Hi everyone! I’ve decided to start a new mini series every week about the basics of makeup. Today is all about the essential products (in my opinion). These are the bare minimum of thing I think everyone should have in their collection. So, get comfy because this post won’t be the shortest. Let’s get started!
This is Nivea Men Post Shave Balm, yes it’s a men aftershave BUT it works awesomely as a face primer. I’ll be posting a review and how to of this product soon, so keep an eye out! This just smooths over your skin, makes it feel hydrated and also helps your make up last all day long.
Maybelline Master Prime. This is the blur and redness control primer because I like to take the redness from my face and fill in my pores. There are several different kinds of this type of primer.
L’Oreal Magic Lumi primer. This is an illuminating primer which means it makes your skin GLOW. It has a pearly iridescence to it, so putting this under your foundation helps make your skin dewy and healthy looking.
The importance of primers varies depending on the type and your skin. Some people can get away with not wearing primers. I personally like primers because I notice my foundation goes on much smoother with them. There are a ton of different primers on the market that cater to different “problems” you want to tackle and different skin types. I like to have a few different options for my kit so I can change it up day to day, but for the average person who isn’t totally obsessed with make up, just finding a primer that works for your skin type and targets your problem will do just fine for every day. (Also, if you go to Sephora, you can get a ton of samples if you didn’t know that already.)
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: This isn’t really a “foundation” but I thought I’d add this in for people who don’t like heavy coverage foundation. This is a BB Cream which is a “beauty balm”, it’s very similar to a tinted moisturizer. A BB or CC Cream has a little more coverage than a tinted moisturizer, but not as much as a traditional liquid foundation. It usually will have SPF and other ingredients found in skincare.
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind: This foundation has a sponge tip so it makes it quick and easy to apply. This has light to medium coverage, so it’s also a great option for people who don’t want or need heavy coverage.
Maybelline FIT Me Matte + Poreless: Medium to heavy coverage foundation. This doesn’t have a pump so you have to pore some out on the back of your hand or a glass, metal or plastic palette (your hand works fine though). This is a satin to stain matte finish, for this reason it can leave your skin looking flat. So, you’d have to add color later. This is a great option for people who need heavier coverage or for a night out foundation.
Maybelline Better Skin & TooFaced Born This Way: These are two medium to full coverage foundations that give you a “skin-like” finish. That mens it basically has a sheen to it like your real skin. It also doesn’t give you so much coverage that something like freckles are covered with one layer. They are build-able, so if there is something you want to hide you can add just a little more to that area. Both of these have pumps, which I really like so you don’t have to waste any product and it keeps the ingredients fresher and you don’t contaminate it with germs and bacteria.
NARS Sheer Glow: Medium to full coverage. This claims it has a glowy finish, I don’t see that. But it does have a slight satiny-sheen finish. Its really awesome for dry skin, too. I also find I don’t have to use a powder to set it, but you always can if you want to.
Foundation is a really really important step. Foundation evens the skin out, conceals blemishes and imperfections. There are tons and tons AND TONS of foundations on the market, so you just have to find one that works for you. I’d say for the average person to have at least two different foundations in your collection. One for everyday where, so a light to medium coverage foundation (if you don’t need a ton of coverage) and one for special occasions or nights out. For your special occasion foundation, pay attention to SPF. Try to stay away from SPF or try to find one with a very low SPF because it causes a ton of flash back in photography. It’s important to have a good coverage foundation if you’re doing something dramatic on the eyes because if you have a BOMB smokey eye but a not so bomb foundation that covers all imperfections, your make up will look off and it won’t look as awesome as it could. So, I’d say just two foundations in your kit will work.
Revlon ColorStay Concealer: This concealer has decent coverage. It’s not hydrating really, so if your undereyes are super dry, try a different concealer. I really like the NARS Cream Radiant concealer or for a drugstore option the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer.
