Best Makeup For Beginners: Makeup Must-Haves + Budget-Friendly Picks


makeup products with text overlay best makeup for beginners

When you’re just getting started with makeup, selecting your products can feel a little overwhelming. And as a makeup artist, having worked with women of all ages, I can tell you with certainty, this isn’t just something beginners experience. Quite a few women, having worn makeup since their teenage years, now 40+ in age, still tell me “the struggle is real”!!

For both beginners and intermediate skilled makeup users, knowing what products they really need & should buy along with how to select the best colors and formulas for their skin are relatively common problems. In fact, this is why I made this subject one of the key focuses in The Ultimate Makeup Bundle.

Now, I also frequently get the “save or splurge” question from ladies, as many a gal isn’t sure whether she should go with high-end brands or more budget-friendly drugstore options.

Well, today, for every makeup beginner and intermediate Beauty, I’m going to provide a quick basic makeup list of the best items to add to your makeup kit, advise on when it’s better to save vs. splurge on your products, and give a round-up of several of my most preferred and highly recommended makeup products.

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makeup with text overlay 11 basic makeup essentials for beginners

Basic Makeup List: 11 Makeup Essentials For Beginners

So, exactly what makeup should a beginner buy?

I get it; knowing what to purchase can be especially tricky. There are just so many fabulous options out there these days…what’s a girl to do?? Well, my job is to make this as effortless and simple for you as I can. The following list includes 11 essential products that I highly recommend to women who come to me for help with creating a basic makeup routine.   

For a basic routine, you want products that are not too difficult to use and can efficiently work for an everyday look. It’s about stripping down the extra fluff and going with the bare essentials.

So without further ado, here are a few staple products you should consider adding, whether you’ve just started building up a beginner’s makeup kit or you’re looking to update your makeup collection! 

  1. Primer (As Needed)
  2. Foundation
  3. Concealer (If Needed)
  4. Blush (Powder Is Easiest For Beginners)
  5. Lipstick (1 Nude & 1 Red) 
  6. Lip Liner
  7. Setting Powder
  8. Neutral Eyeshadow Palette
  9. Eyeliner – Pencil Or Pot Of Cream/Gel
  10. Brow Pencil, Powder, Or Both…(Or If You Prefer A Cream/Pomade, That Could Be Another Option As Well).
  11. Mascara
basic makeup list essentials for beginners

Now, you can undoubtedly expand from this above list. In fact, I recommend doing so as you continue in your makeup journey. For gals with intermediate skills, I often suggest adding in a shimmery highlighter and a bronzer.   

PRO Tip: Your bronzer should not be used for contouring purposes but rather for a natural “kissed by the sun” look.

Splurge Or Save Tips For Beginners: What Makeup Is Best High-End Or Drugstore?

We all know makeup products can get expensive. I’m sure you’ve probably wondered, “when is it ok to go with a more budget-friendly option?”

First, let me say that I generally lean towards the higher-end brands with my personal makeup stash. I have found that many of these products tend to be of a far greater quality which means they last longer, have stellar formulation & ingredients, apply & blend better, have more pigmentation (for example, eyeshadows), and come in more varieties to suit everyone’s needs.

For some products, the difference between high and lower-end is like night and day! But that’s not to say that there aren’t some good options and dupes out there that aren’t in the high-end bracket. In fact, I have a combo of both. And I work hard to try to include a bit of both on this blog as well.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with different makeup products in each category… Ultimately, I’ve narrowed it down to “where you get the biggest bang for your buck” vs. “where it’s ok for you to skimp.”

woman unsure with with text overlay makeup for beginners should you splurge or save

Biggest Bang Vs. Skimp

Complexion makeup products like foundation, concealer, setting powders, as well as eyeshadow and items for the brows, you will generally get the biggest bang with premium brands. All of these products have a shelf-life of well over six months, with six months being the absolute minimum for concealer and foundation and a year being their maximum.

Your setting powder can last around a year to 1.5 years. Powder eyeshadow can sometimes last up to 2 years if properly sanitized!!! While brow products can last around 1+ years. So when you consider how long these will last, they are definitely worth the splurge!

