The Drugstore Products Makeup Artists Can't Live Without
Their clients are high-end, but the most transformative products in makeup artists' kits are budget. Each of these delivers. And none is over $8.
Cococare Cocoa Butter Lip Balm
Because even the most lush lipstick looks dull on dry, flaky lips, makeup artists always apply a layer of balm first. After experimenting with dozens of formulas, Denise Markey is loyal to this yellow tube. It instantly smooths away roughness but isn't greasy at all (a too-slick balm will make your lip color smudge and bleed).
CoverGirl Queen Collection Vivid Impact Eyeliner
"These super-pigmented pencils beat out the liners from my favorite high-end brand," says Emily Kate Warren. "They glide easily over the upper lash line and lower inner rim of the eye, and there's a smudger tip on the other end to smooth out any bumps." Best of all, though, are the colors: They all have gorgeous bronze undertones that make every eye color shine.
Fran Wilson Eye Tees Precision Makeup Applicators
These souped-up versions of the classic cotton swab are made for makeup. They're pointed on one end—for cleaning up around the eyes and lip lines—and rounded at the other—for blending and shading shadows and blushes. They're also perfect for touch-ups, like erasing midday eye shadow creases or smoothing brows (with a dab of Vaseline). And they never leave any cotton fuzzies in their wake.
$3.50 for 80 swabs, sallybeauty.com
Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion
Every makeup artist has a great body lotion in her kit. It's the simplest, most effective fix when models' arms and legs look dull or ashy. Classic Lubriderm is a perennial favorite. "It leaves a nice moist sheen but no greasy feel—or cloying scent," says Markey.
Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
We know—you've heard it before. But makeup artists always come back to this classic mascara (it made its debut in 1971). "Great Lash never clumps and can be easily layered for a more dramatic effect," Markey says. "And you just need water to remove it, so it's not rough on your lashes." Simone Otis also loves that the price point lets her refresh her stash frequently: "Even the most expensive mascara dries out in a couple of months. If you want soft, glossy lashes, you should open a fresh tube every few weeks."
Evian Facial Spray
"I can't live without this stuff—personally or in my professional kit," says Rebecca Restrepo. Like many makeup artists, she spritzes it over the skin (holding the can several inches from the face) after applying foundation, for a fresh, dewy finish. The light mist of water also helps set makeup so it stays in place all day. When skin is really dry, Restrepo recommends a spritz of water before applying face lotion, too, for extra moisturizing.
$6.50 for 1.7 ounces, amazon.com
Ardell Duralash Naturals
"They're the most natural-looking false lashes I've ever found," says Troy Surratt. Like most pros, he uses the knot-free individual lashes, but strips may be easier for the laywoman to apply. (See how Gayle King does it.
) Most makeup artists use Duo Eyelash Adhesive ($6)—it holds lashes in place all day but lets you peel them off easily at night.
$4 for 56, sallybeauty.com
Face Secrets Ultra Wedges with Vitamin E
To fake an even, luminous complexion, makeup pros apply liquid foundation with a sponge—and they love these chunky wedges. The sharp edges make it easy to blend around the corners of the nose and right up to the lower lash line. Be sure to dampen the sponge first (another great use for the Evian spray), so it doesn't absorb too much of the foundation.
$7 for 80, sallybeauty.com
Next: The best $25-or-less anti-aging products