TikTok Star Meredith Duxbury Uses This Drugstore Mascara for a Natural Lash Lift


(Image credit: @madisonlanephoto)

I'm about to be real transparent with you guys. Although I regularly write a lot of content about TikTok and the latest up-and-coming beauty trends on the platform, I don't actually spend an obscene amount of time on it. In truth, I only follow about seven people, one of them being my makeup bestie Meredith Duxbury. With a staggering 16 million TikTok followers, it's safe to say that she's a star on the rise. I've been mildly—maybe maximally—obsessed with Duxbury for a while due to her clever and creative makeup looks, but also, she just has a wonderful spirit, positive energy, and a true passion for makeup. In a parallel life, I imagine she'd be a beauty editor on team WWW. Call it wishful thinking on my part. 

Luckily though, Duxbury was able to hop on a Zoom call with me last week to chat about all things beauty. I'm sure it won't shock you to learn that we basically gushed about our favorite skincare and makeup for all of 40 minutes. Duxbury shared her complete skincare routine, details on her recent collaboration with Kiss Lashes, key drugstore makeup products, and what's in store for her holiday makeup challenge, 25 Days of Christmas. Keep reading for all the details!


(Image credit: @madisonlanephoto)

I'd love to start by talking about your background in makeup. When did you first start doing it, and how did it evolve over time?

I've always loved makeup. I think I started around middle school [when I would] test different makeup products. Maybelline's Dream Matte Mousse Foundation ($9) was one that really stood out to me because that was just a moment. Now when I'm older thinking about it, I'm like, "Wow, using that product when I was younger was so funny because I was using it the wrong way," and now, I have 16 million followers on TikTok, and I've come such a long way, but it's been such a great process. 

I created something called #TheFoundationChallenge, which essentially was rubbing foundation on with my hands and lip-synching to Nicki Minaj's song "I'm Legit." Then I gained six million followers in one month from those videos, which was insane to me. But I actually [originally] started TikTok with my boyfriend doing couple videos. I didn't start with makeup—it was a super-interesting switch. And when my followers ask me how I started, now I tell them, "If you go to the beginning of my TikTok, it's all couple videos," which is so funny.

That unique foundation technique is now like your signature. Why do you love applying your foundation with your hands first before going in with a brush or a Beautyblender?

When I was in college, I was using the Becca Cosmetics foundation. It was like $55 for one bottle, and when I was using a beauty sponge, it was absorbing so much of the product. I would go to clean my Beautyblender and so much product would come out of it. I was like, "Oh my god, this is all foundation going to waste that I could be using." So then I thought, "I'll just use my hands. The warmth of my hands will blend it in like butter, and I won't have to buy tools." So I started doing that before TikTok, and it's funny because, on TikTok, people always think I do this technique to get views and try to make it go viral, but no. I've been doing this since college. It's really just a technique that I've been doing for a while.

I love that you put it on the back of a brush, too, to help apply the product. It definitely seems like it saves some time.

It also helps give a nice precise placement. On TikTok, it's all about how it looks on camera. So putting it on with a brush, people just love to see that!

So true! What would you say your three desert-island beauty products are?

Definitely a mascara because I feel like mascara can change a look in seconds. I really liked the L'Oréal Telescopic Mascara ($13). It just makes my lashes feel super lifted and natural, which I think would give good island vibes. And then definitely the Rhode Peptide Lip Treatment in Salted Caramel ($16)—it's my favorite. I use it every day. I also just think having a good lip can make you look really awake and bright. Then I'd say the Charlotte Tilbury Contour Wand ($40). It's so buttery, and contouring can really shape your face and make you look more glam than you actually are if you're only wearing three products.

People are always commenting on your TikTok saying you have amazing skin. Tell us your secrets! What does your morning and evening skincare routine look like?

In the morning, I'll start with a cleanser. I'm obsessed with the Tatcha Deep Cleanse Exfoliating Cleanser ($39). It's so good, and it smells amazing! Then I'll go in with a serum. It really just depends on how my skin is feeling that day and what I feel like my skin needs, whether it's hyaluronic acid or it's just something super hydrating and plumping. Glow Recipe has great serums and a huge variety of them. I'll usually use one of those serums, and then the Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Cream ($65) is so good. I have super-dry skin, so that product is key for me, and it makes your skin glow and brightens. If I'm going out running errands, that product just makes me look super bright and awake. Then in the evening, I'll pretty much do the same thing. I always make sure that I have a super-hydrating moisturizer on before I go to bed because I just wake up feeling good, and then my skin looks good in the morning. If I'm taking my makeup off, I'll throw in a melting balm before the cleanser. I am obsessed with melting balms—they're so good. It's a key product in my skincare routine.

