The magic of the high-low mix gets a lot of attention in the wardrobe styling space, but it’s just as important when it comes to beauty — just ask professional makeup artists. The creators of your favorite celebrity looks, runway glam, and editorial shoots rarely rely on luxury products alone to get the job done — and these 14 beauty products that makeup artists love, ranging from $6 to $100, are proof.
A makeup artist’s kit (aka, the case of cosmetics they keep with them on set or backstage) typically includes a mix of affordable staples, mid-tier must-haves, and high-end formulas. “Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Hydrating Concealer is literally my favorite everyday concealer, especially for dry skin,” Neil Scibelli, a makeup artist who works with Elle Macpherson, tells The Zoe Report of the under-$10 buy. “It contains hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the eye area while binding the product to the skin.” Towards the other end of the spectrum, you have Paula's Choice Lip & Body Treatment Balm, which will run you $35 for just 15 milliliters… but it’s worth it, according to celebrity makeup artist Amber Amos. “This is the number one product I keep in my kit,” she says in an email to TZR. “It really hydrates the lips without feeling dry minutes later.” Then the top-tier treatments come into play, like StriVectin’s $95 Tightening Neck Cream that makeup artist Katie Danza swears by to fix “tech neck” on shoots. “It firms, tightens, and smooths the skin,” the MUA, who works with Cazzie David, tells TZR. “It really works!”
Ahead, every drugstore must-have and high-end favorite that professional makeup artists swear by — all conveniently available on Amazon.
"The Beauty Glazed glitter palette is one of my favorite discoveries on Amazon," Ashley Donovan, a makeup artist who has worked with Kelly Clarkson, tells The Zoe Report. "The formulas are gel, so it’s an easy way to carry around glitters in my kit without the mess and spills that come with loose glitters. Bonus: It’s under $10."
"I go through a lot of disposable mascara wands, so I was excited to discover these fun pink and gold options in bulk on Amazon," Donovan says. "These aren’t just for mascara either. One of my favorite prep tricks is to apply lip balm on a mascara wand and have the client gently rub it across their lips like a toothbrush for 30 seconds. This technique is less messy than a scrub and leaves the lips exfoliated and ready for lipstick."
"This cream scared me at first because it is so rich and borderline greasy, but now I can’t live without it," Danza tells TZR. "It creates the perfect canvas for makeup, especially in the winter when skin gets extra dry — and it has never made me or any of my clients break out. It is is hands-down the best at fighting dry, flakey skin.”
"This is one of my personal favorites and a product I’ve used for years," Nina Soriano, an editorial makeup artist whose work has appeared in Harper's Bazaar, tells The Zoe Report. "It’s a gentle yet effective way to really clean the skin from pollutants. The bonus is that it leaves the skin feeling soft afterwards."