We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.
We can’t all afford to consult a hairstylist, makeup artist, or esthetician for every last beauty decision we make. So when I have the opportunity to read what beauty experts really think about certain treatments or what products they swear by, I jump at the chance. I’m always looking for new holy grail products for my hair, skin, and nails, because I’m obsessed with trying new ingredients, treatments, and techniques. Reading the reviews is one thing, but getting your information straight from the source is even better.
Those in the beauty industry study their craft for years, and encounter a ton of products in their day-to-day practice. So when I see them make product recommendations – especially affordable recommendations – I get really excited because I know that they must be damn good.
These 33 products have impressed the hell out of beauty professionals of all disciplines, and are gathered here so you can live your best life with these expert-backed products in your arsenal. From this super hydrating shampoo that one licensed aesthetician can’t get enough of to a makeup-removing micellar water that an esthetician doesn’t leave home without, here are some of the best – and most affordable – beauty recommendations that you should add to cart ASAP.
The Bioderma Sébium H2O micellar water was developed with dermatologists, and has won the approval of Melanie Simon, the founder of ZIIP and an electrical esthetician, who calls it her “new favorite cleanser.” You can use it to wash your face and remove makeup, and Simon loves it for counteracting breakouts. It works best for oily and combination skin, and it removes excess oil without leaving your skin unnaturally matte.
Incorporating a daily SPF into your routine is one of the best things you can do to prevent damaging your skin. Simon especially likes this MDSolarSciences Mineral Sunscreen Stick with an SPF of 40 because it’s lightweight and easy to tuck in your bag for reapplying. “I apply this on my neck because I love the way it makes it look and it does not feel like a sunblock. It’s like a second skin and provides real protection,” she raves. “I also use this on hands. It’s feels so good on the skin and love that’s it’s portable!”
It’s a sad truth that even if you’re wearing the longest-lasting foundation known to man, it probably won’t look the same at the end of the day as when you put it on. That’s where these Pleasing Care bamboo charcoal oil absorbing tissues come in handy, as recommended by Valerie Barnett, an aesthetician, beauty expert, and founder of PleasingCare. "This product is mainly used as a blotting tissue that helps control shine without the use of any powder, whereas, it gives an entire make-up look a matte finish,” she explains. “If you're not wearing any make up, it can still absorb excess oil, which gives the face a fresher and natural feel." Simply pat both sides of the linen fiber sheet into your skin to remove excess oils — it’s as easy as that.
Some dry shampoos can leave your hair feeling gross and heavy, which is exactly what you don’t want to feel like if you’re already skipping a wash day. Maria McCool, a professional hairstylist and the owner of Calista, says Calista’s Day Off dry shampoo “doesn’t leave a white residue on darker hair colors. It doesn’t make your hair feel heavy or sticky just hours after you apply it.” Instead, this product helps absorb oil, and is packed with vitamins and amino acids to hydrate and soften your locks.
One sensation I simply can’t stand is when your hair tie is pulling your hair in just the wrong way, stretching one section of strands extra tight. Or when you take your ponytail down and find a dent in your hair, or when they tie your hair into knots, or...you get the idea. I want to swap out every traditional hair tie I have for these Kitsch spiral hair ties, which address all of these problems and more. And licensed cosmetologist and owner of the Cosmetology Institute of Las Vegas Denise Dixon agrees. She says: “They leave no crease, do not pull and damage hair and are secure but not overly tight which could easily cause a headache. They work for both thin and thicker hair plus they come in options for both light and dark hair for a perfect blend, even offering a universal clear transparent option!”
Sometimes, the best solution for your skin troubles can be found in the first aid aisle. Shawnda Dorantes, MSN, FNP-C, and owner of Beauty Lounge Medical Spa, recommends keeping Cortizone maximum strength ointment in your back pocket for a variety of issues. "This is a secret anti-inflammatory weapon that calms redness and inflammation from those random pesky breakouts that cause your skin to freak out out of nowhere,” she explains. “A little bit goes a long way and it generally works pretty fast!" It works all over the body and provides relief from itching and rashes, so you’re sure to find a use for it beyond breakouts.
