For me, the most exciting part about awards season isn’t the outfits on the red carpet, it’s the makeup breakdowns on Instagram. Suddenly, those celebrity MUAs who previously were so cagey about the contents of their kit, are freely sharing every single product they’ve applied to their clients’ faces.
Much like how designers clamour to dress certain celebrities, beauty brands want to sponsor makeup artists in exchange for the highly valuable social media content they publish. Which is then rehashed by publications all around the world, giving that brand’s latest lipstick launch a lot more attention than it otherwise might have gotten.
Now, I’m not saying makeup artists don’t use these products, and it should be noted these sponsorships are vital to an MUA’s career, especially when artists like Sir John have spoken about the poor payment they receive for editorial work.
But there’s a little bit of white lying here and there, whether that’s by not disclosing your work is being sponsored or saying you used an eyeshadow for a certain look, when any makeup lover knows there’s no way in hell that neon green liner came from the same palette listed.
This sponsorship is also why certain professional makeup brands don’t always get the recognition they deserve as they don’t have the budget to compete with these global powerhouses when it comes to paying for ads.
Plus, these aren’t, for want of a better word, ‘sexy’ products. I’d compare them to the paracetamol, chewing gum and cotton wool makeup artists carry around; they’re such a staple part of their kit, it’s easy to forget how vital they are.
However, professional makeup brands should not be overlooked. Often created by artists themselves, they are designed for situations that would actually be pretty helpful in real life.
A foundation that’s designed to be undetectable with 4k cameras is probably going to be your ultimate ‘no makeup, makeup’ buy, and a setting spray especially for theatre performers who dance on stage for three hours under a spotlight, is a must-have for anyone whose makeup slides off by 2pm.
Thankfully, I’m an incredibly nosey beauty editor who has been compiling a list of all the pro products I’ve spotted my favourite celebrity MUAs using time and time again.
While they’re not likely to make the Instagram breakdowns this coming awards season, just know there’s no way anyone is walking the red carpet without coming face-to-face with one/all of these.
Kryolan Fixing Spray, £9.80
Loved by Drag Queens and spotted by me when Kim Kardashian was getting ready for this year’s Met Ball, Kryolan’s Fixing Spray is industrial strength. Designed for body paint, if you hate powder, this is designed to seal wet makeup without that cakey finish.
RCMA Liquid Foundation, £29.50
RCMA’s foundation when viral on TikTok earlier this year when MUA @paintedbyspencer shared it was the base he had been gatekeeping for years.
Again, I’ve seen it pop up on the latest season of The Kardashians (used on Kourtney) and that time Mario Dedivanovic did my makeup (hashtag humblebrag), this was the foundation he used. If the palette seems a little daunting to you, these liquid versions require zero custom mixing.
Make Up For Ever Artist Colour Pencil, £16.50
If you read my previous column on Hailey Bieber’s makeup, you’ll know the shade ‘Anywhere Caffeine’ from MUFE’s Artist Colour Pencil line has become my everyday staple.
These creamy liners are designed to be multi-purpose, so you can use them on your eyes, lips and cheeks if you want that monochromatic makeup look.
‘Endless Cacao’ is a favourite of MUA Katie Jane Hughes and is also the shade used on Maddy in Euphoria.
Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro, £26
Speaking of Euphoria, this is the foundation of choice for head makeup artist on the show, Donni Davy, for the ultimate no makeup, makeup base.
Naturally, I bought it and it’s become one of my top three foundations of all time because of how natural it looks and how many compliments I get on my skin when I wear it.
Ben Nye Crème Rouge Colour Wheel, £27.95
Raid any MUA’s kit and I guarantee you will find one of these Ben Nye Colour Wheels.
While some are designed for special effects, others like the ‘Natural Glow’ shade designed by Benjamin Puckey (MUA to Sienna Miller) will become the only cream blush you’ll ever need or want.