One of, if not the most common question makeup artists get asked is how to make foundation look flawless. And you know what? Almost every single one of them will tell you it starts with skin care. Sure, makeup artists might spend their days knee-deep in base products, but 99.9 percent of the time they begin by prepping their client’s skin with serum, moisturizer, maybe a hydrating mask — hell, sometimes all three — purely because they know that nothing they put on top will look right if the skin isn’t in superior shape.
Turns out, makeup artists don’t mess around when it comes to their own complexions, either. Just like dermatologists, aestheticians, and plastic surgeons, makeup artists put much time and effort into their skin-care routines to ensure it stays in tip-top shape. This includes using some of the top-rated serums and moisturizers on the market, at-home microneedling treatments, frequent facial massages, and more.
How do we know? Because Allure was lucky enough to get a full-blown breakdown of four top makeup artists’ skin-care routines — and the specific treatments they swear by. Keep scrolling for the deep-dive.
For a long time, makeup artist, photographer, and founder of Beauty Is Boring Robin Black relished a lengthy and complex skin-care routine with up to 10 steps. But over the last few years, she says her skin has taken a turn to the
dark sensitive side — subsequently, she’s pared down her routine to just a few simple steps using gentle products she can count on to soothe her easily irritated skin.
“I like to start the morning off with Tatcha’s The Rice Polish Classic for mild exfoliation, as it leaves my skin soft and fresh with a nice healthy flush,” she says of the Japanese brand’s fan-favorite exfoliator. “Next, I apply Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum and massage my face in an upward direction with the ReFa Carat,” she says, adding that she likes to use the S Carat tool when traveling.
Black says for her final step, she uses her hands to gently press Flora + Bast’s CBD Age Adapting Facial Serum into her face, as it calms her highly reactive skin. “It also gives my skin a dewy finish and works perfectly under makeup,” she says.
When it comes time for her evening skin-care regimen, Black is all about a streamlined approach. “If I am wearing makeup, then I begin by using the Face Halo to remove it [because] it’s been a savior for my sensitive skin, which doesn’t enjoy makeup remover anymore,” she explains. Once her makeup is off, she washes with Drunk Elephant’s Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser, a gel cleanser chock-full of calming ingredients like marula oil, glycerin, and cantaloupe fruit extract.
Black explains that she’s been trying to stick to the same two products for morning and night because of how reactive her skin has been lately, so post-cleanse, she uses the same Drunk Elephant B-Hydra serum and CBD oil from Flora + Bast, both of which are deeply nourishing for fragile skin. And bam: Then it’s off to bed for the makeup artist, who likes to clock in as many zzzs as she can get.
Even though her daily routine is fairly simple and straightforward, Black still likes to incorporate a few other products and treatments to target specific concerns, such as melasma. “Twice a week I used the Stacked Skincare MicroNeedling Tool 2.0, which works wonders on my melasma and fine lines,” she says of the at-home tool.
Another weekly favorite for Black is Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial Mask, which she fancies for a little extra exfoliation.
Lastly, whenever she feels like her skin needs a serious pick-me-up, she reaches for the ZIIP Beauty Microcurrent Facial Device. “It’s a literal lift,” she says of the 2018 Best of Beauty Award-winner.
Keita Moore — aka makeup artist to A-listers like Tiffany Haddish, Janet Mock, and Nicki Minaj — has a four-step morning routine he relies on for keeping his oily skin in check.
First things first, he uses Sunday Riley’s famed Ceramic Slip Cleanser. “This is a must for me because I love how gentle, yet effective it is,” he says. “I use my Clarisonic a lot, so when I use this cleanser with my it, it gives me a nice, soft, supple feel to my skin without making it feel stripped of moisture,” he explains.
After cleansing, he tones with the ever-reliable Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner, which he says simultaneously helps to calm his skin and wipe away any leftover dirt or makeup. To minimize breakouts without drying his skin, Moore loves Sunday Riley’s U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Acne Treatment Face Oil, which contains ingredients like aloe vera, salicylic acid, and jojoba to combat breakouts while also hydrating skin.
Moore wraps up his A.M. routine with a healthy dose of sunscreen. His must-have? CeraVe’s Ultra-Light Face Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30, which he says never feels heavy or too greasy on his skin and has yet to make him break out.
Come nighttime, Moore switches up his M.O. a bit, relying on gentle-but-effective, acid-packed products to keep breakouts at bay. “I use the CosMedix Purity Clean Cleanser, which contains salicylic acid to help kill any acne-causing bacteria,” he says, adding that he appreciates how clean it makes his skin feel. Immediately after, he uses the brand’s Purity Balance Toner followed by the Clarity Skin Clarifying Serum, both of which contribute to keeping his skin balanced and clear.
