Rachel Jacoby Zoldan Jul 28, 2017

Build the perfect makeup kit from scratch, with makeup-artist favorites for your lips, face, and eyes with this must-have guide.

Having a makeup artist-worthy collection of beauty products is no small feat—after all, they are artists. But you can build your own makeup kit that would make any makeup artist envious with our complete guide to everything you could possibly want or need for your face, eyes, and lips.



Prep Mist

Make sure your freshly cleansed and moisturized face is prepped for makeup application with a few spritzes of a hydrating face mist, which will help reactivate your skin-care products and give thirsty skin a boost for a more even application of face makeup.

Product Recommendations: Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water, Urban Decay Quick Fix Hydra-Charged Complexion Prep Priming Spray

Face Primer

To even further smooth skin’s canvas and add some additional benefits (like a hint of radiance, a blur-cream technology or a high-dose of pollution-proof SPF) with a primer. The right formulas will minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and imperfections. Make sure to let your primer sit for a few minutes before moving on to the rest of your makeup.

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Paris Visible Lift Radiance Booster Primer, NYX Pro Makeup #NoFilter Blurring Primer

Color Corrector(s)

Applied before foundation, these pastel-like liquids and creams can hide dark spots and hyperpigmentation, conceal redness, and minimize the appearance of even the latest-of-nights undereye circles. Palettes are often your best choice since you’ll have a bevy of shades at your disposal, but if you have one specific need, such as correcting the redness around the base of your nose, pick up a solo-hued formula in yellow or green in this case.

Product Recommendations: Maybelline New York Camo Master Camo Color Correcting Palette, Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Neutralizers


As the name would suggest, foundation is the base of all makeup. Available in a variety of formulas, including sheer liquids, cushion compacts and full-cover formulas, the right foundation for you is an intensely personal decision based on your own complexion’s needs and, of course, your own wallet.

Product Recommendations: Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation SPF 25, NYX Pro Makeup Total Control Drop Foundation

Concealer - Face

Blemishes and dark spots can still peek through even the fullest coverage foundations. In cases like those, look for a concealer that matches your foundation (and yes, ideally your skin tone) exactly.

Product Recommendations: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Teint Correcting Pens, It Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakout Concealer (available in July)

Concealer - Under-eye

But when you’re looking to conceal bags, puffiness, or a long night out, reach for a concealer up to two shades lighter than your skin tone, which will brighten up your eyes without making you look like a panda. Some under-eye formulas are specifically infused with illuminating particles to help highlight the area without actually lightening it.

Product Recommendations: It Cosmetics Under Eye Concealing Pot (available in July), Maybelline New York Dreamy Creamy Brightening Concealer


Whether you’re into a mere pop of color on the apples of cheeks or into the revived 1980s trend of full-on draping, blush is one of those desert-island beauty products: Use just a bit and you’ll look far more refreshed and awake with a few swipes of pink or coral powder. You can also customize your own blush color by playing with a cheek palette, layering hues for your perfect amount of color payoff and sparkle.

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Paints Blush Kit, Urban Decay Naked Flushed


Too much bronzer can definitely be a bad thing — especially when applied to the entire face, as opposed to brushed on in more strategic, where-the-sun-actually-hits-your-face spots — but when you use it correctly, you’ll end up looking like you spent a day at the beach with just the right amount of SPF.

Product Recommendations: Becca Sunlit Bronzer, Giorgio Armani Beauty Limited-Edition Sunrise Face Palette


Call it highlighting, illuminating, or strobing - whichever you choose, there are more liquids and powders than ever dedicated to showing off the your bone structure. Focus illuminator on the high points of your face: The tops of cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, and along the brow bones.

Product Recommendations: Becca Light Chaser Highlighter, Yves Saint Laurent Eclat Touche Eclat Glow Shot Highlighter

Contour Product

A little bit of contour can go a long way, so if you’re going to sculpt definition, make sure to use a light hand. Try a chubby stick or pencil, and work from the inside of your face out along hollows of cheeks, jawbone and forehead. Buff away the line using circular motions with a blending brush or sponge.

Product Recommendations: NYX Pro Makeup Contour Pro Singles, Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Contour V-Shape Duo Stick 

Loose Powder

After applying foundation and concealer, but before working on the rest of your face, make sure to set things in place (especially during the warmer months) with a finely-milled loose powder. When applied with a fluffy, oversized brush, not only will it help set your foundation for the rest of your face makeup application, it’ll keep that foundation and concealer in place all. Day. Long.

Production Recommendations: It Cosmetics CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder Illumination (available in July), Lancôme Absolue Powder

Setting Spray

If primers were the greatest invention ever, consider the setting spray a double down on it. While many face mists can do the job of priming, and refreshing, those designed specifically to lock makeup in place do exactly just that. Hold the bottle about eight to 12 inches from your face—making sure to test the spritzer first—and pump several times until your face is lightly misted. (Hot tip: If you’ve already styled your hair, make sure to put on a bath headband to avoid getting tacky setting spray in your strands.)