Another vital factor for eyeshadow is that usually being from a high-end brand equates to being more pigmented. What are the perks of higher pigmentation? You can expect a far better color payoff, which means you don’t have to apply as many layers. But again, there are a few goodies out there in lower price ranges, so keep this in mind.

With brow products, I find that there is much more variety in terms of colors. I also have one particular brand I stick to more than others (keep scrolling…more on that further down…).

The “in-betweens,” as I call them, are blush and lipstick. “In betweens” are products where if given a choice, I find it’s better to splurge. However, if money especially is tight, you can skimp on these if needed.

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When comparing blush from higher-end stores to those from the drugstore, I can personally tell a vast difference in the consistency, the application, and the blending ease. And with lipsticks, I find the texture of higher-end options to feel sublimely divine! So, I’m more likely to splurge on these to get that smooth, creamy kissable lips factor. 😉

Where can you skimp?? Well, typically, it’s ok to skimp on mascara, eyeliner, and lip liners. Mascara has a short shelf-life, so you have to replace it every 3 to 6 months. With pencils for the lips and eyes, I think there are quite a few drugstore options that can still get great results for makeup beginners. Since most beginners need quite a few new products, why spend more on those if you don’t have to, right??

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Best Makeup Products For Beginners: Holy Grail Makeup Must-Haves & Drugstore Picks!!

Ok, Beauties, now that we’ve addressed when it’s worth the investment in makeup products and when you can skimp, we can get into the nitty-gritty of things.

I’ve listed what I consider to be “holy grail makeup must-haves, “which are completely worth the investment if you can afford it. However, if you happen to be on a restricted budget, I also tried to include a few more affordable options.

Finally, since mascara, pencil lip liners, and eyeliner are all areas beginners can certainly skimp on, I’ve, therefore, only included budget-friendly picks for those.

Considerations For Selecting The Products In This Article

  • Level of ease or difficulty for beginners to use the product
  • How mistake-proof a product is…
  • Quality of the product & the type of results one can achieve from using the product
  • My experience and consumers experiences using the product
  • The reputation of the product among other makeup artists
  • Industry buzz from beauty editors
  • Pricing
  • How easily it can fit into a basic everyday makeup routine
  • Shelf-life of products (how long the product lasts before expiring)
foundation and makeup brush with text overlay best foundation for beginners

Best Foundation Makeup For Beginners

Foundation: Whether you wear makeup daily or not, having a foundation on hand is a must to even out your complexion, reduce minor skin imperfections, create a smooth base for the rest of your makeup, and give you a more uniform polished makeup look. 

But it can often be the most challenging product to get just right when making your selections and trying to stay as natural-looking as possible. Your goal with foundation makeup in terms of what you use and how you apply should ALWAYS be for your skin to still look like skin only BETTER.

To keep this article from being ridiculously long, I’m covering top liquid foundation makeup picks for beginners. However, with foundation, there are several formulas you can choose from, and you should always do so based on your skin type and concerns. When selecting a shade, make sure you go with one that matches your skin’s undertone and overall color. For more makeup tips on foundation and undertone for beginners and up, check out this article, Tip #2.

#1 Holy Grail Foundation Makeup Must-Have Pick:

Make Up For Ever’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation

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This foundation has been one of my favorites for many years. It comes in about 50 shades, so literally everyone, everybody’s mama, second cousin, and best friend, can find something that works for them…lol. Sorry, my North Carolina roots came out with that comment…haha 😉

The pump is excellent for keeping things sanitary and allowing you much-needed control over how much you use. I love this foundation most because it’s incredibly natural-looking, lightweight, and it doesn’t give that obvious “she’s wearing makeup” type of look.

Also, as I mentioned, higher-end brands tend to have better ingredients. Well, this one contains hyaluronic acid, which for me makes it golden in my book!! You see, hyaluronic acid is vital for helping skin retain its natural moisture and look supple. I’ve always found for my skin and with several clients that this ingredient is the secret to achieving a flawless finish.

