If you’re a beauty junkie, you know that navigating the world of makeup can be a pretty overwhelming experience. Whether you’re in the market for a new concealer, translucent powder, or setting spray, there seems to be a million options for each—who has time to test them all and find the very best one? Luckily, that’s what beauty pros are for.
Vogue reached out to five noteworthy influencers and makeup artists who are all gaining large followings for their stellar makeup looks. This includes Neon MUA and Robert Welsh—both of whom create colorful eyeshadow looks like no other—and Wayne Goss, who has nearly 4 million followers on YouTube. If you’re a Lil Nas X fan, you may also recognize Anthony H. Nguyen’s work: He serves as the rapper’s makeup artist, and has created many of his memorable red carpet and video looks (like this graphic liner for the “Montero” video). Meanwhile, Shantanu Dhope—whose Instagram tagline is “Brown Boys wear makeup too”—also creates eye-catching beauty looks that incorporate his Desi culture.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #64 series on my blog.
Beyond simply creating enchanting looks, these pros are also proving makeup is truly for all—whether female, male, or nonbinary. Dhope, for instance, says he proudly wears makeup because, “I feel we do not have enough brown skin representation in the beauty industry, especially brown men wearing makeup. In India, a boy wearing makeup is still a very new concept, and a lot of people consider it to be a taboo.” Goss also specifically encourages men who are new to makeup to experiment and have fun with it. “When it comes to makeup, most men tend to want to enhance their looks without anyone knowing they’re wearing any,” says Goss. His tip to achieving the perfect beginner look? “Make sure you apply ‘little’ and avoid over-application. Less is more. And never be afraid of blush—healthy skin has some color to it.”
Below, read on for these five beauty artists’s top products for everyone to try.
Call me biased, but my collection of face palettes with Midas Cosmetics is something that everyone needs in their kit. These palettes are pigmented, buttery, and most importantly, they have the range. My focus with creating this collection was to make sure that everyone can have access to effective contours and bronzers, whether you are fair and need products that don’t run orange, or if you’re deeply rich and are tired of not having access to contours and bronzers that actually show up on your complexion.
This is a recent must-have for me. I love this powder because it is truly translucent. The All Nighter collection is known for being waterproof and locking in your makeup for hours, so being able to finally have a product that helps with sweat and shine that is also a true translucent powder is a gift from the makeup gods.
I will always love NARS foundations because they have such a wide range of shades and undertones, plus their formula is always top-tier. Out of all of the NARS foundations, this is the one that I always find myself reaching for, because it offers a nice amount of coverage without looking cakey, while also giving you the natural, healthy glow that everyone wants.
MannyMUA in my honest opinion has one of the most impressive influencer brands in beauty, because he’s not afraid to play with color and concepts. All of his palettes are truly impressive (especially his revamped Life’s A Drag Facelift palette), but if there’s one palette that I will also grab, it’s the Strawberry Dream palette. Reds and blues are some of the hardest colors to work with in terms of shadows, yet these shades are so pigmented and blend like a dream. Everyone needs this palette.
With the classic technique of soap brows becoming a more recent trend, and many brands releasing their version of brow grooming waxes, this is one of the only brow products I have found that draws smoothly and precisely over a waxy texture. After grooming brows into that fluffy look, this pen is also perfect to draw strokes of hair on the brows, without losing the overall look.
I find a lot of highlighters can look textured or obvious on the skin—either because they contain glitter, or because the shades are slightly off, with a metallic finish. This highlighter is the complete opposite. There are multiple different shades that complement skin tone, instead of the highlighter being just pink or gold for example. When applying this highlighter, you notice how it effortlessly blends, and almost becomes one with your skin. And because it’s buildable, you can start at a natural “glowing from within” to a more dramatic glow.
Beauty Bay has always been a go-to destination for me when looking to try new products and brands, as they offer everything from drugstore to high-end products. Their own brand’s eyeshadows, at drugstore prices, offer high-end quality. Every texture, matte, shimmer, and glitter are extremely pigmented and blend beautifully. They all have an almost creamy texture that is easy to build, and are a pleasure to use when creating a makeup look.
Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo
One thing I get asked a lot is “what’s the difference between bronzer and contour?” These compacts are the perfect representation of what a bronzer and contour should be. The bronzing powder provides just the right amount of “sun-kissed” without being orange, and the cream contour shades create the perfect ‘bone structure-mimicking’ contour colour, which blends naturally into the skin. If you’ve had trouble finding your perfect contour shade before, or perhaps are intimidated by the idea of contouring, this product is the perfect place to start, and stick with.
I cannot leave my house without grooming my eyebrows. I just run this product quickly through my brows to give me a clean and fresh looking brow. It gives me the right amount of color without looking over done.
Studio Fix Fluid SPF15 – a modern lightweight, natural matte foundation with shine-controlling, medium-to-full buildable coverage and 24-hour wear – available in an all-inclusive, colour-true range of 63 shades.
Studio Fix Powder – a one-step pressed powder and foundation that gives skin a 12-hour ultra-matte finish while controlling shine and without causing acne.
#170 – a best-selling foundation brush with a rounded, slanted shape and densely packed fibres that applies, buffs out and blends any foundation or primer.
& #150 – a full and dense brush for dusting loose or pressed powder onto the face or body.
What It Is: A lightweight liquid foundation with light-to-medium coverage
What It Does: Evens out the skin without looking cakey
Who It’s For: Anyone looking for an affordable, lightweight foundation from the drugstore
As someone with decidedly combination skin, I have both the luxury and the unpredictable need to be able to change up whether I’m using a mattifying or dewy foundation. But I tend to lean toward the glowy end of the complexion-makeup spectrum, as I’ve found most matte foundations to settle into lines more noticeably. That Maybelline New York Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation somehow bucks this trend is merely one of the reasons I love it so much.
In fact, this beloved formula doesn’t behave like most matte foundations in a lot of ways. Although it’s instantly apparent from its less-creamy, thinner texture that it’s going to have a shine-free finish, it blends with incredible flexibility and ease, even if you’re using your fingers. That can be at least partially attributed to how lightweight it is — proof that a foundation doesn’t have to be thick and cakey to be sufficiently matte.
Once on, even though it’s technically medium-coverage, I often find myself forgetting to apply concealer on any blemishes or discoloration when I wear Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation because it somehow blurs it all away in one light layer. And it’s that blurring effect that I credit for making my smile lines look less apparent, too, which is arguably even better than the foundation simply not sinking into them.
As a beauty lover and blogger who’s constantly trying and changing up different products, I admit, Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation had fallen out of my rotation, not due to any failings on its part — because it has literally no failings — but simply because of the sheer volume of foundations available to me. But I’m so glad I rediscovered it in my stash.
I’m clearly not alone in my fondness for Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation, as it’s the recipient of an Allure 2020 Readers’ Choice Award. And when you consider that all that I raved about above is available for just $8, it’s easy to see why.