Great makeup begins with great skincare. Prep your skin with CeraVe Moisturizer ($11; target.com), a lightweight daily moisturizer for normal to dry skin. Follow up with Estee Lauder Illuminating Perfecting Primer, ($38; nordstrom.com), a luminous face primer that hydrates and brightens skin for a dewy finish. The duo will ensure a flawless base that keeps makeup in place all day.
Concealer and Foundation
Beginners can eliminate the risk of caked-on foundation by adding an opaque concealer to their kit. L.A. Girl concealer’s ($3; walmart.com) creaseless formula camouflages imperfections, allowing you to use less foundation. When paired with Makeup Forever’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation ($43; sephora.com) no one will be able to tell where your skin ends and the makeup begins. Bonus: It lasts for 24 hours and comes in 50 shades.
Eyebrow Pomade and Spoolie Brush
Among the most important features on your face: Your eyebrows. Every beginner needs a tool like the dual-sided Anastasia Beverly Hills brush ($18; macys.com) to sculpt perfect arches. The brand’s Dipbrow Pomade ($21; sephora.com) is also a beginner favorite as it’s easy to apply, smudge-proof, and waterproof — so it’s great even for oily skin types.
Eyeliner and Mascara
For a beginner, skip the false lashes and go straight for an all-star mascara and liner combo. Tag-team Kat Von D Tattoo Liner ($20; sephora.com), which gives the illusion of thicker fringe, with a few swipes of Benefit’s They’re Real Lengthening Volumizing Mascara to add dramatic length ($25; sephora.com).
Nude and Red Lipstick
No kit is complete without a super versatile nude and red lip color that can take you from day to night. Try Chanel Rouge Coco Shine ($38; chanel.com) for a hydrating nude and MAC Lipstick ($17; maccosmetics.com) for a universally flattering bold red that stays put for hours.
Brushes and Tools
In order to put apply your makeup properly, you’ll need to use the right tools. The Beautyblender ($20; sephora.com) is perfect for effortlessly blending foundations, blush, and concealer. For precise eye makeup and dusting on powders reach for Sonia Kashuk’s brush set ($40; target.com).
Blush and Highlighter
Add healthy color and a subtle glow to your skin with a classic blush and highlighter. Nars and Becca have both created cult favorites that are must-haves for every kit. Nars Blush in Orgasm, $30; sephora.com. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector, $41; sephora.com.
If you’re experimenting with eyeshadows, this Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette ($42; sephora.com) is perfect for you. It offers a range of everyday nudes, plus a hint of bright colors to play around with.
Q-Tips and Makeup Wipes
Even pros make mistakes — and dabbing a Q-Tip ($3; target.com) into lotion is their secret for instantly erasing errors. And for those nights when you’re too lazy to wash your face, makeup wipes will be your best friend. Try Cleanse by Lauren Napier ($40; net-a-porter.com), which comes with 50 individually packaged wipes you can throw in your travel bag to use on-the-go.
Of course, these are the basics to help get you started. The more you work, you will realize the need for more products, textures, and colours. Some additional items to this list include:
Whether you need it to cover a blemish, lift dark under-eye circles, or simply even out skin tone, finding the best concealer for you and your skin can be game-changing. In fact, now that fresh, luminous skin is wholly in (and we’re all about cutting down on time spent in front of the mirror), concealer is the one product we all really need to get right. Many make-up artists actually recommend forgoing foundation in favour of a good concealer applied in all the right places: on reddened areas, spots, hyperpigmentation, and anywhere that needs brightening.
Of course, different occasions (not to mention skin types) call for different concealers, and it can be a minefield finding the right one for the job. Those who want to cover blemishes might look for a kind-to-skin concealer which is formulated with ingredients like salicylic acid to unclog pores, while mature skins should look for a concealer with a subtle, sheer coverage that won’t settle into fine lines, but instead will bring the glow. What everybody wants – whatever their skin type – is a flexible, elastic concealer that melts seamlessly into skin, delivering smooth, even coverage.
Formulations have come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years – you will be hard-pressed to find anything that imparts a cakey effect now. But if it does, it might be down to the way you’re applying it. Many make-up artists recommend applying concealer with your fingers, since the warmth from your skin helps melt the product into skin for an imperceptible finish – although make sure you do so with clean hands. For those who prefer a brush, look to Artis – its brushes are the best for buffing product into skin.
Once you have found the best concealer for you, your skin will thank you. For all of your texture, finish and coverage requirements, here is British Vogue’s edit of the best concealers to buy now – from Tom Ford’s Emotionproof Concealer (great for weddings), to MAC’s Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette.
Best For Long Wear: Tom Ford Emotionproof Concealer
We all have those occasions when we know tears will roll. That’s when you need Tom Ford’s Emotionproof concealer – it will stay put through those trying moments.
Best For Long Wear: Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer
Designed to diffuse light for a soft-focus appearance, Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer works wonders on dark circles, but remains more or less undetectable on the skin. Shades are divided into cool, warm and neutral undertones, making it easier than ever to find your perfect match.
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Concealer, £24, available at CultBeauty.com.
Best For Long Wear: Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Concealer
True to its name, this liquid concealer lasts for up to 16 hours and won’t budge no matter how much humidity you are hit with.