If a “still looks like skin but better” makeup look is what you’re going for, this is your solution, ladies!

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More About This Product
  • Goes on quickly & smoothly
  • Buildable (go more sheer or heavy depending on your goals).
  • Very comfortable, lightweight texture
  • Extremely blendable
  • Natural finish
  • Lasts up to 24 hours (not that you’d ever really need it to last that long).
  • Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
  • Medium coverage
  • Created for flawless makeup, both visible to the eye and for HD cameras.

However, Beauties, if you are looking for full coverage and a matte finish, Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation will be more your speed.

PRO Tip: With this brand, any of the shades with yellow, golden, olive, or peach listed next to the name are for women with warm undertones. Any that say pink or red are for women with cool undertones. And of course, if you see the word neutral, it’s for those gals with neutral undertones.

Budget-Friendly Foundation Makeup Pick:

L’Oreal Paris Makeup True Match Super-Blendable Liquid Foundation

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This foundation has a nice range of 45 shades from light to dark and tones from warm to neutral to cool. It provides a healthy radiance & natural finish that can work for a variety of skin types. If you’re looking for something a little more within your budget that has buildable coverage and a little SPF, give this one a go!

More About This Product
  • Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
  • Medium coverage with natural finish
  • Oil-Free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), & hydrating
  • Blendable and applies smoothly
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Best Concealer Makeup For Beginners

Concealer: If your foundation isn’t enough to hide your flaws and problem areas (dark eye circles, scars, dark marks, or pimples), concealer is your go-to product. It would be best to keep in mind your skin type and concern when selecting your concealer.  

#1 Holy Grail Concealer Makeup Must-Have Pick:

NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer

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Oh, how I adore this concealer!!!! First off, it comes in 25+shades. Second, a little goes a long way, so it’ll take you quite a while to get through just one pot. And despite it being full coverage, you’ll find that it still looks wonderfully natural. A natural-looking concealer is not an easy feat, let me tell you, but Nars hit the ball out of the park with this one!

What I love most is how it’s not just smooth; it’s “buttery” smooth. For me, the heavenly, creamy texture is top-notch and sets it apart from the rest, as it makes blending a total piece of cake and completely effortless.

It doesn’t feel heavy on my skin, which is a huge plus, and blurs out all types of flaws! Now for the extra cherry on top…it contains hyaluronic acid!! This, of course, makes it perfect for getting a flawless makeup look!! Lastly, it has peptides, an antiaging ingredient. Hey, why not kill two birds with one stone, right??!?

More About This Product
  • Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
  • Long-lasting (long-wearing), full coverage with a matte finish
  • Oil-free
  • Blurs uneven texture + hides dark circles, redness, and dark marks

PRO Tip: If you see the terms yellow, golden, olive, or peach listed, it’s for women with warm skin undertones. And if you see the words pink or red, it’s for those with cool undertones.

#2 Holy Grail Concealer Makeup Must-Have Pick:

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

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Now, this next best-selling pick certainly should get some well-deserved recognition on this post. I couldn’t leave it out, especially for you gals in the market, for a liquid concealer instead of a cream.

Touted by many makeup lovers as their #1 MOST LOVED concealer of all time, while honored and acclaimed by beauty editors, it assuredly won’t disappoint! It blends like a dream and comes in a splendid multitude of shades for all skin tones.

Struggling with redness? Need a quick fix for dark circles? Want to avoid your concealer settling into fine lines & wrinkles? This concealer may just be the answer to your prayers, ladies!

More About This Product
  • 30 Different shades
  • Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
  • Lasts up to 16 hours
  • Medium buildable coverage with a natural finish
  • Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and fragrance-free
  • Crease-proof, sweat-proof, and hold up in humidity
  • *Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner

Budget-Friendly Concealer Makeup Pick:

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer

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This concealer has been around for some time and comes in several color correcting and flesh tone shades. While I’ve not used this one personally, I do know of a few other makeup artists who sing its praises. So, if you’re pinching pennies, this one might be worth checking out, Beauties.

