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:
Top four French makeup artists have spoken about high-quality, democratically priced future cult classics that they stock up on in U.S. drugstores. Here, 12 steals you should add to your beauty repertoire, with some of my tips along the way.
Batiste Original Dry Shampoo
“When you have bangs, dry shampoo is your best friend. I also use it to give my hair texture and help shape and style it. I love the mini travel size version.”
My tip: working early mornings and late evenings leaves me no desire to wash my hair as often as I’d wish, so, this bad boy has been my third-day staple for years! It comes in a variety of different scents and sizes, as well.
“You can create a smoky eye on the go in just two minutes. I bought the entire shade range and pick one each day based on my mood.”
My tip: the shade MILK from this lineup is an industry staple white base, perfect for other shadows to pop on the lid or in the waterline. No-budge formula of this pencil has been around for years for a good reason.
“This mascara not only makes your lashes look longer and full, but lets you easily add more than one coat without clumping.”
My tip: this industry staple is one for a reason, with almost every brand out there trying to recreate their own version of a result that this mascara gives you. Volume, length, separation, longevity – it has it all. It also comes in a waterproof version, and a variety of fun shades!
“I keep a few of these with me so I can use it on my clients and give it to them for touch ups or a night on the town. The formula is rich, velvety, and easy to apply, and the pen doesn’t need to be sharpened.”
My tip: if you can’t find this product in your local stores, I recommend Maybelline’s SuperStay Ink Crayon as an alternative.
“I mix this serum into foundation to get rid of bags. I place two drops into the palm of my hand, add one dot of foundation, blend with my finger, and smooth it from the inner to outer corner of the undereye area.”
My tip: for a quicker and better result, use this product by itself before makeup application. Perhaps along with a moisturizer, while you’re working on the eye makeup or brows.
Oh boy, my eyebrows were a casualty of the early teens in the sense that when I say I tweezed them into one singular line of hair, it’s not at all an exaggeration.
After time passed and trends evolved, I finally decided it was time to restore the damage I’d done on my brows. Thankfully, my brows — through years of training — rose from the ashes like a phoenix, and now, I tend to them like the miracle story they are. That of course includes using a brow gel on the daily so they look their best.
And since I generally try to scale back my makeup-wearing days to care for my skin, I often prefer to restock my usual makeup staples from more budget-friendly options — which is exactly how I found my new holy-grail brow product, the NYX Cosmetics Control Freak Eyebrow Gel.
As is the case with most great makeup discoveries, I started with a Google search and ended up on Amazon. In my quest to find a dupe for my usual brow gel, I came across this NYX one thanks to the thousands of glowing reviews of the formula. Then, after spotting the $5 price tag, it was on my mind to purchase within seconds.
Since I first tried Glossier’s Boy Brow years ago, I’ve been sold on it. It gives my brows just enough hold without feeling sticky and locks them in place throughout the day unlike any formula I’d used before. But with a $16 price tag, I wasn’t above finding a dupe, which in and of itself gives me a high, if you will. And based on the reviews, it’s clear I’m not the only one who’s made this discovery.
“I bought this because I ran out of Boy Brow and didn’t feel like paying for a refill,”said one Amazon shopper. “I’m SO glad I didn’t. I will be using this from now on. This holds brows in place and isn’t heavy. You only need to sweep over the brows one time and you’re good. For such an affordable product I’m seriously so impressed, I don’t usually buy cheap makeup but this has blown my mind and now I’m wondering why I’ve been spending so much money on products that might work as well as drugstore brands.”
I’d have to agree. The clear gel tames my brows into a natural and defined shape, and keeps them that way throughout the day without ever feeling heavy or sticky. And at a price tag that’s less than a latte, it’s one staple I plan on keeping in my makeup bag for a very long time.