50 Cheap Tricks Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Use To Make People Look 10x Better

It’s easier than you think.

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50 Cheap Tricks Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Use To Make People Look 10x Better
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The word “cheap” isn’t usually associated with quality beauty and hair care products, which is why you’re gonna want to keep reading. We talked to 12 professional makeup artists, hair colorists, and stylists to get the scoop on their favorite cheap tricks From tools and techniques to unexpected ways to use products, we’re passing their tricks of the trade along to you today — be prepared to add to cart.


Create The Illusion Of Bigger Eyes With A Beige Eyeliner On Your Waterline

Want to know a makeup artist’s favorite trick? Michaeline Becker gives us the scoop and shares this amazing tip: “Want to give the illusion of bigger eyes? Try adding a waterproof beige eyeliner to your waterline.” Rimmel’s Scandaleyes waterproof liner comes highly recommended with over 18,000 five-star reviews and its creamy formula is easy to apply and stays put for all-day wear. Becker goes on to say, “This technique will give the appearance of bigger, brighter eyes while still having a natural look. It will also help cancel out redness in your waterline, so you look refreshed.”


Perk Up Your Undereye Area With A Brightening Pen

To brighten the area under your eyes, New York-based makeup artist Elisa Flowers suggests adding the following quick step to your makeup routine: "Top your favorite concealer with a brightening pen. Brightening pens like e.l.f. Flawless Brightening Concealer lighten sunken areas and give the illusion of bringing depth forward." It’s under $10 and has a lightweight, buildable formula to prevent caking, and it’s infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to boost hydration and rejuvenate your undereye area.


Soften Your Lips With This Cheap, Makeup-Artist Recommended Cream

Use this soothing, multi-purpose cream for everything from dry skin and acne, to small cuts, and even your lips. Makeup artist Andrea Claire shares this product as one of her cheap tricks and says, “Homeoplasmine is a gold star cream that I use for lip balm. It absorbs fast, is non-greasy and for everyone." The cream is infused with calendula and smooths and softens skin, which is why lots of people also use it as a makeup primer before applying foundation.


Contour With A Cream Stick

Cream contour sticks are a great way to achieve that effortlessly chic “no-makeup makeup look.” Celebrity makeup artist Emily Gray says they are one of her favorite products to use on celebrity clients and adds, “They are skin-like, very blendable, and photograph beautifully. I think these products are easier to use than people think and enhance your makeup look by a tenfold.” This dual-end contour stick is just $12 and to use it, Gray instructs, “Simply take the darker end of the stick and shape out the cheekbones, forehead, jawline, and nose. Then using a sponge or a dense brush blend up! I always say never blend down because it drags your face down.”


Add Color To Roots Or A Hairline With This BuildablePowder

Follow hair stylist Jerome Lordet’s trick for adding fullness to hair by using a buildable hairline powder. The NYC-based salon director at Pierre Michael Salon shares, "If you’re noticing sparse areas when your hair is in a sleek pony or bun, or just want day-to-day scalp coverage, using a scalp foundation that’s buildable, blendable, and waterproof can help you to achieve the most natural results." This product comes in multiple shades and tightly locks to your hair follicles, providing lasting coverage until your next hair wash.


Line Your Eyes With Brown Liner

Cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah notes the importance of highlighting eyes and says, “Eyeliner is something no one should skip as it brings such a lovely look to almost anyone.” This L’Oreal satin glide eyeliner is easy to apply precisely and is smudge-resistant for all-day comfort. Abdullah also shares a good tip for anyone not used to wearing eyeliner:“Don't start with black or colored liners, try brown instead. And instead of trying to draw your first cat eye, focus on covering the base of your bottom lashes with the liner. You can get more creative from there!"


Make Lipstick Last Longer By Layering A Lip Stain

If you put lipstick on before leaving the house and find it’s pretty much gone by the time you get where you’re going, follow makeup artist Elisa Flowers’ clever trick and use a hydrating lip stain. To keep your lips from looking colorless after your lipstick has worn off, Flowers says, “Add a lip stain under your lipstick." This Clarins liquid lip stain has a matte finish and will actually save you a ton of money in the long run because you won’t constantly have to touch up your lipstick.


