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From sound engineers and screenwriters to celebrity makeup artists and stylists, Variety’s new series “Ask an Insider” will ask top professionals within the entertainment industry to share their must-have essentials, for work… and for play. In this installment, nine celebrity makeup artists share their favorite beauty products to gift as stocking stuffers this year.
Stocking stuffers can often feel banal, so finding small and affordable gifts that actually feel personal can be trickier than it seems. For makeup lovers, however, stocking stuffers have the potential to be some of the best gifts they receive; portable and compact cosmetics are a must-have essential for touching up on the go.
Below, see what makes the best beauty stocking stuffers to gift this year, according to nine celebrity makeup artists: Sabrina Bedrani (Gal Gadot), Shayna Goldberg (Emily Ratajkowski), Sean Harris (Chloe x Halle), Katey Denno (Felicity Jones), Jamie Greenberg (Chelsea Handler), Monika Blunder (Gemma Chan), Anthony Merante (Kali Uchis), Nina Park (Zoë Kravitz) and Kate Lee (Dakota Johnson).
Dior Forever Skin Correct
Concealer is a must for on-the-go glam, according to makeup artist Sabrina Bedrani, who’s worked for the likes of Gal Gadot, Sandra Bullock, Alicia Vikander, Melissa McCarthy and Margot Robbie. Bedrani’s favorite is Dior’s Forever Skin Correct, which works to hide under-eye circles, blemishes and redness for 28 different skin tones.
“The compact size is perfect for a stocking,” she says. “It’s a great product to keep in your purse to refresh your makeup throughout the day or to even out your skin without using foundation. All you need is to dab the concealer in the area where you need coverage and blend it with either or brush or a sponge. I like to apply two or three dots under the eye, around the nose area and chin.”
Byredo Tinted Lip Balm
“The best stocking stuffer of the season has to be the Byredo lip balms,” says Shayna Goldberg, a New York-based makeup artist whose clients include Emily Ratajkowski and Vanessa Hudgens. “The shades range from transparent to three neutral tones (Ocra, Rosa and Argila) that are subtle enough to stretch across all skin tones. They are a natural and vegan formula with cushion that leaves lips hydrated, without shine. I like to apply them straight from the tube and even smudge a little on the cheeks with my fingers for a perfectly natural flush.”
Tatcha Serum Stick
The Tatcha Serum Stick is one of Sean Harris’s holy grail products, using it for clients such as Lizzo and Normani. “It works great to prime the eye area before concealer and to touch up makeup throughout the day,” he says. “This makes a perfect stocking stuffer because it’s just the right size for anyone to take on the go. For a quick touch up, just tap this stick onto the skin and it will instantly revive your makeup.”
Danessa Myricks Evolution Setting Powder
Sean Harris uses Danessa Myricks’ Evolution Powder for red-carpet events, but says its texture works great for holiday parties, too. “It sets makeup but gives a skin-like finish that photographs beautifully,” he says. “This powder is great especially during these cold winter months to set makeup but give a soft focus finish.”
KNC Big Set Face Masks
People tend to have more time for their self-care routines when they’re home for the holidays, and given the dryer skin that tends to occur during colder months, moisturizing masks are a must. “KNC Beauty’s ‘Big Set’ face masks soothe, hydrate and plump the skin and are a regular routine for my clients the night before a big event,” Harris says. “These are the perfect stocking stuffers for the skincare lover in your life.”
Fenty Beauty Glossy Possy Fantasy 4Sum
Fenty’s Beauty Glossy Possy is makeup artist Anthony Merante’s favorite lip gloss. “This gloss is long lasting, not sticky, the shades are flattering for all skin tones and its under $50,” says Merante, whose clients include Kali Uchis and Taraji P. Henson. The limited-edition collection comes with three mini Universal Lip Luminizers, plus a full-size Gloss Bomb cream, which he says he often uses on Madison Bailey.