To give his skin a brightening boost, he applies a dollop of Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, a beauty editor-beloved vitamin C treatment that targets dark spots and dullness. Then, to seal everything in, he uses a few drops of Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil. “I can tell this restores moisture and it feels really great on the skin,” he says.
Because Moore’s main skin concerns are acne and hyperpigmentation, he loves to do chemical peels every so often to resurface his skin and to decongest clogged pores. “They’re my go-to for keeping my skin fresh and vibrant,” he says.
Makeup artist and self-proclaimed skin-care enthusiast Tamah Krinsky says as much as she loves makeup, she doesn’t love wearing it and would much rather spend her time caring for her skin. “I’m obsessed and actively strive to keep my skin as radiant and healthy as possible,” she says.
For Krinsky, this means starting off with Vanicream’s Cleansing Bar, an ultra-gentle wash formulated for sensitive skin. “It’s fragrance-free, doesn’t contain any superficial ingredients, and is gentle and non-drying,” she explains. Once her skin is thoroughly cleansed, she packs a punch with Dr. Sturm’s $300 Hyaluronic Acid Serum (a product Kourtney Kardashian also swears by). “I apply it right out of the shower onto freshly clean, slightly damp skin because I like a touch of moisture as I apply it and find it absorbs well that way for me,” she says.
Her next serum of choice is another fan-favorite: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. “I pat it into my face and neck — the smell is intoxicating and it leaves the most dewy and amazing texture and wakes my skin up,” she says. After her second serum, she applies a tiny amount of Weleda’s Skin Food, a viscous moisturizer made with sweet almond oil, beeswax, and glycerin. “It’s an all-time favorite and leaves such a gorgeous, glowy, healthy finish.”
To top it all off, she uses an SPF from her dermatologist, Christie Kidd’s line. “I apply it from my hairline to my collarbones,” she says, adding that she loves it because it’s non-irritating and never looks chalky.
Krinsky always kicks off her evening skin-care routine with Tatcha’s Pure Camellia Cleansing Oil, as she says it takes everything off and leaves her skin feeling super-hydrated. “I then apply the Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum and its Marula Oil followed by EltaMD’s PM Therapy Moisturizer and let it all soak in,” she explains of her post-cleansing ritual.
Two nights a week, she also likes to use a Retin A serum called Renewal from Christie Kidd’s line. “I use a tiny bit, like two drops mixed with a little water, and then moisturize before bed,” she says. And it’s as simple as that.
Once or twice a month, Krinsky relies on powerhouse products — aka Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask and Drunk Elephant’s TLC Sukari Babyfacial Mask for an extra glow boost.
Then, once a year, she does a series of three Limelight laser treatments to address concerns such as sun damage, red and brown spots, and broken capillaries. She says it’s an absolute dream because it’s quick, doesn’t hurt, and there’s — wait for it — no downtime. “The results are amazing; it always leaves my skin looking really clear and fresh,” she says.
Even when she’s up at the crack of dawn to make up stars like Cara Delevingne, Keira Knightly, and Kendall Jenner — to name just a few — makeup artist Romy Soleimani follows a simple skin-care routine comprised of three products.
“Less is more is my general skin-care philosophy, so I splash with cold water and then mist with Tata Harper’s Floral Essence,” she says of her cleanser-free regimen. “Then, I go in with Georgia Louise’s Vitamin A Serum and follow that with Augustinus’s Bader The Rich Cream.” Soleimani’s routine, while streamlined, features three extremely effective products that she feels are worth their expensive pricetags.
Nighttime is when Soleimani sits back and gets into the self-care element of skin care. She begins by using Omorviscova’s Thermal Cleansing Balm on dry skin, using a gentle Eve Lom muslin cloth to remove it with warm water. She then uses the same Tata Harper essence to tone. For added hydration, she relies on Retrouve’s Intensive Replenishing Facial Moisturizer, which she says she likes to massage into her skin using a tool. Her three favorites include Jillian Dempsey’s Gold Bar, the ReFa S Carat, and Georgia Louise’s Lift + Sculpt Butterfly Stone.
When she has the energy, she uses May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon on the high points of her face. “I also like to massage it vigorously on my lips,” she says. “And, if I feel a breakout coming, I use Marie Veronique’s Instant Repair Serum.
Despite being a less-is-more type of gal, Soleimani loves to treat herself to facials with Lauren at NYDG Wellness. “Joanna Czech is magic, too!” she raves of her other favorite aesthetician.
Platelet-rich plasma or PRP with dermatologist David Colbert is another skin-care treatment she swears by. PRP works by using plasma from your white blood cells and platelets, which is rich in growth factors, to stimulate collagen production. “It’s crazy, but the results are amazing,” she says. “It’s a big collagen boost.”