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Beginner’s Guide To Makeup: Affordable Products Every Newbie Needs
If you walk into a store like Sephora or Ulta and find yourself overwhelmed, it’s probably safe to say you’re quite new to the makeup world. For a beginner, makeup can be quite intimidating. Today there’s such a huge selection of products available which often makes newcomers feel pretty confused. “What does that do?” “What do I need this for?” The choice seems endless. And more often than not, you end up buying something that doesn’t work for you. Don’t worry. Makeup, like many things, involves trial and error and lots of practice, but a little help never hurts. We’ve compiled a “starter kit”
of affordable products that every newbie needs in order to fully dive into the realm of makeup.
A primer, while not always essential, will help your makeup go on smoothly and increase its longevity. When choosing a primer, it’s important to take your skin type into consideration. If you have dry skin, you’ll want something hydrating and brightening. If you have oily skin with larger pores, you’ll want something mattifying and blurring. For an excellent selection of primers, check out NYX Cosmetics’ range. They carry every kind, from high definition to pore filling to color correcting.
If you’re new to makeup, we suggest trying out a BB cream before jumping into the realm of foundation. BB, or “beauty balm,” creams provide light coverage and don’t feel heavy like some foundations can. Overall, they’re a good way to allow your skin to get used to the feel of wearing makeup. Like primers, knowing your skin type is important when choosing a BB cream. Maybelline offers two types of BB creams in their line: Dream Fresh, for normal/dry skin, and Dream Pure, for combination/oily/acne prone skin.
Even if you’re hesitant about using face makeup for the first time, a concealer is a must. Concealers contain more pigment than foundation and allow you to cover up things like dark circles or any unwanted blemishes. For a beginner, we suggest a liquid concealer, like NYX’s HD Concealer. For underneath your eyes, try a shade that’s on the pink side, which will help cancel out any blue tones, while for blemishes, try one with a yellow tint, which will help conceal redness.
Powder is essential for locking in your makeup and making sure it won’t slip and slide around all day. If you have drier skin, you can usually get away without it but if you have combo/oily skin, it’s a must. The most important part of your face to set is the T-zone—the forehead, nose and chin—as this is the area that produces the most oil. Use a loose translucent powder, like NYC’s Smooth Skin Loose Face Powder in Translucent. The loose formula is lighter than a pressed powder and the transparent shade ensures that the color of your face makeup won’t be affected.
Bronzer allows you to fake that sunkissed glow all year round. It’s best to apply a warm shade in the shape of a “3” along the sides of your face, hitting your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline. You can also use what’s left on your brush and dust it across the bridge of your nose. Cool toned bronzers can be used subtly in the hollows of your cheeks to create a natural-looking contour. It’s important to remember not to be too heavy handed and to choose a shade that isn’t too dark for your skin tone. We suggest NYX’s Matte Bronzer, as it comes in a variety of shades and its matte finish
creates a very natural look.
Blush, when applied correctly, adds life to your face. A good way to choose a perfect blush is to select a color that mimics your natural flush. If you want to experiment with different colors, you should keep your skin tone in mind. Peachier tones tend to look best on those with warm skin, while pink shades flatter those with cool skin. Apply blush starting towards the back of the cheek and work your way forward towards the apples. We love Milani’s Baked Blushes for their formula, pigmentation, and shade range.
It’s not a necessary step, but if you want to achieve that gorgeous, lit-from-within glow, you’ll need a highlighter. Highlighters are light, shimmery champagne or golden toned powders or liquids that are applied to the tops of the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the cupid’s bow and under the brow to attract light to the high points of the face. It’s important to remember that if you’re oily, a highlighter might make you look overly shiny, and if you have larger pores, it will emphasize them. For a subtle glow, check out e.l.f.’s Studio Baked Highlighters.
Your brows frame your face and can seriously change your entire look. That’s why it’s important to keep them looking groomed and neat. Brow pencils, like Maybelline’s Define-A-Brow Pencil, are great for filling in any gaps or sparse areas in a natural way. Make sure you’re choosing a shade that isn’t too dark and using short, light-handed strokes to mimic natural hairs.
If you have unruly brow hairs, a brow gel is what is going to lock them in place and keep them tamed all day. They come in clear or tinted shades, depending on your preference, and can be swiped over bare
or filled in brows for a quick fix. Check out NYX’s Control Freak Eyebrow Gel.
An eye primer is absolutely essential if you want your eyeshadows to look amazing all day. Eye primers prevent your eyeshadows from creasing, make them appear more vibrant, and help them go on smoothly and blend easily. Wet N’ Wild Fergie Collection’s Take On The Day Eye Primer is a a super cheap yet great option.
Neutral Eyeshadow Palette
Neutral eyeshadows are the most basic and essential thing a makeup beginner needs in their kit. A single eyeshadow palette, such as Maybelline’s The Nudes Palette, containing shades ranging from beiges to browns to blacks is the perfect way to start practicing and experimenting with eyeshadows. In general, light shades should be applied to your lid, inner corner and brow bone, medium shades to the crease, and dark shades to the outer corner and lower lashline.
Eyeliner pencils can intensify any look and really make your eyes pop. When just starting out, we think it’s important to have three different colored pencils: a black, a brown, and a nude. Black can be used to add a sultry and smokey effect to your look, brown is perfect for every day definition, and nude can be used in the waterline to really open up the eyes. Look for a formula that is creamy but still sets and lasts, like Rimmel London’s ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Kajals.
Liquid or Gel Eyeliner
A liquid or gel eyeliner will add drama and is the perfect product to take your look from day to night. The formula you choose is your preference, however they both take some practice. Gel eyeliners tend to have a softer look while liquids are usually bold and precise. Physicians Formula’s EyeBooster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner is a great liquid liner with an extremely fine tip that is perfect for easy and precise application, while Maybelline’s EyeStudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner has a creamy, pigmented formula that doesn’t budge.
If you could only buy one product on this whole list, mascara should be it. It’s amazing what long, full lashes can do for your face. Applying a few generous coats of mascara to both your upper and lower lashes will open up your eyes, brighten up your face and make you look more awake. The drugstore has some of the best mascara formulas out there, like Covergirl’s LashBlast Volume Mascara.
Lip liner is an excellent way to define your lips and increase the longevity of your lipstick. When starting out with makeup, we suggest purchasing a lip liner that’s similar to your
natural lip color. “Nude” pencils are the perfect way to add subtle definition, make the lips look more pouty, and create a base for your lipstick to go on top of. NYX’s Slim Lip Pencils have an excellent range of colors and a fantastic price.
For a makeup beginner, lipstick is probably the easiest way to really play with different colors and looks. There are a variety of finishes and shades to choose from, and really, it’s all about experimenting! Maybelline’s line has a ton of shades and finishes, from nudes to creamy mattes to sheers to vivids; you can’t go wrong with them!
Lip Gloss is a great way to add color and shine to your lips without dealing with the maintenance of a lipstick. The glossiness enhances your pout while the formula is perfect to throw in your bag and apply anywhere. We love NYX’s Butter Glosses because they’re super pigmented, not sticky, have great staying power and smell amazing.
Any makeup product can look good with the right tools. Having good quality brushes is essential if you really want your makeup to apply correctly and stay looking good throughout the day. While some products, like foundation and concealer, can be
applied with your fingers, sometimes a brush is absolutely necessary. You’re going to need a brush for powder, blush/bronzer, and a few for eyeshadow. Real Techniques produces amazing quality synthetic brushes that are a staple in even professional makeup artists’ kits.