Thanks to Kim K it’s trendy to use a concealer that is 1-2 shades lighter under your eyes. And it does look really awesome, but if you have puffiness or bags under your eyes, all it does is highlight them and make them look worse. So, if you have puffiness under your eyes, use a concealer that matches your skin, or where the shadow of your bag is use the lighter concealer. That will bring the shadow forward and help hide the bag a little more. Don’t put any concealer on the bag if it’s not dark though, that’ll only emphasize it. If you don’t have any puffiness under your eyes, you can get away with using a lighter concealer. All this does it highlight your face. The area that most people like to highlight is from the inner corner of your eye down to your nostril and back up to the outer corner of the eye, in a triangle shape. This helps bring that part of your face forward, and helps it look brighter and more awake. Also, use the concealer to conceal any blemishes on the face, redness around the nose, and the veins on the eyelids.
(I’m showing all loose powders here because they are my personal preference.)
NYX HD Finishing Powder: This particular power isn’t my favorite HD power, I really love the Make Up Forever HD powder, but the same thing I’m about to talk about applies for all HD powders. These powders are white and very powdery. They won’t show up white on your skin and they will make your skin look almost airbrushed. It also makes your skin feel and look really soft. That all sounds super awesome, but there is a downside! If you’re going out and there will be any type of flash photography, there will be a flash back. Also, this one can look really drying on the skin. I’d stay away from packing this powder on because it’ll make your skin look dry and cakey if you try to bake with it.
*HD powder flash back*
City Airspun Translucent & L’Oreal Hydra Perfecte: These are both loose powders that are awesome for baking! The only thing is that if you put too much on for your bake, it’ll look cakey, which I think is something that happens with every powder. Both of these have a heavy perfume-y scent, I don’t mind it but I know some people might.
BLUSH / BRONZER:
NARS Laguna Bronzer and Orgasm Blush DUO: I really like duo’s for blush and bronzers. It cuts down the amount of packages you have in your bag, but it doesn’t leave out a product. Only negative thing to this is that you only get half of the product, but this duo has lasted me about 11 months and I’m just now needing to repurchase it and I’ve used it just about everyday.
I’m sure everyone uses blush, but maybe not everyone uses bronzer. I’d say for day to day, bronzer isn’t a necessity. It warms up your face and helps your face look slimmer. For everyday, I’d say blush is just fine. But having something like a duo will always give you the option to bronze up your face!
TooFaced Better Than Sex: As everyone knows, this is my all time favorite mascara. There are others on the market that are super awesome, but this has always been my go-to. Anytime I buy other mascaras, I always find myself going back and using this one instead of the others. It’s just because I love the way it makes my lashes look and the way it lasts all day. It also comes in waterproof now!
Everyone uses mascara, but I thought I’d add this in anyway because it is the ultimate essential for your make up bag. I think mascara is so personal because everyone likes different looks. So, finding your favorite mascara is something super personal. It’s not something that anyone can say to go buy because what one person loves doesn’t mean you will too. Mascara is so different than any other product of make up just because it’s something that is so objective.
Anastasia of Beverly Hills DipBrow & Clear Brow Gel: Brow pomade isn’t for everyone. It’s basically a gel liner for your brows. It can give you a really defined, heavy look if you don’t use it properly, so a pomade is definitely for someone who is way more into makeup, or someone who likes the “Instagram” brow. There are ways to fill your brows in with this though that’ll give you a natural look, but I think most average consumers who would use this product would go too heavy with it. Instead, use a brow power instead. This will give your brows a defined look without making them look to harsh. If you want a more defined look that is more user friendly and more forgiving than a pomade, a brow pencil would be the way to go. A clear brow gel (or colored if you prefer) is a step I think isn’t worth skipping. A brow gel will hold the hairs in place all day and lock the color on your brows. There are drug store and high end options. You just have to find one that works for you!
Everyone needs some kind of nude lipstick in their collection. A nude lipstick goes with everything! I usually go for pink nudes because they look the most flattering on me since I am so fair. But, just look at your skin tone and your natural lip color to find your perfect nude. I also go for matte colors because they tend to last longer.
