Every great makeup artist knows that the key to a radiant, glowing base is properly prepped skin. That's right, no matter how good your foundation is, if you really want it to look its best, it's all about focusing on your complexion. Now, we know that it can sometimes seem as if there are a million and one products to apply before your makeup, from serums to primers and eye creams, but sometimes a simple yet effective moisturiser is all you need (alongside your favourite SPF, of course).
In fact, lots of celebrity makeup artists swear by skin-tightening face creams to help give the stars that plump, lifted look. If you're curious to know which creams they keep in their kits, then you're in luck, as we asked some of the most sought-after makeup artists in the industry to share their top picks. From luxury moisturisers to high-quality drugstore favourites, there are lots of incredible options for you to choose from. We even asked each makeup artist for their top application tips and tricks, so you know exactly how to get the most out of the products.
The best thing about these creams is that you don't need to spend hours prepping your skin before makeup, so they're an easy addition to your daily skincare routine. Keep on scrolling for all the information you need on the best skin-tightening creams, and get ready to glow like never before.
Paris-Based Makeup Artist Andreea Ali
"I know most people start applying their face cream from the centre and then spread outwards, but I like to do the exact opposite, and here’s why: Most of us have dry cheeks since the skin doesn't produce as much sebum there as it does other places like the T-zone. Therefore, applying most of the product to the cheeks and sides of your forehead will give you more hydration exactly where you need it," says Paris-based makeup artist and expert Andreea Ali.
"This cream from Sisley is one of my favourites. It's a super-lightweight formula that's great for creating radiance and a nice lifting effect," says Ali.
"I actually use this mask as a moisturiser for super-dry or dehydrated skin. It plumps the skin and provides an immediate tightening effect. It’s truly an extraordinary product. I apply a small amount [to avoid] excess product on the skin, and then I continue with foundation. It's probably my most effective trick when I'm working with someone who has very dry skin."
"This is a rich formula that hydrates the skin and leaves it with a healthy-looking glow."
"This is my personal favourite. I use it on my clients and on my own combination skin. No formula has worked better for giving my skin lots of hydration, elasticity and radiance without that greasy feeling so many other rich creams can leave behind. This is a versatile, all-year-round kind of moisturiser—it's truly magic!"
London-Based Makeup Artist Nikki Wolff
When applying serums and moisturisers on your face and neck, makeup artist and expert Nikki Wolff advises, "Smooth upward and outward. Any extra moments you can spend on massaging during your application, your skin will thank you for. Remember to be gentle around the eyes and pay the jawline and lymph area (at the sides of the neck) extra attention."
"I adore the Dior Capture Totale Firming and Wrinkle-Corrective Creme," says Wolff. "The formula is rich without being greasy, so it really plumps and firms the skin whilst also wearing well under makeup."
"For something affordable yet effective, I like Olay’s 3-Point Age-Defying Cream. It’s easily absorbed yet still hydrating, smoothing and firming."
New York–Based Makeup Artist Morgane Martini
"I've become a huge fan of applying retinol-infused skincare products, as they've made a night-and-day improvement to my skin texture and making my complexion smoother and plumper," says New-York-based makeup artist and expert Morgane Martini.
"I love the IS Clinical Youth Complex. It's full of antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and retinol, which are all great ingredients to tighten the skin whilst improving texture and reducing fine lines. I highly recommend this product," says Martini.
London-Based Makeup Artist Mira Parmar
"When applying moisturiser before makeup, I like to give the product enough time to sink into the skin," says makeup artist Mira Parmar. "I also like to dampen the skin with a facial mist which helps to lock in moisture for extra hydration."
"This rich cream works to hydrate and plump the skin. It is formulated with a special blend of hyaluronic acid and algae and it also contains ingredients to protect the skin against stressors, which is why I love it," says Parmar.
"Another cream that is highly concentrated in hyaluronic acid. This product is beautiful on the skin and perfect for under makeup. It really firms and plumps, and for under £20, it's great for the purse too."
"This is one of my favourite moisturisers to add a glowy finish to the skin, and is great to use both alone and under makeup. It contains a duo of AHAs which work to remove dead skin cells and reveal a radiant and plump complexion."
Shop More Skin-Tightening Creams:
I'm extremely loyal to just a handful of moisturisers, and this cult-classic pick from Charlotte Tilbury is one I can count on when I want my skin to look plump, tight, and super-dewy. It's loaded with amazing ingredients like the brand's BioNympth Peptide Complex (which kick-starts collagen production, plumps and moisturises); along with damask rose water, organic aloe vera and luxe, delicate oils from rose hip and camellia.
Ole Henriksen skincare products never disappoint, and this gel-like moisturiser is one of my top picks from the brand. The formula is filled with peptides, ceramides, collagen and hyaluronic acid, keeping your skin deeply hydrated and giving a visibly plumped effect.
This is, hands down, one of the best day creams I have ever tried. The hydrating formula leaves you with super plump skin and a gorgeous, glowy finish. Plus, makeup glides on seamlessly over the top.
This No7 cream is up there with some of the best luxury moisturisers on the market. Not only does it work to reduce fine lines, but it makes skin feels so hydrated and plump, and it sits incredibly well under foundation. If you like a really glowy, radiant makeup look, I couldn't recommend it enough.
You'll believe in magic after trying this ridiculously lovely moisturiser from IS Clinical. This brand make some of the most coveted skincare products in the industry, and it partnered with top makeup artists when it conceptualised and created this cream. It imparts a deeply hydrating, subtly luminous finish, and thanks to the addition of copper peptides, each application stimulates collagen production to help firm the skin.
Grace Lindsay is the junior beauty editor at Who What Wear UK. At the age of 18 she decided to train as a makeup artist before going on to study english and media at Goldsmiths University. It was during that time that she explored her love for journalism by interning at a small beauty start-up based in Shoreditch. Since then, she has worked at a number of publications including Marie Claire and Hello!, where her love for all things beauty continued to grow.
As Who What Wear UK's junior beauty editor, she covers everything from the latest hair trends to the stand-out makeup products of the season.