More About This Product
  • Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
  • Medium coverage
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Best Blushes For Beginners

Blush: Blush is often an underappreciated makeup product. But blush can powerfully brighten & wake up your face, brighten a dull complexion, make you look healthier, more radiant, and fresh-faced, younger, and even when used strategically, can make subtle shifts to the shape of your face. 

Additionally, after applying foundation (and possibly concealer), you want to add some color back into your face; otherwise, you can wind up looking washed out. I often suggest powder blush for beginners as it is the easiest to master with the application.

PRO Tip: Blush can also be used to draw attention away from under-eye circles. 

#1 Holy Grail Blush Makeup Must-Have Pick:

Nars Blush in Orgasm

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Hands down, this blush is a cult favorite for a reason!!! It’s flattering on a multitude of skin tones, it’s not overpowering, looks natural, and it gives the most gorgeous subtle yet shimmery glow. You’ll feel like a greek goddess with it on!! It’s versatile too, as it can be used for a daytime or nighttime look!!

This blush is a beloved go-to for nearly every woman I know. And, it’s been on beauty editors’ top beauty lists for several years now, simply because it is quite literally the most popular blush on the market. I don’t think any makeup artists on the planet haven’t tried, know about, or love this blush! Yes, It’s that BIG of a deal… 🙂

PRO Tip: For those of your Beauties, who have a dark or deeper skin tone, Nars blushes have excellent pigmentation. Depending on the look you want to go for, a few top picks with flattering pigments that will look phenomenal on your tone are Orgasm X, Savage (shimmer), or Dominate (shimmer).

Budget-Friendly Blush Makeup Picks:

Milani Baked Blush

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Milani blushes are available in several glamourous and richly pigmented shades ranging from peaches to roses. You can get a nice pop of natural color and build up with it as much or little as you want. The texture is silky smooth making it a rare budget find that’s super blendable. For a few best picks, try the shade Bella Bellini (featured in the below photo), Rose D’Oro, Luminoso, or Dolce Pink.

Click Here To Check Them Out

For more blush options (high-end & budget-friendly) based on your skin tone, check out this article.

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Best Lipsticks For Beginners

Lipstick: What are the benefits of wearing lipstick? It completes your makeup look, can brighten up your face, and soften those lips, ladies.

A nude can work day or night, making it a must for your makeup routine. In fact, if you need something for a typical everyday work environment but don’t want to appear too over the top, I highly suggest it.

I also recommend you get a red for times when you want to bring some sexy drama into the mix. Just make sure you use the right one based on your skin tone (warm vs. cool) when selecting a red.

Have a warm undertone to your skin? Orange-reds work best. For those of you gals with cool undertones, blue-red lipsticks look best. And if you are neutral, you can wear both….you lucky girl!!

#1 Holy Grail Red Lipstick Must-Have Pick:

Bobbi Brown Luxe Lipstick

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Let’s just say this “lipstick brings all the boys to the yard!” I have it in the sexy Parisian Red shade (warm undertone). You’ll get quite a few heads turning with this red, ladies!!

I’ve always loved Bobbi Brown’s lipsticks, and this one is literally the cream of the crop! Looking for a rich and elegant color selection with ultra creaminess to moisten and freshen up those lips? This would be for you! The luxurious moisture make’s it ideal during colder months when all of our lips tend to get very dry.

#2 Holy Grail Red Lipstick Must-Have Picks:

Bobbi Brown’s Luxe Matte Lipstick Collection

Now, if you’re looking for a bold, matte red lip, try Bobbi Brown’s Luxe Matte Lipstick Collection. Beauties with cool undertones should try Red Carpet. And those of you with warm undertones should opt for Fever Pitch.

The lipsticks in this collection go on soft and velvety smooth while offering full coverage, wonderful color payoff, and long-lasting results!! You don’t have to worry about whether your lipstick will stay put with this one!! It will…;) Check out all the shades; they’re stunning! *Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner

#1 Holy Grail Nude & Natural Lip Makeup Must-Have Picks:

Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color

Best nude, natural lip colors…Sazan Nude, Bare, Blush, Buff, Cocoa, Rich Cocoa, & Blue Raspberry.