There are so many I love, but I've been loving the Elemis ones. They have a few different ones in the Pro-Collagen series. The rose-scented one is really good. I've noticed that it's not oily when you rub it on your face and then use the water to wash the makeup off. It doesn't stick to your face. It actually just melts it all off seamlessly. The Glow Recipe Papaya Melting Balm ($32) is also so good!

Do you have any other skincare secrets that you can share? Are you into LED light therapy or any skincare devices?

I'm actually a pretty simple person. I save all the devices and stuff for my TikToks. I like using the little glass balls that have sparkles inside. They're really nice for sculpting your face when you're putting serums or hydrating creams on, and it looks good on TikTok. If I'm just doing my regular morning and evening skincare routine, I'll just really focus on the products as being my skincare secrets rather than tools.

Yeah, keeping it simple can definitely be better. It might be better for your skin in the long run too!

Yeah, and it's nice for beginners who are trying to learn more about skincare. They might feel overwhelmed if they're being recommended so many different tools. I would say one tool that I do love, though, is the NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Device ($339). I've reviewed it on TikTok before, and it's really good. It actually really lifts your face up. So if you're feeling tired in the morning, I would recommend that. But other than that, I don't have any everyday skincare-secret tools that I use.


(Image credit: @madisonlanephoto)

I do microcurrent as well and love it! How do you keep your skin in such great shape when you're always trying new skincare and makeup products? My skin is sensitive, and some stuff doesn't always agree with it—a tough part of the job. Do you have any advice for that?

It can definitely get overwhelming with all the different skincare products that are out there because you see it on TikTok, and you want to review all the different ones! My main advice would be to pay attention to what your skin needs and be aware of what condition your skin is in. For example, if you have super-dry skin and you have eczema patches on your face or dry patches, you don't want to be using something that's drying and made for acne. If you have acne, you don't want to be using something that's super oily and will clog your pores. I'd say just pay attention to the ingredients that are in the products you're using and what the product is actually used for. That'll keep your skin in good shape because you're not using products that are going to strip your skin of its natural oils and stuff like that. Skincare and makeup also go hand in hand. You really need to take care of your skin for your makeup to look good and for your base to look good.

So true. I'm always looking for both skincare and makeup products that are also going to give me a glowy base. Do you have any key products that you use that help you achieve a natural glow?

I have so many! Like I said before, the Charlotte Tilbury wands are so good. They come off as super, super pigmented, and sometimes, you might think, "Oh my God, what did I just do? I put too much product on," but they blend like magic. They're so buttery and so dewy. Those are amazing. They're also super easy to use, even for beginners. I just discovered another new one: the Makeup by Mario Ethereal Eyes Palette ($48). I used it yesterday actually. I've been seeing it all over TikTok. There are a few really shimmery shades in there, and it literally makes your eyes look like they're like wet and glowing. It is so good. I really recommend that palette.

Let's talk about your new Kiss Lashes holiday collaboration! How did this come together, and what do you love specifically about Kiss lashes?

Kiss came to me about a year ago and said they absolutely loved my TikTok and the full-glam looks [I create]. They wanted to come out with a holiday campaign, and I loved that idea. I've used Kiss my entire life. I'm obsessed with their lashes—they're like the only lashes I use. I basically picked my favorite existing lashes of theirs, and we did a little twist on them. I renamed the lashes, and I just love Kiss. They're such a great brand to work with. There are lashes within the collection that are natural but still full glam, and there are ones that are holiday full glam and almost give disco vibes. It was so fun to be involved in the development of the packaging, and it was such a great experience too because I want to have my own makeup brand one day, and it will be so great just having this experience in the development of everything.

That was another question I wanted to ask you! What would a Meredith Duxbury makeup line consist of?

I would love to have my own makeup brand. It's definitely something that is a huge goal of mine. I think a Meredith makeup brand would be a mix of natural products and full glam because I feel like I'm such a mixture of both. One day, I'll just be going to run errands and want to throw on some quick, easy products. Then on another day, I'll want to do a huge, full-glam TikTok look. I want something that's easy for everyone [to use]. Whether you're a full-glam kind of girl or a more natural kind of girl, I want products that everybody can love and use. It's definitely something that I want to put more time into and think more about, but that's kind of the general idea. I just want something that's super inclusive and everybody can get their hands on.