Trim Hair Frequently & Always Use A Heat Protectant

LA-based celebrity hair stylist Christine Symonds explains, “Regular and frequent hair trims and limiting excessive heat styling is key. When you do use heat tools or a blow dryer always use a heat protector.” This Clairol thermal spray smooths and protects hair from heat damage, but you can also spray it on finished, styled hair to add extra shine. If you’re dealing with more severe damage caused by excessive chemical processing, Symonds says it may be time for a bigger trim and adds, “Healthy shorter hair will 100% of the time look better than damaged long hair, that’s a fact!”


Comb Through Your Conditioner With A Detangling Brush

It doesn’t matter whether your hair is curly, straight, thick or super fine, a detangling brush is a hair tool everyone should be using according to hair and makeup artist Andrea Claire. “One of the best things that you can do for hair health, regardless of type or length, is to comb through your conditioner with a flexible wide-toothed comb or shower brush before rinsing it out.” This brush has a unique design created to effortlessly glide through tangled hair to prevent pain and breakage, and is small enough to toss in your bag for travel. And it’s an undeniable fave with nearly 50,000 perfect ratings.


Put Foam Rollers In Your Hair For Voluminous Curls

To create voluminous curls without subjecting your hair to heat damage, hair stylist Darrius Peace recommends foam sponge hair rollers. These 2-inch rollers come in a 24-pack and are comfortable enough to sleep in, so that you can wake up with bouncy curls. Peace notes, "Rolling blow dried hair on sponge rollers can create a beautiful and voluminous curly texture effect on the hair. This is a great way to avoid the harsh treatments of thermal curling irons on the hair."


Give Your Skin A Dewy Glow With A Liquid Illuminator

For that fresh glow and dewy look, makeup artist Elisa Flowers recommends trying a liquid highlighter. This NYX Born To Glow! illuminator has a lightweight, luxurious texture so that you can easily blend it with your foundation or body lotion to add a little extra shine. For best results, Flowers says, “Apply to tops of cheekbones, eyelids, corner of eyes, collarbones, and add it to body moisturizer to give legs and arms a dewy gleam.”


Add Layers To Give Your Hair Movement — Then Keep Em In Check With A Leave-In Conditioner

Celebrity hair stylist Christine Symonds notes that fluid layers add movement and volume to your hair while drawing the eye up and framing your face. While one-length hair can be gorgeous, especially with shorter lengths, Symonds loves long fluid layers, saying, “It creates a softness to the hair in all lengths and textures” and adds, “To control layers, I use Shimmer Lights leave-in styling treatment for shine and manageability.” Apply it to damp hair before drying and styling or touch up styled hair to refresh shine during the day.


Perk Up Skin With A Touch Of This Powder Bronzer

The cold winter months can do a serious number on your skin, which is why makeup artist Elisa Flowers’ cheap trick to perk up your winter skin is one you’ll definitely want to incorporate into your makeup routine. She says, "Try a powder bronzer. Bronzer creates the illusion of a sun-kissed look”. This Anastasia powder bronzer has a matte finish and is easy to build up depending on your desired depth. Flowers says, “Just sweep a light dusting across the nose, cheeks, forehead and jawline for a bit more color."


Use A Fan-Favorite Brush To Lightly Dust On That Bronzer

For expert bronzer application, it’s worth picking up a quality brush — and this one’s earned a sky-high 4.7-star overall rating after 10,000 reviews. Made from densely packed synthetic bristles, the dome-shaped brush is designed for a light dusting of powder, bronzer, or blush. Plus, the bristles are tapered for foolproof blending.


Spritz Curls For Definition & Longevity

Hair stylist, beauty instructor, and author Darrius Peace shares his favorite trick for ultimate curl definition, explaining, "Enhancing your curls with a little styling spritz can enhance the longevity of your curl definition. I like using Pump It Up. It is a tried-and-true product.” The spray keeps hair in place without any flaking or residue for beautiful, long-lasting curls.