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Now, what would be the lovechild of lipstick and a balm?? You guessed it, Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color!! Do you love the way lip balms feel, that soft, hydrated feeling they give your lips? Do you also want the benefit of more color than a typical balm? Perhaps, something that looks & acts more like lipstick? Well, meet your new BFF!!

What I love most about it is its versatility. You can add color to your lips without it looking too over the top. Just one swipe for a natural look! Or for a more intense look and fuller coverage, just apply multiple layers!!

It’s also excellent for those makeup beginners who want to play with a more natural, everyday look. However, if you want to add a little more drama, check out their mauves, red, and berry shades.

Budget-Friendly Makeup Pick (Nudes & Reds):

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick

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They have a large variety of nudes and reds, from dark to light, so no matter your skin tone, there is certainly something in this 40+ shades collection for everyone! And if you think you may need a little extra hydration, these are formulated with shea butter to help! Lastly, they are a nice creamy texture and quite easy to apply!

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Best Makeup Setting Powders For Beginners

Setting Powder: Now you want to make sure you don’t forget a setting powder Beauties. It keeps everything in its place and helps your makeup last longer! And of course, if you struggle with annoying shine, it can nix that in the bud too!

I typically suggest a translucent setting powder for makeup beginners since it will give them the most natural-looking finish. Translucents are less likely to alter the color of your makeup base.

I’m also a big fan of loose powder over pressed powders. Loose powder is much finer, tends to work better over liquid foundation, and is less likely to turn your makeup into a hot cakey mess. No one wants that!

#1 Holy Grail Makeup Setting Powder Must-Have Pick:

Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

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If you’re someone who worries about creasing, caking, heaviness, or a chalky look, here’s the solution to all your makeup woes!! It’s a lightweight setting powder that happens to be ADORED by many makeup-obsessed gals! 

However, I must add that if you are looking for something with a matte finish, this isn’t for you, Beauties. I’d suggest trying the next pick for that.

Otherwise, you can get an airbrushed, radiantly glowing, invisible finish with this powder no matter what skin tone you have. It diffuses fine lines, pores, and imperfections while setting your makeup in place with awesome lasting power! This is one of those times where you can truly believe the hype…it’s fabulous, girls!!

More About This Product
  • Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
  • Natural finish
  • Blurs and minimizes pores, fine lines, & wrinkles
  • Long-lasting (long-wearing)

#2 Holy Grail Makeup Setting Powder Must-Have Pick:

KVD Vegan Beauty Lock-It Setting Powder

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For a serious light as a feather and comfortable feel, this baby is the answer!! It was formulated to be about 45% lighter than most other setting powders on the market, reducing the chances of your makeup looking chalky or cakey.

If you haven’t given it a try, you’re missing out! You can lock your makeup into place, avoid creasing, and get a poreless, flawless look with this one!

It has a soft matte finish and works for a variety of skin tones and types. If you have oily skin, it will keep the greasy oil slick look at bay! And if you have dry skin, it won’t leave you hanging with a dry, flaky complexion.

More About This Product
  • Normal, dry, combination, and oily skin types
  • Matte finish
  • Blurs and minimizes pores

Budget-Friendly Setting Powder Makeup Pick:

Maybelline New York Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder

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Now, I’ve not personally used this powder, but I’ve often heard that it’s a helpful pick if your money’s a little tied up at the moment. You won’t find a translucent or universally flattering shade with these, but they offer about eight different colors to fit a few different skin tones.

The only negative thing I’ve heard about this one is that it isn’t the best option if you have fine lines or wrinkles, particularly around the eyes, and if you have oily skin, you may still have to touch up at least once during the day.

Best Neutral Eyeshadow Palettes For Beginners

Eyeshadow: Eyeshadow is the whipped cream on top for your eyes… Whipped cream on a sundae isn’t necessarily something you have to have added, but boy, does it give that extra yumminess, right? You don’t have to wear eyeshadow, but it does indeed give your eyes that extra oomph!!  