I also think everyone needs statement lip colors in their bags also. Here I have a “nude” that is dark on me so it is very much a statement color, and a cool-toned red. Both are matte shades and both from Kat Von D. A red lip is awesome for everyone if you find one that works with your skin tone because it can be something quick to throw on so you look more put together, or it can be something only used for a special occasion. It’s also just fun to have a bright color to play around with.
I have a few different options for palettes, starting with the bare minimum of colors and working to a larger palette that has more options in it.
Urban Decay Pulp Fiction: This palette was limited edition and is no longer available, but you can still find similar palettes on the market. This is your most basic matte neutrals palette. It has two light shades, an off white and a pure white, two brown transition shades, and a black. With these 5 colors you can make so many different looks that vary from very basic to very dramatic. A palette like this is great for every day, but it can get boring over time because there isn’t any color options. So, getting a palette like this as a base for all your looks and then buying a couple single color shadows or a trio of color shadows will help add color to your neutral looks.
Younique Moodstruck Addiction 1 Palette: This is a palette of 7 shadows. It’s again an all neutral palette, but instead of all matte like the previous one, it has some shimmer and satin colors in it. Again, it has the light shade for highlighting, and two browns as transitions. But it gets more fun with shimmery silver and champagne colors, and a brassy gold glittery color. It also has a satiny brown shade at the end. This is a neutral option for people who want natural makeup for day to day, but still want some fun shimmers in it as well. Shimmers can help brighten tired eyes also by adding a little sparkle.
TooFaced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar & Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Palettes: Both of these are, again, neutral palettes. But, as you can see, they have fun colors in them. These are great for people who actually wear makeup every single day and want more options than 5-7 colors. These have a ton of browns that will help create a natural everyday look, but there are some bright colors, like blue and pink, to help add a little more color to your eyes if you want it. The reason why I’d get something like this is that it’s much more versatile than the other 2 palettes because of all the color options. But, the reason I’d get one of the other 2 is because they involve no thinking when creating a look every morning. You don’t have a ton of choices, so you know exactly what colors to use to create the look you want.
Urban Decay Vice3 Palette: Lastly, this palette isn’t very neutral, so unless you have another neutral palette, I wound’t only own this. This, however, is an awesome additional palette to your collection to pull out for special occasions or for those days you just want to try something different. As you can see, there are a ton of fun colors like blues, greens and pinks. This is ideal for fun looks or people who like to experiment with eye looks, but for the everyday person who just wants to quickly throw on a look, one of the other palettes would be more useful.
Out of these palettes, I’d go for the Gwen Stefani palette because it’s the perfect neutral palette, in my opinion. It’s awesome for everyday, but it also has those few fun colors for those days you want to spice it up.
Let’s start with eye brushes. These are really the only brushes you need for your eyes. You could maybe even get away with taking out one or two of them. You don’t need a whole arsenal of eye brushes to create awesome eyeshadow looks.
These are 3 different brushes for your eyelids. The first is a small flat brush that isn’t going to pack on a ton of color, I like to use it for adding dark colors to the outer corner. Since it isn’t a dense brush, it won’t make the color go on too strong. The middle brush is a synthetic brush that is good for cream shadows OR getting damp to make colors more intense. The last one is a thick fluffy shadow brush. I use it to blend the edges of the crease out and to put a wash of a skin tone color from the lash line to the brow bone.
These are both crease brushes. The angled crease brush is one of my favorites because it deposits color and blends it so effortlessly. How to use this brush is by adding most of the color on the tip and some color to the rest of it, putting the tip in your crease and blending back and forth in windshield wiper motions. Doing this will help add the most color to your crease and then the rest of the brush works on blending the shadow out towards your brow bone. The second brush is a more tapered brush that I use to blend out the crease in circular motions and just back and forth. A much fluffier brush is also a great brush to add, but these two for the crease work just fine.
*sorry for the blurriness!* This is a pencil brush. I love it for putting color on the lower and upper lash line and get a really intense color in the outer corner. Using this on the lash lines will make it look really smokey. And since its so small, it can be a great inner corner brush also, but I like it for adding dark colors to the outer part of the eye.