Sprinkle Baking Soda On Your Scalp For A Cheap Alternative To Dry Shampoo

Baking soda is one of the least expensive and most versatile things you could ever buy — you can use it for baking, cleaning, and you guessed it, even as a hair product. If your third-day hair could use a little refresh and you’re already running late, professional hair stylist Darrius Peace shares this genius tip: "Sprinkling a little baking soda on the scalp can serve as a more natural alternative to dry shampoo."


Using A Hair Diffuser To Create Lush Waves

Create lush, salon-style waves using this collapsible diffuser that attaches to your blow dryer and eliminates frizz as you dry your hair. Hair stylist Jerome Lordet suggests first applying soft gel to wet hair, then drying it using a diffuser to get defined waves or curls. If you’re nervous about that 90’s crunchy hair look, fear not Lordet says, “The gel won’t become too crunchy with styling but will tame flyaways and help the hair hold its shape."


Use Dry Shampoo & A Teaser Brush To Create Volume

For a voluminous final look, style your hair using this cheap, professional-loved trick shared by NYC-based stylist Jerome Lordet. "If you’re struggling to add volume to your hair, especially when styling it up or in a braid, add dry shampoo to the roots.” This vegan, organic dry shampoo absorbs oil and removes impurities while infusing your hair with a lovely rosemary-peppermint scent for a refreshing feel. Lordet gives us an additional tip to style dry shampooed hair, saying, “Grab a teaser brush to backcomb the hair. This technique will cause the hair to slightly tangle and create a voluminous final look."


Go With A Wet Look For A Quick Short Hair Style

If you have short hair and are looking for quick and easy styling tips, professional stylist Jerome Lordet points out, “The easiest trick to make your short hair look good in seconds if you have no time to style after the shower is to go for the wet look.” This styling gel delivers a firm hold and Lordet says the best way to use it is to pat your hair with a towel to remove excess water before combing and styling it with the soft gel.


Make Your Eyes Sparkle With Shimmery Lip Gloss

Revisit glittery lip gloss with a shimmery gloss that delivers high shine without any stickiness. Cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah explains that it’s a great way to pick up the light in your eyes and says, “Not everyone is used to the shimmer and shine, but try it and see how much better it makes you look.” This Revlon lip gloss has an oversized applicator so you can easily dab on a generous amount and Abdullah points out another plus to a glittery gloss: “If you have gray hairs coming in, the glitter gloss picks up on those too and makes them look glam.”


Use Liquid Concealer All Around Your Eye Socket For Instant Brightness

Cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah suggests using liquid concealer to lighten dark undereyes, but the trick is not to limit its application to your undereye area. “You can conceal tired eyes by wearing foundation or concealer all the way around the eye socket, not just underneath. Once you apply it, you'll notice that dark under eyes can extend to the corners of the eyes and the lids as well.” For an even finish that won’t clog your pores, this under-$10 Maybelline concealer with over 41,000 perfect ratings is a beautiful choice offering multiple shades to match your complexion.


Brighten Your Face With This Unexpected Trick: A Necklace

Don’t underestimate the power of accessories, not just when it comes to completing an outfit, but also brightening your makeup. Cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah says, “Necklaces are close enough to the face to make it light up, even if you're just wearing a simple chain.” Add some bling on a budget with this 18-karat gold-plated chain that’s an Amazon fave with more than 7,000 perfect ratings. Abdullah adds, “(Chains) go with all types of clothing and are a simple step that can hype up your look regardless of how you wear your hair and clothes."


Use A Powder Puff For A Smoother Makeup Finish

Celebrity and bridal makeup artist Cara Lovello recommends using powder puffs when you apply powder to achieve a smooth, poreless finish. This set includes six cotton puffs that are triangle-shaped for easy contouring and have a silk ribbon on the back so you can hold the clever makeup tool securely. The wedges are suitable for all skin types and their soft texture helps absorb extra oil.


