Beauty Experts Secretly Use These Cheap Tricks To Make People Look 10x Better

Update your beauty routine with these insider tips.

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In the beauty world, it can sometimes feel like you need to rely on high-end products to get the results you want. But according to the hair stylists, makeup artists, estheticians, and other beauty insiders The Zoe Report consulted for this article (including a handful of our own beauty editors and writers), some of the hardest-working products in their arsenals happen to be the cheapest — and they can be put to some super-creative uses to make their clients (and themselves) look and feel their absolute best.

From smoothing down flyaways with a clever hair mascara to promoting a plumper pout with a simple silicone brush, beauty experts secretly use these cheap tricks to make people look 10x better. Time to get clued in.


Comb Out Mascara Clumps With This Clever Eyelash Brush

If clumpy mascara is messing with your look, makeup artist Omayma Ramzy has a genius trick. “These lash separators are fantastic when doing mascara if your lashes tend to look too clumpy,” Ramzy previously told The Zoe Report, continuing that she “uses them in between each coat of mascara to keep the lashes looking long and lifted!”


Run A Flat Iron Over Braids For Effortless Waves

“To get beachy, mermaid waves without a curling iron or going to the salon, braid your damp hair into tight sections and run a flat iron lightly over each braid,” hair stylist Lana Grand shares. “This will help create waves that can be finger-combed out for an effortless, beachy style.” Amazon customers love this $40 flat iron for its super-fast heat-up time and long, thin, lightweight design that’s easy to maneuver. The titanium plates are also infused with argan oil to leave your hair smooth, silky, and free of unwanted frizz. Plus, because its edges are rounded, you can use it to give yourself loose waves, too.


Brighten Up Your Inner Corners With This Long-Lasting Eyeshadow Stick

Looking for a simple way to take your makeup look to the next level? Lauren Kunijo, co-owner of Kenna Kunijo, offers one of the easiest tricks out there. “Add a touch of highlighter in your tear duct, right in the inner corner, to accentuate your eyes,” she suggests. This popular eyeshadow stick is a great (and inexpensive) choice — it comes in over 30 shimmery, pearlescent, and matte shades, including a handful that work beautifully as highlighter; and the waterproof, long-lasting formula won’t budge, even if you have watery eyes.

  • Available shades: 39


Add A Brown Highlighter On Top Of Your Bronzer For A Glowy Look

If you embrace a softly sun-kissed complexion, Kunijo recommends that you “use a brown highlighter on top of your bronzer to give yourself a bit more of a glow.” This award-winning Maybelline highlighter has long been a beauty favorite for its dynamic, radiant, chrome-like finish and smooth texture that blends beautifully into your skin. It comes in five shades, but the bronze-y ‘Molten Topaz’ linked above would be perfect for Kunijo’s tip.

  • Available shades: 5


Apply A Thin Layer Of Foundation On Your Eyelids

For a perfected complexion, “make sure you put a thin layer [of foundation] on your eyelid up to under your brow,” Kunijo tells The Zoe Report. Whatever you have leftover on your makeup brush or sponge will do the trick. “This will create an even canvas and hide discoloration.” This tip works with any foundation you favor, but this super-popular Milani foundation is a particularly great choice if you’re in the market for a new one — the two-in-one formula works as both a foundation and a concealer with a satin matte finish, so it’s basically the only base product you need.

  • Available shades: 45


Maintain Your Dye Job & Fake A Fuller Hairline With This Genius Root Cover-Up

As a celebrity colorist and owner of Sharon Doram Color at Sally Hershberger, Sharon Doram definitely knows a thing or two about maintaining a good dye job. “Color Wow Root Cover-Up works just like makeup to create thicker and fuller-looking hair as an interim for in-between coloring,” she previously shared with TZR. “Apply in the hairline or crown of the head. It is a waterproof formula but easily washes out with shampoo.” Using a powder like this one is a trick that’s often employed by pros (like Jen Atkin) when doing updos on their clients, too.

  • Available shades: 8


Use An Illuminating Lotion As A Primer For A Glowy Makeup Look

If you’re after a glowy makeup look, makeup artist, hair stylist, and extension specialist Sara Clemente suggests trying the L’Oreal Paris Lumi Glotion. “Literally will not leave the house without this stuff,” she previously told The Zoe Report. “Perfect for a natural glow and my primer before a full face of makeup. Super light and adds an instant glow. My absolute favorite product.” You can apply this multitasker as-is to your bare skin before makeup, as Clemente does, mix it in with your foundation, or use it as a highlighter on the high points of your face.