If you’ve gone a little overboard with heat styling or color and your hair is in need of some TLC, try the No.Breaker hair bonding treatment. Hair stylist Anthony Cole swears by it as a treatment and styling product for damaged hair. He says: “What I love most about No.Breaker is that it works instantly to repair hair...I love when you’re able to visibly see a difference with each use, resulting in smooth, shiny, voluminous hair.” Shake it up and spray evenly through damp hair once a week before styling, and you’ll see significantly less breakage without compromising the volume and body of your hair.
This Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 is a saving grace for damaged hair. It’s is packed with bond-restoring ingredients that repair the hair on a molecular level – and doesn’t contain animal products, nuts, gluten, sulfates, parabens, phosphates, or phthaltes. David Gray, a former salon worker and the owner of TalkingTan, says: “Not only is it affordable but it truly works miracles on damaged and broken hair, going as far as to restore, strengthen, and protect your hair in the long run...What’s more, it is pH balanced and works on all types of hair!” For best results, he recommends using it once a week as a pre-shampoo treatment on damp hair.
It’s great to know that one of my favorite oil cleansers, the DHC deep cleansing oil, is also approved by licensed aesthetician Liz Kennedy and founder of Beauty Magnet. “After over a decade [it] is still my favorite for a double cleanse when wearing makeup,” she says. The olive oil-based formula breaks down makeup, sunscreen, and dirt with ease, and is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that nourish and hydrate the skin as you cleanse. Kennedy also loves it as a gentle morning cleanser that won’t strip the skin’s moisture barrier.
Kennedy called Davines NOUNOU deep hydrating shampoo “an esthetician’s scalp dream,” and spoke highly of its benefits for brittle and damaged hair. It softens, hydrates, and nourishes each strand, while still providing the gentle cleanse you need. Made from Italian tomato extract — yes, really! — this rich shampoo works best in tandem with the corresponding conditioner from Davines.
Cold weather and frequent hand-washing can leave your hands looking worse for the wear. Kennedy recommends restoring and moisturizing with L’Occitane butter hand cream, which melts into the skin and doesn’t leave an oily, slippery residue behind. Made with rich shea butter, you’ll want to keep this hand cream with you at all times to protect and nourish your skin. “This gives you a little relaxing moment throughout a hectic day,” Kennedy says.
Even if you haven’t seen the sun in months (me), theBalm’s bahama mama bronzer will give you the naturally sun-kissed look you’re craving. “If you’re looking for an all-in-one bronzer that can also double as a contour shade, [this] is a great option,” says Lina Buk, a hair and makeup artist and the founder of Nail Art Gear. “As a makeup artist, you look for a bronzer that has a natural finish and this one does just that.” It has a matte-not-flat finish with buildable coverage, and comes in both travel and standard sizes.
There’s so much you can do with this Olivia Garden NanoThermic Ceramic + Ion Square Shaper Thermal Hair Brush, according to Fae Norris, a stylist and colorist at Rock Paper Salon in Los Angeles. “For heat styling and blowouts, I’ve used [this brush] with a lot of success,” she says. “It has a flat and rounded side so you can both straighten and work on volume, waves, and flips with just a twist of the wrist.” With ceramic technology to decrease frizz and a retractable sectioning pick for separating and parting the hair, this professional-quality brush is one any blowout enthusiast will want to keep at arm’s reach.
If you’re only going to buy one hair brush, let it be the Wet Brush original detangler. Norris calls it “an all-around paddle brush performer,” and it can be used on wet or dry hair of all lengths and textures. It glides through even the toughest tangles and knots without ripping, offering less breakage than alternatives. “It's suitable for all textures, glides easily, and offers the added bonus of scalp massage,” Norris raves.