Eyeshadow helps to define the eyes and can be used to contour them for added depth & dimension. A neutral palette works well with every eye color and skin tone. Plus, it’s suitable for day and night!

PRO Tip: You can save yourself a decent amount of money on eyeshadows if you try to find shades you think you’ll use in palettes, rather than buying each shade separately.

eyeshadow palette with text overlay best neutral eyeshadow makeup palettes for beginners

#1 Holy Grail Neutral Eyeshadow Must-Have Palette Picks:

Urban Decay Naked Palettes: The #1 heavyweight fighting champ of eyeshadow palettes!! From years of trying thousands of eyeshadows, I can honestly say that Urban Decay makes the BEST of the BEST. The quality, texture, and color payoff are genuinely unmatched, in my opinion! I especially love their color variations and finishes!!

I first became addicted after trying their iridescent Moondust eyeshadows. The dimension and depth it brought to my eyes were unreal, even as a single shade wash of color, without any contouring techniques!!

So, why are Urban Decay’s Neutral Palettes so unique?

First, they are easy to manipulate and blend, which is most helpful for beginners. Secondly, they come with some of the best color combinations making each palette versatile for different looks and occasions.

Third, their palettes are generally captivating and flattering on anyone & everyone. Fourth, the palettes are practical, meaning you can get a lot of use out of all the colors they contain, not just 1 or 2. And fifth, the superior pigmentation!

I want to cover all the bases for your Beauties, and since everyone’s taste is different, I decided to share these next top three picks.

Budget-Friendly Makeup Pick:

NYX Ultimate Shadow Palette, Eyeshadow Palette In Warm Neutrals

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This budget-friendly warm neutral palette offers 16 highly pigmented shades in matte and shimmery finishes. Generally, these will apply pretty decently without a primer, but they will look their “ultimate” best after using a primer.

You’ll also find a good set of complementary shade pairings that work for everyday looks with this one. Although, those of you Beauties who happen to have a darker skin tone may not get as much use from the top three left shades. Overall for an affordable option, though, I’d say this is a terrific palette for newbies that aims to please!

woman's face with perfect eyebrows and text overlay best eyebrow makeup for beginners

Best Eyebrow Makeup Products For Beginners

Eyebrows: Don’t underestimate the power of your brows, ladies. They frame your face and can do everything from lift the eye area to create more symmetry to your face, give you a polished and well-put-together makeup look, or give father time a run for his money (make you look a little younger if you need to).

The goal with color selection is to keep the brow appearing most natural. You want to try to match your natural hair’s undertones (warm vs. cool). If your hair’s undertone is on the warmer side, golden, or has hints of a reddish tone, you want a warm brow color. If your hair has a cool undertone, look for words like “ash” or “cool” in the description.

The general rule of thumb is to go a shade lighter than your hair color. But if you have very light hair, you should try a slightly darker shade than your hair color.

Eyebrows: To Splurge Or Not To Splurge….That Is The Question…

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When it comes to brows, I don’t play around, which is why all my top picks are from Anastasia. Now you’re probably wondering why that brand as opposed to others…right??

Well, let me give you a quick analogy… Let’s say you are planning a dinner party, the theme is authentic Italian cuisine, and you decide to have it catered. Sure, you could order a few pasta dishes from Cheesecake Factory. But would you really want to do that when the theme is “authentic” Italian food? Your guests are going to expect the flavorful and delicious “real deal,” right??

Now, if it’s me, I’m going to order it from the place that serves traditional Italian dishes, where the recipes have been passed down through the family for generations…what about you? Of course, if I want cheesecake, then sure, I’ll go to Cheesecake Factory!!

Anastasia built her business on her expertise in brows. She started initially with a salon in Beverly Hills known for getting you killer, on-point, celebrity level-like eyebrows! So who’s brand am I going to rely on for my brow products?? 😉 Yep, you guessed it; I’m going with the expert!

