Okay, this post will be something I wish I had read 14 years ago- what do you actually need to get started with makeup? I learned from the worst person ever- my grandmother. She believed in everything heavy and dark, and that was completely awful for a 13 year old. I had heavy rose lipliner and lipstick, thick foundation, blush placed like I was living in the 1980’s…. shudder. So I decided to help get start people who are just stepping into the vast and overwhelming world that is makeup.
The first and most important step- sunscreen. This is especially more important if you’re on a strong acne medication or taking Vitamin A as part of your daily regiment, because your face becomes more sensitive to the UV rays. Even if you’re not- your future self will thank you for this.
If you want your makeup to last throughout the day, face primer is a necessary step. If you’re on the oily side or prone to breakouts, choose an oil-free version, and silicone-free if possible. This will prevent your pores from clogging up due to the primer, and still provide a smooth surface for your face.
Concealer is the probably the most used product for my makeup routine, even if I’m going for a minimal look, because even today I have acne issues (you’d think you’d be done with this by your late 20’s… nope). There are so many options for concealers nowadays- a green one to counteract redness, a salmon one to counteract the violet tones from dark circles, and a regular one for everything else. I don’t use all three, but it’s nice the option is there in case I look like death warmed over.
I picked powder over liquid and cream for foundation, because it’s the one with least effort with a nice natural look. Powder is also the most forgiving if you choose the wrong shade, and also the most travel friendly of the three.
Another beginner’s investment should be a good powder blush. Powder tends to last the longest, even though it could be the hardest to work with in terms for a natural look. Cool-toned skin should stick with pinks while warm-toned skin should go with corals and peaches. Just remember to have a light touch, especially if it’s pigmented- you can always layer to reach the desired look.
Makeup brushes (for face and eyes) make the difference in how makeup looks on your face. This little part is just for faces, eye brushes are listed further down. Makeup brushes are made either with synthetic or real hair- the differences are that synthetic brushes don’t last as long, but they hold their shape better, don’t stain (since they don’t absorb the pigment like real hair would), are relatively cheaper, and they’re cruelty free. I use mainly synthetic brushes, from Real Techniques (but I’ve heard great things about EcoTools, and they’re more accessible). The face makeup brushes I’d recommend to get started are: powder, buffing, stippling, foundation, blush, and kabuki. I really use the kabuki one a lot, since it’s travel-friendly. If you could only get one brush, definitely get a kabuki one, since they’re perfect for any face makeup.
Next is a multipurpose eyeliner/brow pencil. My brows are naturally pretty dark, so I’m lucky enough to have a brow pencil that can also function as an eyeliner. I know it’s been preached that your eyebrows *have* to be two shades lighter if your hair is dark, but I don’t like that. It just makes you look like you dyed your hair but not your brows. Your brows have to match your hair color, unless you’re blonde.
If you want your eyeshadow to stay on all day, eye primer will do that. Whether it be actual primer or a cream eyeshadow base, either are a great investment of not only keeping your eyeshadow lasting, it won’t crease. I have super oily eyelids, so priming them are a MUST.
As mentioned above, these makeup brushes are specifically for eyes- an eyelash curler, a grooming brush (one side is for brushing eyebrows into place, the other is for separating eyelashes), a domed shadow brush, deluxe crease brush, and a brow brush. I never got the appeal of brushes until earlier this year, and I feel dumb for not investing earlier- these have made the biggest difference in how my makeup looks.
Another great beginner’s product- neutral eyeshadow. To get started, you only need two- a nice nude color as a base, and a darker color for shading. Due to my hooded and deep set eyelids, I only need two, so these are perfect. Neutral eyeshadows never go out of season, and they’re easy to pick up and play around with other colors. Shimmery (not glittery) eyeshadows are also great to make your eyes look more awake because they reflect the light.
Of course, mascara has to be for beginners. There are so many different varieties, that my recommendation would be just to be try out different formulas and see what you’d like the best for your lashes. For me, dry formula works the best because it doesn’t weigh them down, but I’m also liking the gel mousse formula that Maybelline’s Mega Plush mascara offers. Just remember that mascara does expire quickly, but if you’re careful you can stretch it.
Have you loved a mascara formula but the brush was bad, and vise versa? Well, keeping old mascara wands are a great way to make use of a good mascara with a bad wand (like Maybelline’s Lots of Lashes- blehhh). Also, if you loved the effect a wand gave your lashes, you can reuse it after the mascara expires.
If you want perfect lips, you have to keep them moisturized. Definitely buy one with a SPF since your lips can get sunburned like every other place on your body. The nice thing about balms is that there’s a variety to choose from- scented or non, tinted or non, flavored or non, stick or pot, etc.
Lipliners are a must if you want your lipstick to last all day and not feather outside your natural lipline. They can also be used to brighten (or dull) your lipcolor. To avoid looking harsh, stick to a shade close to your natural lipcolor. If you do want your lipcolor to stand out, use lighter-toned lipliners. If you don’t like lipliners, you could use concealer, foundation, or even a lip primer as a base for your lipstick. However, once the lipstick wears off, your lips would have no color to them, hence why lipliner is the way to go.
Whether it be stains, pencils, glosses, or sticks, the best beginner collection for lip products should have three colors- natural, pink (or something in your color range, that’s a slight pop of color but still understated), and red. Natural is best for either when you play up your eyes or you want a minimal look, pink is when you want to look a little polished, and red when you want attention or for sophistication. The three colors listed are best for everyday use, and therefore the best to start any collection.
Last but no least, any beginner should have makeup books to get start. I highly recommend Bobbi Brown’s Makeup Manual, Linda Wells’ Allure: Confessions of a Beauty Editor, and Jemma Kidd’s Makeup Master Class. These books are incredibly informative and give nice tutorials for those getting started into makeup. There are many many others I own, but I feel they’re more for people familiar with what makeup can do. The great thing is that they’re cheap used (but still in very good to excellent condition) on Amazon, so definitely pick up these if you want a great read.