In this post I’ll be talking about what I consider to be the ‘makeup basics’ or necessities if you’ve recently entered the world of makeup – or if you would like to, but you’re not quite sure where to begin, or what to buy.
Foundation provides a ‘your skin but better’ feeling or a completely flawless appearance – while seeming natural. Some people will wear both a liquid foundation and a powder foundation for added coverage. However, if you don’t want to take this route, feel free to try concealer with a powder foundation, or powder foundation by itself. Foundation in my opinion comes down to: your budget, how often you’ll be using it, your skin type and what you feel comfortable in.
- I recommend L’Oreal’s True Match foundation – it gives light to medium coverage depending on how it’s applied. If you want light coverage, simply apply one light layer and ensure you’ve blended it in properly.
- If you’d like a bit more coverage then simply wait for the first layer to sit before applying another thin layer. I recommend this one because it is the only drugstore foundation I’ve seen with so many shades available, but the best part is that it matches you based on your undertone: warm, cool or neutral.
Powder foundation or setting powder helps to pull your look together, powder foundation adds a bit more coverage (i.e. it covers more blemishes or spots that for some reason weren’t covered by your concealer or foundation). Maybelline, Rimmel London and Black Opal all make very good powder foundations.
- For Maybelline try their FitMe line or their Dream Wonder Powder.
- For Rimmel their Stay Matte powder works well.
- Black Opal makes a lovely oil controlling loose powder.
Concealer makes all the difference – often people will just do a little concealer, powder, lips and brows and head out the door. It can be used to ‘spot conceal’, which is essentially just dotting concealer on a few blemishes, scars or marks that you want to cover. It can also be used to hide dark circles – if it is a full coverage concealer. Have you ever wondered why it is that some of us wear a concealer that is a shade or 2 lighter than our foundation? Doing this allows us to hide the dark circles, and the fact that it’s a lighter shade draws in light to our under eyes – therefore making that area seem brighter. Let me get to the point…if you decide to go with a full coverage foundation (such as Revlon’s Colorstay or MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid) as a beginner, you might not need a concealer just yet.
Quick Tip: If you do go with a drugstore or light coverage foundation as well as a concealer, feel free to mix in a bit of your concealer with your foundation for added coverage. Also remember that your concealer goes on after your foundation.
- MAC’s Pro Longwear Concealer – I’ve been using this since January and it’s worth the 23CDN. The coverage is amazing – your dark circles will be completely gone, and there’s a shade for everyone. Also! The pump does pump a little bit more than you need, but the best part is when you realize how far a small amount goes. My bottle of MAC concealer is not even halfway as yet; I use it very often and it is now May, so I would suggest investing in one of these.
- Maybelline FitMe Concealer – I used this in 2012 and it lasted me from about January to October or so. This concealer is best used over your foundation, because when used alone it does not look very natural and it is also quite unsightly if you use it alone and then take a picture (I learnt this the hard way). The only other issue I find with this is that there are not that many shades currently offered.
- L’Oreal True Match Concealer – When shopping around for a new concealer to try in January I swatched some of these, but they did not blend in as well as I would have liked for my skin tone in particular. Also, based on what I saw they did not have many dark shades. However, I do know that this concealer works very well for many others so if you feel that your perfect match is there, then go ahead and try it!
- L.A. Girl Pro Conceal – This is constantly being compared to MAC’s Pro Longwear Concealer because its longevity and variety of shades, they’re also very affordable and full coverage.
Remember that you don’t want an under eye concealer that’s going to tug at your skin too much because the skin under your eyes is sensitive; go with a liquid formula for under your eyes so that it won’t crease or tug when applying.
We all need blush and that’s just it. You may be living your life without blush currently, and I can assure you that when you find the perfect one you’ll realize what was missing from your makeup bag. Blush works with your skin tone, just like everything else.
- If you’re on the fairer side, or consider yourself to be ‘pale’ go for light peaches and light pinks (think Kirsten Dunst or Lorde).
- If you’re more of a medium beige you can get away with a deeper shade of pink or a nice warm coral (think Kate Upton).
- If you’re of an olive or a golden tan skin tone (think Eva Mendes) feel free to try your hand at something that is not necessarily brick red, but more of a cross between pink and peach w/ a hint of gold.