  • Available shades: 4


Keep Your Flyaways Down With A Hair-Sprayed Spoolie

“I have super-fine, straight hair and end up with the tiniest wispy hairs on either side of my part — whether I wear my hair straight or styled in waves,” says The Zoe Report beauty writer Marissa DeSantis. “To get them to lie flat without loading up on product that will ultimately weigh my hair down and leave it looking greasy, I saturate a spoolie in hairspray and gently comb the pieces down. You can buy an individual spoolie to get the job done or buy them in bulk so you always have one on hand. (I also love using a spoolie to brush through lashes in between layering on mascara for the most oversized lashes you can get without falsies or extensions.)”


Use A Cuticle Oil To Give Your Natural Nails A Nice Glow

No matter if you use gel, acrylic, or regular polish, or leave your nails bare, using a cuticle oil can work wonders for keeping your natural nails in tip-top shape. DeSantis applies TenOverTen’s The Rose Oil Cuticle Treatment daily. “Infused with rose flower oil, which gives the oil its dreamy scent, the formula is also packed with moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like jojoba seed oil, sweet almond oil, and horsetail leaf extract,” the beauty writer says. “The oil uses a tiny rollerball tip to glide right over your nails and cuticles, dispensing just the right amount of product for less mess. It also helps to rehydrate the cuticles after all that acetone nail polish remover inevitably dries them out.”


Soothe & Depuff Dull, Tired Skin With A Hot & Cold Gel Mask

For a multitasking tool that can do so much, spending $12 on this gel face mask is definitely money well spent. It comes previously recommended by celebrity makeup artist Judi Gabbay, who told TZR, “This reusable gel face mask has so many uses. Hungover? Woke up swollen? This mask gently decreases puffiness and also helps with headaches [...] Simply stick it in the fridge for a few hours, and you have a mini, sustainable face spa.” You can also heat it up in the microwave, which feels positively blissful when you have a head cold or sinus infection.


Tame Baby Hairs & Flyaways With This Handy Hair Mascara

“Going straight from the office to your date (or girls) night? This easy [hair mascara] will easily gravitate your hair to a ‘clean girl aesthetic’ while taming flyaways,” Gabbay previously shared of this hair finishing stick. The portable design is great for stashing in your bag so you can keep your edges polished and maintain a sleek pony or updo throughout the day.


Shave Your Face For A Soft & Smooth Complexion

“Shaving [my] face is hands down my favorite thing to do for an instant glow. It allows your skin care to penetrate more effectively and makes your makeup look 10x better,” Jordan Harper, MSN, NP-C and founder and CEO of Barefaced, tells The Zoe Report. For best results, use a razor that’s specially designed for using on your face — like these wildly popular Schick facial razors, which have small, precise blades that can fit all the curves and contours of your face. Harper advises, “The key here is shaving at night and prepping the skin properly before, during, and after shaving so that you don't irritate the skin and trigger a breakout. Don't shave right before putting makeup on!”


Stick Your Eye Masks In The Fridge For An Instant Cooling Effect

For smoother, brighter skin underneath your eyes, Harper recommends applying eye patches to prep your face before applying makeup. The 24-karat gold in the smoothing, hydrating, and calming formula of these gold under eye masks makes them an especially luxe choice. For even more instant results, she says to “store them in the refrigerator to maximize their depuffing potential.”


Apply These No-Glue Falsies To Accentuate Your Eyes

To take your bright-eyed look further, Harper also suggests applying fake eyelashes to really make your eyes pop. “Kiss imPRESS press-on falsies are my current go-to because they are just the right about of thickness and length,” Harper shares. Even better? These genius clusters apply without the use of glue, so they’re a lot less fussy than your typical falsies and a bit easier for beginners. The order also comes with a handy application tool.


Tint Your Brows At Home So They Always Look Groomed, Even Without Makeup

“Nothing is better than having natural-looking, defined brows without having to fill them in with makeup,” says Audrey Ford, licensed esthetician at The Spa at Selenite. “Having a good brow tinting kit at home has me covered for weeks at a time. Plus, this ARYANA NEW YORK Hybrid Professional Eyelash And Eyebrow Color Kit is so quick and straightforward for easy tinting.”


