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 Hydro Boost Concealer is great for dry skin types because the formula is sheer and buildable — so you can be sure it won't accentuate fine lines or cake up on the skin," Scibelli says. "I apply it in a patting motion under the eyes."
"I love that it doesn’t have a shiny finish, and added bonus: It can be used all over the body," Amos tells TZR. "I use this to prep all of my clients' lips — it seriously will remedy chapped lips instantly, but also it comes in handy if I spot dry hands."
"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."
"A glitter eye is easy to create with Stila Shimmer & Glow Liquid Eye Shadow," Scibelli says.
"Glitter is an easy, fun way to spark up — pun intended — your makeup look," Scibelli tells TZR. He swears by this rose gold topper to make any shade of lipstick a little more shimmery.
"This is creamy and blendable," Gilbert Soliz, the Global Makeup Artist for Marc Jacobs Beauty, tells The Zoe Report. "It's packed with anti-aging ingredients and brightens under the eye without looking heavy."
"These shades are soft and sultry, great for sculpting the eye and natural looks," Soliz says. "I love them because they're easy to blend and compatible with all skin tones."
"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."
"Bioderma Micellar Water is a great makeup remover," Soriano says. "I always recommend it to my clients to remove makeup before cleansing the skin with a face wash, that way you’re able to cleanse the skin properly."
"These are great for removing all traces of makeup — they're super gentle and perfect for travel, too," Soliz says.
“My mom always taught me to extend my skincare beyond my face to my neck and chest, and now that we’re all always looking down at our phones, tech neck has become a huge concern," Danza says. "This neck cream is the best. It firms, tightens, and smooths the skin. It really works.”