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.
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.
"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."
"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 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. Bedroom Black is perfect."
"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.
"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."
"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."
"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.
"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."
"It may sound trivial, but this sharpener has a totally genius design—it never eats my pencils."
"This brush is the ultimate tool for precise contouring and blending. The pointed tip carves out cheekbones and the fluffy head blends to perfection."
"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.
"It really moisturizes the skin for makeup and adds a radiant glow."
"It is lightweight and really soothes the skin for a flawless canvas and makeup application."
"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.
"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!"
"The individual lashes add definition to the eyes but looks very natural."
"This adhesive is super gentle and has added benefits of biotin and blueberry extract."
Ta says, "Armani has great, easy to work with formulas that mix and blend well." Here are his Armani Beauty must-haves.
"If you're looking for the perfect pinky-brown nude, this is it."
Mix a sheer, liquid highlighter into foundation; it brings more warmth to the foundation and livens up your skin.
"They are so blendable and easy to work with—like magic!"
"Dior has real pro-artists tools for flawless red carpet makeup and air-brushed finishes," explains Martin. Here are his favorite Dior picks.
"This is great for dark spots and dark circles on medium to medium dark skin tones. Start light, and build to your desired coverage."
"A red carpet go-to for those who are more on the combination side who need more balanced coverage."
"While this gives you a great matte effect on the lips, I love using it on the cheeks with a stipple brush to create see-through color. Matching cheek and lips never looked so chic!"
"For all my green girls," Martin says, "Honest Beauty is a top makeup brand with completely safe, clean products that really work." Here are his Honest Beauty picks.
"These are the perfect formula and shades for a more natural look without looking like you have lipstick on."
"The perfect cream blush for a sheer wash of color while hydrating winter skin."
"This incredible mascara separates and lengthens on its own, and used after the primer, it has more volume to each individual lash."
Martin exclaims, "They have the best multiuse products, truly second to none." Here are his favorite Surratt Beauty picks…
"I love using this on deep, dark skin tones. This pops color on the cheeks without looking too made up."
"These duos create a ton of dimension on the eyes and even on the skin. There are SO many great options to choose from!"
"This dark-circle banishing concealer gives great buildable coverage, and the shade range is excellent."