Use An Exfoliating Lip Brush For Softer, Smoother Lips

If you’re like Ford, who has “a tendency to pick at [her] lips,” she suggests reaching for one of these dual-sided exfoliating lip brushes. “When I feel like there’s some visible dead skin lingering on my lip area, I find that gently exfoliating them helps to soften and slough off flaking,” she says. “This also helps with a smoother application of lip products [like lipstick].” These lip brushes, which also double as lip massagers, will help plump up your pout a bit, too.


Apply These Sparkly Cooling & Brightening Eye Masks

Ford is also a fan of under-eye masks, calling them “a lifesaver for late nights.” She specifically recommends these eye masks from Maree, made with marine collagen, hyaluronic acid, and pearl extract. “I use them in the morning or before an event. Stick them in the fridge and leave them on for fifteen minutes,” Ford shares. Plus, the glittery patches will get you into the party spirit.


Use A Quick-Dry Self-Tanning Lotion For An Easy Sun-Kissed Glow

If you’re in need of a quick sun-kissed glow, Ford recommends this self-tanning set. “This is my favorite self-tanning lotion. Unlike some other tanning lotions, it actually dries very quickly, smells great, and blends evenly,” she tells The Zoe Report. “Also, don’t forget always to use a mitt to prevent orange hands and fingernails!” This kit comes with a mitt, so you’re already good to go.


Massage Your Scalp To Promote Overall Healthier Hair

“A must-have is a silicone scalp scrubber to dislodge product build-up and dead skin cells and to increase circulation for healthier hair,” shares Ford. “I use it every time [I] shampoo, and it’s especially amazing after having dry shampoo, hairspray, or gel in your hair all day. Feels amazing too!”


Invest In This Under-$10 Hero Product That Conceals, Corrects, & Contours

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser is a personal favorite of mine, I use this product regularly and believe it rivals some of the most touted concealers in the world,” raves Rachel Lee Lozina, licensed esthetician, laser technician, oncology esthetician, and owner of Blue Water Spa. “I have tried them all and always come back to this one. The consistency, color range, hydration level, and long wear make it a home run. It can be used as a highlighter and contour too. With limitless uses, an easy to apply click sponge applicator, plus 12 hours of crease-free wear, it’s no-brainer for me.” The under-$10 price tag is just an added bonus.

  • Available shades: 16


Mix Coffee Grounds & Your Favorite Cleanser For A DIY Exfoliator

Lozina has an insider tip for making a brightening, stimulating, exfoliating scrub: “Mix about two tablespoons of your favorite cleanser (my preference is a cream cleanser) to 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds and apply all over your face utilizing circular motions,” she explains. “I like to work in sections, starting at the forehead for 20 seconds, then 10 seconds per cheek, 10 seconds on your chin, and 10 seconds on the neck. Then, rinse with cold water for visibly brighter, smoother skin.” If you don’t have coffee grounds handy, swap them out for this popular coffee scrub, made with organic coffee, Dead Sea salt, and organic shea butter.


Sleep In A Heatless Hair Curler For Easy Overnight Curls

Celebrity hair stylist Deaundra Metzger previously recommended this genius heatless hair curler to The Zoe Report, calling it “excellent for all hair textures.” All you have to do is wrap your hair around the curler (using a braiding technique) and leave it on for a few hours or overnight. The result? Flawless waves that look professionally styled.


Use Black Lash Glue To Seamlessly Blend Falsies With Eyeliner

Don’t you just loathe when you see a big glob of white glue around your lashes after putting on falsies? Celebrity makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff previously shared a red carpet-approved trick for avoiding that problem: Sheriff used this KISS lash adhesive in black on Taraji P. Henson during the awards season to ensure the actress’ false lashes were secure and seamlessly blended with her black eyeliner. A simple but genius trick that makes a surprisingly big difference.


Keep Your Makeup Brushes (& Eyeshadow Looks) Clean With This Super-Easy Spray Cleaner

“Washing your makeup brushes is a little like flossing — you know it’s the right thing to do, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll actually do it,” says The Zoe Report editor Caroline Goldstein. “But this e.l.f. brush cleaner is the hack that totally changed my routine. It’s so easy and unfussy: Just spritz some of the solution onto a tissue, gently run the brush over it in a circular motion, and the bristles come up completely clean and dry. A daily (or at least weekly) clean with this spray has helped my makeup brushes perform better, and prevents my eyeshadow shades from muddling together when I’m using the same shadow brush for different colors. Best $5 I’ve spent recently.”


