Makeup Bag Essentials For Beginners

I know how confusing it is when starting out with makeup but we all have to start somewhere and I’m here to hopefully make it a little easier. I’ve curated a list of the basics you need in your makeup bag, as well as some recommendations for each type of product.

  1. Primer/Setting Spray

Before there were any primers and setting sprays, my makeup used to look awful and it would crease and do all things it shouldn’t. It wasn’t until later on until I realized the importance of a primer and setting spray!


Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray

It’s convenient and takes up less space in your makeup bag to have a primer & setting spray in one! It’s so refreshing when you spritz this baby on your face in the morning.

Buy this primer in the mini size from Sephora $15

2. Concealer:

Whether you’re a teenager who’s starting to explore the wonders of makeup, or a 25 year old, we all have problem areas on our face that we’d like to cover up, whether that be pimples or dark circles.

Vanessa Recommends:

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

Simple, lightweight, and pigmented: the three things beginners need when taking the first step in the journey that is makeup! You can use this as an eyeshadow base if you’d like. I love how this concealer has a doe foot applicator that makes it easy to target specific problem areas.

Buy this concealer now from Maybelline $6.49

3. Foundation or Tinted Moisturizer

When it comes to foundation you have two options to choose from. If you’re looking for just a little bit of coverage, then it’s best to start out with a tinted moisturizer. If you’re looking for extra coverage then go with the foundation.

Vanessa Recommends (foundation):

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Matte + Poreless/Dewy + Smooth

I really like this line for foundations because it provides a breathable, natural looking second skin.

Buy the foundation now from Maybelline $7.99

Vanessa Recommends (tinted moisturizer):

e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

This is a great tinted moisturizer that provides subtle coverage while working on hydrating the skin. It also has SPF in it to keep your skin young and healthy.

Buy this tinted moisturizer now from e.l.f. $3

4. Contour/Highlight

This is a step that you can skip if you want to, but contouring really pulls together your makeup look, and makes your face not look like a potato.

Vanessa Recommends (contour):Kat Von D Shade + Light Palette

I’ve been using this for 4 years already and I’ve only purchased two palettes in those years. This is my go-to contour palette & it’s so easy to use for beginners because it blends so easily! It even includes a how-to card inside.

Buy the palette now from Sephora $49

•Vanessa Recommends (highlight):

Colourpop Lusted Dust Highlighter (shown: Sugar Trap)

I’m a Colourpop lover and I want to bathe in this highlighter. I chose this because it’s really easy to apply and it looks so pretty!

Buy this highlighter from Colourpop $7

5. Eyeshadow

Just a little bit of eyeshadow on the lid can go a long way. Even popping one of the shade colors from the Kat Von D palette on your eyelid can completely change your appearance!

Vanessa Recommends:

Tartelette In Bloom Eyeshadow Palette

I’ve had this palette for 1 1/2 years now and I’ve only hit the pan on three shades. It lasts a long time and it features the perfect shades for beginners! You can create a whole bunch of easy looks with this palette.

Buy this palette from Tarte $46

6. Eyebrows

Even if you have nice, thick eyebrows, you could still add some eyebrow products to them to neaten them up and pull together your makeup look.

Vanessa Recommends:

Milani Easybrow

This was my first-ever eyebrow pencil & it was perfect to start with. It’s convenient with a spooly on the other end so you don’t take up too much room in your makeup bag!

Buy this brow pencil from Milani $6

For an eyebrow gel, e.l.f. has a great one for just $2 to keep your eyebrows in place!

Buy this brow gel from e.l.f. $2

7. Eyeliner

It may be hard for some to create the perfect winged liner, but until you learn to do it, you should just start off easy. Just a thin line along your lash line can make your eyes pop and make your eyelashes look darker and longer.

Vanessa Recommends:

L’Oreal Paris Super Slim Eyeliner (Perfect Slim)

I actually suggested this to my friend who wanted to learn how I do my winged eyeliner. Through trial and error, she eventually learned how to do it! This is a great eyeliner for beginners because it’s very slim, and easy to handle.

Buy this liquid eyeliner from L’Oreal $8.95

8. Mascara

Even if you’re blessed with long, voluminous lashes, you still need mascara to complete your makeup look. Mascara amplifies your lashes and defines your eyes.

Vanessa Recommends:
L’Oreal Lash Paradise Mascara

This is a really good mascara! Its wand reminds me of the Marc Jacobs mascara that I absolutely love. It really emphasizes on the volume and thickness of your lashes.

Buy this mascara from L’Oreal $9.99

9. Lip Liner

Before applying lipstick, you should first line your lips. This step is important because it makes your lipstick lines seamless and it neatens it up.

Vanessa Recommends:
NYX Slim Lip Pencil

NYX undeniably has some of the best lip liners. They’re easy to apply and there are a lot of colors to choose from! It’s perfect for beginners.

Buy the lip liners at NYX $4

10. Lipstick

Since Kiley has gotten lip injections, the world has crazed over using lipstick to amplify the lips and to make them look plump. Lipstick really does work wonders and can transform an entire makeup look.

Vanessa Recommends:
Mac Lipstick (shown: Viva Glam 2)

The very first lipsticks I could actually call my own were from Mac. I remember I bought Velvet Teddy, and Viva Glam 2 because one was good for a shade darker for the fall and the other was a good nude shade! Macs formulas are perfect for beginners.

Buy Mac lipsticks at Mac $17.50

Hopefully this little post helped you in some way. This wasn’t sponsored or anything – these are just my true opinions on the products. Hopefully my vivid experience with being a beginner at makeup helped you to choose which products you need in your bag. I remember what it was like to not know what essentials you need. Although I did have my professional MUA mommy, I did struggle with finding the right products for me so keep that in mind.


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