These expert essentials will help you achieve a flawless face and hair, every time
Sure, your fingertips and those little applicators that come with your eyeshadow and blush get the job done, but if you want professional-looking makeup, you have to use professional-quality tools. Take a peek inside the kits of top makeup artists and stylists to see which beauty game-changers they swear by that should be in your bag too.
Curling your lashes may seem like an extra step in your routine, but it's well worth your while. Doing so will not only give pin-straight lashes some bend, by giving lashes a lift, eyes look wider and more awake instantly. Look for a curler with an ergonomically correct design that comfortably hugs the shape of your eye.
Pro pick: The Shiseido Eyelash Curler ($19; shiseido.com) has a shape that will curl your lashes and make them fan out beautifully instead of making them stick up like doll lashes, says celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose.
Eliminate the intimidation factor of contouring your cheekbones with this brush. An angled edge makes it easy to control the application so you can deposit the blush just along your cheekbone, explains makeup artist Troy Jensen, and soft, densely packed bristles disperse the color evenly so you’re not left with a hard line.
Pro pick: Jensen likes Girlactik Beauty Angle Blush Brush ($20; girlactik.com).
Make it 50 times easier to achieve a perfectly precise line with liquid, gel, or cream liner by using an eyeliner brush with a bent tip, Barose says. Look for one with a handle that’s long enough to grip but not too long that it’s tough to get close to your lash line. Also essential: finely pointed synthetic bristles, perfect for creating a winged cat-eye look.
Pro pick: Laura Mercier Angled Eye Liner Brush ($20; sephora.com) is a favorite of Barose's.
Toss those flat, wedge-shaped sponges that seem to do nothing more than soak up your foundation, and invest in one with a rounded design and pointed, cone-shaped tip. The curved bottom is perfect for blending makeup into cheeks and the jawline, while the tip is ideal for getting product into tight spots such as under your eyes or on the sides of your nose.
Pro pick: Both Barose and Jensen swear by The Beautyblender ($20; beauty.com). “It gives skin an airbrushed finish with no visible pores,” Jensen says.
If you’re always trying to hide dark under-eye circles, this brush is a must. A flat shape and tapered bristles that come to a point make it easy to apply concealer to the inner corners of your eyes, where shadowing tends to be darkest, Barose says.
Pro pick: A MAC 195 Concealer Brush ($24; maccosmetics.com) is always in Barose’s kit.
Bad hair days will become a bad memory when you switch to a dryer that’s infused with tourmaline. This mineral is added to the ceramic heater in an ionic dryer to boost the dryer's ion output. The science here is simple: Negatively charged ions go into hair and help evaporate water particles faster, and a quicker, more thorough blow dry means there’s less heat damage, and frizz is less likely to form. “Basically, it's magical source of getting smooth, super glossy hair,” says Pepper Pastor, a hairstylist in New York City.
Pro pick: Try the Jilbere Tourmaline Tools Anti Static Dryer ($60; sallybeauty.com). “It’s lightweight and offers great control,” Pastor says.
It's time to downsize from that big round brush lurking in your drawer, Pastor says. “A small round brush smoothes unruly hair and gives bounce to limp strands, and if you have a lot of thick hair, it gives more tension, allowing hair to straighten easily,” she explains.
Pro pick: The Cricket Technique 1 1/4 Boar Bristle Brush ($13; folica.com) is just the right size.
Curling irons range in size from teeny-tiny to jumbo. Go for the happy medium of around 3/4 inch, Pastor says. “This size iron will give any hair length and texture the right amount of curl.” Achieve gentle waves by loosely winding hair around the outside of the iron, or for tighter spirals, use the iron as normal with the clamp.
Pro pick: Create the look you want with the Hot Shot Tools Pink Titanium Curling Iron 3/4” ($40; sallybeauty.com).