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray, Armani Prima Skin Refreshing Makeup Fix



Eyeshadow Primer

Just as foundation needs a smooth canvas from primer to look its best, the same applies for eye shadow. (See what we did there?!) Especially when you’re looking for the color payoff to be similar or identical to what you see when it’s in the packaging. If you think about it, each individual’s skin tone is different, and therefore, color payoff will be different. But by using an eyeshadow primer, you’re creating an even base for pigment, while also extending its staying power. Both of these options are available in multiple hues to give you the exact final look, you’re, well, looking for.

Product Recommendations: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Maybelline New York Master Prime Long-Lasting Eye Shadow Base

Powder Shadow

The basic essential of all eye products, eyeshadow can open, line, define, highlight, and smoke lids with a single hue. And while you may want to stock up on every shade of the rainbow, start with a few carefully curated ones: Go for a neutral, a shimmer, a darker matte to line and shade, and a wildcard color if you like to get crazy.

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Eyeshadow Monos, Urban Decay Single Eyeshadows

Shadow Palette

You can also get everything in one fell swoop with the many different shadow palettes offered now. Some are more neutral in tone, while others offer a slew of bright, metallic, or glittering pigments that are literally a party in cool packaging. There are more options now than ever to find the perfect slew of shadows that work for your eye color, complexion, and needs.

Product Recommendations: Maybelline New York 24K Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

Eyeliner - Pencil

To make your eyes pop, all you really need is a bit of liner along the rim of upper lashes. Pencil liners work great for this as you can use the sharpened tip to dot in between your lashes, precisely rim your water lines, and even to create a subtle smoke (by swiping at the line with your finger). Having one in brown and black is a must; navy, peach or white can help brighten the whites of eyes; and a wild card, like bright violet.

Product Recommendations: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, It Cosmetics Superhero Liner (available in July)

Eyeliner - Liquid

If you’re creating a more dramatic look, like a precise cat eye, opt for a liquid liner, as the inky formula and felt-tipped ends will give you perfectly flicked wings. If you’re going to layer with shadow, give the liquid a few minutes to dry down before you start dusting on a powder or painting on a liquid shadow.

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Liners, Giorgio Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Proliner


Mascara is one of those beauty products that many won’t leave the house without. And while you could tint your lashes at a salon, the color, length and/or volume that the right mascara can provide is unparalleled.

Product Recommendations: Maybelline New York The Colossal Big Shot Mascara, La Roche-Posay Respectissime Waterproof Mascara

Lash Curler

Used before applying mascara, a lash curler will instantly lift and curl lashes, opening up eyes and giving you an instantly more youthful appearance. Just take heed to not pinch to hard on the gentle hairs!

Product Recommendations: Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

Brow Pencil/Powder/Pomade

Brows help frame your entire face, so whether yours need a bit of filling in or just shaping and  definition, having a brow product on hand is essential for keeping them looking groomed and full.

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer, Maybelline New York Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer 


Lip Balm

Look for a formula with emollients like vitamin E , shea butter, and cocoa butter, which help to hydrate and protect lips throughout the day, and prevent aging.

Product Recommendations: Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment, NYX Pro Makeup #thisiseverything Lip Loving Balm

Tinted Balm

Get the same bonus of a balm—plus a hint of color—with these brilliant combo products. While the It Cosmetics Rose Balm is offered in one universally flattering hue, the YSL is offered in 15 different colors which vary in both shade family and depth.

Product Recommendations: It Cosmetics Je Na Se Quois in Rose, Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Tint-in-Balm

Lip Liner

Having a lip pencil that’s the color of your lips, nude or clear is an essential: It’ll keep any color from feathering outside of the lip line while providing an even base for lipstick, regardless of formulation.

Product Recommendations: Lancôme Le Lip Liner (available in July), Maybelline New York Color Sensation Shaping Lip Liner

Matte Lipstick

These lipsticks are devoid of shine and have a velvet-like flat finish. Look for ones with vitamin E and aloe to help boost hydration so lips don’t feel dry..

Product Recommendations: NYX Pro Makeup Soft Matte Lipstick, L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Matte Lipstick

Cream or Satin Lipstick

While different in formulation (creams are largely made from waxes while satins tend to be oil-based), both moisturize and nourish lips. Satins are sheerer and require more coats, while creams offer more pigment and full coverage. 

Product Recommendations: Urban Decay Naked Heat Vice Lipstick, Giorgio Armani Beauty Rouge D’Armani Lipstick

Liquid Lipstick

Liquid lipstick is basically the sexiest combination of every single lip product, rolled into one: It contains the pigment of a lipstick, a high-gloss or super-matte finish, and require just one coat. The doe foot-shaped applicator gives you the same amount of precision you’d have with a lip pencil, too.

Product Recommendations: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Lip Paints, Lancôme Matte Shakers

Lip Gloss

Think of gloss as a finishing step, or, alternatively, a sheerer, more summery (and often more sparkly) way of wearing lip color. With a glassy finish, lip gloss is great for drawing eyes to already decorated lips, especially when dotted only in the center of the mouth for a super-plumping effect.

Product Recommendations: Becca Liquid Crystal Glow Gloss, Urban Decay Vice Special Effects Long-Lasting Water-Resistant Topcoat 



About the Author:

Let's Stay in Touch

Get our top stories straight to your inbox!