Straight Out of Beautycon: Kandee Johnson's Brilliant Advice
Kandee Johnson is a pioneer among beauty influencers. Her YouTube channel--which has developed a following of nearly 4M subscribers over the past nine years--features astounding makeup transformations that she explains while letting her vibrant personality shine through. Besides using her face as a canvas to paint characters like Snow White and Barbie and celebs like Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie, she also expertly teaches basic makeup skills, like how to contour and how to achieve ageless skin. I had the opportunity to attend Johnson’s makeup tutorial presentation at the Revlon Show & Tell Stage at Beautycon last week, where she demonstrated how to do the perfect reverse ombré lip. While she showed off her serious makeup skills, Johnson also shared profound wisdom on how she lets her optimism and self-confidence shine through. Read below, and soon enough, you'll be following in her footsteps.
What advice do you have for girls who want to wear makeup but are just starting to use it?
Wear whatever you feel most confident in...whatever fun thing you like. Whether you just like wearing just mascara, wanna try playing around with your brow, or feel like adding a little blush or cheek powder, wear whatever makes you feel most confident before you leave. Sometimes throwing on a bright red lipstick can make you feel like you’re on fire when life gets hard. I feel most like me when my makeup is a little more extra. Whatever makes you feel good should be your signature look for the day.
What is your go-to makeup product?
My go-to makeup product...oh boy. I mean, it's tough, because I really like me a good brow. I love to use Anastasia’s mineral brow powder--a brow can shape your whole face! That and concealer and you’re like “Woah!” You’re a new person!
What advice do you have for people who don’t necessarily have the technical knowledge when it comes to makeup?
Learn as much as you can. I went to beauty school, and then I apprenticed as a makeup artist, so I've written down every technique application I learned from watching that artist. But there’s a lot of good books you can read! Learning how to do makeup doesn’t just come from watching YouTube or Instagram videos. It comes from seeing how true artists melt makeup on their skin or how they apply color. Good makeup is when you look at someone’s face and they look like they’re just naturally amazing. That’s harder to do than a cut crease! I know that sounds crazy but giving someone that natural skin look is the hardest thing. How you apply the makeup is where the magic lies: how you’re pressing it into the pores, how you’re applying each layer...it's an artistry. But that's the part I love the most.
Who was your inspiration on Youtube when you first started out?
My inspiration is Lauren Luke. I’d never seen makeup videos on YouTube that I actually liked, and when I saw her, I was like, "I love her." You could hear her dogs howling in the background, she dropped things...I felt like she was just a friend. To this day I've never met her, but she's the entire reason that I started YouTube. I’m sad that I don’t know her in real life.
How do you dig deep and find your inner girl power when times get tough?
Have self-love, be empowered, and think positive every day. You really should just start with what your thoughts are in the morning, and no matter what hardship you’re going through, like my dad always taught me, you should "never say never." If you have problems, tell yourself that you have challenges instead, because challenges can be overcome. If your day is crazy hard, I want you to say “I’m gonna be a warrior. I’m gonna get through this day no matter what.” Turn on your favorite happy music and dance around instead of playing a song that makes you feel all the feels. Always make sure you have good feelings in the morning. I work out for ten minutes to get my body pumped up and it makes me feel like I can take on the world. Tell yourself, “there’s only one of me in this world,” and you have the power to make people happy everywhere you go. Your smile can change someone’s day.
Yeah! Kandee for President!
What advice do you have for aspiring beauty bloggers?
Always be yourself because that's what your magic is at. Your magic is in you being unique and different. Whether you're quirky or weird...whatever it is. When you’re making a video, you should always look like you’re talking to the person you’re most comfortable with. It could be your best friend, your teacher...whoever. That is what will make your magic shine through.