Make Your Brows Fluffier With This Cheap Brow Gel

Give your brows a fuller, salon-style look using makeup artist Cara Lovello’s cheap trick: potted brow gel. This clear e.l.f version is infused with shea butter and designed to sculpt your brows and keep them in place without the hassle and expense of having to go to a salon. To use this brow soap, dip a damp spoolie in it and brush the product into your brows, creating the desired shape.


Apply Moisturizer Under Your Foundation To Prevent Caking

Create a seamless makeup finish using professional makeup artist Cara Lovello’s tip: use a good moisturizer under your foundation. This face cream acts as a makeup primer and is a simple extra step that’ll make a significant difference throughout your day. It smooths and softens skin to create an even base that helps with makeup application and longevity.


Prevent Hair Breakage With A Microfiber Towel

Use a microfiber hair towel to prevent breakage, smooth hair, and speed up drying time by up to 50%. Celebrity hair colorist Sharon Dorram recommends this technique and explains, “It gently removes moisture without over-drying and damaging the hair.” This towel is suitable for all hair types and it’s the smooth texture that prevents friction and therefore protects wet hair from breakage. “Wrap hair once you get out of the shower. The longer you leave the towel on the drier your hair will be before styling with a heat blow dryer," Dorram adds.


Restore Over-Processed Hair With A Nourishing Vitamin E-Infused Oil

Celebrity hair colorist Sharon Dorram shares a trick for restoring over-processed, damaged hair: a nourishing, vitamin E-infused oil. Dorram says, “The longer you leave this in your hair, the better the results,” and suggests leaving it in overnight and rinsing it out in the morning. This popular oil has garnered over 17,000 perfect reviews, it’s under $10, and Durram emphasizes the importance of the Vitamin E, saying it “actually feeds the hair and leaves hair super shiny!"


Enhance The Effects Of Leave-In Hair Treatments With This Luxurious Shower Cap

An overnight hair treatment is one of the best ways to add nourishment and restore shine, but getting said treatment all over your pillowcase is not exactly ideal. Hair colorist Sharon Dorram shares that a hair mask is one of her favorite hacks to give relief to over-processed hair and says, “I even suggest my clients wrap their hair with a bandana or shower cap and sleep with this combination overnight for stellar results.” This luxurious satin-lined shower cap is reversible and its waterproof design is gentle on your hair and maintains moisture, which is perfect for leave-in hair treatments.


Refresh Blonde Hair With A Gentle Henna Rinse

Hair colorist Sharon Dorram’s trick to refresh blonder hair that needs a boost? Henna rinse. When using this hack, Dorram says, “Be careful not to leave this on too long. It should really be used as a watercolor rinse to warm up faded blonde or dull, ashy hair color." Henna is a good alternative to other chemical-containing hair dyes, especially if your hair is damaged from years of heat styling and color processing.


Protect Hair From The Effects Of Chlorine With This Cheap & Surprising Trick: Creamy Baby Oil

Anyone who loves to spend time in the pool knows the effects that chlorine can have on your hair. Celebrity hair stylist Sharon Dorram has a cheap and clever hack to counteract the damage and it’s not what you’d expect. Dorram notes, “If you are a swimmer like me and hate what the chlorine does to your hair, then try cream baby oil!” This creamy formula has a light coconut scent and is packed with glycerin to hydrate your hair. As for applying it to your hair, Dorram says, that a creamy baby oil is “easy to apply to dry hair and creates a barrier to the water so that your hair stays protected. It is super easy to wash out, and it's greaseless.”


Don’t Skip The Gloss For A Dimensional Look

Celebrity makeup artist Emily Gray stresses the importance of mixing different finishes in makeup to create a 3D look and shares that one of her tricks is using a little bit of lip gloss to finish off the lips. Gray explains, “As much as I love a good matte lipstick look, adding a beautiful gloss to just the center of the lip and blending out adds just the right amount of definition and amps up the makeup look."