Are there any new up-and-coming makeup brands that you're really excited about at the moment?

Yes! Nimya is one that I absolutely love. It's NikkieTutorials's new makeup brand, and I think she started with just skincare products, but she just released her first eye shadow palette. The colors of the brand name are just so cool with the orange and the blue. It's so her, and it's super inspiring to see a creator like her grow and just become so big and have this amazing makeup brand. I'm just so proud of her, and it's so inspiring to see. Saie Beauty is another one. I've been loving the Starglow Gel ($28). It's so good. That's another recommendation you have to try! I've just seen them grow so much within the last year, especially on TikTok. TikTok is just insane how it can help sell out products in seconds. I found the Saie Starglow Gel on TikTok, too, so that brand has definitely skyrocketed over the last year. 

Are there any makeup launches from the past year that have really stood out to you?

Yeah, I think clean beauty is a huge thing, and in 2022, it's something that I think a lot of makeup brands are focusing on and realizing that it's a priority for people. I think Kosas is really good with that. They came out with a foundation this year called the Revealer Skin-Improving Foundation ($42), and it's for acne-prone skin. I don't have acne-prone skin, but I love it because it just has ingredients in it that are really good for your skin. I think their growth this year has been amazing, and they market themselves so well. I think the packaging and just everything about the brand is so cool—it really stood out to me this year. Then obviously, Kiss Lashes stood out to me because I think it was great that they wanted to do their first influencer launch, and I'm so grateful that I was able to be the first influencer to collaborate with them.

And what would you say are a few career highlights for you this year? 

I met Charlotte Tilbury, which was so inspiring. I look up to her so much, and Sophia Tilbury doing my makeup [was definitely a highlight]. Meeting Alicia Keys and meeting Halsey and doing my makeup with her at her house and just all the other amazing people that I've met. I've also had so many opportunities to work with such amazing brands like the Morphe Making You Blush collection campaign, which was so exciting. Kiss Lashes as well, like we talked about, and having a billboard in Times Square was so crazy to me. My whole family came, and we stood there and watched, and I was like, "This is so insane that I'm on a billboard in Times Square!" I just remember little me wanting to live in New York City so bad, and here I am having a billboard in Times Square. I've also met so many amazing friends and creators along the way this year too. It's been such a successful year, and I'm so happy.

I'm excited to see what 2023 holds for you! I know you have some really cool collaborations coming down the pipeline. My last question is, What makeup looks can we look forward to for the rest of 25 Days of Christmas on your TikTok?

I'm so excited. I absolutely love Christmas. It's one of my favorite holidays, and I love wintertime in general. It's so fun and cozy. I really want to do a "boyfriend does my Christmas makeup" video because he's so involved and loves this whole TikTok thing and is so supportive of my career. I also really love SFX makeup. It's something that I did a lot of during Halloween, so I think I want to do a Grinch makeup look with SFX. Then I want to create a Cindy Lou look, and I work with a great hairstylist. His name is Erickson, and I think I want to have him come and do the whole Cindy Lou hairdo, and I'm gonna do the makeup. Then I'll probably just do some easy holiday glam looks. I think that's something that a lot of people want to see this time of year because I think it can be overwhelming. There are so many Christmas parties and events, and people might run out of ideas. Beginners might also be thinking they need some tips and tricks on how to do some more elevated holiday party glam looks, so that's something I'm going to focus on. But I have papers and papers of ideas, so there will definitely be some many amazing Christmas videos!

I'm so excited to see what else is in store for the rest of the month and obviously for 2023! I'll be following along, so I'll get to see all of it. 

Yeah, it's going to be so fun. Thank you so much for this opportunity. It was so fun to talk about all of this with you!

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Shawna Hudson
Associate Beauty Editor

Shawna Hudson has worked in editorial for over six years, with experience covering entertainment, fashion, culture, celebrities, and her favorite topic of all, beauty. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton, with a degree in journalism and has written for other publications such as Bustle, The Zoe Report, Byrdie, Elite Daily, Mane Addicts, and more. She is currently an associate beauty editor at Who What Wear and hopes to continue feeding her (completely out-of-control) beauty obsession as long as she can. Stay up to date on her latest finds on Instagram @shawnasimonee.