The Best Makeup Products for Beginners — And the Order You Should Use Them In
September 03, 2020
When I was still learning how to do my makeup, there was absolutely no method to my madness. My pink, plastic makeup case was full of glittery, sticky products. I definitely didn’t own a concealer and on one occasion, I even tried to cover my blemishes with matte eyeshadow — yikes.
With my past struggles in mind, it makes me feel like I have a personal obligation to help makeup beginners build out their makeup bags. Here, I’m sharing must-have products, including affordable and budget-friendly recs in the exact order you should apply them. If only I had known this stuff way back when!
Primer is the first step in your makeup routine. It helps fill in lines and smooth out your skin’s texture prior to applying your foundation. We personally recommend the Urban Decay All Nighter Primer for beginners, as it’s ideal for all skin types and everyday use. For application tips, check out our primer how-to guide.
Foundation & Then Concealer
The next step after applying your primer is foundation. For beginners, we recommend using the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream for natural-looking coverage that can also be built up to be full coverage. Use the brand’s Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfector Brush #7 to apply the cream with the large end. After applying your CC cream, use the smaller end to apply concealer like the NYX Professional Makeup Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Contour Concealer on your under-eye area as well as on any blemishes or imperfections.
To make life easier, invest in a makeup brush starter kit so that you have all of the tools you need at your fingertips. A personal favorite is the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Must-Haves Set, but if you’d like more brushes, check out the large array of affordable brush sets from BH Cosmetics.
Bronze, Blush and Highlighter
Creamy blush formulas are easy to apply. We recommend starting your collection off with the NYX Professional Makeup Sweet Cheeks Lip and Cheek Tint or the Tower 28 BeachPlease Luminous Tint in Magic Hour. For bronzer, try a golden-hued formula like the Kosas The Sun Show Bronzer. For highlight, we recommend the Maybelline Masterchrome Jelly Highlighter in Metallic Rose.
It’s important to do your eyebrows before your eye makeup — this will help guide the rest of your makeup look. Filling in your brows is easy with the L’Oréal Paris Micro Ink Brow Pen, which comes in five versatile shades.
Your eyeshadow preferences may differ based on your eye color or eye shape. Consider picking up a palette with a bunch of different color options for day and night like the NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Utopia Palette.
Apply eyeliner after your eyeshadow and when your lashes are still bare. If you want a cat-eye look, we recommend starting with a liquid liner like the L’Oréal Paris Signature Matte Ink Liner or the NYX Professional Liquid Matte Liner. If you want to line your waterline, try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Le Liner Signature.
After applying your shadow and eyeliner, finish off your eye makeup look with mascara. For a classic look, pair the L’Oréal Paris Bambi Noir Eye Mascara with the Urban Decay Lash Freak for a volumized, lengthened look. If you want to achieve both in one shot, try the Maybelline New York The Falsies Lash Lift Mascara.
Depending on your style and preferences, the lip products you use will vary. Our personal recommendations for lip products that deserve a place in your makeup bag are the L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Gold Addiction Lipstick in Ginger Spice and the Maybelline Super Stay Matte Ink in Chai Genius.
Finish your makeup look by spritzing on a setting spray like the Maybelline New York Facestudio Lasting Fix Matte Setting Spray to help your makeup stay put all day.