The Real Red Carpet Essentials, According to Top Style and Beauty Experts

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Naomie Harris

From Naomie Harris' makeup artist to Kendall Jenner's hairstylist, 9 red carpet pros divulge the best steamers, body shapers, sculpting palettes and hairbrushes.

The fashion and beauty pros who prep celebrities before they hit an awards show step-and-repeat have a lot to consider to avoid a major wardrobe malfunction, powder overload or deflated 'do.

Add to that the intense lights, intermittent rain, wind or high sun that can blow out, dampen, topple or melt all of the work that went into a red carpet look and you start to understand just how much stylists and makeup artists have to think about.

“What looks great in daylight or in the makeup room can look very different under a flash," says celebrity and event photographer Stefanie Keenan. She advises that black dresses don’t tend to photograph as well and if an actress wants her picture to really pop (and get picked up by more media outlets), she should wear color. “Some thin chiffon materials can be see through. Make super sure you test your outfits with a flash — not just your iPhone flash.”

Whether you are walking a red carpet yourself this season or just want the most effective body shaper, highlighter or eyelash curler, check out the absolute essentials that the style and beauty gurus of Rami Malek, Lily Collins and Mandy Moore rely on for getting their clients perfect from every angle.

Absolute Red Carpet Essentials:

Ilaria Urbinati, stylist to Rami Malek, Donald Glover, Ben Affleck, Shailene Woodley and Bradley Cooper


A photo posted by Ilaria Urbinati (@ilariaurbinati) on

1. Nippies Skin by Bristols 6 ($10): "These are a magic trick for any look where you can’t wear a bra. We use these constantly."

2. Spanx “Shape My Day” Open Bust Mid Thigh Bodysuit Shaper ($84): "Obviously all Spanx are amazing but these leave the cleanest lines under dresses."

3. Lifetime supply of Staples' blank labels ($12): "We pack everyone like they’re going off to summer camp so we tie and label every outfit. We also label every item in the studio so everyone always knows what’s what and for whom and when. We are basically completely label happy over here."

Anita Patrickson, stylist to Julianne Hough and Emma Watson

1. Jiffy Handheld Steamer ($75): "I haven’t used an iron in about a decade. These little ones are so easy and compact."

2. Commando Classic Solid Thong ($22): "Having the correct underwear can make or break your outfit! Shapewear (always have a pair of scissors on hand in case they need to be cut to fit a particular look), a strapless bra or stick on cups (Target has amazing lightweight foam on options that are also really inexpensive) and a nude thong are the most essential."

3. Bobby pins ($3): These have a million uses. From creating a quick and easy hairstyle to threading through a broken zipper.

Fiona Stiles, makeup artist to Lily Collins, Naomie Harris and Bryce Dallas Howard


A video posted by fionastiles (@fionastiles) on

1. Surratt Eyelash Curler ($30): "This lash curler gives you the best curl. Hands down. The way it’s calibrated is so perfect it gives you the maximum curl with the least amount of pressure.  It’s truly a feat of engineering."

2. Whole Foods 365 Baby Wipes (three-pack, $16): "The type of wipes I use may seem so silly and trivial, but it’s a really important tool in my kit. The amount of products that end up on my hands each day is pretty astounding and I can go through 1-2 packs a day depending on the job. I’ve tried every wipe on the market and these are by far my favorite. I buy them by the case. These aren’t soapy, sticky, or stinky. They cut through all of the product on my hand without leaving them greasy and most importantly they aren’t linty, so I’m not transferring nearly invisible bits of fluff to my clients face. And trust me, it’s maddening for everyone when there’s a bit of fluff on someone’s lashes. It’s wildly distracting.

3. Fiona Stiles Beauty Sheer Sculpting Palettes ($28): "The secret to contouring is to make it undetectable, incredibly subtle and effective. I use these sculpting palettes on every single client I do. They create the most gentle, beautiful contour without ever looking heavy or fake and the colors are perfect for all skin tones, from the very fair to a dark complexion so they’re incredibly versatile. I cannot work without them."

Kristofer Buckle, makeup artist to Mariah Carey and Blake Lively


A photo posted by @kristoferbuckle on

1. Light Enhancing Duo from Kristofer Buckle Collection: "It helps me customize where and how much I want light to reflect off the face, so I can create a clean, healthy glow that looks natural and photographs perfectly."

2. Aquaphor ($5): "I use this to moisturize and soften lips but also on the entire body to give a uniform moisturized texture that doesn't look greasy."

3. Kristofer Buckle Full Disclosure Scalp Cover ($38): "I fill in fine hairlines and wide parts, and it instantly gives stronger definition to the face and gives a more finished look."

Jenn Streicher, makeup artist to Mandy Moore and Emily Blunt


A photo posted by jennstreicher (@jennstreicher) on

1. Beauty Blender ($20): "Hands down my favorite tool and the only way to get a flawless finish. Side note: spray some Caudalie Elixer ($18) for an extra glow."

2. Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder with the puff ($38): "It’s the perfect powder to set makeup while allowing the skin to still have that beautiful glow. I use the tap and roll technique."

3. Tatcha Oil Blotting Papers ($12): "I never let my client leave without some. It’s the perfect tool for making sure your client stays 'un-shiny' throughout the whole day."

Scott Cunha, hair stylist to Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner and Lucy Hale


A photo posted by Scotty Cunha (@thescottycunha) on

1. Swisco Tooth Brush ($6): "I spray hair spray on it to take away any sort of flyaway and or smooth a ponytail or hair tucked behind the ear."

2. Kardashian Beauty Rat Tail Teasing Comb ($7): "I can tease any section into place and I also use the rat-tail part to separate hair and create the perfect wisp."

3. Leonor Greyl Laque Souple Hair Spray ($36): "It literally can create a slick wet look or can hold a wave into place."

Laini Reeves, hair stylist to Amy Adams and Ellen DeGeneres


A photo posted by Laini Reeves (@laini_reeves) on

1. A Mason Pearson Brush ($150)

2. Hairspray 

3. My personal concoction composed of a few creams and oil mix together in an unmarked bottle to keep flyaways away!

Torsten Witte, makeup artist and groomer for Matt Damon, Sabrina Carpenter and Michelle Monaghan; makeup artist on La La Land


A photo posted by Torsten Witte (@torstenwitte) on

1. Lelet NY Hair Accessories: "Hair accessories are a must have for either the initial hairdo on the carpet or a last-minute fix."

2. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($22): "Finally an alternative to dry shampoo!"

3. 402 Quick Cutting Comb ($12): "This is my all time favorite comb. A must have for everyone and everything."

Frederic Aspiras, hair stylist to Lady Gaga

1. Matrix Biolage R.A.W. Re-Hydrate Clay Overnight Hair Mask ($30): "A recent discovery that I love is Matrix Biolage Raw Re-Hydrate Clay Overnight Hair Mask. Comb it through and leave it on overnight with a shower cap and lay a towel over your pillow. I also like to go really natural and use organic coconut oil applied from ends to root then comb through. In the morning just shampoo well and those locks will be so shiny and soft."

2. 100 percent boar bristle brush ($8) (looks like a toothbrush): "This is the finishing tool that smoothes the edges of your hair and tames any flyaways! (A little tip is I spray the brush with hairspray first to lock down those frizzes or flyaway). Picture perfect!"

3. L'Oréal Elnett Extra hold Unscented Hairspray ($15): "For as many times as I have to touch up on the red-carpet, I need a hairspray that won't build up or look "crunchy" spray after spray. This hairspray works the best for me."



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