By Lexy Lebsack
Never before has the gap between drugstore and prestige products been so small. Which, to anyone on a budget, is somereally good news. In fact, many affordable formulas are just as good, if not better, than their pricier counterparts. The challenge, instead, is navigating the selection. After all, aisle A6 at your local pharmacy doesn’t have its own highly trained salesgirl. Luckily, Hollywood is here to help.
Red carpet artists have a keen working knowledge of nearly every product available — from the best Korean liquid eyeliner to prestige lipstick priced in the double digits to mascara that costs less than your Sunday-morning latte — and they don’t discriminate. The best artists care about one thing: performance.
We’ve tapped the most in-demand red carpet makeup artists in Hollywood to divulge the drugstore products that have earned a place in their kits or their personal makeup bags. Trust us, this list delivers. The dreamy, baby-pink lipstick that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s makeup artist swears by for the star? Yep, that’s from the drugstore. The blush Kerry Washington is always wearing? It costs less than the burrito you had for lunch. Seriously, this is as close to priceless as it gets.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF CAROLA GONZALEZ
Artist: Carola Gonzalez
Clients: Kerry Washington, Rashida Jones, Jaime King
“This is one of my top beauty secrets,” Gonzalez told us. “It’s actually a balm for cracked nipples, but I use it on my clients’ chapped, dry, dehydrated lips. It heals lips very quickly and is extra-hydrating. For me, it works better than any lip balm on the market.”
Lansinoh HPA Lanolin, $6.59, available at Amazon.
“There’s no need to spend lots of money on mascara,” Gonzalez says. “The LashBlast formula is amazing and adds lots of volume and length to your lashes. The Very Black shade is darker than a standard black formula and will make your eyes stand out. Add a few coats, and it will look like you have fake lashes.”
CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara In Very Black, $6.99, available at Target.
“This is a great shade for every skin tone,” Gonzalez says. “I use it all the time on my clients, and it’s one of my favorite blushes and bronzers. I call it the perfect blush for every occasion! The formula has shimmer, so the skin glows without any need for highlighter.”
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Custom Glow Blush & Bronzer In Raisin Glow, $11.49, available at Neutrogena.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF FIONA STILES.
Artist: Fiona Stiles
Clients: Jennifer Garner, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Faris
“Honestly, I don’t like the highlighter in this compact, but I love love love the contour,” Stiles says. “It’s really sheer, unlike 90% of the contour powders on the market, so it’s hard to get wrong. Use a light hand and a soft brush, and you’ll be shocked at the cheekbones you can sculpt!”
NYX Highlight & Contour Powder, $12.50, available at Amazon.
“This is a great product to use under the eyes, on the bridge of the nose, and along the tops of the cheekbones to add a really soft, pretty light to the face without screaming highlighter,” Stiles says. “I use a little here and there to add brightness to the face.”
L’Oréal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer, $12.99, available at Ulta.
“Most body makeup destroys clothes because the formulas tend to be a bit oily, which means it never really dries — and then your clothes get stained — but this stuff seriously stays put,” Stiles says. “Use a little to give a bit of color to the body, or you can use a lot to really cover problem areas, like bruises or varicose veins.”
Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, $9.99, available at Target.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF PATI DUBROFF.
Artist: Pati Dubroff
Clients: Miley Cyrus, Dakota Johnson, Eva Mendes
“There are many primers on the market, but this is the one I turn to again and again,” Dubroff told us. “It has a perfect, satiny finish and doesn’t add a lot of weight on the top of the skin. It perfectly blurs out pores and fine lines.”
L’Oréal Revitalift Miracle Blur, $19.97, available at Amazon.
“I have quite a few blonde clients, so I’m always on the lookout for the perfect eyebrow pencil that doesn’t look orange and isn’t too dull or grey,” Dubroff says. “This pencil in Dark Blonde is definitely my go-to!”
Maybelline Define-A-Brow Eyebrow Pencil In Dark Blonde, $6.95, available at Maybelline.
“I like to stick to natural products on my lips for everyday, and I like a little color,” Dubroff says. “Burt’s Bees makes just this — flattering shades with just a hint of tint and not a lot of junk.”
Burt’s Bees Squeezable Beeswax Lip Balm, $4, available at Burt’s Bees.
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Artist: Monika Blunder
Clients: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Behati Prinsloo, Megan Fox
“This is one of my go-to lip stains because it’s the perfect nude shade. I use it on Behati [Prinsloo] and Rosie [Huntington-Whiteley] all the time, and they love it because it looks so natural on the lips and stays on like a stain,” Blunder says. “The color payoff is great, and the formula is super-easy to apply.”
Revlon ColorBurst Lacquer Balm In Ingenue, $8.99, available at Amazon.
“This is a fantastic cream shadow that comes in so many great colors,” Blunder told us. “I love to layer this product under powder eye shadow for more intensity and a long-lasting effect.”
Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal 24 Hour Cream Gel Eyeshadow, $5.24, available at Amazon.
“I love this mascara because it is long-lasting, provides a lot of volume, and it does not clump,” Blunder says. “Your lashes will look very healthy and natural. As a makeup artist, I have to change out my mascara quite often, so I also love the price point.”
CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara, $7.49, available at Soap.com.