Swipe On This Cooling Balm To Brighten & Color-Correct Your Under Eyes

Goldstein calls this TULA eye balm a “holy grail product,” sharing, “As the proud owner of genetic under-eye circles, I’m always looking for hacks to make my eyes look a little brighter. This is one of those rare products. It’s blended with very fine light-reflecting particles that make my under-eyes look naturally brighter, and the rosy tint offers a bit of color-correction. It also feels so cooling and rejuvenating (it has xylitol in it, which gives it a gentle zingy sensation). I apply this religiously during my morning skin-care routine, while prepping my skin for makeup, and throughout the day for a refresh. A single tube has lasted me well over a year, so the price is more than worth it.”


Perfect Your “Clean Girl Makeup” Aesthetic With These Multipurpose Tints

Goldstein shares, “These multitasking Jillian Dempsey tints are my favorite hack for an easy, fresh-looking ‘clean girl makeup’ look — I own them in all six shades, and somehow, they all work nicely on my complexion. They’re creamy, ultra-blendable, and made with some gorgeous natural ingredients like rosehip oil and coconut oil (they even smell like coconuts and cinnamon). The pigments are sheer but buildable, with the prettiest radiant finish. I blend them over the apples of my cheeks, up to my temples, and across the bridge of my nose to make my skin look naturally flushed and glowy, then pull the look together with a touch on my lids and lips.”

  • Available shades: 6


Use A Small Angled Brush For A Quick Kitten Flick

“I have semi-hooded lids, so creating a winged liner takes some extra time and patience (and an abundance of pointed-tip cotton swabs). When I have neither the aforementioned time nor patience, I just smudge some eyeliner in the outer corners of my eyes and drag it upward with this small angled brush. That simple flick creates the perfect little kitten wing in a few seconds flat,” Goldstein shares.


Cheat A Natural-Looking Tan With These Foolproof Self-Tanning Drops

“In my opinion, everyone looks better with a bit of a tan — and as a Londoner, a tan can be hard to come by naturally,” shares The Zoe Report editor Adeline Duff. “A few drops of these Tanologist Face & Body Drops mixed in with my daily moisturizer make me feel much more confident — and they're literally foolproof to use, so even if you've had bad experiences with self tanner before, you can rest assured knowing these are completely risk free. Your glow will remain for a day or two, even if you wash your face, and you can use more drops (or use them daily) to amp up your tan even further. Plus, there's no weird smell.”

  • Available shades: 5


Invest In This Under-$15 Moisturizer — & Use It For Almost Everything

Duff shares, “I can't take credit for this trick — full credit goes to makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes, of whom I'm a big fan. Hughes uses Weleda Skin Food so many different ways, but one of my favorite tricks is how she puts it to use as highlighter to give skin a dewy glow sans shimmer. An instant fix for dull, tired skin, just a small dab blended onto your cheek bones will instantly make your skin look much more hydrated and glowy. You can also use this to prep your skin for makeup, as a moisturizer or face mask, or as a lip mask (the latter of which is a trick I learned from dermatologist Shereene Idriss.”


Create Voluminous Curls In 10 Minutes & With Minimal Fuss

“This trick isn't exactly a secret, but in the age of curling irons (which I've personally never been able to master), the humble hot roller often goes overlooked — and in my opinion, it's much easier,” says Duff. “When your hair is looking limp or blah, just 10 minutes with these in your hair will give you the most gorgeous, voluminous curls. It'll look like you went to the salon, but in reality, all you actually did was sit around and watch TV in your pajamas.”


Highlight Your Brow Bone To Pull Together Your Whole Look

“Don't underestimate the power of a subtle brow highlight — it's a trick I've learned from makeup artists over the years,” shares Duff. “To get the job done, invest in this Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighting Duo Pencil. $23 may seem like a lot for a simple brow highlighter, but this chubby, dual-sided stick will actually last you years (I've had mine for at least two). Each pencil comes with a matte and shimmery shade, so you can switch things up depending on the look you're going for. You can use this in the corner of your eyes and above your Cupid's bow, too.”