- If you’re of a medium deep or deep skin tone (think Gabrielle Union and Zoe Saldana) then try a desert rose shade, this will be a deep pink that it is not a magenta shade, rather it’s inching closer to being red; it could be a cousin of the red blush if that makes sense.
- If you’re of a dark skin tone (think Jennifer Hudson to Lupita N’yongo) try a brick red blush; it won’t ‘wash you out’ like lighter shades, and it will brighten up and add some dimension to the face.
To start off, purchasing one shade of blush is fine – so long as it’s the one that works with your complexion. I recommend NYX Powder Blushes, even though I’ve said good things about the Milani Baked Blushes. However, NYX offers more shades when compared to Milani and NYX’s line of powder blushes offers more matte options (i.e. there is no shimmer). If you feel like going high-end, NARS has a very wide blush selection and so does MAC, so if ever you have about 32CDN or 30USD, investing in NARS’ Orgasm blush is always a good idea (yes that really is the name of the shade, no I cannot make these things up and yes you should stop giggling).
Eyeliner, mascara, good brows and eye shadow; as a beginner I truly feel that this is all you need, and the eye shadow can be optional.(Brows tend to be a lengthy topic and that’s why I hadn’t gone in depth regarding them in this post) Not to sound like I’m writing for a female magazine in the 90’s…but eyeliner really does work with your skintone, hair colour and eye colour – this also depends on the look that you’re going for.
- If you consider yourself to be very fair or pale, then you may want to stay away from black because this can cause you to look washed out – aim more for deep plums/purples, navy blue, or even a nice olive green.
- If you’re medium beige, a nice plum shade will also work quite well for you along with deep browns.
- Olive skin tones can get away with more colours, including navy blue, dark brown and even black.
- Medium deep to dark skin tones usually go for dark brown and black, and understandably so. The other colours such as olive green, plum and navy blue do not give as much definition.
- I recommend Revlon’s Colorstay Retractable Eyeliner, the Sephora Collection and L’Oreal’s Infallible or Infallible Silkissime Liner for both longevity and pigmentation.
Mascara is one of those things that you’ll find yourself reaching for even when you only have time for one item. If you’re just starting off with makeup, you’ll probably only really need one mascara. I have a post dedicated to mascaras, but personally I think Maybelline has dominated the mascara market, so feel free to try any one that appeals to you. Whether it’s The Falsies, Illegal Lengths, or the classic Great Lash. I’ve only tried 2 high end mascaras, and they were travel/deluxe sample sizes…I always go back to Maybelline, and L’Oreal also makes good mascara.
Eye shadow is a make it or break it situation – when done properly it can look amazing, if not done properly…well…leave that to your imagination. If you really want to go high-end and invest in one shade, or make your own little quad, MAC has a very wide selection; my go-to all over shade is Mulch. Want to save? Buy the pan refill instead of the eyeshadow in the container. If you’re looking for an all over colour, aim more for neutral shades: shimmery beige, a slightly shimmery taupe, or brown shades with a hint of gold.
The drugstore also has very good options, such as:
- L’Oreal’s Color Riche eyeshadows or Maybelline’s Expert Wear eyeshadows – these have been color coordinated for you, and for many of them there’s a little diagram on the back showing where to place each shadow.
- If all you want is a pop of colour with little or no hassle try Rimmel’s ScandalEyes shadow sticks; they aren’t that many neutral shades but they’re pretty pigmented.
Quick Tip: Instead of using an eyeshadow primer, simply ensure that you place a little foundation over your eyelids when applying – this will help your eyeshadow to show well and last for a fairly long time.
Everyone should have their perfect nude and a go to bold lip colour (read: this does not have to be Ruby Woo by MAC or any other red lipstick). I’ve done a post on finding your nude lip shade previously, so for this post I’ll focus on bold lip shades. Bold shades can be grouped into about 3 general categories: pinks/corals/oranges, reds/burgundies, berries/purples/deep plums. Lip shades are the one thing that I think don’t have to always work in accordance with your skin tone. For this one, just try what appeals to you! Have some fun, and ensure you’re pleased and comfortable with whatever bold lip colour you decide to wear. I recommend:
- Milani’s Color Statement lipsticks
- MAC lipsticks
- Revlon Matte Balms or Super Lustrous Lipsticks
- Maybelline’s Color Sensational lipsticks.
- The Dark Lip Trend