In August I went to New York City to be a spokesperson for a green makeup brand showing at a major industry trade show, and for once I got to leave my pro natural makeup and hair kit at home. A huge relief!
That is until Murphy’s Law kicked in, and I got an irresistible offer to do makeup and hair for a photoshoot happening in NYC that I really wanted to be a part of. The problem was that I was totally without my professional tools.
So here’s how I threw together a stellar, pro natural makeup and hair kit just hours before the shoot using only three brands!
What was in my pro natural makeup and hair kit
Natural Makeup all by Sappho New Paradigm
- New Paradigm Foundation
- Pressed Eyeshadows
- Pressed Blush
- Brow Pomade
- Vegan Mascara – Black
- Shimmers – Medium
- Setting Powder
- Lip Gloss – Hazey
Click here to buy goodies for yourself directly from Sappho, a vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free natural makeup brand — all while supporting this woman-owned business.
Natural Hair Styling Products all by Innersense
- Harmonic Healing Oil
- Inner Peace Whipped Cream Texturizer
- I Create Finish
Find the best, ethical and non-toxic hair products for your hair at innersensebeauty.com
Natural Skincare all by Max and Me
- Sweet Serenity Rescue Balm
- Enchanted Facial Oil
Click here to indulge yourself with high-vibration, deliciously formulated, healing skin products.
Why I wasn’t prepared
After 10 years of lugging my ginomorous makeup kit all over the globe, my goal has been to travel much less frequently with it.
You can see in my live video my process for through what I need to take in my professional makeup and hair kit — it’s a beast! Everything has to be very precisely thought out and practical, with the majority of space and weight dedicated to my makeup/hair kit. That means no extra “fun” clothes or shoes.
You’d think with all that prep that I was traveling with a carry on bag only, but nope. In fact, I carry a travel scale to ensure my 26-inch suitcase is right at the 50 pound mark every time I fly.
However on this trip, a dream came true. I was being sent to NYC to act as a spokesperson for an amazing natural (fully vegan and gluten free!!), Canadian makeup brand called Sappho Cosmetics and engage would-be buyers/distributors for their massive relaunch — and I didn’t have to bring my kit. Hallelujah!
I was feeling footloose and fancy free. That would change quickly…
The fear of every makeup artist
An award-winning photographer who I love, Braden Summers, saw on Instagram that I was in NYC at the same time he was planning a shoot there, and reached out to have me do both makeup and hair for his shoot. A dream!
And immediately I had a big problem.
I had NOTHING with me except my personal makeup supplies (and if you’ve seen that video you know it’s like 6 things), only a tiny container of Innersense Inner Peace Whipped Cream Texturizer and I Create Finish (hair spray) for my own hair — but I didn’t even a hair brush!
As if it couldn’t get any worse, then I found out the shoot was set to be at 7am in a newly redesigned diner in Times Square the next morning.
So that meant I would have to be up at 5am (after working until 9pm the night prior) and ready to bust out makeup and hair for a male and female model in just 1.5 hours. From there I’d have to head directly to work for my client Sappho for an 8-hour, high-energy day at the Indie Beauty Expo.
The photo shoot was a personal project — meaning you do it for the love, not the money. There are very very few photographers on the planet I would have said yes to under these conditions.
So after Braden plied me with various conveniences, like letting me stay in the hotel room the night before where we would prep in the morning (see the video here). He begged just enough with his pretty blue eyes, I folded and decided to make it happen!
The crazy story behind how I managed to gather the right supplies in less than 24 hours
Knowing that my main reason for being in NYC was to be 100% in service as the brand ambassador for JoAnn (the founder of Sappho), I wanted to run the whole scenario past her before I said yes to the shoot.
She didn’t hesitate in offering her blessing, and even allowed me take her entire collection of makeup and extra brushes overnight!
Thankfully she developed her exceptional brand while working as a long-time, makeup artist. So Sappho had everything I needed including a full range of colors in foundation.
Given that the model Lucy was a blend of Mexican and Indian heritage, I needed the exact right shades for her unique skin tone (something many brands totally ignore) — so Sappho saved my tushy the morning of the shoot.
