Most of us don’t really think about replacing our beauty tools until something happens to them (like your trusty mall-kiosk flatiron from 2002 finally biting the dust). But before you spend a small fortune at Sephora, make sure you’ve done your research (i.e., consider these quality picks from the pros). Because who better to ask than the very people who apply makeup and style hair for a living? Here, the must-haves in their kits.
BEST MAKEUP BRUSH: SEPHORA COLLECTION PRO FEATHERWEIGHT COMPLEXION BRUSH #90
When it comes to brushes, there are literally hundreds to choose from. And truthfully, most of us don’t need more than one (or two) for everyday makeup. That said, even the pros love this brush because of its versatility. The soft, synthetic bristles work well with liquids, creams and powders, and the rounded tip is perfect for blending makeup on the face and cheeks (making it an easy tool to pack for traveling makeup artists).
BEST MAKEUP SPONGE: THE MAKEUP DROP
If you prefer using a sponge, you’re probably familiar with a certain bright pink egg. And while the Beautyblender is still one of the best options out there, this clear silicone applicator was seen making the rounds during awards season (where it was responsible for both Natalie Portman and Chrissy Teigen’s flawless looks at the SAG awards and Grammys respectively). Similar to its predecessor, the Makeup Drop blends foundation to smooth perfection, but it doesn’t absorb any precious product. (You just wipe it clean.)
BEST CLEANSING BRUSH: FOREO LUNA MINI 2
There are always going to be skeptics on whether or not you actually need a cleansing brush, but if you are going to use one, this Swedish import is your best bet. Derms like that it has silicone bristles, which are much more hygienic and gentle on skin. We like the fact that you don’t have to replace the brush heads every couple months.
BEST EYELASH CURLER: SURRATT BEAUTY RELEVÉE CURLER
Fact: A good lash curler makes a huge difference in your daily routine. And though this one comes at a much steeper price tag than most drugstore finds, it was created by a makeup artist (who studied under the legendary Kevyn Aucoin) and produced in Japan (which shows in the thoughtful craftsmanship). All of this is to say that it won’t pinch your skin and will reach each and every lash so that you get the perfect (painless) curl every single time.
BEST HAIR DRYER: PARLUX 385 POWERLIGHT
The two most important things to look for in a blow dryer are weight and power. Weight is important for obvious reasons (so your arm doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall off mid-blow dry) and power so you get speedy results (which also helps to minimize damage since you’re cutting down on heat exposure). We heard that Mara Rozsack, the hair genius behind Emma Stone’s amazing styles, uses this on her celeb clients because it delivers on both fronts.
BEST FLATIRON: GHD PLATINUM STYLER
What differentiates a regular $30 flatiron from one of these fancy, expensive ones? A lot. For one, it heats up much faster (we’re talking 20 seconds or less). More importantly, it has protective plates and settings that warm the iron to the perfect temperature so you cut down on damage. Plus, the beveled edges make it easy to create beachy waves so you get more styling options from it (and more bang for your buck). We’re guessing that’s why celeb stylists like Jen Atkin (guru responsible for the Kardashian clan’s flowing locks) uses it on her clients.
BEST CURLING IRON: HOT TOOLS GOLD CURLING IRON
One place where you can probably afford to cut back, though, is a curling iron. Whereas a blow dryer or a flatiron typically require more time on your hair, a curling iron is faster to wield (especially if you’re using our handy shortcut). Thereby, it minimizes the amount of damage you can do. This gold-plated rod is a backstage staple during Fashion Week and is consistently found in many celebrity stylists’ kits because it’s reliable and comes in all sorts of barrel sizes (so you can easily customize curls to your hair type and preference).