Drag’s impact on culture as an art form is unmistakable, especially when it comes to beauty. The world of makeup has long taken inspiration from the world of drag; it’s in the contours of blush and foundation, lash glue and winged eyeliner, bold pigments and overdrawn lips. And let’s not forget about the *wigs*. So if you’re looking for people who know the ins and outs of beauty — including how to create the most masterful lewks and the best products to buy — allow the #DragTok stars filling up your FYP with glitter, glamour, and even ghoul to be your saving graces.
With so many goodies from so many brands to choose from, during Pride Month and beyond, there’s no way you can test (or afford) them all. That’s where the experts with the best beats in the business come in. Elite Daily spoke to some of TikTok’s favorite drag queens and artists — who made makeup an essential part of their personal and professional lives — about the beauty products they’re loving right now, how to use them to build a fire beauty look, and how to make allll of it stay put. (Hint, it’s all thanks to the three S’s: sparkly, sweatproof, and solid products — and you can use them all both in and out of drag.) When you’re done, RuPaul won’t be the only one singing “Supermodel.”
Drag Artist Jupiter’s (@isthatjupiter, He/Him) Favorite Products
The first product on drag artist Jupiter’s list is Danessa Myricks’ Twin Flames Liquid Eyeshadow, which spiritualists are sure to love based on the name alone. “It’s marketed as an eyeshadow, but you can use it as a liner, on the lip, and as a highlight,” says Jupiter. Bonus: “All of them are duo-chrome, so they have a beautiful shift to them and they’re super fun to play with.”
How to use it: As the NYC-based artist mentions, it’s a multi-purpose product. If you want to use it as a lip liner, he recommends using a liner brush; if you want to use it across your lips, a lip brush or your fingers will do; if you want to use it as a highlighter, you can also use your fingers, apply it to your cheeks, and pat it up the cheekbone. The drag star’s personal preference: “I tend to use it over the top of a liquid lip, in the center of the lip, and use my finger to pat it down.”
Staying true to the brand, Jupiter is also a fan of Danessa Myricks’ liquid cream pigment. “You can use it for lipstick, eye color, or blend it with foundation,” he says. “I’ll also use it to paint on a brow, or to color my beard; I think of it as a paint you can use wherever.”
How to use it: The two best things about this particular item: It’s super pigmented and very versatile. “You actually don’t have to seal it with anything,” says Jupiter, which is amazing for cutting down on time and extra product. However, if you end up layering your makeup, he does recommend setting it. “If it’s on just skin, it seals on its own; if you put it on top of a cream, it would probably wiggle a little bit.” Either way, though, a little setting spray couldn’t hurt.
According to Jupiter, PPI’s Green Marble setting spray is pretty intense, but it gets the job done. “If you ever need to go swimming in full drag, it is the thing to use,” he says. (Based on the 2 million views for “drag queen swimming” on TikTok, this is must-know information.)
How to use it: Chlorinated experiences aside, the drag artist also spritzes it across his glam ahead of nights out on the town. “It can be overkill,” he admits, “but I would rather overkill setting my makeup than have an eyebrow turned into a mustache.”
They don’t call Pat McGrath “Mother” for nothing. Jupiter says the British MUA’s Mothership palettes “freaking rock,” but the Mothership I: Subliminal Palette is his No. 1 choice. “It has some neutrals, it has dark green and black, and then the shimmers in there are freaking stunning,” he raves. “If I could take a bite out of it, I would — but I can’t afford it.”
How to use it: You can apply shades from the palette like Jupiter’s personal fave, Blitz Blue, like a standard eyeshadow. To spice things up, the drag artist says, “I’ll use that blue or the shimmers in the palette as a highlight for the lip, or I’ll use the darker shades in the corners of the lip to darken it to give it a little more dimension.”
Drag Queen Kathy O’Connor’s (@the_kathyoconnor, She/He/They) Favorite Products
If there’s one product drag queen Kathy O’Connor stands by, it’s Kryolan’s TV Paint Stick. “Without this product, I can’t do drag,” she says. “It’s a foundation stick, but it’s meant for stage lights and harsh TV lighting.” And since it’s a stick, you can get a lot more product out of it than a liquid spot concealer or other spot treatments, so it’s more cost efficient.
