In the world of makeup, there is so much competition out there and if you don’t keep up on new releases, you could blink your eyes and your makeup may be outdated. So, I can imagine that if you are just starting out with makeup, it could prove to be a bit daunting – especially if you don’t have the extra funds to try all the high-end products. Makeup is expensive. When I first wanted to explore with makeup, I had no idea where to start.
This list is what I would recommend to myself, if I was looking back to those first makeup bags I was trying to fill.
Primer was something that I started with high-end products, so I don’t have any solid thoughts yet on drugstore brands. I’ve only tried the Baby Skin primer once, but it kind of reminded me of Smashbox – it has a gel-like consistency and is meant to fill and minimize the appearance of your pores.
Becca First Light Primer has more of a moisturizer feel to it and it gives your skin a beautiful glow. It is a great prep and really sets the stage for the rest of your makeup.
Too Faced wasn’t my first high-end foundation, but it is definitely my ongoing favourite. You guys know how fair my skin got over the winter and I wasn’t able to use it. However, summer is officially here and so is my normal skin colour. This makes me happy because I’ve been exclusively using the Born This Way foundation every day. I just simply love it. It’s easy to apply, blends seamlessly and gives a flawless finish – even if you have no idea how to apply it.
Tarte Shape Tape
Tarte Shape Tape is a staple for me. It’s expensive, but it has lasted me a while, so I’m ok with that. I’ve tried other concealers and this just seems to be the easiest to use – which is absolutely great for beginners. It’s also full-coverage, so it is great if your eyes tend to give away your stress or sleeping habits.
On a side note, I’m super stoked because Too Faced just announced that they will soon be releasing the Born This Way Multi Use Sculpting Concealer! From all the videos I’ve watched, it seems to be comparable to Tarte Shape Tape.
Even if you’re just starting out with makeup, it is so important to set your concealer. If you don’t set it, your under-eyes will crease in all the wrong ways (although I’m pretty sure any way is the wrong way).
I know this product is actually a bronzer, but I saw that Kelly Strack uses this to set under her eyes and so I figured I would try it. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this one.
NYX is such a great brand to start out with because they really offer quality products at great price points. I used the Wonderstick for about a year before I even thought about trying any other contour. This stick is easy to travel with as well.
I really wanted to give you a drugstore blush, but these Tarte blushes are stunning. They blend easily and the colour lasts all day long. So, it’s expensive for starting out, but worth it since you won’t be using a ton of it.
This is actually a recent purchase for me, but I loved it enough to put it in this post. The price is great and you get 3 highlighters in it. The highlighters are crazy pigmented so you don’t need a lot of it. It’s simply an all around great highlighter – starter or otherwise.
NYX Micro Brow Pencil
The very first brow product I used was Anastasia Brow Wiz. I only had a small sample size pencil, so it didn’t last forever. I needed something similar, but I didn’t want to splurge when I didn’t even know the first thing about brows.
All that to say, this NYX brow pencil is comparable and the price point is great for any budget.
Mascara is one of those items that I have a hard time splurging on because there are so many great drugstore brands out there. Also, you should be replacing your mascara at least every 3 months, so I have a hard time throwing out a product that cost me 3x more
Nude lipsticks are great to start out with. I really found that the NYX Lip Lingerie lippies were great before I really knew what colours to wear. Once I was comfortable putting on liquid lipstick, I started buying some high-end lipsticks. Also, NYC has some great lipsticks and they are so inexpensive!
I know I left out products to do eyeshadow/liner, but when you’re first starting out, you don’t necessarily know how to do your eyes. So, for me it was an add-on, not a basic.
Also, as far as brushes go, personal preference is key. I got my set from Zulily and I love them. For foundation, I prefer applying it with a damp beauty sponge (I got mine at Costco).
I would suggest that if you want to go right in and buy high-end makeup, go to your local Sephora and ask for samples – they’re free. Also, read reviews on products and watch some YouTube reviews.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any of the products I’ve mentioned, I’d love to know if they worked for you.