Stylists & Makeup Artists Swear By These Cheap Tricks That Make Anyone Look Good

The pros spill their secrets.

Written by Claire Epting
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It’s a common misconception that investing in self care has to cost a small fortune. In reality, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. According to stylists and makeup artists, some of the best beauty tricks are ridiculously simple — and gentle on your wallet.

Here, you’ll find tons of straightforward advice from industry professionals that will change the way you look at hair, makeup, and style. From defining your eyebrows with this cult-favorite pencil to speeding up your hair routine with an ultra-absorbent microfiber towel, your day-to-day routine is about to get a whole lot easier (and cheaper, too).


These Self-Tanning Drops That Give Your Face A Sun-Kissed Glow

“Sometimes we just need a little glow to feel more confident,” says San Francisco Bay area personal stylist Andie Sobrato. “Face tanning drops create that glow in an instant and achieve a fresh face without the makeup!” These facial drops from L’Oréal Paris are non-sticky and fragrance-free, adding a subtle, sun-kissed tone to your skin. The lightweight formula is fortified with hyaluronic acid, which helps bind water to the skin for an extra boost of hydration.


A Set Of Patterned Satin Scarves That Are Undeniably Chic

“Tie a silk scarf around your neck to give your outfit an unexpected twist and make you look more chic!” encourages Sobrato. Made of a smooth satin that feels suspiciously like silk, these square scarves can be incorporated into your outfit in so many different ways. Besides tying a patterned scarf around your neck, you can also use one in your hair or loop one around your handbag strap. Each one features an ornate paisley design, infusing your look with a vintage-inspired vibe.

  • Available multipacks: 4


This Handheld Garment Steamer That’s So Much Easier To Use Than An Iron

One simple way to make your outfit look sharper? “De-wrinkle your clothing — using something handy like a handheld steamer or wrinkle spray can make you look more polished in an instant!” says Sobrato. This compact garment steamer gently removes the wrinkles from cotton, silk, chiffon, and more — not to mention, it’s so much more convenient than lugging out an ironing board. It creates up to 15 minutes of continuous steam, so you can de-wrinkle multiple outfits at once. A 9-foot-long power cord means you don’t have to be right next to an outlet to use it.


The Layered 14-Karat Gold Necklace That Makes A Subtle Statement

“Pair your outfit with a statement layered necklace to make your outfit super on-trend,” says Sobrato. This set of 14-karat gold-plated necklaces includes one paperclip choker chain and one snake chain — wear them together or solo. You can also pick from a range of other styles in gold or silver tones.

  • Available styles: 20


An Extra-Sticky Lint Roller That Does Away With Fuzz & Hair

“To look extra put-together, lint roll your clothing to take away any pesky hairs, dust, and more,” instructs Sobrato. Highly rated, Scotch-Brite’s extra-sticky lint roller is equipped with 95 sheets that lift lint, hair, and pet fur from your jackets, sweaters, T-shirts, and pants. Each sheet tears away cleanly, revealing a fresh, tacky surface underneath. Keep one in your car, purse, and desk drawer for touch-ups on the go.


These Crisp White T-Shirts That Go With Anything

A classic white T-shirt is a wardrobe staple that you’ll get so much use out of. “You can pair a white T-shirt with anything to make an outfit,” says Sobrato. “Just make sure it’s crisp, clean, and well-fitting.” This pair of tees from Amazon Essentials is made of an ultra-soft cotton-modal fabric with just the right amount of stretchy spandex. The two shirts come at an incredibly wallet-friendly price — you may want to stock up on other colors as well.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — XX-Large
  • Available multipacks: 43


This ‘90s-Inspired Shoulder Bag That Comes In Vibrant Hues

Available in bold, eye-catching hues such as bright green, lavender, and sky blue, this ruched purse has a cool, ‘90s-inspired vibe. “A chic shoulder bag with a pop of color is a great way to elevate any outfit!” says Sobrato. The bag is just big enough to hold your smartphone and a few small essentials — such as a wallet, set of keys, and your lipstick.

