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Endless lipstick shades; Makeup brushes that look so similar; Eyeshadows that you’re too not sure will suit you. Navigating the beauty world is no easy feat if you are looking to build a solid makeup bag for yourself. Where does a girl begin her journey in investing for key pieces that are of quality and affordability, while keeping current with the makeup looks seen on Pinterest and Instagram?
It’s a slippery slope when it comes to dishing out dollars on products you think you may use versus those that indeed will become your “holy grail” makeup must-haves. Every girl should have the essentials in her makeup bag, no matter the occasion. Products that have multiple applications and uses are the way to go if you are a beginner.
For example, a longwear liquid lipstick in a rosy matte shade is classic, especially for a natural look in the daytime. A tube of clear lip gloss is also a classic. Now, pair these two lip products together, and you have a sexy, fuller pout perfect for the evening!
There are dozens upon dozens of makeup brushes out there. It’s important to give you a breakdown of the fundamental brushes you will always make use of. Avoid falling for those tempting “brush kits” that give you multiple brushes because they are likely of poorer quality and 4 of the 8 brushes will likely do the same job. You don’t need 4 eyeshadow blender brushes, for example. I suggest buying your brushes separately based on what you will need them to do for your look. Every makeup bag should have the following makeup brushes:
Large fluffy powder brush – to set your orange corrector and cream foundation into place with a setting powder, preventing shiny skin.
Dome-shaped foundation brush – to apply your cream foundation without leaving streaks.
Small concealer brush – to apply your cream foundation to remote areas, such as under the eyes, around your nostrils, and on your brow bone.
Eyeshadow definer brush – this brush should be dense and flat, to pack on eyeshadow onto your eyelids and smudge eyeshadow along your lower lashline for a smoky effect.
Small crease brush – this brush has many purposes from blending in your eyeshadow at the crease to setting your foundation under your eyes to contouring the sides of your nose.
Pencil brush – a tapered, dense brush for precise placement of light and shimmery eyeshadow or highlighter to the innermost corners of eyes.
Small eyeliner brush – the smaller the better because you want to apply a thin line of cream eyeliner so it looks as natural as possible. A thick line will make your eyes appear smaller.
Angled blush brush – perfect for defining your cheeks and cheekbones.
Angled contour brush – for defining the hollows of your cheeks (under the cheekbones), minimize your forehead/jawline.
Highlighter brush – for brightening (feminizing) the tops of cheekbones, your temples, cupid’s bow, and nose bridge – even your décolleté! Can be used with both cream or powder highlighter.
Pointed eyebrow brush – for applying brow powder (I will then typically use an eyebrow pencil to sharpen the arch and tail of brows).
There are 5 non-negotiable steps to prepping your face: Moisturizer, face primer, eyelid primer, orange corrector for beard shadow, and cream foundation, in that order. What’s with the orange stuff? Well, in colour theory, orange neutralizes blue and your beard shadow has a bluish hue to it, which can be visible underneath your foundation, especially as the day wears on. So, you want to correct this (and set it with setting powder) *before* you apply your foundation. Why cream foundation, you ask? Because liquid foundations tend to accentuate pores and fine lines while powder foundations look cakey and don’t provide much coverage. Cream foundation is truly the “Goldilocks Zone” of transformative makeup. It hides imperfections, evens out your skintone, and looks like a second skin! It is also very pigmented, meaning it can also replace your concealer. That’s right, one product can do the job of two!
A good eyeshadow palette will last you years with lots of pigment payoff! I highly suggest going with a palette that has neutral eyeshadow shades with a mix of both matte and shimmery textures. Those palettes usually are called “nude” palettes because of their universal colours like chocolate brown, taupe, black, mauve, vanilla, and shimmery nude shades like champagne, that work with many different skintones and can transition from day to night. Start with a softer look for day and then later add some black eyeshadow in the crease for a nighttime look. Also, the shimmery nude shades in the palette can be used as your highlighter!
Eyeliner is a key product for really amplifying your eye makeup but always opt for black or charcoal grey. Brown can make eyes appear red or tired. I prefer using a cream eyeliner because it is very forgiving since it can be applied in small strokes and it doesn’t run into tiny lines and creases like the liquid variety. Cream eyeliner also wears longer and is easier to use for beginners.
When it comes to finding a blush, there are two types. For dry skin, a cream blush can make your cheeks look dewy and lively. For oilier skin, I suggest a powder blush. Shades vary by skintone, whether you are a cool or warm (or neutral!) complexion, which is confusing for beginners. So, I always suggest going with a peachy pink tone, which usually looks amazing on everyone!
Black mascara is one product that you will be grateful for, but also must be replaced most often due to air and bacteria exposure every time you open and pump the tube. A mascara lifespan is around 4-5 months, depending on frequency of use. Waterproof mascara is a godsend, especially for hooded or deepset eyes and balmy summer weather. Yet be prepared to wash it off more thoroughly with a good micellar cleanser, because it is meant to stay put!
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyebrows are the curtains! Properly defined eyebrows will frame your face and are the epitome of a femme look (along with lips and lashes, of course!). As mentioned before, a brow powder and then a brow pencil are a two-step approach to achieving the brows you desire. I always suggest going with a neutral (universal) shade like taupe for beginners. Apply some cream foundation with a concealer brush underneath your brows to hide any stray hairs if tweezing isn’t an option for you.
The makeup aisle will always be slightly intimidating (as much as it is exciting) – even for a seasoned makeup artist! As long as you are equipped with the right knowledge and a vision of what you’d like to create – which is to look passable, soft, and feminine, you can make smart choices when investing in your makeup bag must-haves! Good luck and happy shopping, girls!