Makeup beginners, don’t be confused or intimidated by all the products and looks out there. It’s common to see many YouTubers and celebrities with long and complicated makeup routines that seem to drag on for hours. But it doesn’t always have to be that way! With these 10 affordable makeup essentials, you’ll have a look that is glamorous in no time!
1.) BB Cream
A BB cream is a lightweight version of foundation and normally comes with other benefits such as it being oil-free and moisturizing. If you’re a beginner in makeup, a BB cream is an easy and breezy alternative to foundation. It will help you avoid that unappealing cakey-foundation look, and also minimize your chances of having breakouts or dry skin. Plus, BB creams are typically formulated to adapt to your skin tone, so you also don’t have to worry about spending money on the wrong shade! And for summer, try finding one with SPF for that added protection in the sun! A BB cream that I would recommend is Maybelline New York Dream Pur BB Cream. It covers all of the above benefits, and the best part is it’s under $10!
Concealer will finish any job that your BB cream cannot. Put more simply, it will help cover up those blemishes, scars, and dark circles that a layer of foundation might not be able to achieve. There’s plenty of affordable concealer options ranging in different formulas and coverage, but my go-to is a medium coverage concealer. It gives you enough coverage to hide spots and even your skin tone, but it’s light enough that it won’t clog pores, give you a “barely-there” feeling, and will still let your natural beauty shine. A classic that I find myself coming back to again and again is Rimmel’s Wake Me Up Concealer, which offers the perfect lightweight and natural coverage that will last all day.
Think of bronzer like blush, but instead of giving you a rosy glow, it will you a tan and sun-kissed look (minus the UV damage). This product is especially perfect for summer, not to mention very simple to apply. For the perfect application, suck in your cheeks and apply the product over where you see your cheekbones poke out. Then lightly dust over your temples and under your chin to mimic a tan in the areas where the sun would naturally hit you. A great product for beginners to bronzer is Rimmel’s Natural Bronzer. It is an affordable drugstore option that is waterproof, easy to apply, and effortless to blend for that natural summer glow.
The next step after bronzer would be to add some blush. Blush is an essential product to your makeup bag because it really will put your overall look together. It is easy to apply, and adds healthy color and glow to your skin tone. Choosing the right shade is also important, but is very simple; If your skin is very fair, a light rosy blush will give you a subtle but lovely sun-kissed glow. If your skin is on the darker side, then try a deeper pink or orangish-red shade. A coveted blush brand would be NARS blush. This blush is a little more on the pricey side, but it will last all day on your skin, will last for years in your makeup bag, and offers 14 shades to choose from so you can find your perfect match.
From certain angles, eyeshadow is one of the most daunting and intimidating makeup products out there. Did I put too much on? How do I blend it? Which colors are right for me? These questions are all common, but not to fear! Practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to take some time and play around to find the right look and technique for you. But a palette that is sure to satisfy the needs of every eyeshadow beginner would be Urban Decay’s Born To Run Eyeshadow Palette. With a mixture of both neutral and bold colors, it gives you the ability to try any makeup look you desire, ranging from subtle to bold.
Mascara is one of those things that doesn’t have to be super fancy to get the job done. It is a basic but trusty addition to your makeup bag. My favorite is L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise mascara. It is affordable and adds dramatic length and volume to your lashes. Not to mention that its small size makes it the perfect portable mascara for touch-ups throughout a busy day.
Mascara’s partner-in-crime is eyeliner. If you’re going fora more natural look, try a brown eyeliner. But if you want a more smokey, “evening out” look then try a black eyeliner. And for the very bold there are even colorful eyeliners out there! But for whatever look you’re after, an eyeliner that is sure to satisfy every look is Sephora Collection’s Colorful Waterproof Eyeliner. It comes in a range of colors to choose from, not to mention that its liquid formula will make it easy for any beginner to apply.
Ever heard the saying “eyebrows are sisters, not twins?” For any pesky or uneven eyebrows that might be bothering you, try a simple eyebrow pencil to help even those bad boys out. If you have naturally full eyebrows you might be able to skip this step, but for me personally, it’s been essential to help fill in gaps and sparse areas. It’s also a great way to achieve the popular “no-makeup makeup look”, as it will help you to subtly accentuate your natural beauty and facial features. Benefit is a brand that is renowned for their eyebrow care, and offer a range of products to suit your needs. A great brow product is their Precisely, My Brow Pencil. One end of the pencil is a soft and super fine-tuned pencil tip to subtly but precisely fill areas in, and on the other end, it includes a spoolie to brush out and shape your brows.
When it comes to lipstick, many consumers find themselves wanting it all: color, shine, lasting formula, plumpness, and all at an affordable price! Lipstick will be a staple to your makeup bag, and it might be helpful to have multiple shades for multiple occasions. Break out a nude lipstick for those natural and lightweight days, but perhaps keep a bold-shade handy for those special occasions or nights out. But regardless of the colors you choose, a product that never disappoints is M.A.C.’s Powder Kiss lipsticks. This range is under $20, carries shades in almost every color imaginable, and will deliver a natural matte finish with the moisturizing texture of a balm.
10.) The Right Brushes
Now that you’ve stocked your makeup bag with all the essentials, it’s now time to make sure you have the right tools to apply those products. Brushes are the easiest and most common way to apply products, and there are different brushes for different products and looks. However, many brands offer affordable brush kits that will cover all your basic needs, from large and fluffy foundation brushes to fine-tuning eye brushes. One example is e.l.f cosmetics’ Professional Set of 12 Brushes. This kit includes one powder brush, one foundation/contour brush, a concealer brush, plus lots of eyeshadow and brow brushes. This set is an example of every brush you could ever need and then some, and all under $15!
Getting started on makeup does not mean you have to spend lots of money! For just a few dollars, you can stock your makeup bag with all of the essentials you need to pull off a great look.
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Allison Havermale grew up in sunny San Diego, California. She is a senior at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and is majoring in English Language & Literature. She has a passion for food, literature, traveling, fashion, and beauty, and is hoping to pursue a writing career in one of those fields. When she’s not reading or writing, you can usually catch her at the beach or grabbing brunch with friends!