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13 Inexpensive Beauty Tricks Only Stylists Know

Achieve a megawatt look on the cheap with these expert tips.

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Get the look for less

Watching beauty tutorials can make it seem like the only route to a flawless face is dropping major bucks. But once you know the tips and tricks, you can recreate them with your favorite inexpensive products.

Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.

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Naturally youthful skin


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Sir John, the superstar makeup artist behind Beyonce’s most iconic looks, says the secret to making your face appear naturally glowy during the age of Zoom calls: It all starts with hydration. He’s a fan of hyaluronic acid because it holds a heavy amount of moisture compared to the size of the molecule. To achieve a youthful look, he suggests applying hyaluronic acid as the first step as well-hydrated skin equals a more radiant complexion. We like this Overt The Hydrator, an organic product that delivers a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid to your skin—a little goes a long way.

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No-mess eyeshadow application


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Gucci Westman, who regularly works with A-listers and behind the scenes at fashion weeks around the world, explains why you need to use an eyeshadow without “fallout.” If you apply eyeshadow as one of your last steps and the product you are using falls from your lids to your under eyes, you will suffer a sloppy look. “You have to go in and try to fix it,” Westman says. “Sometimes it makes a big hole [on your freshly applied makeup] depending on how much coverage you have,” she explains. You can avoid this conundrum by using cream-based products that don’t have that “fallout” effect most powder eyeshadows give off. She recommends the Eye Pods from her Westman Atelier line, but they ring in at a pricey $88. We found these Revlon ColorStay Crème Eye Shadow for under $6.

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“No makeup” makeup


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Barely-there makeup has been all the rage for the last couple of years and is only getting more popular now that we’re all going out less. Artist Lisa Eldridge, makeup artist to Kate Moss, Cameron Diaz, Sienna Miller, and more, confesses a simple truth when it comes to nailing this look in a tutorial with over 3 million views. “How you do it depends on your skin tone,” she says. Your skin tone should dictate the type of colors and formulas you use. To find the best blush color, she suggests that you choose a natural cheek shade that mimics the color you turn when you blush naturally. The Maybelline New York Dream Bouncy Blush comes in 10 shades.

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Reduced redness


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Celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin, known for his signature red carpet looks, has a genius trick to calm down redness caused by acne breakouts. “I use cortisone to calm the redness from my acne,” the pro shared on Instagram when explaining a no-makeup look to his followers.

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Warmed up to shimmer


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To achieve a natural glow, try highlighter, recommends Monika Blunder, a celebrity makeup artist with one of the most famous YouTube channels around. Her recent Instagram tutorial explained how you can expertly apply it: Dispense a pea-sized dab of highlighter to the back of your hand. Then warm it up by rubbing it with your fingers in a circular motion for a few seconds. Dab on your cheekbones with your fingers for the most natural glow around. One to try: L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion natural glow enhancer. Shop mindfully: don’t waste your money on these unreasonably expensive everyday products.

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Outdoor makeup


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Outdoor makeup is tricky, as it’s prone to melt away with sweat and heat. Follow this summer-ready tip from makeup artist Tim Quinn so you can spend your time outdoors having fun without worrying about your face: Start your beauty routine with a primer chock-full of SPF. This step helps your makeup stay intact during outdoor activities like pool parties and baseball games and also prevents sunburn. Revlon ColorStay Prep & Protect Primer offers SPF 25 and creates a smooth canvas for the rest of your makeup. Find out more of our favorite sunscreens for your face. Speaking of SPF, you’ll be happy to wear any of these 17 face sunscreens ever day.

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Bye-bye puffiness


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Charlotte Tilbury confesses to personally suffering from puffiness. In order to combat late nights, the makeup pro massages her face to reduce inflammation. She demonstrates her technique in a beauty tutorial video: She starts by using four fingers to gently tap right below her eyelids, atop her cheekbones. She then moves on to her “angel wings,” aka the apple of her cheeks and cheekbones stretching back towards the ears. She then follows the massaging movements to her forehead and chin. While massaging, she uses her own makeup line’s Magic Cream to avoid friction between her fingers and face. A moisturizer with a thick formula, like Olay Regenerist Whip Facial Moisturizer, will help you nail down this anti-puffiness face massage for less. These are the best face massage tools for a smooth and glowing complexion. Perk up your eyes, too, with these 12 surefire tricks to reduce puffy eyes.

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Signature red lip


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Perfecting a signature red lip is no easy feat but Mylah Morales, Rihanna’s longtime go-to makeup artist, a few tips that make it easy for you to master a beautiful red lip like RiRi’s at home. Her golden rule is to start out with a lip liner, like this Milani Color Statement Lip Liner in True Red. She doesn’t cover the entire lip with the liner, rather she just uses it to create definition around the mouth. She also suggests staying away from drying matte lipstick formulas in favor or a moisturizing one.

African American woman applying blush to cheek
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Perfectly blushed

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Patrick Ta’s is celebrated for giving celebs a naturally flushed look at red carpet events. He shares how to recreate this at home with a few simple steps: First, he applies a powder blush to the apples of the cheeks with a brush, then follows with a cream blush applied with a beauty blender sponge. This two-step process helps “melt” blush into the skin to make the color appear as if it’s coming from within.

Mixed race woman doing make up in front of mirror.
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Eye brightening


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Though you may not know his name, chances are you’ve seen Matthew VanLeeuwen’s work on his A-list clients including Salma Hayek. He has a very easy technique that can be used to naturally brighten your eyes: Swirl powder eye shadow with a brush, like these from EcoTools, in a circular motion to the middle of your eyelid, which he says is a naturally bright spot. This creates a natural highlight to the area, rather than detracting from it and gives the appearance of naturally rested and more youthful eyes.

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Hooded eye rescue


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If makeup tips from Mary Greenwell were good enough for the late Princess Diana, they are good enough for us too. This makeup veteran has the no-fail tip for applying makeup to hooded eyes: She starts with an eye cream as a base then layers on CC cream to add another layer of moisture. She then uses an eyeshadow quad to create dimension; she starts by dusting on the lightest shade in the quad to the whole lid including as a highlight to the brow bone. She then uses a darker shade to draw an arch in the middle of the lid, creating instant depth. Create the look with Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Quad.

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Flawless foundation


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Finding the right foundation shade is tricky, but absolutely necessary. Pat McGrath, one of the world’s leading makeup artists, shared her simple solution to finding the best shade: She tests the color on the neck. Once she has the right hue, she blends the foundation upwards all the way to the hairline, including behind the ears. Maybelline Fit Me Foundation comes in a range of 40 shades.

Beautiful woman recording face contouring and highlighting vlog at home.
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Contouring trifecta

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Queen of contour Kim Kardashian West has a secret for achieving the perfect makeup look. She has a three-step process she calls conceal, bake, and brighten. In a recent tutorial, she admits that applying concealer to places like her laugh lines helps soften the area. Her own makeup line KKW Beauty has a three in one product, but you can also use a lower-priced product like NYC Professional Makeup HD Concealer. Start by dabbing the concealer on to cover up problem areas. You then “bake” the concealer with powder and follow it up with a brightening powder. These are the makeup rules every woman should know by the time she’s 40.


Priscila Martinez
Priscila is a seasoned writer covering lifestyle topics including fashion, beauty and brands. Her work has been featured in the Hollywood Reporter and Forbes, and she's a frequent contributor to Newsweek and Entrepreneur. She's also an entertainment correspondent for NBC’s Peacock streaming platform.