The Products Pros Actually Have In Their Kits

Remember Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets? Well, sorry to ruin your adolescence, but He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has absolutely nothing on the secrets buried inside of a makeup artist's kit. The products, lotions, and potions stored there, and all of the magic they can create, are far more valuable than anything you'd find at Hogwarts.

That's why we did some snooping around the stations of the very finest — asking questions about this moisturizer, that concealer, or the texture spray over there. And we found things like "the perfect nude lip pencil," "the best matte lipstick I've ever used," and the miracle creams one makeup artist makes sure are always backstage when she's keying a show.

Click through for a shopping list that could only have been curated by the most in-the-know of the biz. Then, let us know if you've tried any of these products in the comments.
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No, makeup artist Diane Kendal doesn't use this boar-bristle toothbrush to clean her teeth; it's actually a clutch brow brush. She uses it to achieve the bushy, full brows she's known for at fashion shows.

Swissco Natural Bristle Tooth Brush, $11.39, available at Amazon.
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Makeup artist Rommy Najor swears by this concealer for particularly stubborn zits. Since it's on the drier side, it stays in place better than a slippery formula.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, $34, available at Laura Mercier.
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To quickly perk up a tired face, makeup artist Lucia Pieroni adds a few spritzes of Caudalíe Beauty Elixir. It's also great as a primer — simply mist it on, and then keep it in your purse for touch-ups throughout the day.

Caudalíe Beauty Elixir, £11.50, available at here.
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Models' faces are typically ravaged by the end of Fashion Week. So, makeup artist Troy Surratt uses these eye masks to revive sallow-looking skin. They brighten up the undereyes immediately, giving you a gorgeous, glowing complexion.

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energising Eye Mask, £40, available here.
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Najor always has Vaseline on him in case he needs to whip up a lip scrub in a pinch. His recipe? A blob of petroleum jelly mixed with a sugar packet from the food-service table. Voilà!

Vaseline 100% Pure Petroleum Jelly, $4.27, available at Walmart.
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Makeup artist Yadim has a pretty stellar trick for relieving puffy eyes backstage. He heats up some green-tea bags and pops them onto models' eyes. Once they've cooled, he places the same bags in ice water and reapplies them to the eyes to help tighten them up. Genius.

The Republic of Tea The People's Green Tea Bags, £7, available at The Republic of Tea.
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Nail artist Miss Pop uses bobby pins backstage when she doesn't have a detailing brush. They're good for adding gemstones to nails, but you can also use them to paint on dots or stripes.

Elle Bobby Pins, $2.63, available at Ulta.
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To control the natural oils on a model's face, Najor uses Dickinson's Witch Hazel on the T-zone. A quick swipe, and you're set to jet.

Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner, $3.99, available at
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A commonly used phrase among the makeup pros backstage is "concealer where needed," or its counterpart, "We're just evening out the skin tone." To do that, artists generally rely on a concealer with a satin finish...but the formula also needs to be buildable in order to cover tricky dark circles and blemishes. "In my own personal life and at work, I cannot live without this concealer pen. It's magic," says makeup artist Romy Soleimani, who's been a backstage expert for years. "I always try other things, and I still go back to it."
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"If you want to achieve the perfect nude lip, this is how to do it. Think of it as the modern-day MAC Spice — it glides perfectly, and it has a nice rosy undertone so it's flattering to the skin," Soleimani says. "Add a balm on top for the prettiest take on nude, ever."
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Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann named her signature nude nail lacquer accordingly: "It's called 'Fashion' for a reason," she says. "Designers love a chic, nude nail. This is my classic."
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Giving Deborah a run for her money is Jin Soon's MVP nude — the right amount of pink goes into it, making it flattering on most skin tones.
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Bumble and bumble sponsors a lot of shows at Fashion Week, but you can safely bet that your interview with the lead stylist will consist of two words: thickening spray. This cult item has a signature smell that's immediately detectable in the early hours backstage at the shows — when sprayed on damp hair, it adds volume and texture to your blowdry, allowing your strands to be more pliable and easier to style.
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"This will be in my kit forever," spills makeup artist Alice Lane. "It fills in and it has coverage, but it's not heavy. I even use it to perfect lip colors for a nice crisp shape."
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Stylist Paul Hanlon uses a lot of Bumble products throughout Fashion Week, but he counts this one as his favorite — it's an oil-based styling cream that adds separation and shine to lived-in looks (a.k.a., his specialty).
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This guy is essential for manicurist Michelle Saunders, who uses it mostly because it conceals imperfections on the nail beds and allows for quick and even lacquer application when the models have had multiple polish changes throughout the day. But, backstage, this little basecoat took on a new meaning: "When you put it on top of your color, it acts as a filter," she explains. "It softens the shade and gives you the most perfect nail bed you could ever get."
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It's impossible to deny: Embryolisse is a mainstay of Fashion Week. But, why, you ask? Well, it's a super-rich moisturizer that also manages to be ultra-gentle, so it allows for a dewy, luminous base without clogging the models' pores. Kendal often uses it in place of, well, any sort of makeup at all.
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You know how models always have ultra-glossy eyelids? This is how.
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Fashion has been rejoicing in the revival of John Frieda's Beach Blonde Salt Spray...mostly because it really is that easy to use. While most products of this type tend to leave a gritty, matte finish, this one lightly conditions and adds gentle, piece-y separation. One season, hairstylist Odile Gilbert misted it over freshly curled sections of hair at Rodarte "to destroy the waves" and make them look more natural. Take note.
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Makeup artist Troi Ollivierre used this iconic drugstore formula backstage at J.Crew once for perfect, evenly separated eyelashes.
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We already told you that this stuff is the best. Ollivierre agrees — in fact, he uses it consistently to achieve the now-famous J.Crew model glow.
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Hairstylist James Pecis is rarely spotted backstage without a bottle of this in hand. In fact, looking back at transcriptions, he's mentioned it during every single show he worked on this season. Spraying it on damp hair before a blowdry allows for texture and volume, and rough-drying with fingers allows for moldable looks like braids and mohawks. (Oh, and it smells really nice, too.)
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"It's just the best," says Poole of the little red bottle. "If you've used it, it needs no explanation."
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These little cult lipsticks have often been attributed to J.Crew, but that wasn't how we first heard about them. Backstage one season at Suno, Lane pulled out an entire bag of them, and even slipped one in this editor's pocket. "These are matte, but they're hydrating and thick and they have a wonderful texture, so when you wear it, you don't get that yucky lipstick ring around your mouth," she says. "Troi is a makeup artist who actually likes women. These are proof."
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For the precise, lined nail art, manicurist Jin Soon Choi needs a striper brush. But, no ordinary striper will do: "We cut it in half, so it was easier to use," she says. "That way, you have more control over the lines you make."
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This little tube is on many stations backstage — including Soleimani's and Lane's. If you ever want to look fresh and dewy without makeup, just tap it onto the tops of your cheekbones for a humectant glow that will last all day. (Oh, and it works wonders on dry hands, too.)
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Speaking of dry hands, Choi swears by this stuff backstage. "It's very moisturizing, which is important in the wintertime," she says.
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For her husband David Neville's rag & bone show one season, makeup guru Gucci Westman called in the big guns. She politely asked one of her favorite skin brands, Omorovicza, to show support for the show. The artists were applying loads of Blue Diamond Super-Cream to the models' tired (and freezing-cold!) faces backstage, prepping them for an immaculate base.
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Okay, so this one is a little gross, but maybe helpful? Manicurist Katie Jane Hughes told us that if the models come in with dirty or discolored toenails, she uses this product. "It has a white base that basically acts like a primer with silicone," she explains.
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"Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner is a very fast and effective cleanser that removes every last bit of product from your brushes, dries instantly, and contains citrus extract, which makes your brushes smell divine," explains makeup artist Benjamin Puckey.
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"This is really my must-have backstage at Fashion Week," says hair god Guido Palau. "It gives the hair a bit of airy texture, so it doesn't feel too blowdried or done — it sort of ages the hair. It creates this very sexy, but very easy hair.”

Redken Windblown 05, $22, Redken for salons.
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Puckey also loves this loose powder for its super-fine, barely detectable finish, which sets makeup without causing caking.
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Being backstage during the winter only means one thing: chapped lips. This was, of course, a problem, considering lip colors were having a moment. Ollivierre and his team kept these little jars backstage, buffing the lips before applying balm so they could keep the matte stains looking velvety and beautiful throughout the presentation.
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If there was gel liner backstage, the odds were pretty damn good that it was this stuff. Dick Page and Val Garland pretty much always has it on standby, and so does Kabuki — one makeup artist even once described it as "the American Express of eyeliners."
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You can spot sock diffusers at just about every show. It's ideal for up-styles and for taming the top of the head when ponytails and buns are involved — plus, YS Park is just about the cultiest hair brand there is, so you know you're getting good stuff.
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Spotted: this texture powder in the hands of Orlando Pita for perfectly undone, bedhead-y texture.
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We spied this on a very prominent stylist's station, as well. An inexpensive finishing spray that's not Elnett? We haven't put it to the test quite yet (and we got no comment from the hair guru), but consider this officially on our radar.
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