In The Bag – Nick Irwin

by | Jan 10, 2022 | In the Bag, People

“I have so much kit!” says the world-renowned session artist and hair editor of Hunger magazine. “I can take up to ten cases on set or backstage, depending on the size of the job – these are just the essentials.”

Burton kit bags in multiple sizes

“It’s got to be Burton. The minimum number of bags I take on a job is five because you never want to be caught out!”

My electrical tools

“We use mainly ghds or BaByliss PRO.”

Brushes and combs

“I’m very old school. I don’t have too much trendy or expensive stuff, but occasionally I’ll indulge in Mason & Pearson. YS Park combs are always brilliant and I get a good quality Afro comb from my supplier in Brixton.”

Session Label by Schwarzkopf Professional 

“My new go-to products. They cover all bases and are lightweight, which makes them great for multi-layering.”

Afro Sheen

“Glow-up spray is as old school as they come but I use this on everything from wet-looking and oily textures to hi-shine Afro hair.”

Elastic reel

“Absolutely essential for the tightest of ponytails. We use it in multiple colours!”

Hair cages

“Depending on the job, these are an amazingly quick way of adding volume or shape to a look.”

Leather tool wrap

“My favourite way to keep all my scissors, razors, combs, etc, in one place. This one is from Session Kit.”

Makita Leaf Blower

“The perfect on-set wind blower!”

Water spray

The most important – and underrated – piece of kit by a mile.”

Afro sponge

“An absolute essential and the best way to create instant dreads.”

Set bag

“This is glued to my first assistant, Ellie Bond. The quickest, most effective way to have everything you need to hand, especially on location.”

Miscellaneous essentials

“Hair glue, wig glue for extensions and nets, setting nets for reducing volume or setting, needle and thread for stitching in hair, Aesop ginger and lavender essential oil for removing glue (personal tip!), Japanese hair padding and felting needles for wig-making.”

On-set colouring products

“Everything from Krylon sprays to root touch-up and food colourings. I also carry Crazy Colors and a selection of art brushes and spatulas for application.”

High quality real hair extensions

“We have these in abundance, in every colour. They’re essential on every single job, in case we need to create and cut a new look.”

Pins and grip boxes

“I have a large size for on-set, and a mini-sized Japanese version for when I’m on location.”

Wigs and hair pieces

“We can have up to 20 prepped and pre-made wigs on a shot, especially editorial. Some big photographers expect choice and can sometimes be totally inspired by what you bring to the shoot. Other times you can spend days or even weeks prepping them and end up doing ponytails! Goes with the territory…”

My personal essentials

“Sharpie pens, double-sided tape, sweetener for my coffee, my glasses, hand sanitiser and sandalwood incense to create a sense of calm in the prep space.”


Sign up for FREE access to the Salon Smart HUB

Creative HEAD on Instagram