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The Beginner's Makeup Kit

Updated on July 20, 2012

What a Beginner Needs: Not Bold, but Basic

If you are still a rookie with makeup or would like to start wearing it but do not know where to start, these few items are all that a beginner really needs: moisturizer, concealer, foundation, powder, eyeshadow (in neutral colors), eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lip color. Although these products will not create the bold and dramatic "stage-show" look, they will enhance and illuminate the natural features. These products need not be expensive, high-end brands, considering that beginners are only in their "experimenting" phase, but it is recommended that for foundation and powder, it is wiser to invest a little more so as to get the perfect match for the skin. Other than that, drugstore brands are great to start with.

The Clinique Moisture Surge

A gel moisturizer.
A gel moisturizer.


The condition of one's face plays a significant role in the quality of makeup's final results. A clean, moisturized face is a must-have before applying any makeup. Skin that is not washed before the application of makeup may produce excess oil, break out, or even cause the "made-up" face to appear as if it is still dirty. Dry skin may cause the makeup that is put on top of it to flake or peel away. Therefore, starting out with a clean and moist face is always suggested before putting any type of makeup on.

Try to use facial cleansers and moisturizers that are oil-free so as to keep the skin from becoming excessively oily. Gel moisturizers, unlike lotion, are light-feeling, clean-feeling, easy to spread on skin, and they lock in moisture for hours (considering that sweat or any other liquid does not wash off the product first).

Concealer Options

(Left) The Physician's Formula Concealer Palette. (Right) The Wet n' Wild Liquid Concealer Wand.
(Left) The Physician's Formula Concealer Palette. (Right) The Wet n' Wild Liquid Concealer Wand.


After washing and moisturizing the face, the next step is to conceal any blemishes that one may have. These include dark circles or bags in the "under-eye" area (if there are any), redness, acne, etc. Concealer is usually found in a little tube or in a palette with multiple color options for all your coverage needs. "Under-eye" concealer should be slightly (about one shade) lighter than the actual skin color for the purpose of combating dark circles. Concealer brushes are not necessary; using one's fingers are an acceptable alternative as long as the hands are clean. In addition, concealer does not need to be applied to the entire face, but rather, only on those spots that need coverage.

Maybelline New York Foundations

(Left) The Fit Me Liquid Foundation. (Right) The Mineral Power Powder Foundation.
(Left) The Fit Me Liquid Foundation. (Right) The Mineral Power Powder Foundation.


For those who have clear skin, foundation may not be a necessity. However, foundation does help to even out the skin and is the "foundation" for the application of many other makeup products to follow. Foundation can be found in liquid, mousse, or powder form. Liquid and mousse textures generally allow for better coverage, but may crease at smile and frown lines after a while. Powder textures offer a more natural finish than liquid and mousse, but do not offer quite as much coverage. Liquid foundation can be applied using fingers, but a powder foundation needs to be applied with a brush. Depending on the brand or type, the powder foundation may or may not come with its own brush.

It is important that the color of the foundation matches quite perfectly with one's skin color, or it will be extremely noticeable that makeup is being worn. Getting the color correct right down to the "undertone" will make one appear as if the foundation just blends in with the skin. Many people may have a tan "overtone," but their "undertones" may vary from pink to yellow or orange.

It is also important to find the right thickness/heaviness for oneself, and this all depends on how much makeup one can wear and still feel comfortable. Certain foundations are thicker in texture compared to others whereas some feel quite light; whichever one is best depends on the user and what they can handle. Hence, it is advised that spending a little more on foundation and researching beforehand will be greatly appreciated when the results pay off.

The Maybelline New York Oil-Control Loose Powder.
The Maybelline New York Oil-Control Loose Powder.


Powder is generally the product that sets the face. After applying concealer and foundation, powder helps to keep the concealer and foundation from melting off the skin, especially if liquid foundation was used. Powder, like foundation, comes in various levels of thickness as well. For example, pressed powder is very thick and heavy on the skin because it is literally "pressed" together to help set the face. Loose powder, on the other hand, is very lightweight and the particles are more distant from each other. Pressed powder may help set the face better, but loose powder looks more natural. The kind that should be bought, again, depends on what the consumer would feel most comfortable with. Although a brush is not necessary, powder looks most natural when applied with a brush rather than a powder puff.

Eyeshadow (Neutral Colors)

For beginners who wish to experiment with blending eyeshadow colors, neutral colors are the safest way to go. Such "neutral colors" refer to flesh or skin colors such as: white, pearl, peach, cream, sand, tan, beige, browns, etc. These are considered safe colors to work with because they are fairly close to the natural skin color and do not stand out like blues, greens, or purples. Therefore, if a mistake is made, it will hardly be noticeable. Another benefit of purchasing a neutral colors palette is that these colors can be worn on a daily basis: to school, to work, to interviews, etc. A beginner does not need a massive palette to start out with. A trio, quad, or any palette containing up to 12 colors will suffice.

* Unfortunately, I cannot upload a picture of what a neutral colors palette looks like because I cannot seem to find mine at the moment. My apologies.

Gel Liner

The Maybelline New York Eyestudio Gel Liner in black.
The Maybelline New York Eyestudio Gel Liner in black.


