The 7 Brands Makeup Artists Love MOST (and Why)

illustration of makeup products

Byrdie / Ellie Benuska 

Shopping for makeup is tricky. Trends are constantly changing, your complexion and undertones need to be taken into account, and formulas don't always live up to their claims. That, and there are about one million choices in every makeup aisle or online retailer. So what are the top makeup brands? What are the most tried-and-true products from those lines? We decided to ask some of the best celebrity makeup artists in the business to find out. Because after all, there's no better advice than that of seasoned professionals who spend their days painting faces. We talked to Kelli J. Bartlett, Glamsquad's director of makeup artistry, along with celebrated celebrity makeup artists Patrick Ta and Daniel Martin, to get the answers to our burning questions. They each ran through their top makeup brands, along with their favorite offerings from each one. Keep scrolling for your brand-new essentials.

Charlotte Tilbury

Bartlett explains: "It's the perfect combination of ultra-luxe glamour mixed with high-performance products. The packaging is so chic and the formulations are spot on. Charlotte just gets glamour." In other words, consider Tilbury's namesake collection one of the top makeup brands you can get your hands on. Here are Bartlett's picks.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish $45

"Truly gives skin a flawless complexion, blurring imperfections and setting makeup to a bulletproof finish while still being whisper-light to the face and never cakey."

Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow $68

"This product is the perfect shade for defining cheekbones and faking that supermodel sculpt and illuminated cheek. The ultimate multitasker, this product can also be used to make eyes pop!"

Charlotte Tilbury The Feline Flick $30

"Charlotte really nailed the texture of this eyeliner. It starts off creamy so you have plenty of time to achieve perfection, and then dries down for the ideal long-wearing finish."


"A true artist's brand," Bartlett muses. "With MAC, the shade range and innovation and technology behind the products can't be beat. MAC never disappoints with its Pro products." Here are her must-have products from the brand.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot $22

 "I don't think I would be a makeup artist without this product. It's the ultimate eye shadow primer and cream eye shadow in one. It makes eye shadow more bendable, true to color, and non-creasing."

MAC Studio Face & Body Foundation $31

"I call it my kitchen-sink foundation because it works on every skin tone and type. It has buildable coverage—it starts off super sheer and can be layered to an almost full-coverage appearance. I even put it on legs in lieu of pantyhose."

MAC Lipstick $19

"Iconic formulas and iconic colors, everything from moisturizing and sheer to full-coverage and matte."


"This cutting-edge makeup brand is always on trend," Bartlett says. "Its product launches keep me consistently inspired." Here are her top Nars picks.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer $30

"An under-eye warrior, this formulation is pigmented enough to cover problem spots and supremely easy to blend. The new extended shades make color matching so easy."

Nars Pencil Sharpener $6

"It may sound trivial, but this sharpener has a totally genius design—it never eats my pencils."

Nars Mie Kabuki Brush $55

"This brush is the ultimate tool for precise contouring and blending. The pointed tip carves out cheekbones and the fluffy head blends to perfection."

La Mer

"The brand is total luxury, from the moisturizers, to the lightweight makeup, to the lip balms," Ta says. Here are his top La Mer picks.

La Mer The Renewal Oil $245

"It really moisturizes the skin for makeup and adds a radiant glow."

the moisturizing cool gel cream
La Mer The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream $180

"It is lightweight and really soothes the skin for a flawless canvas and makeup application."

La Mer The Lip Balm $65

"It leaves lips moisturized without looking too glossy."


"Lashes are paramount, and they don't have to cost a fortune to bring the drama," asserts Ta. When it comes to flirty fringe, Kiss is, hands down, one of the top makeup brands to sink your lashes into. Here are his Kiss picks.

Kiss Lash Couture Faux Mink Lashes $6

"These lashes add just the right amount of drama and look super natural because of the knotless band. They also act as a black liner, so if you are in a rush, these are all you need!"

Kiss EverEZLash Trio $6

"The individual lashes add definition to the eyes but looks very natural."

Kiss Lash Couture Strip Lash Adhesive $6

"This adhesive is super gentle and has added benefits of biotin and blueberry extract."

Armani Beauty

Ta says, "Armani has great, easy to work with formulas that mix and blend well." Here are his Armani Beauty must-haves.

Giorgio Armani Beauty Lip Maestro in 202 $38

"If you're looking for the perfect pinky-brown nude, this is it."

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fluid Sheer Highlighter $62

Mix a sheer, liquid highlighter into foundation; it brings more warmth to the foundation and livens up your skin.

giorgio armani beauty stellar eyeshadow
Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Stellar Eyeshadow $36

"They are so blendable and easy to work with—like magic!" 

Surratt Beauty

Martin exclaims, "They have the best multiuse products, truly second to none." Here are his favorite Surratt Beauty picks…

surratt artistique blush
Surratt Beauty Artistique Blush $32

"I love using this on deep, dark skin tones. This pops color on the cheeks without looking too made up."

prismatique eyes
Surratt Beauty Prismatique Eyes $38

"These duos create a ton of dimension on the eyes and even on the skin. There are SO many great options to choose from!"

Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Concealer $50

"This dark-circle banishing concealer gives great buildable coverage, and the shade range is excellent."

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