Makeup artists tote a lot of the usual suspects in their kits—think NARS, M.A.C. and Make Up For Ever — but dig down deeper, and you’ll find less heard-of brands that prove essential to creating beautiful looks. Here are some of their favorites that we recommend you add to your makeup back ASAP:
1Vegan Makeup Brushes:
There’s no point in having stacks of gorgeous makeup in your bag if you don’t have the right tools to apply them with. Stoj Bulic, the makeup artist for stars like our favorite cool-girl Chrissy Teigen recommends the Roque Cozzette Vegan Brushes. “The brushes provide you with blending perfection. My models always comment on how nice the brushes feel on their skin!” Stoj explains. For a perfectly even eyeliner application, Bulic also recommends the P375 eyeliner brush. “There’s no other eyeliner brush like it. I use it with gel liner since it makes the line so precise”.
2Brightening Eye Mask:
Even the most stunning eye makeup application can be ruined by tired, droopy eyes. Stoj recommends this energizing eye mask for a super quick pick-me-up. “It really is an instant de-puffing mask. The twin chambers allow the active ingredients to remain the purest form,” Stoj explains. Place the eye masks under your eyes 15 minutes before you begin applying your makeup for instantly brightened and de-puffed eyes.
Create the look of contouring perfection the likes of Kim Kardashian with this contour, shade and highlight product. Stoj Bulic swears by this product since it “contours and shades the cheek bones while staying invisible to the eye.”
With Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows the point of envy among all of Hollywood, it’s no surprise celebrity makeup artist Stoj Bulic recommends a brow product. “The Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz is so convenient with its’ retractable end and brow brush on the other. The colors in the Anastasia brow line are perfection and the pencil glides effortlessly,” says Stoj.
Blending makeup with your fingertips can leave you with an uneven application and a cake-y looking face. James MacKinnon, the head of the franchise “Fast & Furious” series’ makeup department, believes the best way to achieve complexion perfection is with the Beauty Blender. The high-definition cosmetic sponge applicator ensures streak-free application.
Cut time out of your makeup routine by forgoing concealer and heavy foundations by starting off with blemish-free skin in the first place. MacKinnon is a fan of the Jan Marini line. He explains that “Jan Marini is great if you have acne-prone skin.”
A faux, summer glow helps fake a healthy, complexion without leading to wrinkles or skin cancer. Celebrity makeup artist James MacKinnon recommends this self tanner for a natural, non-orange look.
8Hydrating Facial Oil:
Starting off with a good base is always the key to a flawless makeup application. Sonia Kashuk, Makeup Artist and Founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty, recommends this product since it’s a moisturizer, primer, and skin perfecter all in one. “It intensely hydrates while transforming the skin into a smooth, glowing base before any makeup application,” says Sonia.
Just-bitten lip color looks luscious when first applied, but a balmy finish is notorious for fading fast. Celebrity makeup artist Faye Lauren says some of the most highly pigmented shades in the business are made by theater makeup brand Mehron, and the line’s lip creams combine color with hydration and a super long-lasting hold. “My must-have shade is Velvet Rose, which looks great on every skintone!” says Lauren.
When in Paris, traveling beauty pros often make a beeline for the French pharmacy, where shelves are chock-full of unique grooming products. A cleansing water known as Bioderma Crealine H20 is among the most coveted finds. Soak a cotton ball with the clear mild formula and sweep over skin to gently lift eye and face makeup without drying soap or the need for rinsing. “It feels like water but removes every trace of makeup—even waterproof—and you can also use it as a toner to refresh skin,” says Los Angeles makeup artist Teri Kang.
11Dewy Skin Primer:
Known as a staple to transform the overworked faces of fashion models and red carpet celebrities into plush canvases receptive to makeup, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré is another French pharmacy find. “It’s the best all-around moisturizer to add a healthy glow, and is gentle enough for sensitive skin,” says Kang, who uses it on clients before applying makeup. You can also erase makeup mistakes in a hurry by dabbing the soothing lotion on a Q-tip or tissue and swiping away.
