Now that awards season is in full swing, Hollywood glam squads are back behind the scenes. For our inaugural Red Carpet Essentials awards series, we polled top film, TV and celebrity makeup artists on the best foundations and face powders that they trust to deliver photo- and screen-ready skin.
Our panelists included makeup artists such as Jennifer “JD” Daranyi (Lopez & Lopez), Jamie Greenberg (whose clients include Rashida Jones, Kaley Cuoco, Chelsea Handler), Hinako (Stephanie Hsu, Brandi Carlisle, Linda Cardellini), Renee Loiz (Quinta Brunson, Uzo Aduba, Sherry Cola, Danai Gurira), Julia Jovone (One Life to Live, Law & Order SVU, Shonda Rhimes, Jeffrey Wright), Katie Mellinger (Haim, Emma Watson, Sofia Coppola and more) and Robert Sesnek (Hailey Bieber, Lucy Hale and Madelyn Cline).
They revealed their go-to makeup products for every type of scenario and skin shade, including options for matte and dewy finishes, full-coverage foundations available for over 40 skin tones, picks for a “no makeup” look and even behind-the-scenes secrets that cost under $20.
How We Chose the Winners of THR’s Red Carpet Essentials Awards
Hollywood fashion and beauty professionals have logged thousands of hours testing makeup, skincare, hair products and tools, and more on clients and themselves. That’s why we turned to them to share the products that have earned their professional personal seals of approval for use on clients on the red carpet, as well as every day.
THR‘s Red Carpet Essentials Awards Experts:
- Stylists Krista Roser, Mickey Freeman, Amanda Lim
- Makeup artists Jennifer “JD” Daranyi, Jamie Greenberg (Jamie Makeup founder), Hinako, Julia Jovone, Hinako, Renée Loiz (Color May Vary founder), Katie Mellinger, Robert Sesnek, Tisha Thompson (LYS Beauty co-founder/ceo)
- Hairstylists Araxi Lindsey, Mara Roszak (Mare Salon co-founder, Rōz haircare founder) MJ Snyder
- Hair extensions Priscilla Valle
- Colorists Rita Hazan
- Brow and lash artists Melanie Marris (Brow Code founder/ceo)
- Aestheticians and facialists Sarah Akram, Ian Michael Crumm (BeautyCurious podcast co-host)
Read More: THR’s Red Carpet Essentials Award Winners
Red Carpet Essentials Awards: The Best Long-Wear Foundations, Setting Powders and More Face Makeup
Ahead, check out the best face cosmetics that Hollywood makeup artists love, from under-$20 pressed powders to luxe foundations for long-wearing, natural-looking and buildable coverage. Stay tuned as we’ll be rolling out more of their picks across skin-care, haircare, beauty devices and more categories.
If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, The Hollywood Reporter may receive an affiliate commission.
Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation
“I have yet to find another foundation that makes the skin look so dewey and plump. It contains jojoba, squalane, and shea butter — which probably has something to do with it. I wish it came in the darkest, but it does cover most darker skin tones.” — Katie Mellinger
Shiseido Synchro Skin Radiant Lifting Foundation
“If I want something with a more neutral matte, medium coverage finish, then I reach for this. It’s buildable as well, so I can get full coverage if I need it. It really wears beautifully on the skin and lasts as well, so its great for my celeb clients going to events. It has a good range of shades although it could use just a few more darker shades.” — Katie Mellinger
LYS Beauty Triple Fix Serum Foundation
“If you’re looking for a foundation that covers all the shades, THIS is the one! I love that I can build the coverage from light to medium-full. It’s hydrating and doesn’t look heavy.” — Katie Mellinger
“The best for dry and mature skin.” — Tisha Thompson
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter Longwear Foundation
“For a long lasting glam, I always opt for my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter Longwear Foundation. It really is a flawless coverage. It blends into the skin seamlessly and doesn’t go into your pores, it is more of a full coverage, matte foundation. I love to pair it with the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter when I want more of a glow!” — Melanie Marris
NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation
Julia Jovone, who won a Daytime Creative Arts Emmy with her One Life to Live team for achievement in makeup for a drama series in 2008, says, “What sets this foundation apart is its ability to cater to a diverse range of skin complexions, ensuring that everyone can find their perfect match. Not only does it provide the flawless look that I desire for myself, but it also delivers stunning results for my clients, whether it’s for a daytime event or an evening affair. The best part is that this foundation never overpowers the skin or becomes cakey, allowing for a natural and radiant finish that lasts throughout the day. It’s like a confidence boost in a bottle, and I can’t help but feel excited every time I reach for it.”
Dior Forever Fluid Skin Glow Foundation
A favorite of Robert Sesnek and Priscilla Valles, Dior’s Forever Fluid Skin Glow foundation is ideal for light coverage and a natural, dewy look.
Westmore Beauty Instantly Flawless Foundation
“I really love the Westmore Instantly Flawless Foundation. Its buildable coverage makes it the perfect base to your makeup look. I always feel like my skin is hydrated and healthy after using this foundation and it easily covers any blemish I may have without the need for using other products. It is also water- and sweat-resistant, meaning I can wear it all day without fear that it will begin to look patchy. I am glowing throughout the day and use this as my everyday foundation.” — Rita Hazan
Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Foundation
Jennifer Daranyi “can’t live without” Charlotte Tilbury’s Beautiful Skin foundations, which come in 30 shades and contains hyaluronic acid, rose complex, coconut extract and other skin-care ingredients for hydrating, brightening, plumping and smoothing out the skin.
Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder
“Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder is super finely milled, not too drying and fantastic for keeping the skin looking real and not overly MATTE matte, if you catch my drift. I don’t want to make someone look like they walked through the desert for a day!” — Katie Mellinger
Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder
“My tip is to go over the top with the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder after you use setting powder on your under-eye. I have never found a pressed powder like this, it goes everywhere with me.” — Melanie Marris
Uoma Hydroblast Finishing Powder
“Uoma Hydroblast Finishing Powder is probably one of the best powders I’ve used! I can’t believe I was just introduced to this powder only this year. The satin matte finish to leaves is otherworldly. But it let’s skin breathe, isn’t cakey, and doesn’t settle into fine lines. It’s really a perfect formula and works wonders on the skin!” — Renee Loiz
Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking & Setting Powder
“If you’re looking for a game-changer in your makeup kit, the Huda Beauty Loose Powder is definitely worth considering. Not only does it promise a flawless finish, but it also delivers on that promise. The finely milled powder effortlessly blurs imperfections and sets makeup, leaving the skin looking smooth and airbrushed. The best part is a little goes a long way. You don’t need much to achieve that perfect, long-lasting finish. It’s a reliable option that I always reach for when I want to achieve a flawless look that lasts all day.” — Julia Jovone
Chanel Les Beiges Powder
“Another highly favored powder is the Chanel Les Beiges, a versatile and refillable powder that imparts a natural-looking healthy glow. Its lightweight formula offers a blurring effect, providing imperceptible buildable coverage with a second-skin satin finish that never creases.” — Priscilla Valles
Westmore Beauty 3-in-1 Photo Finishing Powder
“A favorite powder of mine is the Westmore 3-In-1 Photo Finishing Powder. It is the perfect final step to your makeup routine to leave your makeup looking matte and locked in place all day long. It blurs pores without dulling your makeup. It is one shade and matches all skin tones. This is definitely a go-to product that everyone should have in their makeup bag.” — Rita Hazan