Knowing what you should have in your makeup bag is essential to getting the right look for you every time. While colors and brands are a personal choice (as is how much money you want to spend on your makeup), there are a few basic beauty staples any woman serious about her makeup should have in her makeup bag. From products for your whole face to specific products to highlight certain features, these makeup essentials will help you get the look you want regardless of what look you’re going for.
The Total Face
Primer: Primer is an absolute must but it’s also a product many women overlook. Primer is great for ladies who have flawed skin (most of us) because it helps balance out those flaws and prepares your skin for the makeup you’ll be applying on top of it.
Foundation: Foundation goes on over the primer and is really the next step in making your skin look flawless, fresh and beautiful. It’s important to find a foundation that works for your skin type and matches your skin tone.
Concealer: Concealer should perfectly match your skin tone so it blends seamlessly over any flaws or imperfections in your skin. Find a nice concealer that feels comfortable for you and apply it only over blemishes or imperfections. A common concealer mistake is over using it so make sure you’re careful. You only need to use it to help conceal the flaws.
Powder: I like to put my powder on after I’ve done the rest of my makeup and then give a quick sweep over it with a large, round brush. Sometimes I find my powder makes me look a little dusty almost and that quick sweep prevents that.
Highlighter: A highlighter is another beauty must for your whole face. A good highlighter will draw out your eyes and help you add definition to your face where you want to see a little definition. I always apply a little highlighter to help my eyes pop and to add a little extra oomph to my cheekbones.
Mascara: I can’t possibly stress the importance on a good mascara enough. I love mascara. I have naturally long, full lashes but I still apply mascara every time I leave the house. I love how mascara looks on nude eyes but I also love adding mascara to a nice dramatic eye look. Mascara gives your eyes a beautiful, bold look and helps your eyes really pop.
Eyeliner: We all know eyeliner is important. There are very few looks out there that don’t involve using eyeliner to some extent. What you may not realize though is that eyeliner doesn’t just have to be black, brown or black/brown. I have a whole rainbow of colors in just about every type of eyeliner. Sometimes all you really need to change up a tired look is a new eyeliner color.
Eye Shadow Palette: I have roughly two million different eye shadow colors in my arsenal – from warm tones to cool tones, from light shades to dark shades and everything in between. A good makeup palette might cost a little extra but the extra money is worth it. Look for something that offers a wide range of colors in one palette or look for smaller palettes that focus on warm or cool tones. I have three palettes, one filled with cool tones, one filled with warm tones and one filled with bright, bold shadows.
Brow Pencil: Your brows are important and shouldn’t be overlooked. A good brow pencil should be a shade or two lighter than your natural brow color and should be used to fill in your brow every time you wear makeup. A filled in brow gives you makeup a more complete look and helps avoid making your brows stand out for all the wrong reasons.
Tweezers: This one goes hand in hand with the brow pencil. Again, your brows are important and keeping them well manicured is important. That is why having a decent pair of tweezers is important. While some women swear by stencils as well, if you can get a nice look on your own and don’t get too pluck happy, stencils really aren’t necessary.
Blush: I remember being told that ladies don’t need to wear blush so for many years, I skipped this beauty staple. It was a mistake. Blush is important. It gives your face a nice tone and color and helps you highlight your cheekbones. Blush is also available in a wide variety of colors making it easy to find a shade that works for any look.
Bronzer: Bronzer is a beautiful product. It helps you contour and accentuate your cheeks and can either help you get a bold, dramatic look or a more subtle look depending on how you use it. When I wear makeup, there are very few occasions that bronzer is not part of my look.
Lipstick: A good selection of lipstick will feature pale shades, bold shades, dark shades, neutral shades in browns, pinks, plums and reds. You might have a particular color that works for you – or a color family – but it’s always nice to have more options at your fingertips in case you decide you want to change it up. When talking about lipstick, it’s important to note that expensive is not always better. Some of my favorite products are the least expensive ones I’ve purchased.
Gloss: I love lip gloss. Having a few tinted glosses, a few clear glosses and a few glosses with varying degrees of shine can really help you pull your whole makeup look together. When I’m doing a bold look for my eyes, I like to wear a nude or light pink lipstick with a layer of clear gloss on top to keep my lips from looking too naked. For more casual looks, a nice tinted gloss is sometimes all I bother with. Gloss is versatile and it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Balm: Just as you want to nurture your skin, you also want to make sure you’re nurturing your lips. Lip balm can soothe damaged lips or help protect your lips and keep them from getting damaged in the first place. A nice, softly tinted lip balm keeps your lips healthy but can also be a subtle way to draw attention to your lips.
Liner: I will admit to being one of those women who rarely uses lip liner. Despite rarely wearing it, I do own lip liner in a whole host of colors because there are times when I want to add a little definition and shape to my lips. I find lip liner most useful when I’m going with a basic eye and bold lips. The liner just adds that little touch of definition and shape and pulls the look together.
Of course there are always the little extras you should keep around. I would put a good selection of high quality makeup brushes at the top of that list. A good makeup look often uses several different brushes. I’m going to talk more about brushes in an upcoming article but for now, I’d really like to stress the importance of a good brush set. There are lots of kits out there that offer you the basics. I’d recommend picking up one of those sets and adding to it as you need to. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get the brushes you need, but don’t ignore how important they are. Finally, although not necessarily a makeup essential, I’d recommend picking up some makeup wipes. Makeup wipes are formulated to remove makeup quickly and easily without damaging your skin. I would recommend spending a little extra here or at least doing research into products you want to pick up to save money. Avoid anything with harsh scents or chemicals as you’ll be using these wipes on your face and around your eyes. Safety first!