Makeup Collection Essentials

Anyone that's ever shopped for makeup will know that it can do detrimental things to your budget- the stuff certainly doesn't come cheap! When you're into beauty you're always going to want a wide range of products to try out, but unless you have a significant amount of money to blow at one time, it  can take time to build up a collection. This post covers what I consider to be 'makeup collection essentials' for people first starting out with makeup. They're staple products that cover all bases, and can easily be built from regardless of how adventurous your collection gets in the future.

Face Products
Primer creates a base for your foundation, meaning it applies better and also lasts longer on the skin. Primer will also help to fill in pores leaving a smooth finish and will give your foundation a more flawless finish. If you're noticing that your foundation fades quickly and isn't lasting you for the whole day, I'd definitely recommend incorporating a primer into your makeup routine.

Even if you already have good skin, foundation will even out any discolouration, hide blemishes and give you an even complexion. Work out what suits your skin type, for example if you have oily skin you might want to avoid oil based foundations which can leave you looking greasy. Search for a product that states that it's 'oil free' on the packaging. Those with drier skin should avoid whipped or mousse-like foundation which will cling to and accentuate dry patches. If you're after a light coverage, BB cream or tinted moisturiser can be used in the place of foundation.

Face Powder: 
Face powder will 'set' your foundation making it last longer, and can also be used to touch up your makeup throughout the day to avoid shine. The one I'd recommend is Stay Matte by Rimmel, it does a great job of mattifying the skin without looking powdery or cakey. 

You can get away with using one concealer for both dark circles and blemishes, although I'd recommend two different formulations. The formulation of stick concealers for example is often very thick, which will hide redness and blemishes but can gather under the eyes which can look cakey and accentuate any fine lines. There are lots of great illuminating concealers that are designed for under the eyes that are a thinner consistency and absorb into the delicate under eye area more effectively.

Bronzer can be used for contouring the face giving it more shape and definition, as well as adding some colour and warmth to the skin. As well as being applied to under the cheek bones, bronzer can be swept across the temples and also across the jaw bone. Finding a colour that suits your skin tone is extremely important, for example many bronzers can look too dark or orange on pale skin and so be prepared to test out a few in search for the perfect one.

Bronzer goes underneath the cheekbones whereas blush goes on the apples of the cheeks- a staple if like me you wake up in the morning and look like washed out and ghostly! If you already have quite rosy cheeks try a peach or coral coloured blush which can help to counteract some of the natural redness but still give you a bit of colour

Highlighter is applied to the cheekbones gives the face more definition as well as a healthy, dewy glow. A lot of blushes have shimmer mixed in so are essentially a blush and highlight in one.

Lip Products

Lip balm:
No lip products will look good over chapped or cracked lips. Regardless of whether you wear makeup or not, a good lip balm is an essential for everyone and so find one that works for you. Not exactly a makeup item, but still important enough to mention.

Lip liner:
I very rarely wear lip liner and don't see it as really an essential item, although if you're big on dark lip colours it might be handy to own a couple. Lip liner will stop your lipstick bleeding and make it look nice and neat, but I think it's something you can get away with unless you have a particularly problematic lipstick that smudges easily.

Lip Colour:
At the very least, a nude, pink, coral and red should get you through just about every occasion and season. Over time you'll discover certain brands, colours and formulations that work best for you. If a traditional lipstick isn't your thing look into lip crayons- they're usually a balm and stain in one and are easy to wear. Some examples are Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains, or if you have a bigger budget Clinique's Chubby Sticks. If you're after a sheer wash of colour or want to add some sparkle over lipstick go with a gloss.

Eye Products

This really is number one for eyes. Mascara makes your eyes appear more awake, and if you only choose to wear one eye product it should definitely be mascara in my opinion.

Eyeliner pencil and liquid eyeliner:
Eyeliner makes the eyes look more defined and can really finish off a makeup look. If you find black to be too harsh for your eyes try a brown or grey shade which should suit just about everyone. After you own a staple black or brown, you can start adding more adventurous colours to your collection to experiment with different looks.

Eyebrow pencil or brow kit:
Choose a colour two shades lighter than your natural eyebrow colour. If your eyebrows are naturally blonde, choose a a colour that's two shades darker. Eyebrow pencils are a good place to start, but you can also use brow kits or even matte eyeshadow on an angled brush to fill in your brows.

As an absolute basic, if you own no other eyeshadow go for at least a trio which has a light, medium and dark shade, for the eyelid, crease and brow bone. Large colour palettes are useful as they allow you to try out a lot of colours without spending much money. Investing money into better quality shadows is always worthwhile when you know what suits you.

Eyeshadow Primer
If you're going to wear eyeshadow, a primer is so important. Not only will it stop your eyeshadow from creasing and make it last for longer, a primer will make the colours of your eyeshadow show up better. You can also use a cream eyeshadow as an eye primer, just apply a thin layer to your eyelid then apply the powder shadow on top.

Places to shop for inexpensive makeup:

MUA (Makeup Academy)
This is an amazing budget brand available at Superdrug and on the MUA website. They have a massive range of products that cost £1 each and are fantastic quality. Some of my favourites are their £1 lipsticks and blushes and their £4 eyeshadow palettes

Fragrance Direct
This is a website that sells heavily discounted makeup, nail polishes, fragrance, skincare and haircare. Most of the major brands are available: Rimmel, Revlon, Maxfactor, Loreal etc and only cost a couple of pounds.

Ebay Cosmetics
These are unbranded cosmetics from sellers in Hong Kong, and are surprisingly good. They take a couple of weeks to arrive, but are definitely worthwhile trying out.

Poundland/ 99p Stores
Admittedly these are a bit hit and miss, but I've found some great makeup pieces in Poundland and the 99p shop over the years. Some of my finds include Revlon nail varnishes (usually £8 each) Rimmel, Loreal and and Revlon eyeshadows (usually between £5-£10) and loads more including brands like Maxfactor, NYC and Stila. Worth a look if you're ever passing!

Another budget brand with a huge range of products, most things cost less than a fiver and they're well known for their great inexpensive brushes.

What do you think the essentials are when it comes to makeup?


  1. Great post!! Was so interesting to read and might have to check out that concealer palette :)


  2. wow, you write such good and informative blogposts! Keep up the good work. Love the new "design" btw <3 xo

  3. Great post :) Really enjoyed reading this even though I've owned makeup for years haha! xx

  4. OMG, Stacey, I'm such a dummy when it comes to make up, I always feel confused with what, how, and what for;-))) this post is like Make up 101 for me - I most definitely needed it!!!!! Thank you, girl, you're the best;-)))

  5. Great post! I totally agree - I love the storage part too, I have to have my make up organised! :) Love your blog! xx

  6. thank you for the feedback everyone I'm glad you found it useful :) xx