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How Mindy Kaling’s makeup artist shops for beauty products under $100


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Photo: Katey Denno
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People in the beauty industry get tons of goods to test out, so when someone spends their own money on something that they’ve run out of, you know it’s good. In this series, we give beauty buffs $100, and ask them how they’d spend it on the best-of-the-best cosmetics from around the internet. 

When celebrity makeup artist and green living expert, Katey Denno, sits down with her clients, such as Mindy Kaling, Felicity Jones, and Lily James, to name a few, she aims to ditch uniformity and embrace individuality. Each unique look is constructed around two facial focal points: the eyes and smile. “The eyes are the jewels [of the face],” says Denno. “I also love a big beautiful smile. It’s all about finding the client’s happy face and building on that.”

After having a decade-long career in social work, Denno started doing makeup because of her love for crazy, over-the-top editorial. Despite her ambitious vision 11 years ago, however, today her aesthetic has morphed into the quite the contrary—she’s all about chasing that lit-from-within glow. “I like to enhance natural beauty,” says Denno—and so she does so with clean products in hand.

Keep scrolling for Denno’s top picks for glowy, natural-looking skin.

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Ilia lipstick
Photo: Ilia

Ilia Lipstick, $26

“I always remind people to use whatever they use on their lips, on their cheeks too,” says Denno. “For your cheeks, smear the top of the bullet with your ring finger and gently apply in circular motions, starting with the apples of your cheeks, feathering outward. This one has dense pigment that sheers out easily.”

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Hydrating Mist
Photo: True Botanicals

True Botanicals Basics Hydrating Mist, $22

“This face mist is so good,” reveals Denno. “It’s filled with antioxidants, which are great for your skin. I like to mist it on the face after putting makeup on, especially if I use a powder. As the day goes on, you can also use it to refresh makeup.”

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Liquid eyeliner
Photo: Gabrielle Cosmetics

Gabriel Cosmetics Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner, $16

“It’s very hard to find a good liquid liner in the green beauty space,” admits Denno. “These stay put and are really easy to use. The applicator is simple so you won’t need a separate brush, and you can use it to make a cat eye or swipe it along your lash line and use your finger to smudge it out.”

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Jojoba oil
Photo: Aura Cacia

Aura Cacia Jojoba Oil, $18

“I like jojoba oil because it instantly absorbs into your skin,” explains Denno. “Plus, you don’t need much—just two drops will do the trick. Choose where you apply it depending on your skin type. If you have a shiny t-zone, for example, then avoid that area. If you are particularly dry in one spot, press some oil into it. Remember that you don’t always have to put it all over.”

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Eyeshadow
Photo: Burts Bees

Burt’s Bees Eyeshadow Trio, $13

“The payoff is super intense,” says Denno. “You’ll get the most color by wetting your brush first. Swipe it on the back of your hand to remove excess water, brush across the shadow, and press it into the skin. It’s really wonderful and layers so well.”

If you’re looking for other ways to make your makeup routine less expensive, here’s how Sir John shops for beauty for under $100 and here’s how a top derm does.

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