10 Basic Makeup Items for Beginners (Essentials Only)

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Do you need help choosing the right makeup items as a beginner?

Let me be honest. I didn’t get into the makeup game until my mid-20s. What do I need? That’s the question that was constantly ringing in my head. What do I need to buy?

I had absolutely no clue where to start.

So I would usually just do my brows, eyeliner, and mascara. And that was a-okay until I had the desire to do a little more. I wanted to do full-face makeup!

I’m talking about lipstick, foundation, eyeshadow – even lashes (which has been a complete fail – but I’ll save that story for another time).

After viewing thousands of YouTube videos, receiving tips from my lovely cousins, and months of trial and error, I was finally able to compile a list of basic makeup items for beginners who are interested in doing a full-face of makeup.

So no worries! I got you covered!

Let’s talk about these 10 makeup items for beginners. I’ll also list some of my holy grail products just in case you want to try them out.

But first, here’s a quick overview of the makeup items and some helpful tips for using these products.

Makeup Item Helpful Tips for Use
Moisturizer Use witch hazel/toner before applying your moisturizer. This will help reduce the amount of oil on your skin.
PrimerAllow your primer to sit on your face for a few minutes before applying foundation.
FoundationAlways do foundation matching in natural light.
Concealer Your concealer should be 1 to 2 shades lighter than your skin.
Eye Shadow Use an eye primer to help your eye shadow show up vibrantly. If you don’t have an eye primer, you can also use concealer.
EyelinerApplying eyeliner is an art. So take your time and apply it slowly.
Brow Pencil/Brow PomadeDon’t go too dark with the brow color, and apply lightly when filling in brows.
MascaraApply mascara to your outer lashes first then work your way into the corners.
LipstickIf you’re going to wear matte lipstick, be sure to exfoliate your lips regularly.
Setting Spray/PowderGo easy on the powder. Sometimes it can get cakey.

Basic MakeUp Items For Beginners

gray tube with white box designs in front of a plant

1. Moisturizer

First up, moisturizer. Moisturizing your skin is so important. You want your base (the skin on your face) to be as smooth as possible.

Imagine beautifully applied makeup over patchy dry skin. Your whole look will be ruined!

When choosing a moisturizer for your skin, pay attention to your skin type. For example, if you have oily skin you should stick to an oil-free moisturizer.

My favorite moisturizer is the Clean and Clear Dual Action Face Moisturizer.

2. Primer

Where are my oily friends?! If you have oily skin a good primer will be a godsend. Trust me.

Primer is a product applied prior to applying your foundation. It allows your foundation to be applied uniformly across your skin.

Your primer is just as important as your moisturizer. You’ll also want to pay special attention to your skin type when choosing a primer. There are primers for large pores, oily skin, dry skin, and much more.

3. Foundation

And again, when picking a foundation, you have to pay attention to your skin type.

If you have oily skin, stick to matte foundations. For dry or combination skin, try using a dewy foundation.

Foundation also needs to match your skin tone. This is super important if you want a flawless look. When trying to match your shade, I recommend putting it directly onto your face and not on the top of your hand or inside of your wrist. 

The color of your hand and wrist can differ from the color of your face.

So apply the foundation directly to your face and check it in 10 minutes. Check it in natural lighting. How does it look? Does it look orange? Ashy? Or is it perfect?!

Sometimes we do a shade test and don’t let the makeup sit for a few minutes. Then you get home and apply your makeup, and realize you look like a carrot. That is not what you want.

I’ve been there, unfortunately. But now you don’t have to suffer the same fate!

white and black pump bottle in front of flower

4. Concealer

Do you suffer from acne scars? Redness? Or skin discoloration? This is where concealer saves the day. Concealer can cover any less-than-perfect areas of your skin.

This ensures that when you apply your foundation it will look uniform.

Concealer can also be used over your foundation to highlight the areas under your eyes. It can also be used to clean up and sharpen your eyebrows.

5. Eye Shadow

Eye shadows come in all different colors. For beginners, start out with neutral colors first. They’re easier to work with and mistakes are less noticeable.

Once you’re comfortable with neutral colors, try out some super colorful shadows.

6. Eyeliner

Eyeliner comes in many forms – pencil, liquid, and cream. It also comes in different colors. Try different brands and forms until you find one that you really like.

I personally prefer liquid liner. It is easier to use and glides on effortlessly. My favorite eyeliner is by Physician’s Formula in the color black. It stays on all day.

7. Brow Pencil/Pomade

Brows are one of your most important facial features. Brows can make or break you. Use a pencil or pomade to keep your brows looking neat. When I was a beginner, I used the NYX eyebrow pencil. It worked great for me.

Now I use the Ardell Brow Dip Pomade in dark brown. It’s amazing and my brows stay on all day. They look neat, natural, and full.

If you’re wondering about the role your eyebrows play in your overall appearance, check out my article on 10 Ways to Always Look Your Best.

8. Mascara

Don’t you love long and beautiful eyelashes? Invest in a good mascara that makes your lashes look full and elongated. Please make sure you use waterproof mascara!

If not, you run the risk of having black streaks under your eyes at the end of the day.

9. Lipstick/Gloss

Add some color to your lips using gloss or lipstick. This will add the finishing touch to your overall look.

There is an endless supply of lipsticks and glosses in every color you could possibly imagine. There are lip stains, matte lipstick, glossy lipstick. Really, the options are endless.

I love matte lipsticks! Even in the winter.

four tubes of lipstick in silver packaging

10. Setting Powder/Setting Spray

You’ve made it! Your foundation is flawless and your lashes look fly. It would be a shame if all your hard work melted off in a couple of hours, right?

So we need to make sure your makeup stays on all day! You want to finish off your makeup application with a setting powder or a setting spray. I prefer a setting spray over setting powder.

If you want extra staying power, use both a setting powder and spray. Just set your face with the powder and spray the setting spray afterward.

Makeup Items for Beginners? Case Closed

So I’ve given you a list of makeup products for beginners. Are you ready to incorporate these items into your makeup routine? Do you already use some of these items?

I want to see your beautiful faces!

basic makeup items for beginners

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