with a creamy texture, available in warm, cool, and neutral palettes. Graftobian isn’t widely used among elite makeup artists, but it has a big following in the beauty community, and is a fantastic palette for practicing different looks, giving great coverage, and looking fantastic on camera.

With this palette (as with all foundation) skin prep ahead of time is absolutely critical for good results, because it can emphasize rather than diminish dry or rough skin. We love Annie Levy’s professional skin prep regimen for the perfect base for yourself or your clients.

Best Luxury Foundation Palette for Makeup Artists: Bobbi Brown BBU Pro Face Palette

Bobbi Brown BBU Face Palette

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The BBU Pro Face Palette is everything a professional makeup artist needs in a single palette for all skin tones. The palette includes 14 color correcting shades, 13 concealing shades, and 20 foundation shades with the same texture as Bobbi Brown’s famous, award-winning foundation sticks. This palette will suit every skin type and tone, and is designed for the runway, the wedding, or for fashion shoots.

For a fantastic, detailed, balanced review from a professional makeup artist, check out Wayne Goss’s review of the BBU palette.

What to Look For in a Professional Foundation Palette

Here are some of the key features of a professional foundation palette.

Skin Tones

A professional foundation palette needs shades that work with warm, cool, and neutral skin tones.

Skin Types

Professional foundation needs to look great on many if not every type of skin tone; that may be dry, oily, or combination skin.

RELATED: Best Lancôme Foundation For Dry Skin

Custom Shades

There should be enough colors in the palette to allow you to quickly create custom shades, and the makeup should blend beautifully.


Professional foundation palettes typically include enough shades for basic contouring, although detailed contouring is best done with a contour palette.


Professional foundations are typically extremely high quality, with more pigments than consumer-grade products. High quality foundations look better, last longer, blend better, and improve the performance of the rest of the makeup. As a rule, if cost is an issue, it’s better to invest in fewer shades of high quality foundation, than buy a low-quality foundation palette with more colors.

RELATED: How to Choose Good Quality Makeup Brushes

Ease of Use

Finally, while the palette has to make your clients look great, it also has to be easy for you to use. There are only so many bottles of foundation you can carry with you. Look for palettes that have an easy, workable texture. Foundation should blend well and layer well, so you can get just the right amount of coverage.


Graftobian Creme Foundation Warm Super Palette High Definition Makeup Kit – 18 Warm HD Full Coverage Pigment Concealers for Smooth, Buildable Application and Creaseless Finish


There is no exact right number of colors in a foundation palette. The more colors you have, the less custom blending you have to do. This can be an advantage on jobs where time is an issue.  It also makes your palette larger and potentially more difficult to transport.

Because it’s so difficult to find a single palette that meets every need, pros often travel with three or more foundation palettes. They may have separate palettes for cool, warm, or neutral skin tones, or three different palettes designed for dry, oily, or combination skin.

Best Foundation Palettes for Makeup Artists: A Conclusion

The ability to give your clients the look of healthy, youthful, glowing skin is arguably the most important skill a makeup artist must perfect. It requires time, preparation, practice, and a great foundation palette. Remember that the palette needs to work for you and for your clients, complementing their skin and your style.

Related posts on our blog:

What are your suggestions for professional foundation palettes?

Comments (12)

  1. Aimsy 1 year ago

    I didn’t realise you could get foundation palettes! But I guess this is a great way for make-up artists to be able to suit all different skin tones, without having lots of bottles of foundation.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Aimsy xoxo
    Aimsy’s Antics

    • Much better to bring around than several bottles of foundation, especially during busy days!

  2. Ashley 1 year ago

    A palette for foundation is so smart for someone who needs access to so many different shades- saves a ton of space, too!

    Le Stylo Rouge

    • Absolutely! Bottles can be a hassle to bring around, a palette allows one to be much more flexible!

  3. Lovely 1 year ago

    The foundation palette is so amazing! I would love to have that!


  4. Nancy 1 year ago

    Having the right foundation is so important!! There are so many options out there whether you’re looking for a dry or wet application. I haven’t tried the palettes before – so many different ranges, but probably more suitable for professionals. Thanks for sharing all of these facts!

    Nancy ✨

  5. Margot 1 year ago

    Wow theses palettes sound amazing for makeup artists.
    It’s always hard to find the right shade of foundation.

  6. Kinga 1 year ago

    Look very good 🙂

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