The Ultimate Makeup Kit for Beginners on A Budget
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Are you just beginning your makeup journey? In the midst of the fun and excitement, it is also overwhelming. There is a lot that goes into creating a beginner’s kit such as finding the colors that match you, the products that work best with your skin. Of course, you will also want to learn the techniques that work best for you, play around with different colors, and find the products that you love.
Finding the right products might be the hardest part. There are so many different products available, and you can find them everywhere: online, drugstores, department stores, prestige beauty stores, beauty supply stores, even grocery stores. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it is very easy to get lost.
It may seem like a good idea to start in a prestige store such as Sephora, Mac, or Ulta; but the employees tend to refer you to more expensive products than you need at this point. If you are new to makeup, or creating a new kit, you may believe that it will cost a fortune to purchase all of the products you need. That is not necessarily true.
Creating a basic makeup kit for beginners on a budget is actually easier than you think. Getting everything you need for a gorgeous face does not have to cost a fortune. Now more than ever, there are great makeup products available for low prices.
Keep reading to learn about the products that you need to create a complete makeup kit on a budget that is perfect for beginners. We even have great recommendations for you. Yes, even if you have dry, oily, fair, or dark skin. We got you!
You will also find some bonus tips! So, are you ready to start your creating your complete beginner’s makeup kit on a budget? Let’s get started.
Although this is a post about creating a basic makeup kit for beginners, skincare is worth mentioning. A great makeup look starts with a good skincare. It is important to begin with a clean and moisturized face; and don’t forget your SPF.
A primer is applied after your skincare products, before any other makeup. The main purpose of this step is to help the rest of your makeup last longer. It also creates a barrier between your skin and the makeup.
There are different types of primers such as face primers, eye primers, lip primers, and under eye primers. For a beginner’s kit, a face primer is the only essential required.
Primer is a controversial topic in the makeup world. Some makeup artists swear you can’t live without it and some think it is an unnecessary step. We think it is a must for a flawless makeup look.
Various face primers can do different things and give your makeup a distinct effect, for example a luminous face primer can give you a “lit from within” look.
There are face primers made for each skin type as well. This means that a primer can help keep moisture in your skin for those with dry skin. Those who tend to be oily can benefit from a primer that can help keep the skin matte throughout the day.
Our favorite budget friendly primers can be found in your local drugstore and online.
For those with oily skin, or like to have a matte and pore free appearance, try out the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer. This primer will leave your skin very soft and smooth, while giving a blurred filter effect – no app needed. It is lightweight and comfortable enough that you can even wear it on no makeup days over your moisturizer!
If you are looking for a primer that will give you a dewy look, check out our favorite from L’Oreal. The L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer helps your skin to look smooth and instantly illuminated. Your pores will also be blurred helping to give you a more flawless look. It is also great at keeping your makeup in place all day.
Foundation / Tinted Moisturizer/ BB Cream
Foundation, BB creams, or tinted moisturizer create the canvas for your makeup. These products help to even your skin and enhance your natural color.
But foundation, BB creams, and tinted moisturizer are all different products. The main difference is that tinted moisturizer and BB creams usually provides less coverage and gives a more natural appearance. BB creams also have more skincare ingredients included in the formula.
BB Creams and Tinted Moisturizers
Tinted moisturizer is a great choice for those that are looking to just dip their toe into the makeup pond. It is also a great addition to a beginner’s makeup kit for days when you want a more natural look.
Our favorite tinted moisturizer for a healthy, illuminated, and bronzy look is the L’Oreal True Match Lumi Glotion. This product comes in three different colors that enhances many different skin tones. It also adds a lot of hydration to your skin. We actually love how it mixes with other products for extra special versatility. We like to mix it with our primer or foundation, and use it on top of foundation before our powder for highlight. Apply it on your décolletage for an added glow, the list goes on and on. This is actually one of our favorite drugstore gems.
