From under-$20 pressed powders used on film sets to cult-favorite foundations, these are the top makeup products loved by celebrity glam squad pros.
Drumroll, please! After polling some of Hollywood’s top fashion and beauty insiders, The Hollywood Reporter presents the Red Carpet Essentials Awards.
Now that awards season is in full swing, Hollywood glam squads are back behind the scenes. For our inaugural Red Carpet Essentials awards series, we polled top film, TV and celebrity makeup artists on the best foundations and face powders that they trust to deliver photo- and screen-ready skin.
Our panelists included makeup artists such as Jennifer “JD” Daranyi (Lopez & Lopez), Jamie Greenberg (whose clients include Rashida Jones, Kaley Cuoco, Chelsea Handler), Hinako (Stephanie Hsu, Brandi Carlisle, Linda Cardellini), Renee Loiz (Quinta Brunson, Uzo Aduba, Sherry Cola, Danai Gurira), Julia Jovone (One Life to Live, Law & Order SVU, Shonda Rhimes, Jeffrey Wright), Katie Mellinger (Haim, Emma Watson, Sofia Coppola and more) and Robert Sesnek (Hailey Bieber, Lucy Hale and Madelyn Cline).
They revealed their go-to makeup products for every type of scenario and skin shade, including options for matte and dewy finishes, full-coverage foundations available for over 40 skin tones, picks for a “no makeup” look and even behind-the-scenes secrets that cost under $20.
How We Chose the Winners of THR’s Red Carpet Essentials Awards
Hollywood fashion and beauty professionals have logged thousands of hours testing makeup, skincare, hair products and tools, and more on clients and themselves. That’s why we turned to them to share the products that have earned their professional personal seals of approval for use on clients on the red carpet, as well as every day.
THR‘s Red Carpet Essentials Awards Experts:
Read More: THR’s Red Carpet Essentials Award Winners
Red Carpet Essentials Awards: The Best Long-Wear Foundations, Setting Powders and More Face Makeup
Ahead, check out the best face cosmetics that Hollywood makeup artists love, from under-$20 pressed powders to luxe foundations for long-wearing, natural-looking and buildable coverage. Stay tuned as we’ll be rolling out more of their picks across skin-care, haircare, beauty devices and more categories.
“I have yet to find another foundation that makes the skin look so dewey and plump. It contains jojoba, squalane, and shea butter — which probably has something to do with it. I wish it came in the darkest, but it does cover most darker skin tones.” — Katie Mellinger
“If I want something with a more neutral matte, medium coverage finish, then I reach for this. It’s buildable as well, so I can get full coverage if I need it. It really wears beautifully on the skin and lasts as well, so its great for my celeb clients going to events. It has a good range of shades although it could use just a few more darker shades.” — Katie Mellinger
“If you’re looking for a foundation that covers all the shades, THIS is the one! I love that I can build the coverage from light to medium-full. It’s hydrating and doesn’t look heavy.” — Katie Mellinger“The best for dry and mature skin.” — Tisha Thompson
“For a long lasting glam, I always opt for my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter Longwear Foundation. It really is a flawless coverage. It blends into the skin seamlessly and doesn’t go into your pores, it is more of a full coverage, matte foundation. I love to pair it with the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter when I want more of a glow!” — Melanie Marris
“NARS always hits right. Amazing shade range. Looks gorgeous on the skin. Looks amazing in photos. Nothing bad to say about this foundation. I love it.” — Katie Mellinger
“This is just the right amount of light coverage. It’s perfect if someone has nice skin but maybe just a touch of redness. Thanks to my amazing dermatologist, this is what I use on myself.” — Katie Mellinger
“I love a multipurpose product and this one is skincare and foundation in one. It also leaves the most perfect glow on the skin and never looks greasy. Lastly, there are 36 shades in this foundation line, so it works for a plethora of skin tones.” — Renee Loiz
“As an esthetician, I love how skin forward this formulation is with the intention to minimize redness in the skin. It’s medium coverage, but builds very easily without feeling heavy.” — Ian Michael Crumm
Julia Jovone, who won a Daytime Creative Arts Emmy with her One Life to Live team for achievement in makeup for a drama series in 2008, says, “What sets this foundation apart is its ability to cater to a diverse range of skin complexions, ensuring that everyone can find their perfect match. Not only does it provide the flawless look that I desire for myself, but it also delivers stunning results for my clients, whether it’s for a daytime event or an evening affair. The best part is that this foundation never overpowers the skin or becomes cakey, allowing for a natural and radiant finish that la -
sts throughout the day. It’s like a confidence boost in a bottle, and I can’t help but feel excited every time I reach for it.”