Best For Long Wear: BareMinerals BareSkin Stay-In-Place Liquid Concealer
For something that lasts but is still lightweight, look to this BareMinerals concealer, which has numerous skincare benefits, too.
BareMinerals BareSkin Stay-In-Place Liquid Concealer, £24, available at Feelunique.com.
Best For Long Wear: IL MAKIAGE Fck I’m Flawless Concealer
For a vast spectrum of shades that is sorted by skin tone and undertone, to make finding your perfect shade easier, this longwear concealer is the ultimate for covering all manner of skin concerns, from blemishes to under-eye circles. A must-try.
IL MAKIAGE F*ck I’m Flawless Concealer, £24, available at IlMakiage.com.
Best High Street Concealer: L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream In A Concealer
The ultimate hybrid product, this concealer is also an eye cream that is packed with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and brighten the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s also less than £10.
L’Oréal Paris True Match Eye Cream In A Concealer, £9.99, available at Lookfantastic.com.
Best High Street Concealer: Benefit Boi-Ing Industrial Strength Concealer
Creamy and soft, this concealer will disguise anything you’ve got – and will stay put for hours.
Best High Street Concealer: Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation And Concealer
If you like to keep the products in your make-up bag to a minimum, look no further than Clinique’s dual foundation and concealer, which offers full coverage and a flawless finish.
Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation And Concealer, £28.50, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Full Coverage: BECCA Ultimate Coverage Longwear Concealer
Known for products that make skin glow, Becca’s longwear concealer is no exception: it utilises light pigments to blur fine lines, pores and uneven texture while imparting a satin finish, which makes skin look fresh and radiant.
BECCA Ultimate Coverage Longwear Concealer, £21, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick
For those who like a full-coverage concealer that isn’t cakey, look no further than Marc Jacobs’s offering, which is formulated with snow mushroom to help hydrate as it conceals.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Concealer & Touch-Up Stick, £24, available at HarveyNichols.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Luminous Brightening Concealer
A brilliant shade range for all undertones, plus fun packaging, make for a must-buy concealer that, importantly, is also small enough to fit inside any purse or clutch bag you own.
Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Luminous Brightening Concealer, £21, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Full Coverage: Estée Lauder Double Wear Instant Fix Concealer
Double Wear foundation is a best-seller for a reason, so if you’re a fan of the classic Estée Lauder foundation, you’ll love this full-coverage finish concealer. The dual-ended wand has one side that dips into a hydrating base to prep the area, while the other gives instant brightness and coverage.
Best For Under-Eyes: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer
Nars’s award-winning concealers are truly amazing. This particular one is popular for its medium to buildable coverage, which allows for correction with a more natural and dewy finish – it works perfectly on fine lines under the eyes.
Best For Under-Eyes: Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer
Using clever adaptable pigments, this fluid concealer is as good on grey, sallow skin as it is on red, raised skin. The angled doe-foot applicator allows you to apply small amounts in delicate areas (like under the eyes), or sketch a little more broadly across larger areas if needed.
Dior Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer, £22.50, available at Boots.com.
Best For Under-Eyes: Erborian BB Eye Touche Parfaite
With purslane, a powerful antioxidant that is also anti-inflammatory, this concealer is as good at being an eye cream as it is obscuring under-eye bags.
Erborian BB Eye Touche Parfaite, £34, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best For Under-Eyes: Sarah Chapman Eye Insurance SPF 30 Protecting Eye Tint
If it’s a light-reflecting glow you want under your eyes, rather than anything too full on, Sarah Chapman’s new eye tint is your guy. This light-as-air formula is primed to make you look more awake, and simultaneously firms, brightens and protects from UV damage, thanks to an SPF of 30.
Best For Mature Skin: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer
If you’re keen to treat your skin to some nourishment while disguising blemishes, look to Bobbi Brown’s hybrid serum concealer; expect a fresh, flawless finish and hydration thanks to mushroom, Indian tree root and bamboo grass extract within the formula.
Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Concealer, £30, available at Selfridges.com.
Best For Mature Skin: Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist Super Natural Concealer
Imparting a bright finish, this concealer feels like satin and contains brightening pearls to help lift areas of darkness or uneven skin tone. It’s particularly brilliant for underneath the eyes.
Kevyn Aucoin The Etherealist Super Natural Concealer, £24, available at SpaceNK.com.
Best All-Rounder: MAC Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette
Can’t find the exact concealer shade for you? One of MAC’s six-part palettes will have you covered in both winter and summer as your skin tone changes – you can also layer or blend for the ultimate colour match.
MAC Studio Fix Conceal & Correct Palette, £30, available at Selfridges.com.
Best All-Rounder: Glossier Stretch Concealer
Elastic micro-waxes mean that Glossier’s Stretch Concealer never settles into fine lines, whilst the oil-packed formula gives it a dewy finish. Perfect for subtle, natural-looking coverage.
The Retoucher does exactly what it says on the tin. Perfect for concealing blemishes and imperfections, its lipo-siliconic compound provides a traceless, plaster-like cover which blends seamlessly into the skin.
Best All Rounder: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer
If you’ve tried Giorgio Armani’s cult Luminous Silk foundation, you’ll know how brilliant it is at offering just the right amount of coverage and the ultimate radiant finish. The concealer is just as good, and blends seamlessly into skin.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Concealer, £34.50, available at Selfridges.com.