Are you oily and can’t deal with any added shine? Try out this tinted moisturizer from Maybelline. The Dream Pure BB Cream it is great for those with oily or acne prone skin. It contains salicylic acid to help fight breakouts but still gentle enough to use every day. This BB cream does not give you a completely matte finish; you will rock a naturally radiant look.
Foundation comes in many different formulas. It can be full coverage, sheer, matte, dewy, satin – the choices can be overwhelming. We can make it easier to choose with a few top picks for affordable foundations.
For those with dry or normal skin, we have two budget friendly foundations that would make the perfect addition to your beginner’s makeup kit. The L.A. Girl Pro Coverage liquid foundation will give you medium to full luminous coverage. This long-wearing foundation only comes in 16 different shades. The lightest foundation shade is a white color that is meant to be mixed with a foundation to lighten any shade.
Want more of a glow while keeping your skin hydrated?
Another favorite for those with dry or normal skin that are looking for a more illuminating foundation, check out the cult favorite L’Oreal Infallible Pro Glow Foundation.This longwearing, glowing foundation provides medium coverage. It lasts all day without looking cakey and all while keeping your skin hydrated. It also contains an SPF 15. The downside is that it only comes in 12 shades.
If you prefer a more matte look, check out The Ordinary Serum Foundation. This semi-matte foundation provides medium, lightweight coverage. This serum foundation is specially formulated to not sit in fine lines or wrinkles. This foundation gives a naturally flawless finish.
For a fuller coverage matte look the NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation.This new foundation seems to do it all. Besides controlling shine all day and keeping you perfectly matte, it is waterproof, lightweight, and has tons of coverage. This foundation doesn’t transfer and stays pigmented for 24 hours. It also comes in 45 different shades, this means there is something for anyone. This is a truly matte foundation. If you want to add a bit of hydration and glow beneath this shine controlling foundation, pair it with the NYX Hydra Touch Oil Primer.
Concealer is an essential part of a makeup routine. They can be used for covering up skin discoloration, pimples, and undereye circles.
Our favorite concealer for covering under eye bags and dark circles is Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer.This is the perfect secret weapon to add to a beginner’s makeup kit on a budget. This undereye concealer provides full coverage to hide dark circles and fine lines. It is also filled with skin loving ingredients to help treat the area.
Another great concealer is the L.A. Girl HD Pro Conceal. This concealer comes in many different colors, that allows you to color correct, contour, and highlight all using concealer. There are 28 different colors to choose from! The formula of this concealer can be used under the eyes and on other parts of the face, to hide any and all of your secrets.
Some people have a bad experience with drugstore blushes. They have the bad reputation of having a chalky texture and providing little to no pigment.
Although this is true for some, hey they all can’t be winners, the drugstore formulas have come a long way. A few of the products are so good that those in the beauty community consider them “dupes”for higher end products.
A dupe in the makeup world is a product that is less expensive but gets the job done like a prestige product. These do not just apply to blushes. There are dupes for foundations, concealers, mascaras, you name it.
Special Note: Dupes are quality products in their own right. A dupe is not a high-end product sold for a lower price at another location other than a drugstore or beauty store. Those are counterfeits. Beware of counterfeit products, they can cause serious health problems due to irregular ingredients, how they are made and stored. To learn more about buying fake makeup, check out this article from CBS, it is pretty shocking.
You will find that their texture very similar. When looking at swatches of the two makeup products or seeing them applied, it is difficult to tell the difference.
This means that they give the exact same look, and even sometimes the same lasting power, without the same price tag! We are all about saving some dollars!
It is true that lower priced items will typically lack the more luxurious packaging, better ingredients, a high-end name, and may possibly not last as long (but as mentioned above the jury is still out on that one).
One of the most well-known o.g. dupes in the beauty community, and for good reason, is the Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. This is a dupe for the coveted Nars Blush in Orgasm. Both shades are so popular because they work very well on many different skin tones. They are peachy and have a beautiful golden shimmer that is just enough to add a little glow.
