Beginner's Guide to Makeup Essentials!

Written by: Swati on:

I have received quite a few requests for this post over the past few months, so here you go! Back in the day when I was just starting out with makeup, I was quite clueless as to what to buy and what to skip. As a result I got a lot of stuff which wasn't really needed, atleast at the beginner's level. Now that I know a bit better, here's a post and I hope it helps you out to build your starter kit :)

Makeup Kit, Makeup essentials, Makeup Guide, Beginners makeup

Makeup Kit, Makeup essentials, Makeup Guide, Beginners makeup


This is something you should definitely invest in. You can get all the eye and lip products, but unless your base is to the point, they won't look good, unless of course you belong to that 1% who are blessed with flawless glowing skin. 

1. BB Cream 
So, if you are just starting out with makeup, it's wise to get a BB/CC cream. It looks natural, you can blend them easily even with your fingers, no special skills required . They offer light-medium coverage and perfect for everyday wear. There are several affordable ones available at the drugstore
* Ponds BB cream (love this one) quite good for oily skin, can be built to medium coverage. It is my go to product everytime. Available in 1 shade only.
* Garnier BB cream - light coverage, offers a more dewy finish and is good for younger skin (with minor imperfections) and drier skin as well. I like to bring it out in the winters sometimes. One shade only. 
* Maybelline BB Cream - light to medium coverage, works pretty fine. Available in 3 shades. 
* Lakme CC cream - again a good one, can be built to medium coverage. Available in 2 shades
These are the 3 I have tried. Apart from them, L'Oreal, Colorbar and other brands also have similar options. 

2. Foundation
Now, this isn't a must buy if you are just starting out. The BB creams would suffice (in fact I still prefer them over foundations). But you might want to get one still for special occasions. make sure to match it perfectly to your skintone, keeping the undertones in mind (not on the back of your hand. Test it across your jaw along till your neck). Most SAs in India will force you to buy a shade that is a few tones lighter "Madam, you look so fair in this one". Please do not listen to them! Again, it is a good idea to try out with the drugstore ones before investing in a higher end foundation. 
* I personally like the lighter foundations like L'oreal Nude Magique and Maybelline Fit Me

3. Concealer
An important content. You can choose a light coverage or a medium-high coverage one depending on your needs. Somedays, using just a concealer at the problem areas is more than enough. 
* I like using a full coverage one like Derma Color (especially good for those pesky blemishes) or you can get a lighter brightening one like those from Lakme or Maybelline which is better for the undereye area.

4. Compact
A must have. Comes in handy to set your makeup and you can carry it around in your handbag for touchups. Most drugstore ones work pretty well, so find your match :)

5. Highlighter
Now, many would say that it isn't very essential for a beginner to have one, but I disagree. Using a highlighter just makes everything so much more beautiful. Choose one that isn't full of shimmer. It should give you a lit from within healthy glow and not make you look like a disco ball. 
* Revlon SkinLights liquid is my personal favourite. Colorbar radiant pen is also a good one. 

Makeup Kit, Makeup essentials, Makeup Guide, Beginners makeup


For your starter kit, you don't need too many. A pink (which suits your skintone well) and a neutral one will see you through most looks. If you want to, you can go for a coral one too. I would say to start with powder ones since they are easier to control. 
* The Cheeky Glow ones by Maybelline are a great buy. They are matte, not too pigmented (so you can't go too overboard) and last a decent amount of time. 

Makeup Kit, Makeup essentials, Makeup Guide, Beginners makeup


1. Eyeshadow
A neutral eyeshadow palette is a great investment instead of single pots. You get lots of tones and finishes in one place and you can achieve several looks. Some of the matte shades even work for your eyebrows!
*The Maybelline Nude Palette is a good option. Makeup Revolution also have several options (reviewed here and here). L'Oreal also has a few (though I haven't tried them yet). 
If you want to add some colored ones, you can try the ones from Sleek and NYX. 

2. Kajal/Kohl
A black kajal is a necessity, especially for us Indian girls. Most days a kajal and a tinted lip balm is what you will reach out for anyway.They also double up as eyeliner and a base for smokey eyes! Look out for a long wearing, smudge free one. 
* Maybelline, Lakme, L'Oreal, Lotus, Colorbar almost every brand have them at affordable prices. Take your pick :) 

3. Eyeliner
If you are fine with using a pencil as a liner, lucky you. But, I personally prefer using a liquid one. If you are a beginner, getting one of these pen type liners is great. Easy to control, they will make your job a whole lot easier. 
*I love the Hypersharp by Maybelline. Colossal liner is also a good more pigmented one. 

4. Mascara
You must get one! Long full lashes tie the whole eye look together and make you look more awake. Unless you are blessed with super long thick lashes, get a good mascara. You can choose a plain or a waterproof one depending on your comfort. A waterproof one holds the curl longer, and well will save you from getting racoon eyes if you ever get drenched in the rain :P 
*Maybelline makes some really good ones - Hypercurl, Colossal, Falsies....lots of choices there. 

Makeup Kit, Makeup essentials, Makeup Guide, Beginners makeup


You need 5 shades to begin with. There are lots of options and variants in the drugstore. Choose from creme finish or matte ones. Do swatch them, there are different undertones. Pick something depending on your skintone. You will need : 
2. Orange
3. Neutral/Nude (for your skin tone)
5. Red

Makeup Kit, Makeup essentials, Makeup Guide, Beginners makeup

Tinted Lipbalm

Great for everyday wear. They are effortless and give you a pretty hint of color :) I love Baby Lips by Maybelline. 

Makeup Kit, Makeup essentials, Makeup Guide, Beginners makeup


Don't go crazy with them at the beginning. 
1. A blush brush - I recommend the real techniques one. 
2. A foundation brush - Real techinquies again. Try the stippling brush or the expert face brush
3. An eyeshadow brush - This one by Faces is amazing. It works to pack on the eyeshadow and in blending as well.
You might want to add an eyelash curler, I love that tool! 

That's all folks! You can of course add or subtract products according to your requirements. These are my personal recommendations. I have included just the basic things needed and they are quite enough to see you through everyday as well as special occasions. 
I hope you find this post helpful. If you have any questions/suggestions, please put them down in the comments below and I will love to answer them :) 

P.S. I have a Part II coming up soon. Stay tuned! :)

Update : PART II is UP!

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