If you’re not exactly sure where to begin in the makeup department or beauty aisle, this is a general list of basic essentials to help you fill up your cute cosmetic case as well as a few of my favorite tricks and tips to guide you on your way.
While some days call for a face full of perfectly applied makeup, others only offer about a five minute window for pampering. Keeping these basic makeup must-haves at an arm’s reach will give you just enough power to accentuate your beautiful features and look presentable in a flash!
1. A great moisturizer for night and another for day, with a substantial SPF. An easy way to add a little color to your complexion is with an all-in-one, slightly tinted moisturizer or a BB or CC cream. My favorite tinted moisturizer is EltaMD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 (recommended by my dermatologist) which I use during the day and my favorite is CC Cream is by Smashbox. I use them together for evening looks – AND add a teeny dab of Gold Bond Ultimate Healing cream to thicken it up a bit for extra moisture so when I apply my powder, it doesn’t look cakey.
My favorite moisturizers for night are all by Beverly Hills MD… specific faves in the shopping widget below.
2. The perfect red lipstick. MAC makes fantastic reds for all skin tones in a variety of matte and glossy tubes. Even if you’re not a lipstick wearer on the regular, there comes a time in every woman’s life when a bold red statement lip is necessary. I mostly save red lips for my outfit posts, and my favorite as of late is Lancôme’s L’ABSOLU ROUGE which is what you see in all my latest outfit posts.
3. Mascara. If mascara isn’t one of the most difficult beauty items to get right, then I don’t know what is. Well, matching foundation to your skin tone probably, but I digress. I’ve found my favorite mascara to be the drugstore brand L’Oreal Double Extend Carbon Black -or the waterproof version is great too. It makes my very light, very short, very straight lashes extra thick. That’s just my first step, then I apply a few coats of 3D Fiber Lash Mascara, 300X to really give my lashes some extra oomph. One coat for daytime, three coats for evening.
4. Eyelash curlers. Unless you were blessed with naturally long and upward-curved lashes, you should arm yourself with a few different eyelash curlers to help open your eyes and simulate fluttery lashes. I SWEAR BY my Japonesque Precision curler for my short and straight lashes -it’s the only one that works! I can section my curling into three areas which makes my lashes stand up and curl out and stay that way. I usually do it a few times while applying my makeup until I apply my mascara, the final step.
5. A black eyeliner pencil with a smudge sponge on the end. This is a favorite little guy to have on hand for adding a hint of a smokey eye or a super dramatic one. My ALL TIME FAVE that I’ve been using for years is CoverGirl Perfect Blend in basic black… I LOVE the soft and pointed spongy tip for smooth application for the perfect smokey eye (the artist in me hates visible lines and prefers it all blended meticulously).
6. Eyebrow gel. If you’re not into spending time on your brows, and have enough hairs that you don’t have to fill in too much, use this to coif those little hairs above your eyes into place and keep them there all day. If you run out, a sneaky trick is to spray a little hair spray onto a toothbrush and brush your brows into place quickly before the spritz dries. NOTE: I’ve included my favorite brow liner in the shopping widget down below.
7. A blush or bronzer is a quick way to add a little color to your complexion. I prefer bronzer with my skin tone and blonde hair and my favorite is Benefit HOOLA bronzing powder – which I’ve used forever – (though I don’t use the brush that comes with it), but when I dyed my hair a rich brown for a short while, pinks looked better on my cheeks than bronzes. It’s important to try a few different shades to find one that works. Look for a sheer product you can layer – to prevent looking like our new POTUS.
It also should be noted that I don’t do the whole “contouring” thing. I never have, but I do apply my bronzer right after my cream and powder, and I start on my lids and go up to my temples, then follow my cheekbones, then down along my chin line and onto my neck so that my face and neck are the same color.
8. A great set of brushes. They don’t have to be wildly expensive, but they do have to come in a variety of sizes and shapes to get the job done. Think like an artist! Artists don’t use one brush for all painting techniques, and neither should you with your makeup.
I happen to LOVE Jane Iredale brushes… I’ve included my favorites in the shopping widget below.
9. A neutral eyeshadow palette is a must for defining your lids. Even if it’s a rare occasion where I’m adding bold colored eyeshadows to my lids, I always begin with my neutrals. They create depth without focus and just enhance my eye’s natural shape and beauty. Depending on your skin tone, the neutral palette should have a light shade, a few medium hues, and at least one dark in flesh-toned browns and/or white, black and gray. My fave is CoverGirl ‘Roses’ shadows because they’re perfect for blending from light to dark AND don’t go on so thick that if you mess up, you can’t just wipe a bit off.
10. Lip balm for rehydrating tired and chapped lips. My favorite is Lip Medex by Blistex (which I’ve been using for-like-ever) – my least favorite is anything by Eos. Also though, I’m a bit obsessed with lip gloss in any shade of nudey pink that has a pleasant flavor. I detest anything too thick on my lips.
I’ve included all my favorite beauty products -which I realize are pretty basic compared to some – in the shopping widget below, even the ones not listed in this post, but I swear by them all!