Charlotte Tilbury Mini Pillow Talk Lipstick + Liner Set
Charlotte Tilbury is another one of Merante’s go-to beauty brands, whose duo sets make for perfectly compact and affordable stocking stuffers “I am obsessed with the iconic Pillow Talk lipstick and liner set,” Merante says. “It now comes in three shades, making it the perfect lipstick and liner set for all skin tones.”
For the eyes, Merante recommends Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Mascara & Eyeliner Beautifying Eye Filter Set, whose Berry-Brown shade, he says, can help you get the perfect “rockstar” eyes. “Smudge along the upper and lower lash lines and finish off with the Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara for a voluminous and defined eye look.”
iS Clinical Cleansing Complex
The skincare-obsessed are almost always open to trying out new cleansers, and Jamie Greenberg says the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex is the “perfect cleanser for everyone.” White willow bark exfoliates and breaks up pore-clogging oil to boost cell turnover in the skin and tighten the pores, while antioxidants heal skin damage.
“It’s just the right amount of lather and leaves the skin clean but not stripped,” says Greenberg, who works with A-list talent such as Chelsea Handler and Kaley Cuoco. “Everyone I give this to becomes addicted and this brand is amazing because they donate a ton of time and product to patients going through chemo.”
Chanel Le Lift
What should everyone have in their beauty arsenal? Makeup artist Nina Park has one definitive answer: Chanel’s Le Lift, the brand’s premiere anti-wrinkle eye revitalizer. “I have tried them all and these are worth every hype,” says Park, whose clients include the likes of Zoë Kravitz, Laura Harrier, Brie Larson and Lily-Rose Depp. “I’ve noticed how much tighter and smoother the area around my eyes look after each application. I always use these patches before a red carpet for an instant lift that makes it appear like you’ve slept for eight hours.”
Lash Star Supreme Lash Curler
Eyelash curlers can all look the same to those less familiar with the wide range of products out there, but for those whose job it is to stay on top of beauty brands, such as Greenberg, there’s one product that takes the cake in terms of longterm lifting and curling. “Lash Star is seriously the best lash curler,” says Greenberg, who’s used it on clients such as Katie Lowes, Jane Levy and Judith Light. “Everyone I use this on is shocked. It’s so great for a beginner in the makeup world because it works so well and it makes such a big difference.”
Mob Beauty Volumizing Mascara
Everyone needs a good mascara, says Monika Blunder, who in addition to working for talent such as Gemma Chan, Jessica Alba and Joey King, has her own clean makeup line. She recommends Mob Beauty, which she loves for its sustainable, vegan formula and refillable packaging. “My clients and I are obsessed with this mascara,” she says. “We love the instant big, bold and fluffy effect it gives off.”
Calligraphie De Chanel Longwear Intense Cream Eyeliner
Makeup artist Kate Lee recommends the Chanel Longwear Intense Cream Eyeliner as a present this holiday season, particularly in 65 Hyperblack for an intense look. “Whether you are using the product with an angled brush to create a definite line or smudging out the lash line with a domed brush, the density and matte finish of this liner is unbeatable,” says Lee, whose clientele includes Rooney Mara, Dakota Johnson, Jessica Chastain and Keira Knightley. “It also stays put and will not flake.”
Magic Matcha – Green Tea Superfood Masque
“I was so thrilled that Jenette, my facialist of 10 years, launched her Green Tea Magic Matcha Masque,” says Katey Denno, a clean beauty expert and makeup artist to stars such as Felicity Jones, Amber Heard, Connie Britton and Amanda Seyfried.
“It’s a quick, concentrated boost of hyperpigmentation-erasing power that also soothes skin for an immediate calming appearance, so I can use it on set when a client is dealing with any redness or irritation. It’s cooling on the skin immediately, which feels wonderful. I can send clients home with it for weekly use, knowing I’ll see an improvement in the overall health of their skin the next time I see them.”