  • Available sizes: 2
  • Available colors: 6


A Moisturizing Eye Cream That Feels Totally Weightless

“Make sure you look wide awake with an under-eye cream before you put on your makeup,” says Sobrato. Formulated with hyaluronic acid, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost gel cream provides an infusion of moisture to the delicate skin around your eyes. The weightless, fragrance-free product absorbs quickly into skin, without leaving behind any greasy residue.


The Versatile Eyeliner Gel That Keeps Your Look Locked In Place

Award-winning makeup artist Emma Croft — who’s worked with celebrities and brands like Gucci and Stella McCartney — loves using this eyeliner gel to create a wide variety of eye makeup looks. “It can be used to create a sharp wing, or smudged out to give a more sultry, lived-in look,” she says. “It's my go-to black liner to use on my clients because it's so versatile; it can also be used in the waterline!” The highly pigmented gel has a creamy consistency that dries quickly and won’t budge for hours on end.


This Silky Smooth Body Makeup For An All-Over Glow

If you want to create a “gorgeous summer glow” all over, Croft recommends using this leg makeup lotion from Sally Hansen. The water-resistant formula blends in smoothly, creating a smooth, airbrushed look. “A little goes a long way with this skin-beautifying body makeup,” says Croft. To remove, just cleanse the skin with a bit of body soap and a washcloth.


A Waterproof Mascara That Won’t Budge (Seriously)

If you’re looking for a mascara that won’t budge all day (or night) long, Croft recommends this Japanese waterproof mascara. “The mother of all waterproof mascaras! Never have I found a mascara with as much staying power as this one,” says Croft. Complete with a curved wand for effortless application, the volumizing formula stands up to sweat, tears, and moisture. Because it lasts so long, Croft suggests picking up this brand’s eye makeup remover to ensure you get every last bit off.


This Aftershave That Prevents Razor Bumps & Ingrown Hairs

Croft describes this aftershave solution as one of her “holy grail” products. “Apply this to the skin after shaving or waxing for the most surefire way to prevent razor bumps or ingrown hairs,” she instructs. It’s safe to use on both the body and the face, and can even be used to treat existing ingrown hairs, too. While it shouldn’t irritate the skin, you’ll still want to do a small patch test to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.


An Invisible Styling Gel You Can Use On Your Brows

Combining excellent holding quality with a transparent finish, this styling gel is Ash K Holm’s go-to product for locking natural brow looks in place. “It’s been my favorite drugstore hair gel to use on my clients’ brows for years,” says Holm, ISPY's Chief Makeup Artist for Spring, 2023. This itty-bitty bottle is the perfect size for storing in your makeup bag or travel kit, so you can apply it wherever you happen to be.


The Highly Pigmented Lip Crayon For All-Day Wear

Maybelline SuperStay Crayon Ink lipstick line has become a staple for me when I need to use a long-wear lipstick on a client for a 14-hour day,” says Holm. “The formula doesn’t budge and it’s packed with pigment.” Something else to love about this long-lasting lip crayon? There are over two dozen shades to pick from, so you can find the one that makes your heart sing.

  • Available shades: 28


This Full-Coverage Concealer That Also Contours & Highlights

This lightweight, full-coverage concealer blends into your face smoothly, thanks to the small brush applicator that’s built into the cap. “A little goes a long way with this product,” says Holm. “I also love to contour & highlight with the Tru Blend concealer for a quick and easy look that lasts all day.” There are 22 different shades to pick from — opt for a slightly darker color for contouring and a lighter hue for highlighting.

  • Available shades: 22


These Grippy Hair Rollers That Create Big, Bouncy Waves

Sharon Dorram, celebrity hair colorist and owner of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger in New York City, suggests picking up a pack of these grippy hair rollers — they create big, bouncy waves without any heat-styling tools. “Some of us have two left hands when it comes to styling our hair,” she says. “These make it all the more easy.” You get 31 rollers of various sizes in a set, giving you plenty of options when it comes to the size of your curls. Not to mention, the lightweight design makes them the ideal travel companion. “I sometimes take a few if I am going away for a weekend and want my hair to look its best,” Dorram adds.


