The industry’s leading hair and makeup artists open their kits to reveal essential time-saving products for fashion week.
Written By Jayme Cyk
In terms of intensity, few events rival the scene backstage at a runway show. The space is tight, but with shows scheduled on the hour (and many coveted models walking for multiple designers), the turnaround times are even tighter. So when, for example, a six-foot-tall brunette dashes in five minutes before showtime with platinum-bleached brows, shellacked hair, and puffy eyes from an allergic reaction to the last makeup artist’s lash glue, these pros need every quick-fix trick in their bags. Here, the masters divulge products that produce backstage heroics.


The Portable Shadow
“Cream textures are a godsend backstage—they’re easy to blend and they don’t shatter, like powders, if you drop them. You can quickly build up my cream shadows for a luminous eye in seconds.”
— Charlotte Tilbury, makeup artist
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow: This velvety smooth formula can go from a sheer consistency to a highly pigmented texture.
The Pre-Styler
“This Bumble and bumble primer is my number-one proxy for shortcuts at shows. I use it instead of water to wet hair: it dries faster because of the molecular makeup and it breaks down other products quickly. If a model comes from another show with tons of spray or gel, I douse her hair with Prep, and it makes it easy to comb through and restyle.”
— Jimmy Paul, hairstylist
Leonor Greyl Eclat Naturel Nourishing and Protective Styling Cream: Whether used in dry or damp hair, this multipurpose styler will smooth out brittle, dry, and frizzy strands.
The Must-Have Tool
“I can’t live without with my Beautyblender backstage. I keep the mini version in my kit—it’s great for blending cream shadows. It’s intended for concealer and contouring, but its size also lets you get into small corners and blend.”
— Katie Jane Hughes, makeup artist 
The Skin Fixer
“Weleda's Skin Food Cream is one of my all-time favorite multitaskers. It’s effective and works fast. I squeeze some onto a Q-tip and rub it into dry, flaky patches, and it acts like a magic eraser. I also use it to cheat perfect skin, to highlight cheekbones quickly, and on the tops of shoulders for a natural, lit-from-within glow. And you can even use it on lips.”
— Romy Soleimani, makeup artist
MAC Strobe Cream: This quick-fix moisturizer de-puffs, freshens, brightens, and moistens with a dose of vitamins and green tea.
The All-In-One Complexion Perfector
“The most essential tool I always have with me backstage is this palette. It features the full range of my Correctors and Creamy Concealers, plus my Skin Foundation Stick, in a wide range of shades for complexions of all conditions and tones. It can also cover up imperfections on the body.”
— Bobbi Brown, makeup artist
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage: To achieve perfect coverage, Secret Camouflage contains two shades: one matches the skin’s depth of color and the other complements its undertone.
The Hair Savior
“My dry shampoo can soften hair that has too many stiff products in it or give volume to flat, straight, or greasy hair without having to blow-dry. It’s one of my saviors during fashion week. You never know how a girl is going to walk in from another show.”
— Orlando Pita, hairstylist
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk: This cult favorite dry shampoo cleanses, refreshes, and instantly eliminates oil—without using a drop of water.
The Frizz Tamer
“Natural styles are quite popular right now, so when I do shows with that type of look, to save time I have the girls wash their hair and let it air-dry the night before. Then I use a curling iron backstage the next day to add some more movement before smoothing any frizzies or flyaways with Redken's finishing sheets.”
— Guido Palau, hairstylist
Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream: To tame frizz, this rich leave-in conditioner gives hair a boost of hydration and adds shine.


In polite society, CHEATING is encouraged—as long as it’s with one’s MAKEUP.
— Violet Grey
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