Makeup Shopping for Beginners


If you’re new to makeup, it could be pretty overwhelming: with tons of products, brands, and tips floating around, you may wonder, “Where do I start?”

I know that when I started to wear makeup, I was so overwhelmed by everything and didn’t know where to start. Here I write the “order” in which I personally started, and perhaps can be a guideline for you too; as well as some of my personal product recommendations, so you hopefully don’t have to have as many “trial and errors” as I did!

Makeup Shopping for Beginners

The first thing you need to know in makeup is that it is broken up into 4 parts: Skin, Eyes, Lips and Cheeks:

  • Skin. This makeup for your skin such as foundation (in that category is liquid foundation, BB creams, tinted moisturizers), concealer and powders.
  • Eyes. These are products for your eyes such as eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, and it includes eyebrows (pencils, powder, etc).
  • Lips. These products include color for your lips, whether it’s lipgloss, lipstick, lip stains, etc.
  • Cheeks. These products are usually blush, bronzer, or highlighters.

For a beginner I think you really only need the very bare basics. What I did when I first started wearing it was to slowly start trying one product in each category, seeing what I liked, and then took it from there. Here is a step by step of how I started:


I started with eye makeup because that seemed to be the most exciting. At least to me – I remember looking at all the gorgeous smokey eyes on models and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some eyeliner! However, eyeliner may be too much right at the beginning, so for the eyes, you can start off with mascara (as I did). Mascara is a great first-makeup product to try as they make such a big difference in your eyes. Some great mascaras are Benefit They’re Real!, L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black and any mascara from CoverGirl Lash Blast line.

Some more eye products I tried over the years and really love are the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette. This palette is all matte with neutral shadows to make every eye combo possible, plus it’s easy to toss in your makeup bag and go. Great drugstore options are the Maybelline Eye Studio quads, the colors work well together in the sets and if you buy a couple you can always mix and match. E.L.F. makes some great eyebrow kits with a wax and powder that come with an easy to use brush but for a beginner I’ll always recommend pencil first. Check out the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Kohl Liners in Black and Brown to create all kinds of looks.


After I started wearing a bit of mascara, within a few months I wanted to wear more makeup! Foundation comes in various forms, from pressed powders, liquid formulas, stick formulas – you name it. Since you’re a beginner though, I would recommend starting with a tinted moisturizer or a BB Cream, to get you used to the feeling (and application)… and, to be honest, I prefer those over good old foundation – foundation can be too thick sometimes. But experiment at places like Sephora (who can match your skin tone and the type of foundation you want). Or there is always good old trusty MAC! Again, at MAC they will color match you and help you get the correct foundation for your skin and what your wants are. With foundations at the drugstore it can be hit or miss, especially the colors so I recommend getting matched first then taking that color with you to the store for a better idea of what color to pick.

For concealer and powder, I would actually only recommend them if you feel you need it. I feel that as a beginner, you really don’t need to paint your face with so much “base” makeup (actually, make that at any age). I feel it can look too fake. So I’d seriously just recommend a tinted moisturizer and leave it as that. If you have a problem with acne and blemishes, on top of your tinted moisturizer, apply a dab concealer with your ring finger to cover them up. If you have very oily skin, then apply a sweep of loose powder on top will help with the oil. My favorite picks Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Pond’s Luminous BB Cream and Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation; which is very good for those with acne prone and oily skin. More foundations that I have tried and loved are the Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo, L’Oreal True Match (I prefer the original, not the Lumi) and NARS Sheer Glow (great for spring/summer wear).

Concealers I’m pretty picky about, I have dry under eyes but I love the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealers and Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Pens. My all-time favorite though is MAC’s Pro Longwear – it doesn’t move, doesn’t crease and I can use it under my eyes or as a facial concealer. As far as powders, I don’t really use them but if I do I’m obsessed with the E.L.F. High Definition Powder. It’s translucent, light-weight and never looks cakey. Some of my oily friends have recommended the Maybelline Dream Wonder powder to keep them matte all day.


I was never personally a big fan of blush when I first started out (I have only realized the importance of it recently) so I’d definitely recommend getting a pretty blush. If you have fair skin, a pink/peach would look great on you, but if you have tanned skin, dusty rose colors and bronzers would look beautiful on you. If you have dark skin, you’re really blessed – your skintone can take any color, especially deeper colors which make your skin look rich and lovely.

To apply blush it’s almost too simple: smile really, really big, and you see those fleshy parts of your cheeks sticking out? They are called the “apples of the cheek”; lightly swipe blush on that area in a circular motion. Some of my favorite blushes are MAC, Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush (the best in my opinion), and NYX. NYX is very famous for their blushes and they are very affordable as well; however I’d recommend investing in a good quality blush, it’s important to get a good color payoff (cheaper blushes might be too much like talcum powder and make you look cakey).

Blushes can last 3 years so they’re a great investment. More of my blush picks are MAC Melba, NYX Peaches, Milani Mineral Baked Blushes (Luminouso is my favorite) and Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks (these can double as highlighters too).



For lips – I think it’s pretty straightforward. When you’re new to lip products it doesn’t really matter about colors, but for beginners, I’d recommend to test out some lighter colors first, as darker colors are a bit more tricky in terms of application and there are a few “advance” tips on making them last longer which I’ll talk about in other posts. Some of my personal favorite lip products are Clinique Chubby Sticks, MAC lipsticks, NYX Round Lipsticks and Revlon Lip Stains and Balms (Honey is the perfect, your lips but better color).

Some more of my picks for lip products:

In conclusion 

So, to round it all up: if you’re just starting out with makeup, I’d recommend a mascara, a tinted moisturizer/BB cream, concealer and powder only if you need it, a simple blush and a nice lip color. I hope my tips have helped some of the newbies to makeup. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, and for those who are experienced in makeup, please add in your tips as well. I’d love to hear them.

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