Even though Innersense (a favorite natural hair care brand of mine) didn’t have a booth at iBE, I knew the owner Greg (a total love) was there….and poof! I ran into him at the perfect moment.
After explaining my dilemma, he grabbed his own (partially used) personal bottle of Harmonic Healing Oil from his backpack and handed it to me with best wishes.
Earlier that morning, I’d had a glorious meeting with the exceptional creators behind Max and Me Skincare, who gave me a beautiful bag of precious skin treatments, which I used both on myself (really delighting in the aromatherapeutic benefits since I was already kinda tired) and to prep the models’ faces.
Morning of Photoshoot: Model Prep
The male model Joey (also a med student) had a very parched face from taking Acutane. I slathered and massaged his skin with Max and Me Sweet Serenity Rescue Balm.
His skin just drank it up, and the balm left behind a beautiful radiance to his face, which meant I didn’t need a makeup product to create the effect. That was truly “sweet serenity” and a major “rescue”. I love finding a product that lives up to its name and claims!
On Lucy all I had to use was the Max and Me Enchanted Facial Oil, and after a quick face massage, her skin was ready for makeup. It was simple to do, and the glow it gave her face was definitely enchanting!
I set forth on making Lucy look elegant, timeless and as the photographer put it “like a Prada campaign” by mixing up foundation, concealer and a bit of highlight shimmer that evened out her skin, while bringing forth her stunning bone structure.
Especially after I’d worked in such beautiful skin care to make Lucy’s face look fresh, I didn’t want the makeup to cover it it or gunk it up, so that’s why I love that Sappho cosmetics allow the skin to look real, with ingredients that get an A+ in my book.
Then I further defined her eyes and cheeks with neutral tones of shadows and a touch of color in all the “right places.”
Then I let her thick hair drink in the Innersense Harmonic Healing Oil and tamed it a bit further with some styling tools and a touch of the Inner Peace Whipped Cream Texturizer and I Create Finish. Magic!
In the city that never sleeps, there was NO coffee to be found at 5:30am within a reasonable distance of the hotel. [Insert tired face of total sadness here]
We worked swiftly – there was really no time for coffee anyway. I was delirious at best.
I did manage to squeeze in a quick video that shows you behind the scenes with all the products I had on hand before the models arrived.
At minute 3:45 you’ll get an awesome tip on how to make your eyeshadow into an eyeliner naturally!
I ate cold, diner food that was used as props from our shoot in the a few seconds I had free between the feverish clicking of photos.
Then headed back to the hotel, gathered up all of my stuff and rushed off to start a full 8-hour day, and talking non-stop wooing would-be buyers. It was a mini-marathon — and it was fabulous!
I’m so grateful to everyone for their support, vision, kindness, generosity and creativity. Because without people like Braden making art with his photos, and people like JoAnn, Tanja, Max, and Greg creating art with their products, I could not have created art through my medium either — so they will forever have my loyalty.
I hope you enjoyed the photos, and the recounting of a few behind-the-scenes tales of what it took to make it all come together beautifully! Would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
All images (other than the behind the scenes one I took) are by Braden Summers (full copyright). All makeup and hair styling by Kristen Arnett.
Join the discussion 3 Comments
This is amazing. I would like to try this.
At first I was unimpressed at the thought of this whole story. We’ve all been there at work, scrambling on a work trip, and I thought, I’m sure you were surrounded by products…and I’m not sure why I kept reading. But I was deeply moved by the photos. Her makeup was unearthly. His skin was dewy and he was masculine but so pretty. It was art. I got the same feeling I get in museums looking at these photographs. The makeup job was exquisite. Dramatic for sure. But not overly done. Unique. And I’m glad I read the whole article, as now I know you had limited tools to work with. Thank you for that visual experience. You are good.
Hi Jennifer, wow, thank you so much. The photographer really did such an exceptional job creating the scene and the mood — and I must agree is museum like, as is all his work for me. It’s just an honor to be a part of that vision and to be trusted as an artist, even with limited tools to create. I’m really appreciative of your kind words and honoring of that collaboration. I’m glad you read through the whole thing and took time to comment too. xoxo