12The Perfect Flush:
Ever wish your blush were a little more pink or had some more pop? La Femme Blush makes multiple tones in every shade of rouge so that you can find exactly the right match. “It’s the best blush you can buy, and for less than $4!” says Kang, who adds that the pigment and blendability meet pro standards. The colors come in pans that slip into palettes; if you don’t already own an empty case, we suggest the magnetized Zpalette that fits makeup pans of any size. Already available in chic black and splash animal prints, the palette will launch electric new shades this month.
When it comes to liner, many feel irritated while applying color so close to the eye—but Colleen Campbell, makeup artist to actress Kate Mara of “House of Cards” fame, has found a solution with the Ecocert-certified black Antonym pencil. “I can use it confidently in the waterline and know that it’s gentle and safe with natural ingredients—and the creamy formula means no pulling, tugging or skipping on the eyelid,” says the artist. The pencil comes with a built-in sharpener.
We’ve heard of exfoliating your face and lips—but your eyebrows? New York City makeup artist Christie Caiola says it’s a must for clients trying to grow out a fuller arch. “I have them use Elke’s Brow Scrub to clear dead skin and help stimulate growth,” explains Caiola, of a sugar and virgin coconut oil scrub designed by celeb brow expert Elke Von Freudenberg. Caiola also preps with it before a wedding or all-day photo shoot to help makeup glide on more smoothly and stay in place.
“I can’t live without this palette!” says celebrity makeup artist Nicole Bryl, who regularly works with famous faces like Melania Trump. The sleek tray contains 12 universal shades of matte nude, taupe, black, grey, brick and brown shades plus highlighter, and is all you need to color eyes, fill-in brows and contour areas like the cheekbones. The varying intensities allow you to go either natural or glamorous in one sweep, or anywhere in between. While it’s steep at $75, this one packs in a lot of bang for your buck.
Cotton swabs have long been a grooming essential for many, but celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor says that using regular swabs for makeup application can leave fuzz behind that can ruin your finish. Instead, look for a more rigid, pointed design made especially for makeup, like these Fran Wilson applicators that are sold at stores like Sally’s Beauty Supply. “I use the point to make eyeliner look crisp and to make sure red lips are perfect,” says Sotomayor, who has made up the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway.
17Cat’s Eye Shortcut:
Stroking on a sultry Cleopatra eye is a tough technique that many fail to ever acquire. Celebrity makeup artist Julianne Kaye says Girlactik’s Precise Marker Liner is designed to help get you past common pitfalls. “The pen is better than a cream because it dries faster, and it doesn’t smudge like pencil—you can go thin and simple or totally thick and dramatic, depending how you draw the line,” she says. The marker tip is soft and malleable while still maintaining precision.
Preventing grease from cropping up on t-zones, foreheads and balding scalps is a daily job requirement for makeup artists who work on film and television sets. Make-up International’s Super Matte is the pro standard that mattifies skin on contact without the need for caking on powder, says our expert. “It also keeps makeup from breaking down from sweat,” adds Kang. The formula comes in shades of light, medium and dark so that a chalky finish isn’t left behind. Use it to spot-treat shiny areas, or as an all-over primer for oily skin.
19False Lash Faker:
To create the look of extensions without the fuss of a time-consuming salon service or set of falsies, film makeup artist Kamilla Baisheva uses Measurable Difference Fiber Lash Extensions Mascara to get lashes that “look long but still natural,” she says. To use the dual-ended wand: Apply mascara first, then sweep a layer of fibers over, and finally seal with a second top coat of mascara. The jet black side also contains nourishing peptides to encourage better lash growth.
20Editor’s Pick: Space Saver:
We’re always digging for tweezers and our favorite eye shadow brush in the morning rush, and found this organizing solution. It’s designed to make reaching for favorite tools easier with a grippy silicone base that holds essentials of all sizes straight up. Not only does it look cute on the counter, but it also helps keep primping space clutter-free. Choose from a variety of base colors on Quirky.com, a site that curates and creates unique inventions submitted by users.