Holy Grail Eyebrow Makeup Products Must-Have Picks (Pencils, Powders, Or Cream/Pomades):

Anastasia’s Brow Wiz

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For beginners, this one is especially convenient because it offers a pencil and a spoolie in one!! With the spoolie end, you can brush through and smooth down your brows before filling them in. You can also use it to blend them out after you’ve filed them in. On the other end is the pencil. It has a very precise, pointed tip that’s sized precisely for creating hair-like strokes!

Extra bonus…it comes in a variety of 12 unique shades, some of which I haven’t found with other brands. And if you aren’t sure what shade to get, there are suggestions based on your hair color!!

Anastasia’s Brow Powder Duo

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The two easiest to work with brow formulas for beginners are pencils and powders, bringing me to my next treasured Anastasia option. If you want to create a natural and Pro-looking brow with little effort, this needs to become your go-to product! You’ll also find she has a fantastic color range in these powders!!

What are the perks of this particular powder product over others?

  • One pan will last you for what seems like forever.
  • All-day long-lasting, smudge-proof results.
  • It comes in 2 shades, so you can customize your color by mixing the two (this helps if your color changes a bit with the seasons). You can also use the two shades to create more depth and dimension to your brows….highlights, lowlights, ombre look!!
  • Super easy to apply and blend for the most natural-looking brow!

Anastasia’s Dip Brow

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For beginners, this creamy, smooth brow lovin’ option is easy to use yet will be more difficult than the previous two options. It comes in 11 different shades ranging from taupe to granite and is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about its smudging or moving around. One thing I love about it…though it’s waterproof, it still allows ample time before it sets for blending out your brows. 

Depending on your preference, you can go very natural with a lighter application or go “diva” bold. And, of course, it holds up incredibly well, keeping your brows set for the day. However, you must have two things to be successful with this product, fairly steady hands, and a thin angled brush.

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Best Eyeliners For Makeup Beginners

Eyeliner: Aside from mascara, eyeliner is the quickest and simplest way for beginners to add some definition to their eyes using makeup. Based on the color you choose, it can be used to make your lashes look fuller or bring out your eye color, making them pop! For beginners, the easiest formula to begin working with would be either a pencil or cream/gel with a brush.

Budget-Friendly Makeup Picks:

NYX Retractable Eye Liner Pencil

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This is a creamy, soft-textured, easy-to-use option when you are on the go or need to apply your liner quickly. You can expect a vibrant, highly pigmented color payoff that lasts all day with this pencil. It’s virtually budge-proof & fade-proof, and they have a few fun colors you can play with if you want to try something other than black, brown, or grey!!

However, NYX also makes the Slide On Pencil, a smooth gliding liner, in more bursts of color. So make sure you check those out as well, ladies!

COVERGIRL Perfect Blend Eyeliner Pencil

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This has been a classic go-to pencil from me for decades!! My staple colors have been charcoal and basic black. It’s an oldie but goodie that has stood the test of time in the makeup world, offering a creamy texture ideal for blending, long all-day-staying power, and visible solid pigmentation. I love that it’s not super dry like many other drugstore brand pencils.

Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner

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This bad boy stays put, won’t budge, and glides like butter baby!! I often recommend it for makeup beginners because it has a consistency that makes application so much easier. Most women struggle with creating a smooth and even line with their eyeliner, but this one will surely help with that! I don’t use the brush that comes with it, but it is always an option for a beginner on a budget. It’s buildable, and you can expect high pigmentation.

Best Lip Liners For Beginners

Lip Liner: A lip liner can act as a base for your lipstick, create more fullness to the shape of your lips, make them look more symmetrical (if your top is smaller than your bottom lip or vice versa), give them more definition, and reduce bleeding of feathering.

Budget-Friendly Lip Liner Makeup Picks:

NYX Slim Lip Liner Pencil

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When it comes to a lip liner, what are you looking for??…. Long-lasting...check! Won’t budge…check!! Soft, smooth formula…check!! A large variety of colors to choose from…check!! The NYX slim lip liner pencil glides on with total ease, making it beneficial for beginners. *Allure Best Of Beauty Award Winner

And if by chance you’re not feelin’ this type of liner… Well, NYX also offers a variety of other affordable lip-lining picks!! You’ll find retractable liners, slide-on liners, suede matte liners, and more!! Check them out!!