“I love that this has SPF 15 in the formula, and acts as a foundation, concealer and powder all in one!” — Jamie Greenberg
A favorite of Robert Sesnek and Priscilla Valles, Dior’s Forever Fluid Skin Glow foundation is ideal for light coverage and a natural, dewy look.
“I really love the Westmore Instantly Flawless Foundation. Its buildable coverage makes it the perfect base to your makeup look. I always feel like my skin is hydrated and healthy after using this foundation and it easily covers any blemish I may have without the need for using other products. It is also water- and sweat-resistant, meaning I can wear it all day without fear that it will begin to look patchy. I am glowing throughout the day and use this as my everyday foundation.” — Rita Hazan
Makeup artists Robert Sesnek and Jennifer Daranyi are both fans of Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation for its light and buildable formula.
“A very lightweight foundation that is perfect to create a ‘no makeup’ look.” — Hinako
A favorite of Robert Sesnek, Pat McGrath Labs’ Sublime Perfection foundation delivers lightweight, long-wearing and buildable coverage in over 30 shades.
Local 706 makeup artist Jennifer “JD” Daranyi favors Face Atelier’s Ultra foundation “for clean and light yet buildable coverage.”
RCMA’s foundations are a favorite among Hollywood makeup artists for its medium to full coverage, including Jennifer Daranyi.
Jennifer Daranyi “can’t live without” Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin foundations, which come in 30 shades and contains hyaluronic acid, rose complex, coconut extract and other skin-care ingredients for hydrating, brightening, plumping and smoothing out the skin.
“The perfect foundation to make radiant flawless skin; it lasts long and photographs very well.” — Hinako
“Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder is super finely milled, not too drying and fantastic for keeping the skin looking real and not overly MATTE matte, if you catch my drift. I don’t want to make someone look like they walked through the desert for a day!” — Katie Mellinger
One of Jennifer Daranyi’s on-set go-tos, BLK/OPL’s Oil Absorbing Pressed Powder boasts a soft finish that smooths out pores, uneven skin tone and blemishes.
“A truly invisible powder. Zero titanium dioxide or zinc so works on all skin tones from lightest to darkest.” — Katie Mellinger
“Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder is great for baking and brightening, and for setting the under eye.” — Melanie Marris
“My tip is to go over the top with the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder after you use setting powder on your under-eye. I have never found a pressed powder like this, it goes everywhere with me.” — Melanie Marris
“Uoma Hydroblast Finishing Powder is probably one of the best powders I’ve used! I can’t believe I was just introduced to this powder only this year. The satin matte finish to leaves is otherworldly. But it let’s skin breathe, isn’t cakey, and doesn’t settle into fine lines. It’s really a perfect formula and works wonders on the skin!” — Renee Loiz
Clean beauty brand LYS’ Triple Fix Setting Powder is a favorite among Hollywood makeup artists for its natural-looking matte finish and skin-care ingredients (such as niacinamide and green tea extract) for blurring and soothing the skin.
“If you’re looking for a game-changer in your makeup kit, the Huda Beauty Loose Powder is definitely worth considering. Not only does it promise a flawless finish, but it also delivers on that promise. The finely milled powder effortlessly blurs imperfections and sets makeup, leaving the skin looking smooth and airbrushed. The best part is a little goes a long way. You don’t need much to achieve that perfect, long-lasting finish. It’s a reliable option that I always reach for when I want to achieve a flawless look that lasts all day.” — Julia Jovone
“Another highly favored powder is the Chanel Les Beiges, a versatile and refillable powder that imparts a natural-looking healthy glow. Its lightweight formula offers a blurring effect, providing imperceptible buildable coverage with a second-skin satin finish that never creases.” — Priscilla Valles
“A favorite powder of mine is the Westmore 3-In-1 Photo Finishing Powder. It is the perfect final step to your makeup routine to leave your makeup looking matte and locked in place all day long. It blurs pores without dulling your makeup. It is one shade and matches all skin tones. This is definitely a go-to product that everyone should have in their makeup bag.” — Rita Hazan
“This super fine silky powder feels amazing to wear, non-drying comfort throughout the day.” — Hinako
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