The Essentials: Make Up Products for Beginners

If you’re just starting out with makeup, it can be quite challenging to figure out which products you really need. If you go to a high end department store, they will most likely try to sell you everything, but no harm in that as they are just doing their job. If you happen to be in a drugstore with no help, all the products can be quite overwhelming. So here’s a list of essential products that needs to be in everyone’s kit, whether you want the full Instagram glam or just natural look.


1.     Primer

First off, I consider a primer to be in my makeup kit instead of my skincare kit because I wouldn’t put on a primer if I’m not wearing makeup. I have seen many people forget this step but to me it’s so essential as it will make your makeup look better and protects your skin as well.

What does it do?
It preps your skin for makeup, consider it like a protective barrier between the makeup you will put on your face and your skin. It also helps your makeup to go on better and in many cases last longer. Ultimately, what additional benefits you want your primer to have (such as sun protection, colour correction, fill in pores etc.), depends on what primer you pick.

Which do you need?
Once you have determined what type of benefits you want from your primer start looking at the ingredients. Primers can either be water, oil or silicone based. If you are wondering why your foundation doesn’t go on well with certain primers, then look at the ingredient of your foundation and primer together. If you have a favourite foundation that is water based, pick a primer that is water based as well.


2.     Foundation/ tinted moisturizer / bb or cc cream

I list foundation, tinted moisturizer and the others in the same category because if you have great skin you may opt for a tinted moisturizer, bb cream or cc cream instead.

What does it do?
It will even out your skin tone and is not meant to cover up blemishes. In a way, it amazes me that many people still expect a foundation to cover blemishes or even dark circles. While today’s market offers great full coverage foundations and tinted moisturizers, do not expect that they will cover up major blemishes or dark circles that you have regardless of their marketing efforts saying that they do. The main goal for a foundation is to create an even skin tone which you can later perfect with concealers, correctors etc.

Which do you need?
There are many types foundations out there ranging from light to full coverage. Tinted moisturizers can generally go up to a medium coverage but is a great option for every day wear especially if they have sun screen in them. The type of foundation you need depends on your skin concern, if you have a lot of redness or acne scars, you may opt for a medium to full coverage. If you have great skin, I suggest using a light coverage foundation, tinted moisturizer or a bb/cc cream. In terms of formulations, whatever foundation you choose, make sure the formula goes hand in hand with the primer and skincare. 


3.     Concealer

Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to live without this as I can look like I’ve slept 10 hours even though it was closer to 3. Concealer is thicker in consistency than a foundation but are of the same colour (flesh toned) to match the skin underneath it.

What does it do?
Concealer covers up blemishes, age spots, redness, dark circles etc. There are different types of concealers and many people use it to contour and highlight their faces as well.

Which do you need?
Concealers come in different types and there are ones to use for under the eyes or on blemishes, a lighter and thicker consistency respectively. A thick concealer under the eyes tends to crease very easy and can be damaging for the delicate skin underneath the eyes. So go for a thinner consistency if you tend to use it more for under the eyes and thicker one if you mainly want to cover up blemishes. If you do buy a thicker formula and want to use it under the eyes, try to mix it with a little moisturizer to thin it out.


4.     A Brow Product

Brows can make or break a look and play a vital role in make up as it frames your face. They are also subject to many make up trends. I remember in the 90’s everyone had these thin eye brows, just look at the Spice Girls. But today, everyone wants a fuller and thicker brow. Which is better? That completely depends on you and what makes you feel confident. I personally like a natural but defined brow, yet when I go out I prefer a stronger brow. I haven’t listed specifically here which type of brow product is a must because it depends on what kind of brow you want.

Which do you need?
If you want a very natural brow, go for a (tinted) brow gel to keep your hairs in place. For a thicker and / or more defined brow like the ones you see on Instagram, pick a brow pomade or pencil. If you want a natural yet defined brow, say you want to fill in some gaps, use a powder and brow gel. If you own an eye shadow that is in the same colour as your brow hairs, then use that one to avoid spending those extra dollars.


5.     Lipstick, tinted lipbalm

Ask any man and they will know what a lipstick it. It was reported that people started wearing lipstick over 5000 years ago. Rumours have it that it was at one point worn as a status symbol, then a symbol for women empowerment and self-expression. Lips are essentially a quite sensual part of the face and can get someone’s attention immediately.

Which do you need?
If you have dry lips try a tinted lip balm instead of a lipstick. It gives you the colour yet hydrates your lips or use a scrub and lip primer before applying your lipstick to make sure they do not look chapped. In terms of colour, I’d say pick a neutral and a dark contrasting colour to have in your kit. Red is by many picked as their contrast colour but these days you have so many options out there. While I do prefer my lips not to be a bright blue, a dark brown or dark purple is my personal choice of a contrasting colour.


6.     Mascara

Many women already have this in their bag and, well, it is one item that can transform you immediately and make your eyes pop.

Which do you need?
If you use mascara daily, pick one that isn’t waterproof. Waterproof mascara can damage your lashes easily, especially when worn daily as it is harder to take off and many people will rub their eyelashes to do so. Keep waterproof mascara only for days when you really need to. Also, be wary that you need to change your mascara every 3 months or even sooner if you can smell a change in the formula or when it is clumpy.

QUICK TIP - To prevent your mascara expiring sooner than you hoped for, don’t pump your mascara as air will go into the tube and the formula will oxidise. If you aren’t able to finish a whole tube of mascara within 3 months, use travel sizes or buy drugstore ones. There are many great drugstore mascara’s out there that beat the high end mascara. 


7.     Eye shadow kit

You can either buy single eyeshadows orrrr you go for a palette to get more for your dollars. Whether you go for one with 4 shades or 12 shades, many of them are great to help you start out and play with colours.

Which do you need?
For everyday wear, buy a palette with neutrals that have matte and shimmer shadows in them. Neutral shadows are a must in everyone’s makeup bag. If you like to play with colour as well then buy a palette that has a few matte neutrals and a few of the colours you like. There are many palettes out there and while you may like the colour of one, always test them out. Depending on the quality they can be streaky, hard to blend and not as pigmented as you’d hoped for. So test them out before you buy them!


8.     Bronzer, blush and highlight palette

A bronzer, blush and highlight palette are great for those that are just starting out with makeup. While you are restricted to the colour of the trio, it is compact and can even be used as eye shadows.

Which do you need?
For dry skin, I recommend cream products as powders can make your skin look very dry. For oiler skin go for powder palettes.


9.     [Translucent] Powder

Translucent powder will help our products stay on your face for a longer period of time and will prevent it from creasing.

Which do you need?
Pick a powder that’s translucent to avoid colour mismatch. You can either pick loose or pressed powders. If you are constantly on the go, I’d say pick a pressed one as loose powders can be quite messy.


10. Setting Spray / Hydrating Mist

Setting sprays or hydrating mist can help you with locking your make up in place and making your face less powdery.

Which do you need?
If you need to make your makeup last all day, whether you go to work or an event, choose a long wearing setting spray. If you don’t mind touching up your makeup throughout the day and you have drier skin use a hydrating mist as it will definitely help your skin look a lot more dewy yet won't necessarily keep your make up on for a longer period of time. 


Hope this helped you guys out,  let me know which are your must have products for your make up bag and if you want any more details on any of the above!


Cheers, Sam