As a makeup artist, whether you are a beginner or seasoned artist, your kit is like your other half. You can spend years honing your skills, but without the necessary products you obviously won't be getting much done! And when it comes to what you carry and store your products in, the market is packed with different brands and products. And somehow every single one is a "must have". This one is the sturdiest, this one has the most space or the most drawers or pockets, this one has a mirror and lights, and this one is lined with gold and will grant you three wishes...
As one of the most expensive items that you will invest in for your kit, sometimes the decision can be overwhelming. You will see some artists telling you the bigger the kit the better, because having a big range of products will give you a better advantage. And many seasoned artists will tell you to keep it simple, aiming more for quality over quantity. But one thing that they will agree on is that you want to get something that is going to not only protect your products, but will LAST. As much as we can try to handle them with care, there is no question that our kits can get pretty beat up as time goes on.
Though there are an enormous number of options, if you ask a group of pros which are the brands that they prefer, you will usually hear the same few names thrown around: Stilazzi, Just Case, and Zuca. After hearing a lot recently about Zuca in particular, I decided to replace my old beat up set bag, which I got on clearance when I worked on Blick, with the Artist Backpack. I have seen well known and respected artists who use this bag as their entire kit, and others who have told me they have had theirs for 10 years! It seemed like the right upgrade for me, and as I began transferring I realized that I could fit more than just my set bag. I actually ended up condensing my entire huge rolling case into this backpack.
The backpack came with 2 small Zuca Utility Pouches, but the backpack can probably fit 5. I purchased 2 more, so I now have 4 and just enough extra space for my smaller pouches! And as you will see, it has several pockets and pouches inside for itemizing the interior, allowing complete organization. Oh, and the right side zips open contains a "hot pouch" for your hair styling tools. How flippin' awesome is that?
So here is how I have organized my kit:
Bottom Utility Pouch - Foundations, concealers, and adjusters.
I have my metal mixing palettes on the bottom, and all of my foundation palettes, concealers, and adjusters from RCMA, Cinema Secrets, MaqPro, Graftobian, and Ben Nye. I also have my Cinema Secrets primers in this pouch.
Second Utility Pouch - All face powders, blushes, highlighters, etc. Palettes on the bottom, and singles lined up on top.
Third Utility Pouch - Eyeshadow
I have about 10 palettes Tetris'd in there, and then some small single shadows on the side.
Fourth Utility Pouch - Eyelashes
Top Utility Pouch - Lip products such as glosses and palettes. You'll see my custom depotted lipstick palette right there on the top, I love that little baby. I bought a set of three of these awesome cases on Amazon, they are similar to the Zuca pouches but are smaller.
I also keep my case of eyeliners, mascaras, etc in here. I use an old Copic marker case from my days working at Blick Art Materials.
The side pouches, clockwise from top left:
Pouch #1 - Eye tools such as different lash glues, scissors, pencil sharpener, and application tweezers.
Pouch #2 - Eye and Lip primers. I have so many different primers from Too Faced, Urban Decay, Lorac, and many more
Pouch #3 - Just my shadow shields right now
Pouch #4 Spray bottle containing water, small Skindinavia Primer Spray, and my RCMA Foundation Thinner
The zipper pouch on the top contains my Betty Dain styling cape
Miscellaneous small products that do not have a home yet.
Curling wand, comb, brush, bobby pins, and hair ties
I thought it was some sort of witchcraft when I saw others using this backpack as their kit, as someone with a large rolling case. When I was younger, I thought the bigger the better. But as you grow as an artist, you learn what you really need and what you do not. I ended up tossing a lot of products that I never used, and now can fit my entire makeup kit on my back. And another perk of this backpack is that it has cushions on the back, as well as on the inside of the straps, to ease the strain on your body. The little pillows act as a barrier against your back and shoulders for extra comfort when carrying it. This thing is just brilliant!
But what about the set bag that I was originally trying to replace? This contained all of my setting sprays, moisturizers, brush cleaners, makeup removers, hand sanitizers, brushes, disposables, etc. This was the main purpose of even buying the backpack, and I still wanted to put those in something a little smaller. So I took a look at the CRC website, knowing that we would have something perfect. I stumbled across the Japonesque Pro Set Bag, which I knew was just what I needed.
This bag is down right fantastic. The exterior (on the long sides) is lined with pouches that are just perfectly sized for all of the bottles that I mentioned above, and the short sides have wider pouches where I have my makeup remover wipes and wedge sponges.
The interior also has large pockets that line the longer sides, which right now are empty. The middle of the bag is big enough for all of my tools.
It holds my brush book, which is currently half empty from a recent film shoot
My other two travel cases from the set I purchased on Amazon (I love these things). One holds disposables such as sponges, cotton pads, mascara wands, q tips, etc. Also currently a little low and in need of restocking. The other holds misc prep tools like hand sanitizer, vaseline, moisturizers, creams, etc.
And last is my travel case of lipliners.
So I started out with my kit in a 3 foot tall aluminum rolling case, which was unbelievably heavy and felt like dragging an elephant, and a large makeshift set bag that was too big and didn't fit my needs. Now I have my kit condensed into a backpack, which is not only smaller but far easier to transport, and a set bag that is half the size but actually has more room because of the exterior pockets. Together they cost just under $175 on the CRC website, which is not much more than I originally paid for my large rolling case by itself. And I couldn't be happier with the change.
I hope this has been informative, whether you are just starting out or if you are like me and are looking for a downsize. If you have any questions or want more information, leave a comment below. And don't forget to subscribe!