The Milani Baked Blushes are great in any color though, honestly. They are very easy to work with for a beginner. Each blush blends easily onto the skin and they come in different shades. These are also pretty silky and pigmented, so no needed to worry.
A cream blush can give you a more natural and dewy look. One of our favorites is the wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick- Blush. Cream blushes are super easy to use, as you can apply it to your cheeks and then blend it out with your fingers, a beauty blender, or a brush – you have plenty of options. The formula is velvety and dries to a natural finish. This is definitely a great addition for any beginner’s makeup beauty kit on a budget.
Highlighter is probably our favorite part of our daily makeup routine – and no we are not talking about the ones you would find in your school bag. We love how you can enhance your features so easily. And I mean, who doesn’t like to look like a glowing goddess?
When highlighting, you are trying to bring light to parts of your face that you want to bring forward.
There are so many different highlighter colors out there. You can choose from holographic, gold, even black highlighters.
Want to know our favorite affordable highlighter? Again, wet n wild came through with a winner with the wet n wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder. This highlighter has the silky texture of a high-end product and comes in 5 different colors, one for every skin tone. We love that it gives you a gorgeous glow all day for such a low price!
There are also liquid highlighters that are great for those with dry skin or even to layer under a powder highlighter for an ultra glowy, longer lasting effect. The Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter comes in 7 different colors and blends beautifully into the skin. It has also been called a dupe for the very popular Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops.
Contour can be one of the scariest techniques for makeup beginners. As long as you use the right technique and the correct colors, you are set.
When contouring you are trying to create a shadow and therefore takeaway light from some areas of your face. Contour is how you chisel your cheekbones and get the “Kardashian look.”
This can actually give you the appearance of a slimmer face or nose. It can also give the look of a smaller forehead. There are many things that contouring and highlighting can do.
For some, contouring will not be a part of their everyday look, but we are always about a little bit of contour to sculpt our cheekbones!
Finding an affordable contour for those with darker skin tones can sometimes be a real struggle. Thank goodness for Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette. This product comes in two colors, light to medium and medium to dark. The palette comes with three colors in it: a contour shade, a warming shade, and a highlighting shade. We love getting more for our money!
A great cream contour product from the drugstore is the Maybelline Master Contour V-Shape Duo Stick Contour & Highlight. It comes in three colors and is very easy to use with the stick applicator. The creamy formula is easy to blend and is great for those with drier skin.
Well isn’t bronzer just contour? No, no, no. Contour and bronzer are each meant to do different things. Bronzer is meant to add warmth to the face. Think of it as helping you to look like you just came back from a beach vacation.
One of the most well-known brands for creating amazing drugstore bronzers is Physicians Formula. The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer is a luxurious, silky, bronzer that comes in 4 different colors. This formula is very hydrating due to the fatty acids and vitamins on the ingredients list.
The Morphe Brontour is another bronzer that gives great results without breaking the bank. It has a matte shade and a shimmery shade, one is meant for bronzing and one for contouring. When combined, they also make a gorgeous muted glowing color. It comes in six different shades to have you looking bronzed.
Eyeshadow can be one of the most fun parts of makeup. This allows you to have the most creativity, as there are thousands of looks that you can do. You can be as dramatic or as natural as you would like with your eyeshadow look.
Some drugstore eyeshadows are not the best formulas. Like blushes, they can be chalky and not pigmented but there are plenty of exceptions. So, it is important to do your research before you buy.
The Morphe eyeshadow palettes are some of the best ones for the value. The best one for a beginner’s makeup kit on a budget would be the Morphe 350 Color Nature Glow Eyeshadow Palette. It has 35 mattes, shimmers, and satin shades that are perfect for pulling off many different looks. This palette can easily take you from day to night.
