Hollywood Makeup Artists Reveal Secrets to Glowing Skin

Steve Granitz/WireImage; Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Beautycon; Theo Wargo/WireImage
Regina King wore Clinique iD at the 2019 Golden Globes; Priyanka Chopra used the Obagi Moisturizer with their Professional-C Serum at Beautycon; Lady Gaga wore Marc Jacobs Beauty's Youthquake Hydra-Full Retexturizing Gel Crème at the 2019 Met Gala.

Ahead of the Emmys, experts who tend to the faces of Regina King, Priyanka Chopra, Lady Gaga, Jessica Chastain, Ezra Miller and Emma Stone unveil their favorite products, from a $250 moisturizer to a $7 facial mask.

Any top Hollywood makeup artist can attest that the foundation to the best red carpet looks is the right skincare. As the industry enters Emmys month, healthy skin becomes even more crucial as stars begin to cake on full faces of makeup day after day for glitzy galas, parties and promotional events. Here, top makeup artists break down their favorite skincare must-haves in anticipation of awards season. From Marc Jacobs and Drunk Elephant to Tatcha and Biossance, these are the dozens of star-approved products (including a $485 anti-aging serum, a $210 sunscreen and a $7 face mask with dragon's blood extract, a natural plant resin) that makeup artists tell The Hollywood Reporter that they carry in their kits.

“People are really taking care of the skin and looking at the skin as more important than ever," says Kelsey Deenihan, the makeup artist to Jessica Chastain, Shailene Woodley and Millie Bobby Brown.

While she normally grabs whatever mini moisturizer a hotel has to offer, Deenihan's a big fan of the Dermalogica body cream ($49) and likes the scent of Malibu-based Kai's body lotions ($38). Deenihan, the new Lorac artistry advisor, mixes Lorac’s Lux Diamond Creme eyeshadows ($22) into the moisturizers to lather on clients’ arms and legs for a "glowy" hydrating look.

Skincare for her is also about removing a full face of layered makeup. “So many just use a makeup wipe to get it off in the trailer and then go home and crash,” she tells THR. Though makeup wipes can remove the product, she reminds clients that they still need to cleanse to remove the chemicals from the wipes. “You leave your skin with this film and residue and then, in the morning when we come in ... it's already irritated from the night before,” says Deenihan, who uses Bioderma makeup remover ($12). 

Deenihan adds that skincare is of the utmost importance for actors: “They have some of the worst [skin] because they are dehydrated, sleep deprived, on a plane every day. It takes a toll.”

The stars are catching on; Victoria’s Secret model Georgia Fowler tells THR that her essential cosmetics products include moisturizer “so your skin is always dewy — I don't like to cover up with a ton of foundation. I think that's where most people go wrong.”

Priyanka Chopra says her skincare routine frequently includes a face mask and the Obagi Moisturizer ($52) with their Professional-C Serum ($110). “[It’s] such a great primer for under the skin, because it just glistens where it needs to, but not where it doesn't need to. I love having good skin under makeup, otherwise it starts cracking, so that's really important,” Chopra tells THR.

Country singer Kacey Musgraves has her bathroom stocked with Tatcha's Dewy Skin Cream ($68) and Tend Skin products, while Kim Kardashian and Kelly Rowland are fans of Shiffa. Its jade facial roller for cooling and depuffing is the most-viewed item on Nordstrom’s website ($63).

Makeup artist Katey Denno, who works with Vanessa Kirby, Beanie Feldstein and Amanda Seyfried, is a devotee of clean beauty brand Biossance — namely, the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil ($72), which she calls a “mainstay in my makeup bag” because it’s never caused a reaction, hydrates deeply and plumps the skin. “Biossance’s brand-new Rose Vegan Lip Balm ($18) became a fast favorite for everyone whose lips I’ve swiped it on. The texture is beyond fantastic and it wears so well. I have one in my purse and beside my bed; my lips are living their best life," she says.

Glam experts Rachel Goodwin and Latrice Johnson used Clinique iD products on clients Emma Stone and Regina King, respectively, at the 2019 Golden Globes. Goodwin relies on Sisley Paris' Velvet Sleeping Mask with saffron flowers ($140) as her favorite way to prep skin before a big event. "You apply it before bed and wake up with the most radiant and plump skin, perfect for a big day when you want to look your absolute best," the makeup artist tells THR.

Goodwin says she's currently "really loving" Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum ($52) under makeup: "It creates gorgeous, glowing, hydrated skin that looks like you’ve just got out of a killer facial."

Johnson is also "obsessed" with Drunk Elephant, the skincare line by Tiffany Masterson that lauds the benefits of virgin Marula oil. "If I have time, I love to do a mini facial," Johnson tells THR. Her step-by-step routine starts with its T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial with AHA/BHA ($80) to give a "smoother texture and minimize pores," followed by the Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil ($40) for hydration, the Protini Polypeptide Cream ($68) to improve tone and texture.

