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9 essential products to buy as a makeup newbie

Are you a makeup newbie getting dizzy at the thousands of items at Sephora and the drug store? Are you trying to learn makeup but have no idea which products to start? Look no further. In this post, I summarized the top 9 must have items, in order of purchase, and the most useful tips for beginners. Basically, if you only have budget for 1 item, buy #1 from this list, and so on! All the tips come from my own experience of successes and failures so enjoy!

1. Makeup remover

Before you even start putting product on your face, get a makeup remover. Don’t worry too much about the kind of remover since you won’t be doing any heavy makeup yet so just pick a brand and type that you like. I cannot emphasize how important this is. Taking care of your skin from the beginning and not leaving residue on your face will save SO MUCH pain later on.

2. BB cream or foundation

The first product I would recommend any makeup newbie is a BB cream or foundation, depending on their skin condition. The reason is having flawless, radiant skin will make the MOST observable and natural impact to your look. Just think of photo editing apps. If your skin condition is good, go for a BB cream that will even, smooth, and brighten your skin tone. Choose a shade close to your natural skin tone and no one will even notice you have makeup on. Otherwise if you have a lot of acne or blemishes, you might want to get straight to the foundation. The tradeoff is there are usually many more shades for foundations, and you will have to go to a counter to try out before buying anything. I repeat, go and try it. Or you will end up with a whole tube of stuff you will never use.

A personal tip is to get liquid foundation instead of powder. 1) Liquid products can be applied with fingers when you have zero tools as a newbie, and 2) they are usually more hydrating and easier to apply evenly for a mistake free finish.

3. Eye brow pencil

Unless you have naturally perfect eyebrows, an eye brow pencil will be something you will not regret purchasing. They are cheap, hard to go wrong on the colour, and also experience the least variation from brand to brand. Especially for people like me who are missing part of their brow, an eye brow pencil will offer a super high return on investment. Choose a pencil in black or dark brown that blends into your natural brow colour. And remember to buy pencils that doesn’t need sharpening. (Again remembering we don’t have any tools yet!)

A small tip for beginners is to shade with small strokes as if you are drawing in individual hairs. The last thing you want is a solid block of colour. Blur the edges slightly with your fingers or a small brush to create a natural look.

4. Lipstick

Next, adding a little colour will also help really improve your look.  A lipstick (or many) is an essential component of a women’s purse. Choose a colour that suits your style, and you can always layer lightly or fully to achieve different shades and effects with the same lipstick. Personally, I like to use a light prune shade only on my inner lips and add colour to my face with blush instead. Start subtle in your colour selection and application, and you can’t go wrong.

5. Mascara

For both the eye lash rich individuals and the lash-less individuals. Mascara is another product that is easy to apply but will give you immediate effects. Make sure the mascara you buy is waterproof, or you will look like a panda in no time. However, waterproof mascara can be hard to take off, so that’s where #1 in this list comes in. The trick to smooth mascara application is practice and finding the method that works best for you. In general, start at the bottom of the lashes and move the brush head up in a zig zag fashion. Put something between your eyelids and your lashes to prevent excess mascara from sticking to the skin. And oh, try to avoid clumps of product on your eye lashes – it’s possible to take out clumps sometimes by applying a 2nd layer or gently brushing the lashes out.

6. Eyeshadow

More specifically, neutral eye shadow. Eye shadow is probably another item that there could be whole blogs about so I’m going to focus on makeup newbies. The safest but nevertheless stunning option is to get a 2 shade neutral eye shadow. By neutral think of skin and earthy toned colours. AVOID buying shadows in your favourite bright colour! I brought a smoky eye palette with various shades of blues, black, and sparkling grey as a naive makeup newbie and that palette is… untouched.

The most basic trick is to cover your eye socket with the light shade, and then go up to the crease line with the darker shade. To create more definition, make sure the end of the eye is darker than the front. The tip that applies to any good look is to blend relentlessly, no awkward lines!


For complete newbies, the above six items are probably a good place to start. Experiment and get comfortable and you can already create a glamorous look. But if you are more adventurous, there are a few more products that can really enhance the quality of your makeup:

7. Highlight

If you already know a bit about makeup, you are asking what about contour? Contour and highlight goes hand-in-hand to provide better definition to the face and its features. Especially in the west, contouring can probably become an art of its own. However, from my own experience I find it is easier to not make a mistake with highlight versus contour for newbies. I could easily lighten up my nose bridge, my jaw…etc. without too much risk of going overboard. As beginners who doesn’t have a good understanding of the face or the desired effect, the advice is to go for products that doesn’t have strong colouration and to go light on the face.

8. Powder

A good powder will help set your makeup and make it last. I used to go to an event with makeup and come homes to a mess. And I thought that was normal, until I came across powder. Just dust it lightly (both pressed powder or loose powder work) on your entire face as a final step and you’re good to go for a long time! Powder is also useful for absorbing excess oil off the face. So if  your face becomes oily and reflective after awhile, just dust some powder, and voila, beautiful polished makeup again.

9. Eyeliner pencil

Eyeliner probably deserves a higher spot on this list. But it is also something that takes time and practice to perfect and personally something that always went wrong in my early days. For starters, buy a black eyeliner pencil that doesn’t require sharpening (because it’s a pain and hard to get right). And PRACTICE. Whether it’s the inner eye line or the outer, practice drawing clean lines and not cringing. The result is totally worth it.

Hope this was help to you. Obviously there are many other products such as primers, concealers, fake eye lashes, various forms of the above mentioned products that didn’t make it to this list. These are my best recommendations and tips from my own struggles as a makeup newbie. But always remember to choose wisely based on your own needs and don’t be scared!
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