A Root Cover-Up Kit That Extends The Time Between Dye Jobs

This root concealer kit is perfect for those who are in between dye jobs but aren’t ready to fully refresh their hair color yet. “I like Color Wow Root Cover-Up because it works like makeup and is easy to use. You cannot make a mistake!” says Dorram. It’s true — the powder formula lightly coats strands without weighing them down, providing instant coverage without any running or mess. The water-resistant color stays put until the next time you shampoo your hair.

  • Available shades: 8


This Absorbent Microfiber Towel Wrap That Won’t Damage Wet Hair

Drying your hair with a traditional cotton towel may actually be causing damage to your wet strands — Dorran suggests investing in this microfiber hair wrap instead. “The Aquis hair wrap uses AQUITEX microfiber to dry the hair by gently removing moisture and preventing hair breakage,” she explains. Moisture-wicking and absorbent, the towel securely fastens at the back of the neck with an elastic loop and button closure. After around 10 to 20 minutes of wearing the wrap, your hair will be ready to style.


The Ultra-Hydrating Hair Mask That Restores Damaged Ends

Virtue restorative treatment mask is my all-time favorite secret weapon,” says Dorran. “It is my ‘go-to’ to keep my fine, colored hair healthy and shiny.” Blended with strengthening alpha-keratin, hydrating baobab seed oil, and repairing brown algae, the nutrient-rich mask boosts your hair’s vibrancy while restoring brittle, damaged ends. A little bit goes a long way — depending on your hair’s length, you can enjoy multiple applications from this travel-size jar.


A Travel-Size Shampoo That Adds Serious Volume To Your Hair

“Hotel shampoos (even the best of them) are cheap and tend to dry out your hair, so always pack a travel size of your favorite shampoo!” advises Dorram. Her favorite travel-size shampoo is this one from Virtue — it’s formulated specifically to add volume and thickness to fine, thin hair. Like the hair treatment mask above, it’s infused with alpha-keratin to strengthen and repair dry strands. Plus, the floral citrus scent will leave your locks smelling lovely.


This Sculpted Oil Crayon That Adds A Sheer Flush To Your Lips

Film and TV makeup artist Kerrin Jackson loves using this weightless sculpting oil to instantly add a flush to the lips. “An Ogee Tinted Sculpted Oil crayon is so light and the shades are beautiful,” she says. “Also, the bonus is that the vitamin E, coconut, and jojoba oils it contains treat your lips at the same time. Win-win!” In addition, this product is fortified with hyaluronic acid to plump and further moisturize lips. Each sheer hue is also buildable, so you can apply as much or as little color as you like.

  • Available shades: 6


The Cult-Favorite Eyebrow Pencil That Creates Natural-Looking Definition

When it comes to applying makeup, Jackson stresses the importance of filling your eyebrows — the simple act helps define your facial structure and frame your eyes. “My all-time favorite method and means of doing this is without a doubt, the Anastasia Brow Wiz eyebrow pencil,” she says. The ultra-thin applicator tip allows you to create natural-looking strokes, while the spoolie brush on the other end helps you blend the pigment into your hairs. “If you’re not using this pencil on your eyebrows, you’re missing a golden opportunity to make yourself look better!” Jackson adds. There are a dozen shades of blonde, brown, and black available, so you can find the perfect color match.

  • Available shades: 12


This Lip & Cheek Cream That Blends Like A Dream

“I don’t think the world of blush will ever be the same since the introduction of the cream blush,” says Jackson. One of her go-to’s? Stila’s Convertible Color cream. “It’s so easy to add a quick swipe to your cheeks, and this cream is easy to blend as much or as little as you like,” she shares. Available in seven lush shades, the creamy formula blends easily into your skin — you can even add a layer to your lips for an extra pop of color. As an added bonus, the blush is contained inside an adorable compact with a charming flower design on the lid.

  • Available shades: 7


Some Chunky Gold-Plated Hoops That Won’t Weigh Ears Down

Phoenix-based personal stylist Abigail Valentine adores these chunky hoops plated in 14-karat gold, praising their simplicity and versatility. “They are the perfect size for any occasion and are comfortable enough to wear all day,” she says. Despite their substantial size, the hollowed-out design ensures they won’t weigh down your ears. You can take your pick of three colors — yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold.

