Beauty industry insiders are a font of information about moisturizers and makeup. But what about the not-so-glamorous items—the beauty workhorses—that are depended on daily and don’t necessarily come in gorgeous packaging or warrant prominent display on a dressing table? We tapped brow gurus to beauty editors and skin-care CEOs for their favorite beauty tools. —Randi Eichenbaum
“I can’t live without a nail file,” says the former model, stylist, and founder of the luxe facial and body oil line that fashion insiders swear by. “I like to buy them in Europe—I have some from a pharmacy in the airport in Rome. Paris has great ones, too. The European ones are more delicate and easier to wield. I like them thin and colorful and I always have one in my bag and several on my night table. I hate raggedy nails! I use them mostly at night to smooth out any rough edges. I use one very gingerly when I have a snag, with or without polish on.”
Crystal Nail File, $10
“Brows should be groomed and neat every day,” instructs the owner of the popular New York brow-shaping salon Sania’s Brow Bar in Chelsea.
“First, you should shade and outline brows so they look finished. But the second most important thing—especially if you only do one beautifying thing to your brows a day—is to use a spooley, or a brush that looks like a mascara wand. I created one on the other side of my pencil because it’s so essential. It blends the brow color for a soft, natural look and brushes the brows upwards, creating a brightness to the eyes and face.”
Alexandra (right): An eyelash curler is a big one for me. It’s especially important with those less-effective natural mascaras.
Siobhan: I use Scotch tape on my flaky skin and it works amazingly well. It doesn’t scrape or leave you red like a scrub.
Mathilde Thomas, founder of Caudalie
“French women don’t shave, they wax,” explains the chic co-founder of the French spa and skin-care line Caudalie she started with her husband. “And since I don’t have time to get waxed all the time, I use the Braun Silk Epil. It hurts, but it works. I use it once every three weeks in the shower. I start by putting Caudalie Gentle Foaming Cleanser on wet legs, and then I run the Silk Epil from the bottom to the top on the same spot four times.”
“Fingers are the cheapest and most effective tools ever,” gushes the New York makeup artist who’s lauded for her use of green beauty products. “I use them for almost all aspects of makeup application (and removal) on myself and clients. Skin-to-skin contact allows for easy blending because the warmth of fingers can soften makeup just enough to help smooth it on. I can literally finger paint on an entire face from foundation, to lipstick, blush, and even eye shadow. I encourage my clients to do the same because brushes can be confusing, but finger painting feels more simple and playful!”
“One year I went on a ski trip with my husband, and I forgot my razor. I used his Mach 3 Razor, and I never looked back,” says the Los Angeles-based celebrity facialist. “I love the really close shave men’s razors give you. I tend to get ingrown hairs and irritation when I use women’s razors. I’ve heard that Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor shaved their faces and so do I. Shaving gently exfoliates your face and keeps your skin fuzz free so makeup application is smooth and flawless! I never go anywhere without my Mach 3.”
Gillette Mach3 Razor, $10
Jean Godfrey-June, executive beauty director at Lucky Magazine
“To be honest, I use the Clarisonic every other day when I take a shower in the morning,” says the longtime beauty editor. “It makes a huge difference in my skin. I use it with an oil cleanser from Nude, which is organic and ultra-moisturizing. The combination leaves my skin super soft and smooth.”
“I love an angle brush,” explains the natural makeup artist. “It’s so multifunctional; great for brows and liner, liquid or powder. It’s also good for smudging eyeliner under your eye and adding a bit of shadow to that. The angle of the brush is foolproof. You could even use it to line lips in a pinch. But then you would absolutely have to wash it before using it for your eyes again.”