The ONLY 6 Basic Makeup Essentials You Need
Professional makeup artist tips and tricks
These six products are enough to help you create a polished and put-together face every day. Even the most seasoned beauty lovers likely have some iteration of these six key cosmetics in their makeup kits.
A good makeup base is essential to refining the appearance of your skin. Foundation, regardless of formula, is meant to even out your skin tone and sheer out any discoloration or blemishes you wish to hide.3
Expect a little trial and error when selecting the best finish or the perfect shade. Luckily, there are tons of foundation reviews and online shade selectors to check out.
Finding The Right Fit
Looking at your own bare face closely is the secret to finding the perfect makeup base. Take note of any skin problems you’d like to address and think about your lifestyle. Do you have sensitive skin that needs a little more TLC or dull skin that could use a little extra glow? Do you stay indoors more or do you often sweat it out outdoors?
Here are some key factors to consider when shopping around for the right foundation:
Skin type: Oily, dry, combination, or sensitive? Your skin type can help determine if you should choose a more lightweight powder-type base or opt for a liquid or cream formula. Consider matte foundations (to help stave off oiliness) or hydrating, glow-giving ones (to help combat dull or dry skin).
Coverage: If you want a natural look, sheer foundations might be your best bet. If you’re looking to cover up more than you’d like to show, consider more pigmented formulas.
Lifestyle: The weather could play a part on how well your foundation formula works for you. For example, powder bases work best in drier weather.4
When in doubt, get a sample of an oil-free, liquid foundation in the best shade to match your skin. It should be easy to apply and buildable — hopefully making foundation a little more foolproof for a beginner.5
Similar to foundation, a good concealer helps hide any imperfections and give your skin a boost. Concealers may help reduce the appearance of dark circles or unsightly marks on your face.
Choosing A Concealer
If you’re never used a concealer before, be aware that different formulas and finishes offer different benefits or effects. Here’s a basic primer to guide you in selecting the one you may be looking for:
Liquid concealer (usually in a tube, with an applicator): More lightweight and blendable, but pigmented enough to spot-conceal blemishes and go over wrinkled or crepey skin more smoothly.
Cream concealer: Good for balancing out redness or discoloration on larger areas of the face. It’s best applied out of the pot or by using a stick or a sponge.
Brightening concealer (either in cream or liquid): Formulated with more light-catching pigments, this concealer may help hide the appearance of dark circles underneath the eye area.6
Now that you’ve prepped your skin with foundation and concealer, it’s time to focus on playing up your features. Eyeshadow is a good way to accentuate your natural eye shape. Invest in a basic eyeshadow palette with the right mix of light and dark shades. Neutral shadow shades really help open up and brighten the eyes; adding a touch of medium-to-darker hues may help add definition.7
Like most makeup products, eyeshadow comes in a variety of finishes and formulas. Makeup beginners might want to select a cream or powder eyeshadow formula. Both are easy to swipe on and blend with either your fingers or a brush.8
Mascara can complete your eye makeup look, no matter how simple. Applying a swipe or two of a good mascara on your curled lashes can help add length, volume, and definition — all good things you want to aim for if you want to look bright-eyed.9
Even if you aren’t wearing any eye makeup, defining your eyes with a coat of mascara is an easy way to look more put-together.
No matter the season, a pop of blush is essential to giving your face that healthy and youthful glow.10 Whether you’re more comfortable blending a cream blush on with your fingers or swiping a pigmented powder on with a fluffy brush, a little color can go a long way. After all, that rosy flush never goes out of style — all you need is a flattering blush shade you can wear all year round (save the bronzer for the summer or for when you’ve gotten your bearings beauty-wise).
What colors flatter the most? Fairer skin tones benefit the best from a sheer pink, peach, or light rose. Medium skin tones should go for deeper pinks and mauves, while olive skin tones look great with dusty or tawny pinks. Darker skin tones can rock deep crimson or berry shades.11
6. Lipstick or Lipgloss
A swipe of lipstick is one of the easiest ways to look more polished, so your beginner makeup kit shouldn’t be without at least one pretty shade that helps light up your smile. If you’re feeling daunted by the deep reds many makeup mavens seem to rock effortlessly, you can ease into lip color with lightweight lipgloss or tinted balm.
Feeling more confident about lipstick and gloss? Try investing in a basic nude color that adds a little touch of color. A light pink, mauve, or rose shade can be universally flattering and add a little more warmth to your features.13
Makeup Tips: Professional makeup artist tips and tricks
Ready to shop for your basic makeup essentials? Here are some simple tips to keep in mind.
Remember that there’s always something great at every price point. Determine your budget, research brands and products that fit it, and work from there. There’s bound to be a brand or two that’ll suit both your budget and beauty philosophy.14
Don’t forget about tools. Have a small selection of brushes and or sponges for makeup application, and take the time to practice with them. A deft hand is a must when it comes to makeup, and you’ll need the best tools at your disposal. Consider a powder brush, a bush brush, a spoolie for fixing brows, and even a pair of tweezers.15
Try not to mix textures. If you choose a cream foundation, stick with a cream blush.16
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have a fully decked-out makeup kit full of the best basics, take time to patiently practice. This way, you’ll learn to perfect the ideal techniques to apply your products. Read trusted and reliable sources for tips, arm yourself with a good makeup remover for the inevitable mishaps, and enjoy your foray into mastering makeup.