Give Hair Volumizing Texture With A Dry Shampoo Paste

If you like dry shampoo in theory but it never seems to quite do the job, celebrity hair stylist Glenn Ellis suggests using it in a different form. Ellis says, “One of my favorite tricks is using a dry shampoo paste instead of an aerosol. It not only absorbs oils but it adds texture and volume to the hair that can be refreshed throughout the day.” Ellis shares a personal favorite: Badlands Dry Shampoo paste from R+Co., which doesn’t cause build-up and has a matte finish to add volumizing texture to third-day hair.


Style Your Hair Easily With These Flat Clips That Won’t Leave A Crease In Your Hair

Flyaways, whether caused by hair damage or baby hairs growing in, can make styling practically impossible. Glenn Ellis, who has worked with celebrities such as Olivia Wilde and Aubrey Plaza, says, “My favorite thing to recommend to clients with stubborn flyaways, or who have bangs, are flat clips. They are perfect for setting the pieces in place especially if you have a cowlick in the front.” This eight-piece flat clip set is creaseless, meaning the clips won’t leave any marks in your hair and they’re super lightweight for comfortable wear.


Get Salon-Style Voluminous Curls With Self-Grip Hair Rollers

Rollers are a cheap and effective way to achieve a professional salon-style look at home. Celebrity hair stylist Glenn Ellis says, “I love using rollers when I want to add volume to my blowout. It also helps give a polished 90s blowout feel.” This Conair set includes 31 self-grip hair rollers in five sizes that can be used on wet or dry hair to create gorgeous voluminous curls.


Use Weatherproof Spray To Stop Humidity From Messing Up Your Style

Celebrity hair and makeup artist Michaeline Becker points to weatherproof spray when it comes to humidity control, saying, “This special product keeps unwanted moisture out of your hair strands and locks in your style, whether you've used a curling iron or a flat iron.” The finishing spray works on all hair types and provides resistance to humidity as well as a longer-lasting style.


Use A Blurring Loose Powder To Set Makeup

Celebrity makeup artist Michaeline Becker has a simple way to counteract excessive oil and set your makeup that’s simple but super effective: “Use a fluffy brush to apply a little bit of blurring powder in the T-zone of your face to help mask texture and give a smooth finish to the skin.” This loose setting powder has a lightweight feel and creates a semi-matte finish, and to take your makeup routine to the next level, Becker shares another genius trick: “Skip the powder on the side of your face so you keep that natural skin glow."


Never Skip A Lash Curler To Open Up The Eyes

A lash curler is a cheap but powerful little makeup tool that can completely transform your look. Makeup artist Sarah Egan, who is the makeup department head for Late Night with Seth Meyers among other shows, emphasizes how much of a difference it makes. Egan stresses, “Don’t skip a lash curler! It really makes a difference, especially if your lashes are straight, or you don’t have voluminous lashes.” Use the curler to open up the eyes and instantly lift your lashes and make them look bigger and more voluminous.


Bend Your Mascara Wand To Get Close To The Lash Line

This bendable mascara is inspired by a makeup artist’s favorite trick: bending the mascara wand. Professional makeup artist Sarah Egan explains why the trick works, saying, “Sometimes bending the wand so the mascara applicator is horizontal to your lash line makes for an easier and cleaner application." L’Oreal’s dual-position mascara is easy to build up without clumping and lengthens lashes with a smudge-resistant finish.


Hydrate Your Skin With Mask Sheets Before Applying Makeup

Enjoy a relaxing moment to yourself and hydrate your skin with one of these sheet masks. Makeup artist Andrea Claire notes that sheet masks work amazingly well to really hydrate the skin before applying makeup. Claire adds, “Keep them in the fridge as the coldness will help to reduce any inflammation, redness and liven up the skin, while the active ingredients from the products will help with everything else that you’re targeting."


Replace Heat Styling Tools With This Silk Hair Curler

Skip the heat styling tools and create voluminous curls using this silk hair curler made from flexible rods that wrap around your hair. It’s designed with comfort in mind so that you can use the curler overnight and wake up with beautifully wavy hair. “So many of my clients are jumping on the heatless curls band wagon and the results are great. I do recommend this for those who want to minimize heat styling," says hair and makeup artist Andrea Claire.