  • Available shades: 2


Use Washable Cotton Rounds For Your Skin Care & Makeup Routines

If constantly buying and tossing out one-and-done cotton rounds sends you into an environmentally guilty spiral, Kenna Ehman, co-owner of Kenna Kunijo salon, recommends using reusable cotton pads instead. “These are only $10 and are great to use,” she says, as “they save money and trees in the long run!” They’re made from an ultra-soft bamboo and cotton blend that’s perfect for absorbing your favorite cleansing water, toner, or serums to remove makeup and apply skin care products. This set comes with 20 rounds and a netted drawstring bag for easy washing, all stored in a cute round container.


Opt For Cheap Makeup Sponges That Are Practically The Same Quality As Name-Brand Ones

Instead of opting for pricey beauty sponges, Ehman suggests getting “cheap [makeup sponges] and throwing them away once a month.” She explains that after using so many, she’s learned they’re “honestly just as good as the name-brand ones.” This best-selling set comes with five brightly colored, tear-shaped makeup sponges that ring up as less than the price of a single makeup sponge from other brands.


Keep Your Skin & Makeup Refreshed Throughout The Day With A Light Toner

“If you need to refresh your makeup throughout the day, use a toner in a spray bottle to spruce it up,” Ehman shares. This one by Heritage Store only uses two ingredients — European Damask rose oil and purified water. It can be put to some other creative uses as well, like dampening your makeup sponge, or as a hydrating addition to your bath.


Snag Satin Silk Pillowcases For All-Around Hair & Skin Benefits

As a master stylist, Ehman knows a thing or two about keeping your hair intact. “Sleep on a silk pillowcase to help prevent hair breakage and frizz,” she suggests. “Plus, it’s better for your skin, too!” This set of satin pillowcases costs less than $10, comes in dozens of rich colors, and with over 270,000 ratings, they’ve earned an incredible cult following for their smooth, silk-like feel. Why not give them a shot?

  • Available colors: 29


Clean Up Makeup Mistakes With A Micellar Cleansing Water

Messing up while doing your makeup can be pretty frustrating. To keep your beat looking its best, Ehman advises to “start with your eyes and then use micellar water on a cotton pad to clean up under the eyes before doing concealer.” A touch of micellar water on a cotton swab can also help sharpen up winged eyeliner, tidy up the edges of your lips after applying lipstick, and clean up your waterline to make your eyes appear brighter and more awake.


Hydrate Your Lips With A Mask While Doing Your Makeup

Don’t you just hate the feeling of dry, cracked lips underneath your lipstick? To prevent that, Ehman suggests putting “an overnight lip mask on while you do your makeup.” Once you’re finished with your routine, wipe it off, and your lips will be a soft, hydrated canvas so any lip product will apply smoothly and evenly over the top. As far as lip masks go, it doesn’t get much better than the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, a cult-favorite among beauty enthusiasts for its potent, antioxidant-rich formula and delicious fruity scent. Since you only need to use a little of this mask at a time, this $24 jar will last you ages.


Get A Multitasking Pomade To Tame Flyaways, Add Volume, Or Refresh Your Style

“Use a paste to instantly remove flyaways and frizzy hair,” celebrity hairstylist Cody Renegar suggests. “A tiny amount of Oribe's Fiber Groom Elastic Texture Paste will hold those tiny bits down and keep your style together and polished. You could also use a small amount at your roots for more volume or a mid-day style refresh.”


Apply A Serum-Infused Mascara For Longer & Fuller Lashes

It’s okay if you’re not the falsies or lash extension type. You can “achieve longer, thicker looking lashes naturally with a good mascara,” says Sara Edward Wayne, makeup and lash artist and owner of Outlaw Cosmetics. “Outlaw’s Lashcara is a super black water-resistant mascara formula that not only creates longer thicker lashes instantly, but it contains growth serum properties to help grow longer thicker lashes naturally!”


Use a Boar Bristle Brush To Refresh Day-After Hair

Michelle Jacoby, hair stylist and owner of Sundance Salon & Spa, swears by this Marilyn Brush. “It has boar bristles to gently coax limp locks at the end of the day or the day after hair into a reprised version of its original shape,” she explains. “The boar bristles leave the hair shiny and don’t cause damage. No styling products are needed. It’s a quick fluffer to freshen up your look.” Easy-peasy, right?

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