  • Available sizes: 22 millimeters — 50 millimeters
  • Available colors: yellow gold, rose gold, white gold


The Sparkly Bangle Bracelet That’s Surprisingly Wallet-Friendly

Featuring a skinny row of delicate cubic zirconia studs, this bangle bracelet adds a touch of sparkle to any ensemble. Valentine notes that it’s a “great way to make any outfit — casual or dressy — look more put-together and chic.” There are yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold hues available — and each one has a side-lock clasp that makes it easy to take on and off.

  • Available colors: yellow gold, white gold, rose gold


This Matching Set That Takes The Guesswork Out Of Choosing An Outfit

“Another great way to look put together and effortlessly stylish is wearing a matching set, or dressing in monochromatic tones,” says Valentine. This two-piece ensemble includes a long-sleeve blouse with a notched collar, paired with flowy palazzo pants. The silky fabric is subtly pleated, adding a bit of texture to the otherwise simple combo. Choose from a wide range of solid hues and bold graphic prints.

  • Available sizes: Small — X-Large
  • Avialable colors and styles: 24


A Delicate, Gold-Plated Ring That Elevates Any Ensemble

“This ring is so elegant and timeless,” says Valentine. “A great way to elevate your look with a simple touch of sparkle.” Plated in 14-karat gold, the dainty ring features four rows of tiny cubic zirconia crystals. Wear it alongside the other rings in your collection, or simply on its own as a subtle statement piece. You can take your pick of rose, yellow, and white gold shades.

  • Available sizes: 5 — 9
  • Avialable colors: rose gold, white gold, yellow gold


This Dainty Choker Necklace That’s Perfectly Understated

“Delicate gold chain necklaces are great for everyday wear and will instantly make your outfit feel styled and intentional,” explains Valentine. This 14-karat gold plated choker can be worn all by itself or layered with a longer pendant, depending on the look you’re going for. Besides this cubic zirconia-studded option, the necklace also comes in a pretty pearl-beaded style.

  • Available colors and styles: 9


The Oil-Infused Shampoo That’s Packed With Hydrating Nutrients

Brian Brady, master stylist at G2O Spa + Salon in Boston, recommends using an oil-infused shampoo to keep your locks feeling silky and fresh. “My favorite is the Kérastase Elixir-Ultime — this makes hair look younger, shinier and de-frizzes without feeling greasy,” he explains. Featuring a hydrating blend of argan, camellia, and marula oils, this nourishing shampoo is especially great for color-treated hair or strands that have been exposed to the sun for long periods of time. While it’s a bit more spendy than your typical drugstore shampoo, the wealth of hair-protecting nutrients make it a worthy investment.


These Ice Water Eye Masks That Are Soothing & Moisturizing

“I recommend to all my clients under-eye masks from ToGoSpa,” says Brady. “I use them myself before I leave the house and it really helps to hydrate around my eyes.” These ice water eye masks are packed with skin-plumping collagen, moisturizing vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid, an ingredient which helps bind water to the skin. Place them underneath your eyes for up to 20 minutes to soothe and depuff. The ice water formula is great for sensitive skin, but you can also choose one infused with green tea, pomegranate, or even bamboo charcoal.

  • Available scents: 7


A Leave-In Hair Repair Treatment That Adds Smoothness & Shine

Brady says Kérastase’s Ciment Thermique is “the best for strengthening and restoring damaged hair.” This powerhouse leave-in formula not only strengthens strands from the inside out, but also creates an external protective layer that protects them from further stress. It’ll also leave hair shiny, while smoothing cracks and split ends. Brady adds, “This is one of my go-to products since it can be used as a base or for styling on all hair types.”


This Diffusing Hair Dryer That Gives Curls Their Moment In The Spotllight

“The Bed Head blow dryer for curly hair is fantastic,” says Ghanima Abdullah, cosmetologist at The Right Hairstyles. “If your hair frizzes up easily, this will help.” Designed with a short nozzle and a removable diffuser attachment, this blow dryer distributes hot air evenly, helping to maintain your natural curl pattern. Bed Head’s ionic technology works to smooth your strands, leaving your locks feeling shiny and soft. There are three heat settings and two speeds that you can easily adjust depending on your hair type.