Curl Your Eyelashes Before Your Mascara

Khushi Chauhan, makeup artist and founder of Navya Beauty Zone, says, "Use an eyelash curler before applying mascara for bright, wide-awake eyes. It makes a bigger difference than you think and only takes seconds." This eyelash curler from e.l.f. is a cult-favorite, with an easy-to-grip design and a an additional rubber replacement pad, this delivers flawless results.


Exfoliate Your Lips Before Bed

Chauhan cautions, "Don't overlook your lips — exfoliate with a soft brush or cloth to remove dead skin, then apply a hydrating lip balm before bed. You'll wake up with soft, healthy lips ready for color." These double-sided lip brushes are perfect for the job, and have two different textures on each side to address any flaky or dead skin.


Apply A Hydrating Lip Balm Before You Sleep

In keeping with Chauhan’s advice, putting a lip balm on before bed that’ll hydrate your lips while you sleep is a great idea. This lip treatment by Hanalei is the perfect solution. Specifically designed to repair dry and cracked lips overnight, the formula is packed with shea butter and grapeseed oil, and even goes on clear.


Massage Your Skin Care In An Upward & Outward Motion

Chuahan has a few application tips, as well. She says, “Give yourself a mini facial massage when applying skin care products. Take those extra 30 seconds to work products into the skin in an upward, outward motion.” While you can use your hands, if you’re acne prone it’s better to keep your hands out of the mix. Instead, pick up this roller and slowly roll your favorite products in to your skin in an upward, outward motion. You’ll feel more relaxed — even more so if you put this roller in the fridge beforehand.


Use A Roller To Get Your Skin Care

For a little more surface area, this beloved Kitsch ice roller does the same thing — and is designed to be put in the fridge to help with any inflammation. Leave it in your fridge for when you need it, and then take it out when it’s time for your skin care. Roll your products upward and outward, and enjoy the moment. The icy roller will reduce any inflammation while you do. Chuahan says, “Your products will absorb better and your circulation will improve."


Exfoliate Your Skin At Least Once A Week

Her final piece of advice? Chuahan reminds you to, “Exfoliate your skin once a week to reveal fresher, smoother skin. A simple scrub made from things you likely have at home like sugar and olive oil goes a long way." While a sugar scrub concocted at home could work, it requires a little more legwork. You could also pick up this vitamin C face scrub from Elizabeth Mott, formulated to brighten while it exfoliates your skin — and safe for all skin types.


Switch To A Clarifying Shampoo When Your Curly Hair Gets Oily

Curly hair? Here’s some advice for you. Samuel Ashcroft, stylist and educator at Josh Wood Color, says, “My hair is super curly so naturally it [...] absorbs most oils easily which can lead to it feeling waxy and heavy from product buildup. When this happens I like to give it a reset by using a cleansing shampoo — a great at-home and much cheaper alternative to a Malibu treatment!" This clarifying shampoo from Kristin Ess is a fan-favorite, and is even cruelty-free, vegan, and free of parabens, phthalates, and silicones.


Focus On Your Skin Care

Makeup artist, Melinda Grant, says that it all starts with your skin care. "By keeping my skin healthy I don't have to wear too much makeup and can achieve the no-makeup makeup look!” Amongst her recommendations is a daily exfoliant, and this Dr. Dennis Gross daily peel is a favorite amongst reviewers and editors alike. One reviewer raves, “I use it every other day and my skin has transformed.”


Clear Your Pores With A Clay Mask Once A Week

Another skin care essential Grant uses? “Once a week I use a clay mask to help with excessive oil.” And while clay masks are a dime a dozen, this carbonated buble clay mask is a fun take on the experience. This one features CO2 in it’s formula that bubbles up as it dries. The activated charcoal in the formula will sink deep into your pores to bring oil to the surface.


Apply A Hair Mask Weekly

And one final step in her routine: hair and nails. Grant shares, “A weekly hair mask and having my nails done help me feel and look great." This keratin-rich hair mask is perfect for dry and damaged hair. In the shower, put a little on your hair and leave it while you shave and wash. In five to 10 minutes, you can wash it out. Your hair will thank you.

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