The Best Makeup Products for Beginners and How to Use Them
September 13, 2021
With our past struggles that came with learning how to apply makeup in mind, we feel like we have a personal obligation to help beginners build out their makeup bags. Ahead, we’re sharing must-have products for newbies, including affordable and budget-friendly recs in the exact order you should apply them. If only we 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 how-to guide.
Foundation & Then Concealer
The next step after applying your primer is foundation. For beginners, we recommend using the YSL Beauty NU Bare Look Tint for natural-looking coverage that can also be built up to be full coverage. Use the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Complexion Perfector Brush #7 (investing in a couple good brushes is another makeup 101 tip) to apply the tint with the large end. After applying your foundation, 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 Maybelline New York Cheek Heat Gel-Cream Blush 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 NYX Professional Makeup Born To Glow Icy Highlighter Duo in High Key Flex.
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 gel-like formula like the Lancôme Le Stylo Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner before trying a liquid eyeliner.
After applying your shadow and eyeliner, finish off your eye makeup look with mascara. For a classic look, pair the L'Oréal Paris Voluminous Original 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 Lash Sensational Sky High 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 Valentino Beauty Russo Refillable Lipstick in 22R Rosso Valentino if you’re looking for a statement-making red or the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Original Lipstick for something more subdued.
Finish your makeup look by spritzing on a setting spray like the Dermablend Lock and Last Water-Resistant Setting Spray to help your makeup stay put all day.