Eyeliners come in a wide variety of colors, textures, and forms. Based on your natural hair color, the eyeliner color that would look best is one that is just a couple shades darker than your hair color. For example, blondes may use brown, brunettes may use a dark brown, and those with black hair may use the blackest shade. As for textures and forms, there is a range from pencil to liquid, gel, cream, marker, etc. For beginners, the easiest to control is pencil eyeliner. However, pencil eyeliner drowns quite easily and will often do so in a matter of merely an hour. Liquid eyeliner gives very nice, clean lines but is very hard to control. Therefore, for rookies, a cream eyeliner in the form of a retractable pencil or a gel eyeliner (that often comes with its own brush) is highly recommended. They are fairly easy to use and are of good quality.

To use, the eyeliner must be applied as close to the eyelash line as possible for a most natural look. For a more dramatic effect, the eyeliner can be worn thicker or can be winged out at the ends. Wearing eyeliner on the bottom lash line (the waterline) is optional. Not everyone likes the way they look with eyeliner on both the top and bottom lash lines.

The e.l.f. Eyelash Curler
The e.l.f. Eyelash Curler
(Left) The Maybelline Falsies Flared Mascara. (Right) The ALMAY One Coat Dial UP Mascara.
(Left) The Maybelline Falsies Flared Mascara. (Right) The ALMAY One Coat Dial UP Mascara.

Mascara & Eyelash Curler (Optional)

Mascara comes in many different colors, and each have a special use as well. For example, some mascara formulas are loaded with proteins and vitamins to help grow lashes. Some specialize in lengthening the lashes; some specialize in curling the lashes; some specialize in defining the lashes; and some specialize in adding volume to the lashes.

Like eyeliner, the mascara color that would look best on a person is one that is only a couple shades darker than their hair color. Blondes should use a brown color. Brunettes should use a dark brown or brown-black color, and those with black hair should use the blackest shade.

Depending on what your eyelash type is, or what they need, picking the right type of mascara can do wonders to make the eyes stand out. Those who already have curly lashes may not need to use a curling mascara but, perhaps, a defining mascara or a volume mascara instead.

In addition, those who do not have curly lashes should probably invest in an eyelash curler. Otherwise, after about a half hour to an hour, the mascara may begin to run off the lashes and onto the "under-eye" area. Thus, purchasing an eyelash curler is optional.

Blush Examples

(Left) The NYC Blushable Creme Stick. (Right) The Maybelline Mineral Power Blush.
(Left) The NYC Blushable Creme Stick. (Right) The Maybelline Mineral Power Blush.


Blush adds a flush of color to the cheekbones. Depending on your skin color, choosing the right shade of blush can add just the right amount of enhancement to the cheeks. Face structure is also important as well. Those with a rather large face or cheek complexion should apply blush across the cheek bones (following the upward direction of the bones) to slim down the face. Those with a slimmer face should apply blush only to the apples of the cheeks to make the shape of the face appear larger.

Blush also comes in different textures. The two examples in the photo are a cream blush and a powder blush. Creamy blushes glide on easily to the cheeks but must be blended well so the face does not appear as if it was just streaked with pink. Powder blush looks more natural but must be applied with a brush. However, many blush products these days often come with their own little brush, so that is not a big worry.

Lip Color Examples

(Left) The Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze. (Right) The Wet n' Wild Glassy Gloss.
(Left) The Revlon Colorstay Mineral Lipglaze. (Right) The Wet n' Wild Glassy Gloss.

Lip Color

Adding just a hint of color to the lips can illuminate the face even more. For starters, a tinted lip balm or a lip gloss color is generally easy to wear. Lip sticks may give off more color than is wanted or expected from a person who is new to makeup. Tinted lip balms allow for the lips to be moisturized and treated while, at the same time, a subtle flush of color is added to brighten up the lips a bit. Lip gloss can be worn with a little shimmer in it or none at all, depending on a person's preference or the occasion at hand. Colors that are close to the natural lip color are most easily worn and can be worn on a daily basis. Lip gloss can even be applied after chap stick or lip balm has been applied, and it can help seal in the moisture for a longer period of time.


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    • profile image

      A person who is actually a MUA pt.2 

      6 months ago

      I forgot to add. The smaller face and the larger face with the blush does not apply. Blush is not contour, it cannot change the shape of your face. Blush must always be worn on the apples of the cheeks.

    • profile image

      Someone who is actually a MUA 

      6 months ago

      Okay. Here is the tea. I don't want to be rude, but I just want to give you some helpful comments. First of all, before apply any face makeup such as foundation and concealer, you must use a face primer. A face primer helps the makeup goes on smoother and gives you more of an airbrushed finish due to it filling in your pores. Secondly, concealer does not go on before foundation because the foundation will cover up the concealer, so what is the point of that? There is an exception of concealer going on before foundation and that is color-correcting concealer. The colorful concealer wheel you have is a color-correcting one. For example, the green concealer cancels out the redness on your face, the lavender one brightens your face, white highlights your face, and the orange conceals the darkness such as your under eyes. Thirdly, the insight about pressed power and loose power isn't correct. Although one is pressed, it is not made to be pressed to set the face. That does not make sense. The powder is just made that way. It all depends on the amount you use. Loose powder can be very messy due to it kicking up even more powder when applied to the face (I got it everywhere on my black choir dress once). Therefore, pressed powder is easier to used if you are a beginner. Blush does not go on the cheekbones, but the apples of your cheek and that is above your cheekbones.

      Best wishes.


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