Best Mascaras For Makeup Beginners

Mascara: Mascara is my all-time ESSENTIAL!! Heck, it should be every gal’s, right?? Mascara can be used to create the look of darker, thicker, longer lashes, draw attention to the eyes, and open up the eye area with a lifting effect.

Budget-Friendly Lashes Makeup Picks:

L’Oreal Paris Makeup Voluminous Original Volume Building Mascara

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This mascara and I have had a very long love affair! And without fail, I always go back to it!! My staple shades are blackest black or carbon black, but you can find a green, violet, cobalt blue, or burgundy option if you want to add a little flair.

Why do I love it so much? It makes my lashes crazy long and thick at the same time!! The volume it adds is unbeatable as I find it gives that dense, lush look similar to false lashes. For added length and more drama, I just apply a few more layers. I also have never found it to flake as others can.

L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Makeup Lash Paradise Mascara

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This mascara has a lot of buzz in the beauty world from editors, to makeup artists, to bloggers. I’ve even heard makeup lovers compare it to Too Faced’s Better Than Sex. While I wouldn’t go that far myself in describing it, I will say that is for sure another budget “need to have” jewel of mine. The wand has bristles that create a full feathery lash look. And you can get insane volume without the frustration of clumping or flaking!

Best Primers For Beginners & Up

Primer:  Your primer preps your skin for everything that follows and is the best product to use for seamless makeup application, longer-lasting results, and to improve your skin’s texture.

Primers help with everything from minimizing pores and fine lines to adding moisture or dewiness, plumping the skin, reducing shine, redness, and more. Knowing your skin type and skin goals will help you narrow down which primer is best for you. For a list of superb primers based on different skin types & concerns, check out this article about complexion perfection!

PRO Tip: When you’re ready to get into more eye makeup, I highly suggest you try Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion to help your eyeshadow stay put!

makeup brush and highlighter powder with text overlay best shimmery highlighter and bronzers

Potential Add-on Products: Best Shimmery Highlighters & Bronzers

Now, I usually list these two makeup products for intermediate makeup users, but beginners can add them on if they’d like.

My dearest highlighter of all time is this one from Becca in the shade Champagne Pop! They offer the most enchanting selection of to-die-for shades!! And, if you aren’t sure which one would be most flattering for your skin tone, worry not, ladies! They’ve already broken it down for you.

I love the radiant shimmer and velvety texture of these highlighters. You also don’t need much, so it will last a very long time. Lastly, it’s one of those where you can certainly tell the difference in the quality based on the formula. Its formula makes it supreme in terms of blending ease.

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I’ve personally always had a thing for both Cargo & Tarte (Park Ave. Princess) bronzers. I have found them to give the most natural kissed by the sun coloring to my face. However, with both, the selection of colors is a little limited, so you may want to try my next pick instead if you aren’t a fan of either of these options.

Now, if you’re looking for a more extensive range of colors, you should check out Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer by Fenty. You’ll find options for fair tones, deep tones, and everything in between!!

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Makeup For Beginners: Best Products Wrap Up!

Ok, Beauties, that sums up today’s list of essential makeup for beginners. My goal was to round up products that wouldn’t be too hard to use, could help you get the best final makeup look, and could be incorporated into an everyday makeup routine.

When selecting products and trying to decide whether something is worth the investment, I always say keep in mind the shelf-life. For example, with this list, the only product with a short shelf-life is mascara (it will only last 3-6 months). But everything else on here lasts in the range of 6 months to 2 years.

Lastly, I also made sure to include several products where a little bit goes a long way so that you can get the most from it over a longer timeframe. I hope you found this list helpful! You can always reach out if you have any questions.

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Makeup Beginners, Are You Ready To Step Into The World Of Makeup, Get Started With It, Better At It, & Take Your Look To The Next Level? Check Out The Ultimate Makeup Beginners & Beyond Bundle!!

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