Other staples in Johnson's red carpet kit that she uses "all the time" to prep skin: The Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water ($57) to cleanse and hydrate, followed by the Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Essence ($107), a couple drops of the Koh Gen Do Macro Vintage T3 Premium Oil ($150) "for more moisture and protection" and its Eye Treatment ($175) for brightening and moisturizing. 

Mimi Choi, who created Ezra Miller’s seven-eye look at the Met Gala this year, works on a lot of heavy illusion makeup and needs to combat dryness. She loves using Embryolisse milk cream ($12) on her clients and herself. “It's very hydrating and you can use it as a makeup remover to clean up wing liners,” she says, “I have never encountered any client of mine who is allergic to this cream.”

Choi agrees that proper removal is another key to a fresh face. She uses the MakeUp Eraser ($20) and a cloth from Riversol, a brand she gets in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada. She adds her preferred cleanser from Shu Uemura on the cloth, nothing that she “just wipes everything off using that cloth and it comes off really easily. Usually two or three rubs and it's gone."

Of course, makeup artists support their pals' beauty businesses. Rokael — who has worked with pop stars Beyoncé, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande — posted about the new beauty line by Glam Masters producer Diana Madison, whose debut product Glowtopia Face Oil was released Aug. 22 ($45). Rokael calls the essential oil blend a “must have,” featuring prickly pear seed oil to hydrate, rejuvenate and treat anti-aging and hyperpigmentation.

The famed Mario Dedivanovic — glam guy to the Kardashians, Kate Bosworth and Lucy Liu — praised Glowtopia on his Instagram story (he appears on Madison's show, as do Laverne Cox and Kandee Johnson). Dedivanovic also uses Rodial’s Rose Gold Moisturizer ($250), salicylic acid Vit C Pads ($56) and Dragon’s Blood Lip Masks ($7) with hyaluronic acid and glycerin on Kim Kardashian. And the beauty master behind Amy Adams, Stephen Sollitto posted on Instagram about his love for Charlotte Tilbury's Goddess Cleansing Ritual duo ($46) with the citrus oil cleanser followed by the charcoal cleanser.

Other times, deals dictate which skincare is used on a star. For example, Tata Harper has supplied for Nina Park (Brie Larson), Romy Soleimani (Cara Delevingne) and Tina Turnbow (Keri Russell). Lady Gaga’s beauty guru Sarah Tanno is a global artistry ambassador for Marc Jacobs Beauty and applied his Youthquake Hydra-Full Retexturizing Gel Crème ($59) to Lady Gaga for the 2019 Met Gala (Cardi B wears the same creme). “It’s the perfect start to add hydration and plump the skin before makeup,” Tanno wrote on Instagram. “Prepping the skin is always the most important step in any makeup no matter how clean or how intense.” (Despite her deal, she’s also used True Botanicals skincare on Olivia Wilde for the Baby2Baby gala). 

Patrick Ta, who beautifies Olivia Munn and Shay Mitchell, is a makeup artist for La Mer and touts its Moisturizing Soft Cream ($180) along with the Clarisonic brushes "to really just cleanse and exfoliate the skin just so there's no dead skin cells." He adds, "You need amazing skin prep. I always want to make sure that I exfoliate the face, cleanse the face. It's super important to start your face off with no makeup on."

Makeup artist James Vincent, who worked with Rihanna to find the pros behind her Fenty Beauty brand, was tapped this summer by TwinMedix to be the creative director. Therefore he touts its moisturizer ($18) and tells THR that it has toning properties due to the essential oils to balance skin pH. He suggests stars mix it into their foundations to keep it in place longer for a wedding or a red carpet "where you want the skin to stay looking fresh; this moisturizer is going to keep it looking supple,” Vincent says. “I call it a 24-hour miracle, because it does take the redness out of the skin and evens out skin tone.” Pro tip: if a client needs to freshen up their foundation in the middle of the day, the artist can take a dime-sized bit of moisturizer in their hand and apply it right over — “and it's not going to damage anything.”

Cardi B’s glam gal Erika La Pearl calls Ole Henriksen one of her favorites, specifically the Banana Bright Eye Cream ($38), Balancing Force Oil Control Toner ($28) and Ole Henriksen’s C-Rush Brightening Gel Crème ($45) used on the rapper in August. More go-tos include the Ponds Hydrating Dry Skin Cream ($7) and Cold Cream Facial Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover ($10). “As you know, before every makeup application, skin care is a must,” La Pearl wrote on Instagram. 

With the Emmys one week away, the intensive skincare prep starts now.