Angled brush! Everyone needs an angled brush only for the eyes. (Also one for the brows, but we’ll get to that in a minute). This is what I use to get a cat eye with eyesahdows. It’s a long bristled brush, but it’s a short in length which makes it easier to get that cat eye with shadow.
Now, for this angled brush I use it specifically for my brows. This is shorter and thinner than the one I use for my eyes. If you use a brow pencil, you don’t need another angled brush, but if you use a powder or pomade, you’ll definitely need this angled brush. It’s up to you to omit or keep the other angled brush. The second brush looks kind of like a mascara brush, but this is a brow comb, or a spoolie? Spooly? Whatever. Usually, these are on the other end of your brow brush or brow pencil. This is used to comb your hairs up or down and into place and to comb product through your brows so that color isn’t too concentrated in one area.
OPTIONAL! This is a concealer brush (it’s actually a cream shadow brush, but I use it for concealer). If you want, for special occasions or nights out, use this brush with concealer around your brows to further define them and clean them up by concealing any baby hairs that haven’t been tweezed. This is a total optional brush. It can also be used for blemishes or the under the eyes. But, it’s not a brush that’s really needed.
These are my 3 go to face brushes. This is a pretty small face brush, so I use it for my bronzer so I can concentrate it specifically where I want it. You can also use it for your blush.
This is a kabuki brush. I like to use this for blush or to sweep excess powder off my face. Since it’s a little bigger, I don’t like to use it for bronzer too much. You could pinch the brush flat though for the bronzer if you don’t want to change brushes.
This is a large “airbuki” brush from Tarte. It’s basically a more dense version of the previous brush. I don’t like to brush excess powder off my face because it can disturb my foundation, but I do like it for blending out harsh lines on my blush or bronzer. I like to use this for adding powder to the face or using this with a powder foundation.
The black thing is a beauty blender. It’s just a fancy cosmetic sponge. But, let me tell you, it has changed the game. There are so many different sponges on the market now that re much less expensive than the name brand beauty blender. How to use it: squeeze it under the water 10-20 times and then wring out all excess water. It will double in size.The dampness from the sponge will help blend your foundation and concealer beautifully. Making it damp helps blend it, but it also doesn’t let your liquid foundation absorb into the sponge too much, so you won’t be wasting any product. I also like to use powder puffs to set my face with powder. This has been a recent thing. I used to be against them, but I tried them again the other day and I fell in love with it. They aren’t a total necessity, but I do find that if you get oily throughout the day, you can take one of these with you and just dab it on your face to get rid of the oil and shine. It’s also really great for baking.
Highlighter! Highlighters are great, but they aren’t for everyone or needed for everyday use. They’re great to use for your night out, but for everyday you don’t have to use it. It’s just another step. But, if you have the product and the time, it really makes your skin look great.
Hand sanitizer! This is great to have always, but especially in your makeup bag. I like to use it in between products if I’ll be touching my face again and again just so I don’t contaminate my face or products too much. It’s an extra and excess step that isn’t totally necessary, but it can be useful in not transferring bacteria from product to product to product to your face.
Lastly, Q-Tips! This are useful for cleaning up the edges of your eyeshadow to get a sharp line, cleaning any dark shadow off your waterline, taking off mascara from your eyelid, and so many other things. And when taking your makeup off, using a Q-Tip on your lashes with makeup remover with ensure that all of your mascara and eyeliner and eyeshadow is off your eyes.
These are the products I think are essential. I know it’s a lot of information, but this is a solid outline of the basic things for your make up bag. These aren’t brand recommendations, only telling you what the product overall is needed. There are some things I didn’t add because not everyone needs them (like eyeliner, falsies, mascara primer, color correcting, ect.)
This will be a weekly series that will touch on a different basic of makeup. Whether it’s a product or a “how-to” use a specific item. I hope to see you in the next post and have a great day!