Pati Dubroff knew she’d made the right decision to relocate from New York City to Los Angeles when, standing at the baggage carousel at LAX, she returned a call from her agent, who told the makeup artist she had been booked for Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue cover shoot by Annie Leibovitz. “I literally looked around and realized where I was and what I was hearing, and I knew it was a sign that I was doing exactly what I [was supposed to] be doing,” says Dubroff. Though she had left the high-fashion runway hustle behind—she had assisted François Nars—she still hadn’t been sure if Hollywood was the place for her either. But at that moment in 2001, it immediately became clear that it was. “It was thunderous,” she says. “I’ll never forget it.”

Tinseltown proved to be the perfect fit for Dubroff; the calm, intimate process of working one-on-one after the circus frenzy of the fashion-show world felt right. “That quieter support really suits me,” she says. “And my maternal instincts are strong; I like to take care of people.” Her clients also trust her. “I’m good at keeping secrets, so celebrities appreciate that feeling of safety and confidentiality.” And, of course, the kind of makeup she does, whether it’s for the red carpet or press junkets, is validating. “My jam is making the person in front of me—whether she’s world-famous or one of us—feel like the best version of herself at that moment.”

Over her decades-long career, Dubroff, 55, has done just that for an endless list of high-profile actors such as Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Naomi Watts, Julianne Moore, Margot Robbie and Priyanka Chopra. While she is sought out for her light touch with makeup, in recent years, she has become known among her peers for being an early adopter of skin tools, from gua sha to microcurrent devices. They’re things she discovered from picking the brains of facialists after she noticed that as she aged, she could no longer just slap on makeup and expect it to look good. “I needed to do more,” she says. “And by doing more, I got better results.”

She quickly realized that using such tools to prep her clients would pay off tenfold, whether the face she was working on was 19 or 59. This was especially evident when she would finish working on one side of someone’s face and call over everyone in the room to look at the difference between the two. They were always wowed, particularly the person in her chair, who could feel that one side had been lifted. “People expect an aesthetician, not a makeup artist, to be adding [those kinds of treatments] to the mix,” she says. “But in 10 minutes, I help my client’s skin look a lot better, so I don’t need to use as much foundation.”

She posts about many of these beauty pointers for her 281K Instagram followers, and while she comes from a generation of artists who didn’t have to constantly create content during their earlier years but now feel the pressure to do so, she enjoys using social media. “I am so grateful for the ability that it’s given me to connect with people, to find a community and share what I know,” she says. But she’s not shy about divulging personal info either. In a post last year, she revealed that she’d had surgery a few years prior to address a brain aneurysm and it’s part of what led her to make the decision to never get Botox or fillers.

It was a brave and refreshing statement from someone who’s immersed in the world of Hollywood and all its vanity pressures and proof that Dubroff has succeeded in staying grounded through it all. “I’m not interested in changing myself,” she says. “Internally, mentally and all of that, yes, but not externally.” That doesn’t mean she doesn’t look in the mirror and struggle with the sight of “elevens” between her brows. But she is steadfast. “I know I could fix that. But I’m not gonna do it.” 

In her kit

Pati Dubroff

Skin Food Original Ultra Riche Cream, Weleda

“I use it as a highlighter, pre-makeup, focusing on the high bones. Then, after foundation, I tap on a little bit more to add even more glow.”


Price: $23

Pati Dubroff

Imprinting Hydrogel Eye Masks, Bioeffect

“I see the biggest difference in brightness after I use these. When I’m getting someone ready, I’ll put the masks on them and work on their neck and the lower half of their face with tools. Then I’ll take the masks off and massage whatever serum is left over around the eye area.”


Price: $80 (for eight pairs)

Pati Dubroff

Carat Ray Face Roller, Refa

“When those two balls roll, they actually mimic what happens when the skin gets grabbed by a hand— that beautiful grip a facial massage gives you instead of just straight-up-and-down rolling.”


Price: $320