Makeup Artists’ Favorite Drugstore Products

If I’ve preached anything to you over the course of my almost-three years (!!) blogging about budget beauty, it’s that you can achieve glamorous and on trend looks without shelling out crazy amounts of cash. Drugstore makeup has upped its game dramatically over the years, and is even trusted for runway looks and celebrity faces. Don’t believe me? Check out these makeup artists’ favorite drugstore products they love and keep in their kit for regular use!

Makeup Artists' Favorite Drugstore Products | Slashed Beauty

For Long Lasting Eyes

No stranger to my own makeup collection, the Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Eyeshadows quickly became drugstore darlings upon their first launch, and made their way into makeup artist kits everywhere due to their color payoff and staying power. “I especially love these because you can use them as a base for powder eyeshadow,” says makeup artist Anjeh Bourne, who has made up Iman and Angela Simmons.

“I have even used Maybelline Color Tattoos on the eyes for a fashion show I did for Carolina Herrera!” says Margina Dennis, artist to celebs like Lea Michelle and Hannah Davis.

For Shimmer

“Not many drugstore brands carry pigments, so Maybelline really scored with this product,” says Bourne about the brand’s Color Tattoo Pure Pigments. “I love to use the shimmery pigments, like Buff & Tuff, to make the eyes pop. I just take some with my finger and dab it on the center of the lid.”

Makeup artist Abby Sparks, who has worked on the set of the Miss Teen USA pageants, also raved about Buff & Tuff as a glam inner eye and cheekbone highlight. “I love this because it is a loose pigment so it can be used in moderation for a light glow or more concentrated to brighten up the inner eye. It can be used in different ways which is why it remains a staple in my kit plus it has amazing color pay off and staying power.”

For Dramatic Lashes

Makeup artists go through mascara like crazy, and L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black mascara is hailed as a staple in most makeup artists’ kits because of it’s stellar performance for the price. “Compared to any high end mascara, Voluminous Carbon Black is the blackest mascara out there. It will thicken and lengthen your lashes without clumping,” says Bourne.

Makeup artist Lauren Lazaro calls it a must-have. “It fills in and lengthens your lashes and leaves your eyes popping.”

To Make Shadow Stay Put

I was happy to find out that one of my own favorites, the e.l.f. Essential Eyelid Primer, can be found in professional kits, like that of artist and author of The Mercenary Makeup Artist, Kaylin Jonson. “Products like eyeshadow primers can be expensive, and makeup artists go through a lot of them! e.l.f. makes a budget-friendly primer that competes with pricier brands. I use it to keep eyeshadow from creasing or fading.”

For Flawless Skin

Drugstore foundations have gotten a bad rap in the past for being limited in shade and finish, although that’s finally changing. ” The L’ Oreal Paris Infallible foundation goes on smooth like liquid but sets like a powder with over 15 color options,” says artist Jami Svay, who has graced the faces of celebs like Meghan Trainor, Brooklyn Decker, and Angie Harmon.

Looking for something closer to your high end favorite? Sparks suggests L’Oreal’s True Match Foundation, which “dries quickly and has a flawless matte finish. It’s full coverage and I would consider it a dupe for MAC Studio Fix Fluid.”

For a Pretty Pout

A cult favorite from the brand, the Megalast Lip Color from Wet n Wild is indeed worthy of a makeup artist’s kit at only $1.99. “Dollhouse Pink is the perfect color of pink for every skin tone and can be amped up with gloss, or worn alone for that perfect matte pink. Mauve Outta Here is a great matte nude for added lip definition and is subtle enough for everyday wear. Red Velvet is a rich, deep red that creates a dramatic and bold lip for any occasion. All of the Megalast colors have awesome staying power and I rarely find myself re-applying,” suggests Sparks.

Shop their kits:

Are any of these MUA favorites in your own collection?


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  1. I use the e.l.f. primer all the time. It’s not my favorite of all the primers ever in the world, but it’s great if you’re on a tight budget.

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