A Vitamin C Facial Toner That Brightens & Protects Skin

Packed with brightening vitamin C, this facial toner is a product that Abdullah recommends if you’re looking to even out your skin tone. “It almost gives a sheer foundation finish,” she explains. The antioxidant-rich tonic also works to gently exfoliate your face, thanks to the addition of willow bark extract. To round things out, hyaluronic acid adds extra moisture, while ferulic acid fights sun damage, and probiotics strengthen the skin barrier.


The Clear Mascara That Defines Your Lashes Without The Mess

“If you have a fear of black or brown mascara giving you black eyes or making you look tired during the day, try a clear mascara instead,” says Abdullah. “It helps separate and mold your lashes without you having to worry about dark stuff clinging to your skin if you sneeze and your eyes tear.” This one from Physicians Formula conditions and grooms your lashes, creating subtle definition without darkening your eye area. Formulated with soothing mineral water, the mascara was designed with sensitive eyes in mind — as a bonus, it doubles as a brow styling gel.


This Discreet Fashion Tape For On-The-Go Wardrobe Fixes

Whether you need to alter the neckline of a top or quickly adjust the length of a skirt, TV style expert Michelle Washington suggests having some transparent fashion tape at the ready. “Having a good brand of fashion tape can be a tailor on the go to help fix wardrobe malfunctions and fit issues in seconds,” she says. This compact tin comes with 36 strips of double-sided, pre-cut adhesive — just peel off the backing and apply directly to the fabric of your garment.


These Elegant Garment Clips That Let You Cinch Oversized Looks

“Sometimes, you can’t have a belt for everything to fix waist contouring or waist gaps,” says Washington. “A few carefully placed clips used to cinch the waist (from the inside or outside) of the garments helps toward a better fit and a better looking garment.” This trio of ornate metal clips does the trick — the side pieces clamp onto the edges of your clothes, gently pulling them together. Besides these chic styles, there are plenty of elegant designs to choose from in both silver and gold hues.

  • Available styles: 8


A Pair Of Reusable Silicone Nipple Covers That Do Away With Bra Lines

If you’re looking to eliminate bra lines, Washington suggests picking up a set of these nipple covers made from flexible, skin-friendly silicone. “Adhesive silicone has changed the game and it’s even made in different skin tones!” she says. Staying in place for up to 12 hours, they’re fully reusable — just rinse them off and let them air dry in between uses.

  • Available colors: 5


The “Model-Off-Duty” Jeans In A Classic, High-Rise Style

Levi’s 501 jeans have been around for ages — this cropped pair is a personal favorite of New York City-based stylist stylist Rachel Newman. “These are a great "model-off-duty" style denim option that offer an effortless, put together look,” she says. Featuring a high waist, straight leg, and rips at the knees, the 100% cotton denim has a lived-in feel from your very first wear. Pair them with a classic white T-shirt or a cropped sweatshirt to create a laid-back ensemble.

  • Available sizes: 24 — 34
  • Available colors and styles: 15


These Effortlessly Cool Baseball Caps For Days When You Don’t Want To Do Your Hair

“Baseball hats instantly hide a bad hair day in a chic way,” says Newman. “A blue or black hue is the perfect way to draw just the right amount of attention to the accessory and have it make a muted but fashionable statement.” Lightweight and soft, these cotton baseball caps have a vintage washed look that give them a worn-in feel. Wear them over a loose ponytail or unstyled hair — either way, you’ll look effortlessly cool. An adjustable buckle in the back allows you to achieve the comfiest fit.

  • Available multipacks: 8


A Pair Of Rounded Sunglasses That Make You Look Oh-So Cool

No matter what outfit you have on, this pair of rounded sunglasses can instantly up the cool factor. “Makeup or no makeup, sunnies add style to any look,” says Newman. With polarized lenses that block out harmful UV rays, these glasses aren’t just a statement-making accessory — they’re also a functional piece of sun protection. Choose from 10 different colors, ranging from vibrant solid hues to tortoiseshell patterns.

  • Available colors: 10