Getting full, natural-looking brows is as easy as applying a few swipes of Babe Lash Volumizing Eyebrow Filler, according to NYC-based celebrity makeup artist Suzy Gerstein. “For softly groomed brows, I love the Volumizing Brow Filler by Babe Lash to give the appearance of more fullness while conditioning brow hairs,” she says. It’s infused with peptides and biotin, which locks your eyebrows in and give them an effortlessly thick appearance. Use the filler gel on its own on a no-makeup-makeup day, or use it as a topper to hold your brows in place after filling them in.
Gerstein also trusts this enriching liquid eyeliner from Babe Lash to last all day long. “[It’s] fantastic and budge-proof but does not dry out lids,” she says. The jet black formula is highly pigmented, with a flexible, precision-tip brush that allows you to control exactly how thick you’d like your liner, so you can use it for a wide variety of everyday and special occasion looks.
The multi-level bristles on this Real Techniques complexion blender brush make it Gerstein’s first choice for applying moisturizer and primer. “I have been incredibly impressed by this brush by Real Techniques, which I love for applying moisturizer and primer. It is easy to clean and the bristles distribute product evenly and feel super soft on the skin,” she explains. The unique swirl shape creates a smooth, “your skin but better” appearance.
The Shea Moisture coconut & hibiscus kids extra-moisturizing detangler is advertised for children, but works well for all ages. Gerstein says: “[This detangler] changed the game for my family. A model I worked with turned me onto this and it really does help detangle fine locks. I especially love to use it on damp hair. The scent is nice but not overpowering either.” Nourishing shea butter in the ingredient list helps prevent frizz and leaves hair bouncy, voluminous, and glossy.
For extremely chapped and dry skin, Gerstein recommends the hardworking Lanolips 101 ointment multipurpose superbalm. Many balms are made with petroleum, but Lanolips uses pure Australian lanolin, a naturally-occurring ingredient in sheep’s wool that mimics the oils already present in your skin. Use this fragrance-free product on your lips, cuticles, elbows, or anywhere else you might need it to deeply moisturize the area without leaving behind any greasiness or stickiness.
Every makeup lover needs a solid neutral eyeshadow palette in their collection. Marylisa Diaz, makeup artist of celebrity stylist Julien Farel, praised the NYX ultimate shadow palette for its collection of 16 warm neutrals with great pigmentation. It has a solid mix of matte, satin, shimmery, and metallic finishes, all of which are easy to blend out to make your eyes pop.
The Too Faced mascara has gotten a lot of hype over the years, and Diaz says it’s for good reason. This hardworking formula has a jet-black pigment that thickens, lengthens, and curls the lashes all at once. Thanks to the large, hourglass shaped brush, one coat is all you need to give your lashes volume and make them stand out in the crowd.
Whether your goal is to clean up your brows or simply prep your skin for makeup, try the REVLON face defuzzers hair removal tool. Dr. Paula Morgan, a board-certified dermatologist and the medical director for Better Goods, approves: “I've been using them for about a year now and highly recommend them,” she says. “They're very affordable, and not only do they remove any peach fuzz but they also leave you skin feeling silky smooth." Of course, what you do with your facial hair is entirely your choice, but this tool has a dermaplaning effect on the skin that can help your skincare products absorb faster and your makeup apply more evenly.
You’ll need to get up close and personal to really see what you’re doing while tweezing, shaving, washing your face, or doing your makeup. Dr. Morgan likes this Beautural magnifying mirror with lights: “It’’s really a great quality mirror and the magnification is perfect for precision,” she explains. This 6-inch wide mirror casts a natural white light with 10x magnification and a 360-degree swivel joint so you can get exactly the right angle. Mount it anywhere using the integrated suction cup for convenience.
If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your makeup brushes, it’s time to invest in this derm-approved DZT1968 silicone makeup brush cleaner tool. Dr. Morgan says: “Use it with your favorite makeup brush soap and it does a great job of getting all the makeup and gunk out of your brushes. It’s also really affordable and I’ve had mine for over a year with no issues.” The small knobs on the top of the tool are used for foaming and lathering, while running your brushes over the ridges will remove all the product, germs, and skin cells.
