Makeup Essentials Checklist
Whether you’re a makeup novice or have been experimenting with cosmetics for years, it’s crucial to have a collection with makeup essentials that will allow you to create a go-to everyday look. After acquiring the makeup basics, it is that much easier to add playful or trendy makeup products to your collection and incorporate them into your beauty looks.
Makeup Essentials – Face:
1. Face Primer – Face primers’ exact effects on your skin and makeup can vary, but overall, their main purpose is to keep your skin looking smooth and your makeup looking fresh all day long.
Regardless of your skin type, there is a primer for you, whether you’re looking for a formula to control oil and/or acne, moisturize, smooth out uneven texture, color correct, etc.
2. Foundation – Foundation is probably the hardest part of your makeup routine to get right, as you not only have to consider the type of coverage you want (i.e. sheer/natural, medium, or full), but also your skin type and undertones.
3. BB Cream – It is a great option if you’re looking for something that has skincare benefits such as moisturizing or priming (some BB creams have primer built in).
In addition, if you are new to the makeup world, a good BB cream is an even better place to start than foundation, as it feels lighter on the skin, is hard to overdo, and can be applied with your fingers.
4. Concealer – If you have acne, dark circles, or any kind of discoloration, concealer is a must-have.
Concealers come in full-coverage and sheerer-coverage formulations, and which one you should choose depends on how much you’re trying to cover up.
When choosing a concealer for acne and/or discoloration, find a shade that is as close as possible to your foundation/BB cream shade for the most natural look.
Dark circles are a bit more complicated, since there is so much variation in their shades and how they look on different skin tones, but in general, it’s a good idea to use a peach or pink-toned concealer to cover them up.
5. Blush – Blush is especially necessary if you’re wearing a foundation with more opaque coverage, which can sometimes leave your complexion looking a little bit flat.
Blush comes in powder, gel, and cream formulations, with powder being the most popular. Recently, though, cream and gel blush have become very popular as well.
When choosing a blush color, pick something that’ll give you a natural flush. Regardless of your skintone, be careful not to go too bright or to use too heavy a hand when applying, as these things can make you look clownish.
In general, pink and peach tones work best on fair-to-medium skin, while mauve, purple, and maroon shades work best on darker skin tones.
6. Highlighter – Like many other beauty products, highlighter comes in various different forms: powder, cream, liquid, stick, and powder/cream hybrid. Each of these forms has its own unique benefits, but for beginners I recommend either powder or stick, as they are the easiest to work with.
You can even multi-task and use your highlighter as eyeshadow!
Lastly, much like finding the perfect shade of foundation, finding the right shade of highlighter depends on your specific skin tone and undertones, so it’s a good idea to test out different colors in person if possible.
7. Bronzer – if you are trying to get a sun-kissed look, using the right shade of bronzer is essential.
As for matte vs. shimmery, that depends on the rest of your look: If all the other products you’re using on your face are matte and you want to add some radiance, go for something with a bit of sparkle. But, if you’re already using other shimmery products, stick with a matte formula to avoid shine overload.
8. Setting Spray/Powder – Much like face primer, setting spray/powder works to keep your makeup in place all day.
There are different formulations depending on what type of finish you’re after (e.g. matte, radiant, etc.) and what skin care benefits, if any, you would like your setting spray/powder to have (e.g. moisturizing, oil-absorbing, etc.). If you want your makeup to last, though, don’t skip this step!
Makeup Essentials – Eyes:
9. Eye Primer – A good eye primer should not only prevent your eye makeup from sliding off, fading, and creasing, but should also be in a formulation that keeps colors looking true to how they’re supposed to all day long.
Keep in mind that eye primers aren’t just for those with oily skin–there are many formulations on the market with moisturizing, color-correcting, and anti-aging benefits.
10. Eyeshadow – Along with highlighter, eyeshadow comes in so many different colors and finishes, and can be used in so many different ways!
11. Mascara – Mascara has a magical way of pulling your eye look together, and comes in countless different formulas that lengthen, thicken, and curl your eyelashes.
Black is fine for most people, but if you have very light-colored lashes, you may want to look into getting a brown mascara instead for a more natural look.
12. Eyeliner – Eyeliner, like mascara, can also add the little extra something needed to really make your eye look pack a punch.
While black eyeliner is often considered a staple, consider giving brown or dark gray a try if you have lighter skin.
Finally, if you want to try liquid eyeliner but are afraid of messing up, I would recommend first lining your eyes using a similarly-colored eyeshadow or pencil liner, and then going over this line with the liquid liner.
13. Eyebrow Product – Eyebrow products come in various formulations, including pencil, powder, mascara, pomade, wax, and gel, and which one you choose will depend on your needs.
Whether you’re going for a natural look or are going for something a little more dramatic, be sure to use a light hand and slowly build up intensity to avoid the artificial, drawn-on look.
Makeup Essentials – Lips:
14. Lip Gloss – Use lip gloss when you’re in a rush, don’t have access to a mirror (it’s hard to mess up), or when the rest of your look is more dramatic and calls for a subtler lip.
15. Lipstick – You can’t deny that lipstick is having a major moment right now: Whether you go for a liquid or bullet formula; a glossy, satin, or matte finish, there is definitely a lipstick out there that’ll meet your needs!
Experiment with a glossy formula or a lip balm for a softer look, or a matte formula for a more glamorous look.
Makeup Essentials – Tools:
16. Brushes – Brushes to look for include a face brush (for applying foundation), a smaller, fluffy angled brush (for applying blush and/or bronzer on the cheeks), a fan brush (for applying highlighter), a fluffy powder brush (for applying finishing powder or bronzer all over your face), and a basic eyeshadow blender brush
Makeup Storage Containers:
Now that you’ve got all of the essentials, you need somewhere to store them!
For all brushes and makeup products, simple makeup bags/pouches work well, while brush rolls are great for storing–you guessed it–brushes, and are also great for traveling. Pencil cups and even empty mason jars are also great options for storing makeup brushes.
If you have a larger collection of makeup, consider investing in a plastic storage drawer.