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 wear false eyelashes at all/sometimes/always, a good mascara should not flake or smudge in any case. I’ve tested SO many mascaras, at all price points, and I’m ready to share my favourites with you!
The conic shape fiber brush provides lashes with dramatic volume and sculpted length. Opthalmologically tested. Not tested on animals.
Essence What The Fake! Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara $4.99
Enriched with nylon fibers for lashes looking incredibly thicker and longer, giving your lashes that false lash look. The nylon fibers in the formula absorb some of the liquid, making this a thicker formula, great for layering and building up volume.
Essence Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Mascara $4.99
For clean volume and defined lashes – The Bye Bye Panda Eyes! Mascara by Essence is made to last all day without smudging or clumping with their tubular formula. Plus, it’s easy to remove with just warm water.
Essence I Love Extreme Crazy Volume Mascara $4.99
The deep-black, creamy texture covers each individual lash with color and the extra-large plastic brush provides sensational volume. Opthalmologically tested.
Essence The False Lashes Mascara Dramatic Volume Unlimited $4.99
The deep black texture and unique shape of the Essence The False Lashes Mascara Dramatic Volume Unlimited fiber brush ensures dramatic volume and a gorgeous false lash effect. Not tested on animals.
The special braided design of the cap has never been seen before. Enriched with lengthening fibers, this styling mascara provides an 18hr longlasting volume effect and ensures fully extended lashes. The fiber releasing brush has the perfect shape to reach even the smallest lashes!
Covergirl LashBlast Volume Mascara $6.99
Get a blast of lush, volumized lashes! LashBlast’s patented volume-boosting formula and patent-pending brush are designed to max-out each and every lash, leaving you with the ultimate big lash look. Instant volume and fullness. Smudge and wear-proof. Hypoallergenic and suitable for contact lens wearers. “Cruelty Free”.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Volume On Demand Mascara $7.99
Lash-conditioning formula delivers a smooth, clump-free finish every time. Unique brush contains wavy fibre technology, catching, loading and separating every single lash. Sweep through hard-to-reach lashes with the tapered brush shape. Layer it up for bigger, bolder volume anytime with zero clumps. Available in two shades: bold black or natural-looking brown.
Covergirl Exhibitionist Mascara $8.39
With COVERGIRL’s Exhibitionist volumizing mascara, lashes are full and defined after only one coat. Our volumizing mascara formula glides smoothly onto lashes. Get soft lashes with no flaking or smudging. “Cruelty Free”
L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara $8.99
L’Oreal’s Voluminous Carbon Black Volume Building Mascara has a unique formula of panthenol and ceramide-R that builds and thickens voluptuous lashes while conditioning them, so they remain supple and healthy. An exceptionally plush brush is designed to glide on just the right amount of mascara without clumping or flaking. Non-irritating, fragrance-free formula is safe for sensitive eyes and contact wearers.
Maybelline Falsies Lash Lift Mascara $10.49
Get an instant lash lift effect from a mascara. Falsies Lash Lift from Maybelline NY delivers dramatic volume and long, lifted lashes. The double curved lifting brush and fiber-infused formula grabs lashes at the root to lift, thicken, and lengthen. No clumps, smears, or flakes, just volume that lasts all day.
Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara $10.49
Build on bold volume to create irresistibly soft, separated, and fluffy lashes coat after coat. Maybelline’s Total Temptation Mascara features a creamy and whipped formula enriched with coconut extract.
Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara $10.99
This mascara unfolds layer upon layer of lashes for a new full-fan effect.
NYX On The Rise Volume Liftscara $11
Delivering quick-charge lift and volume in just a few strokes. Featuring an innovative applicator that¿s part rounded, part hourglass to lift you lashes up to new heights! The “curling” effect results in a far-reaching fringe so that eyes look bigger and lashes look thicker.
L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara $14.77
This is the mascara for voluptuous volume and length, now with even more black pigment. Soft wavy bristle brush holds maximum formula for a dramatic volumizing charge.
MAC Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara $20
The breakthrough lightweight waterproof formula creates beautiful defined lashes with a petite brush. This long-wearing mascara lasts up to 16 hours, yet the washable formula removes easily with warm water thanks to an innovative thermal-sensitive technology. The unique slim-type brush reaches and grips even the tiniest hairs with an advanced lifting formula in a saturated blackest black colour. This extreme defining composition enhances length, resulting in gorgeously distinguished, out-to-there lashes.
Glossier Lash Slick Mascara $20
Curls and sculpts as it lengthens, creating a natural “baby extension” effect without clumping. Teeny-tiny fibers coat lashes from root to tip, while flexible film-forming polymers lift and lock each fiber into place.
Fenty Beauty Full Frontal Volume, Lift & Curl Mascara $24
A do-it-all mascara that is designed to expose every lash, featuring an exclusive flat-to-fat brush that instantly volumizes, lifts, lengthens, and curls.
MILK Makeup KUSH High Volume Mascara $24
A high-volume mascara formulated with heart-shaped fibers, conditioning hemp-derived cannabis seed oil, and pure pigments for an intense black finish.
NARS Climax Mascara $24
With its buildable formula and stellar brush, NARS’s Climax Mascara surrounds every lash with a lightweight coating that stays supple and soft to the touch – avoiding that unwanted “crispy” feel.
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara $25
An intensely black voluptuous volume mascara for the sexiest, defined, multidimensional lashes possible.
Benefit Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara $25
A mascara inspired by hair rollers, this super-curling and lifting mascara gives a sexy, wide-eyed look. Its patent-pending Hook ‘n’ Roll™ brush features tiny custom-designed hooks to catch, lift, and curl even short and straight lashes.
Benefit They’re Real Mascara $25
A lengthening mascara that curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes for an “out-of-here” look.
Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara $25
A long-lasting, voluminous mascara with a black-boosting polymer in its pigment for 12 times more volume and up to 24 hours of wear.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara $27
An ultra-volumizing mascara that delivers instant dimension for epic lashes.
Marc Jacobs Beauty At Lash’d Lengthening And Curling Mascara $27
A long-wear, lengthening, and curling mascara for a highly defined, full-extension lash look.
Hourglass Caution™ Extreme Lash Mascara $29
An all-in-one mascara that delivers a look of endless length, intense volume, and sky-high lift for extreme, dramatic lashes.
Hourglass Unlocked Instant Extensions Mascara $29
You can expect the longest lashes going with this new Hourglass formula. The brush easily gets through every lash, creating a defined, fanned-out appearance that stays put; it’s also a tubing mascara which means it comes off easily with water – no scrubbing needed.
Pat McGrath Labs Dark Star Volumizing Mascara $30
A gravity-defying mascara that delivers instant volume, multidimensional length, and weightless lift in a single stroke.
What are your favourite mascaras? Let me know in the comments below!