These reusable cotton rounds from Phogary are sure to become as much of an essential in your beauty routine as they are in mine. Amy Zunzunegui, the founder of WLDKAT skincare line, agrees. “I literally use these for everything from taking off makeup and nail polish to applying toner,” she remarks. “If you currently use cotton rounds these are a way better option.” Why? They’re less wasteful than their disposable counterparts, machine washable, and the pack comes with 16 bamboo rounds in their own mesh bag that you can stick directly in the laundry.
Color lovers will want to stock up on this Duri Cosmetics nail polish, which comes in 17 bold, expert-approved shades. “No matter the time of year I always love NEON on my nails,” Zunzunegui raves. “This polish has great colors and amazing staying power.” They have an opaque, matte finish (when used without top coat), and are made from a vegan and cruelty-free formula that will instantly brighten up your look.
If long, lifted lashes are what you seek, take Zunzunegui’s advice and stock up on the ILIA natural limitless lash mascara. She gushes about this mascara: “Coming from the world of beauty I've tried everything under the sun and this one continues to be my favorite. It lengthens, separates, and thickens and best of all it's a great clean formula leaving my lashes lush and beautiful." The lightweight, natural formula is made with a blend of conditioning waxes that are ophthalmologist-tested and safe for sensitive eyes and contact lenses.
I’ve never seen a product quite like the Aztec Secret indian healing clay. It boasts over 19,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and has gone viral more than once. Dr. Anna Chacon, board certified dermatologist at MyPsoriasisTeam, agrees with this product’s hype. She calls it “one of my favorite rejuvenating and TLC items to do by myself on a Sunday as I am relaxing,” probably because its deep cleansing properties and unique application process. Mix equal parts of the clay with raw apple cider vinegar, stir until it becomes a smooth paste, and apply to the skin for five to 20 minutes. You’ll feel a tingling sensation and be left with clearer, even skin.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of being blonde is made easier with help of Clairol Professional’s shimmer lights conditioner. Luis Rodriguez, a Clairol Professional top artist, said "This amazing formula renews and refreshes dull, faded highlights, removing unwanted warmth and bringing the color back to life." Use it on natural or color-treated hair to tone down any brassiness and enrich each strand with some much-needed protein.
Spritz CHI 44 iron guard thermal protection spray throughout your locks before heat styling to protect from damage and lock in smoothness and shine. Suitable for all hair types and packed with conditioning ingredients (keratin, vitamins A and E, and jojoba oil, to name a few), this is a favorite of Monica Davis, a professional hairstylist and founder of the MyStraightener blog. “CHI thermal protector is a weightless remedy that is suitable for any hair type and won’t weigh down your strands,” she says. “The sulfate and paraben-free composition will additionally strengthen your hair with essential vitamins and proteins to make your hair look healthy and prevent hot styling damage.”
Even the most stubborn facial hairs won’t stand a chance against this Finishing Touch painless hair remover. It’s not a razor, a tweezer, or wax — this unique, dermatologist-approved tool gently removes hairs as you glide it across the face, with zero redness or irritation left behind. Brianna Stanko, a beauty expert and founder of Skin Truth, endorses it, calling it “a game changer, and it’s under $20!”
Until you’ve seen the absolute magic performed by the Original MakeUp Eraser cloth, you’ll just have to take an expert’s word for it. Brittany Lo, a professional makeup artist and founder of Beia, recommends it if you’re looking for a solution to help take off your makeup without ruining all your bath towels (and I heartily endorse her recommendation). It’s soft on the skin and removes even waterproof makeup using only water, and it’s machine washable so you can use it over and over again.
Getting our beauty rest doesn’t always leave us looking, well, beautiful first thing in the morning. Lo advises using this rose quartz jade roller and gua sha set first thing when you wake up. “This set of tools are perfect to incorporate into your morning routine to depuff and sculpt the face before applying your makeup!" she explains. Use the large end of the roller on your neck and face to soothe tension and firm the skin, and the small end in the eye area to depuff and brighten. The gua sha tool is perfect to use on your jawline, chin, neck, under-eye area, and forehead in an upward motion to lift the skin and get rid of any inflammation.