How to use it: The Dallas-based entertainer uses the “miracle” product for all things. “It’s super full-coverage, it’s highly pigmented, and literally covers up anything,” she says. “I use it to cover up acne out of drag all the time, too.” Swipe it across the areas of your face you’re looking to cover, then blend. It’s that simple.
You can’t go wrong with a bold and glam eye look concept in your back pocket. Enter Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Norvina makeup palette. O’Connor loves it because the eyeshadows are “not only super pigmented, but they just blend out so beautifully.”
How to use it: One thing the drag queen’s learned is that most eyeshadows can have multiple uses, and that’s especially true for the shades in this palette. “This is a really great product for all over the face,” she says. “You can use these hot pink eyeshadows with all this pigment to put on as a blush or even set on your lipstick.”
Like Jupiter, O’Connor believes in the power of a great setting spray. Her personal fave comes from Ben Nye. “It’s super heavy duty, stage grade,” she says. “I can literally go through three shows, five performances, three rounds of shots, get home, and my makeup is still completely intact.”
How to use it: As with all setting sprays, you should spritz it across your face once you’ve applied all the makeup you plan to wear. The one downside, according to the drag queen, is that it’s “so intense and drying,” so she wouldn’t recommend using it on a day-to-day basis or on light makeup days. “If you don’t have all that makeup underneath, it could mess with your skin,” she says. “Because I’m wearing, like, 9,000 pounds of makeup, it doesn’t really affect me that much, which is nice.”
Drag Queen Jessica L’Whor’s (@jessicalwhor, She/Her) Favorite Products
It’s hard to serve major looks all day long without breaking at least a little bit of sweat. That’s where a little pre-makeup toner can come in handy. “This saves my makeup, my life, and my face, especially in the hot summers,” says drag queen Jessica L’Whor. It keeps the skin matte throughout the day, allowing your full beat to last longer.
How to use it: The self-dubbed “Biggest L’Whor in Colorado” applies it after moisturizing but before putting on primer to help reduce the amount of sweat that comes through her makeup. Her order of operations: “You put it in your hands, you rub it on your face, then you let it air dry.”
For L’Whor, NYX’s matte liquid liner is a holy-grail product. “There’s no better liquid liner or felt tip liner for brown and black colors that stay all night, easily go on, and are really rich in pigment,” she says. “The white liner is really great, too.”
How to use it: While there are a lot of ways to apply liquid eyeliner, the DragTok star’s go-to uses for these NYX products are on the eyes “to create a wing or to darken the bottom part of my eye,” and around the brows “to trace and to define” the shape and “to make it look more faded and natural.”
O’Connor’s not the only drag queen with a lot of love for Anastasia Beverly Hills. L’Whor praises the brand’s Dipbrow products to recreate her brow shape. “Once my fake brows are covered, it’s easy to apply,” she says. “And it sets really comfortably.”
How to use it: This pomade is great for all things brows. Brow sculpting, brow filling, brow detailing, or just starting your brows from scratch. L’Whor recommends using “a small tight angled brush to apply it for precision.”
Drag Queen & MUA Ellis Atlantis’ (@ellis_atlantis, He/She/Them) Favorite Products
Ellis Atlantis, who made waves as the first winner of Netflix’s Glow Up, was much more holistic with his selections for must-have products. You need to have all three of his faves for the ultimate lewk:
First, there’s his favorite setting spray, Oui Cherie. “It melts all the powders in, stops you from looking dry, and it locks every layer of your makeup,” he says. “It makes my skin look 12/10.” Then you have to get a setting powder because it “mattifies the skin.” For that, the U.K.-based drag queen recommends Givenchy Beauty’s rose setting powder. Once you have those in place, you need to add a little color to your cheeks. “Blush brings the skin back to life and makes everything look fuller and juicier,” says Atlantis. That’s where Doll Beauty’s cream blush really shines.
How to use them: Atlantis’ trick is to use Oui Cherie throughout the entire process. “I like to use the setting spray before, during, and after makeup application.” In between, he’ll use Givenchy Beauty’s powder for two very important factors: color correcting and illuminating. “I also like to use loose powder to bake and brighten the skin,” he adds. “I love applying it with a powder puff.” Though there could be many other components to any beauty look, a little blush could easily be a finishing touch. “I love to apply blush by the temples and drape down to lift the cheek,” he says.
These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.