As a makeup artist, your kit is an essential tool – it’s a collection of carefully selected products that allow you to work your magic and build your professional reputation. But it can be difficult to determine which products you should include, and how many, as you don’t want to stock up on five types of one product and not have enough of another.
As a celebrity makeup artist, and a tutor at QC Makeup Academy, Nathan Johnson is very careful about what he keeps in his kit and ensures that he is able to fit everything in one bag!

His rule of thumb for stocking a makeup kit? Fill it with products you love! In the video below, find out which products he keeps close by, his brand recommendations, and how he personalizes his collection.

Foundations, concealers, and highlighters:

Nathan has over 80 foundations at any given time!

His secret to making sure they fit in his makeup bag? Keep them concentrated to creams.

Nathan keeps 4 foundation palettes on hand that are broken down into warm, cool, neutral, and deeper tones, and he makes sure that they can all be blended in order to meet the needs of any skin type.

In terms of Nathan’s favorite brands, he prefers the foundations in his makeup kit to be from professional brands such as Cover FX, Make Up For Ever, and Tarte. These options don’t have drying agents in them, so makeup artists are able to get the read that they want. Nathan likes to have a lot of control with his makeup, and this is the case with foundations that don’t contain drying agents, as they can be set with powder and won’t change color during the day as your client sweats.
For an amazing glow, Nathan highly recommends theBalm’s “Mary-Lou Manizer”. But be careful! This product is so pigmented that it can look like tin on the face. Just the right amount is perfect for a lid shade, highlighting below the brow, and adding a kiss at the inner corner of the eye. Another one of Nathan’s recommendations is Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer – a perfect pinky-peach shade that banishes under-eye darkness.

Primer:

The perfect face starts with the perfect primer (appropriate for your client’s skin type, of course). The priming ingredients that work extremely well with oily skin are very different than primers that hydrate the skin, so Nathan keeps a variety of primers in his kit that perform different functions. Makeup artists need to be as prepared as possible!
Nathan raves about Skindinavia setting sprays, which go on with a beautiful, effortless mist. There is a variety of them available – some that soften and give a beautiful glow to the skin, and others that control oil. This setting spray is a great finishing touch to ensure the makeup magic you’ve created stays all day.

Eye shadow, brow powders, and mascara:

Nathan’s makeup kit contains an assortment of eye shadows and brow powders that allow him to meet his clients’ needs.

Lipstick:

You can carry a tremendous number of lipsticks when you keep them in a palette. Because there are several shades that Nathan is obsessed with at any given time, he’ll bring a couple of shades he’s in love with and keep them on hand. He’ll also carry a selection of glosses.

Brushes:

Nathan is adamant about keeping his makeup brushes good and clean, and notes that some are facing up and some facing down in his kit. He does this as a way to keep track of which brushes he’s cleaned and which still need to be sanitized, as each brush will be cleaned after each use.

Nathan stocks his makeup kit with a broad range of products, and in some cases it’s perfectly fine to buy drugstore products instead of expensive ones. He encourages makeup artists to play and experiment with inexpensive products such as lipsticks and mascaras (specifically L’Oreal Luminous Original Mascara, which creates amazing looks). The magic is finding the products that work for you!
The products in Nathan’s kit include Nars, Three Custom Color Specialists, Cover FX, and drugstore-brand lipstick shades, which he’s recently fallen in love with. He recommends getting to know all the makeup products you can, so you can help your clients make the best makeup choices.

Find out how NOT to pack your professional makeup kit with these truly terrible packing practices!