The Juvia’s Place Saharian Palette is another great option. This palette only has 12 different colors, but it has more than just neutrals to create a variety of looks. Again, there is a mix of mattes, shimmers, and satin shades. With over 1202 reviews online, this palette is a fan favorite.
Eyeliners are used to define the eyes. Depending on the technique you use, you can even change your eye shape.
Eyeliner is another product that you can get away with not spending an arm and a leg on. There are so many affordable formulas that are just as good if not better than the more expensive products.
A prime example is the Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner. These eyeliners come in 18 different colors so you can create any look that you want. This retractable eyeliner has a built-in sharpener and a smudge. The formula is long-wearing and waterproof, so it will last you all day.
Another great eyeliner is the Colourpop Eyeliners Crème Gel Liners. These eyeliners come in so many different colors you are certain to find your favorite. They are pigmented and very long-lasting. Although they don’t offer as many colors as Sephora, they do offer some really beautiful, eye popping shades like yellow and lilac.
Mascara tints the colors of your lashes. Depending on the formula and brush used, mascara can help add volume and length to your lashes.
In our opinion, drugstore/ affordable mascaras are just as good as high-end mascaras. This is definitely our favorite budget buy!
First up for our favorite mascaras is the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. This mascara adds instant volume and gives you big, bold lashes. Your top and bottom lashes will love this product! The formula also gives a feathery and soft look. The Lash Paradise Mascara comes in 3 different colors and in regular or waterproof.
The Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara is a relatively new cult favorite in the beauty community. This mascara gives a false lash effect that gives a ton of dramatic volume and length. Who wants to wear false lashes when you don’t have to?
There are many different ways to enhance your eyebrows and many different products to use.
If you want to try your hand at using an eyebrow pencil, the NYX Precision Brow Pencil is awesome for filling in brows. It has a precise tip to create hair-like-strokes. This helps you creates a very natural brow or a more dramatic glamorous brow.
For an easier approach to fill in the brows a gel lets you swipe and go. Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Volumizing Eye Gel. This product helps to quickly fill in brows, add color, and all while taming them. The gel is infused with fibers to add more volume to give you a bushy and natural brow look.
A lip color is great to add a pop of color to your makeup look. Lip products are something that are pretty easy to choose from the drugstore. Just be careful of matte formulas. They can be more drying if not made with the right ingredients.
Revlon makes great lip products. The Revlon ColorBurst Balms are awesome. They come in matte lip balms and regular lip balms that leave a stain. Whatever formula you choose, they are comfortable to wear and easy to apply. There are many colors to choose from.
Revlon also makes some of our favorite lip-glosses. The Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss gives our lips the perfect amount of shine without being too sticky. It is also hydrating and comes in some really pretty colors. We love a glossy list.
Setting Powder / Setting Spray
After you have worked so hard on your makeup, you HAVE to set it into place. Well, you don’t have to, but why would you want to risk letting all of your beautiful work go to waste?
When choosing how to set your makeup, you have a few choices. You can either set it with a powder, a setting spray, or with both.
Using a translucent powder will give you the most bang for your buck. You can set your entire face with one product.
The best o.g. drugstore translucent is the Coty Airspun Loose Translucent Powder. This powder helps to hide fine lines and wrinkles the same as that higher end powders due to its soft texture. Your makeup is locked in and lasts all day with this powder.
As for setting sprays, the L’Oreal Infallible Pro Set & Spray Makeup Extender Setting Spray keeps your makeup looking fresh all day. It is perfect to spritz before you walk out the door. Remember to let your mascara dry before the spritz!
See, creating a beginner’s makeup kit on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality.
Now that you know what products we recommend, there is probably a lot more you would like to know about makeup. Grab your copy of our free eBook that is full of even more tips and tricks for our beginners. There is even some useful information if you are already a makeup junkie.
What are your favorite affordable makeup products? Are any of these in your makeup bag already? Let us know in the comments below.