vanity, makeup kit, cosmetics

9 Must-Have Makeup Products For A Beginner

How To Build A Makeup Collection

When it comes to beginner makeup, sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin. What makeup products do you actually need? Which ones can you go without? And what on earth do all of these products do? I know I know. There are so many questions when it comes to figuring out what you need to be able to do your own makeup.

That’s why I have created a very simple list of products you can pick up to begin your makeup journey. And guess what, you can find most of these items in your favorite drug store, like Target.

Luckily for women of color, many drug store brands have begun increasing their collection of melanin infused complexion products beyond “mocha” and “cocoa.” Thanks to Jackie Aina.

But we will get into how to choose skin complexion products that work for you and your tone later. First, let’s figure out what you need in that kit!

**I will give this disclaimer though. I am not a professional, I am not an esthetician, I am just a woman who likes makeup. I do not know everything there is to know about makeup but I know enough to get you started. **

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1.Skin Primer

Some may think a primer is useless but girlfriend, it can make or break your beat. I used to be this girl. Not wanting to waste money on yet another beauty product. But. I learned that if I want that makeup to stay in place, to not get super oily, and to keep the flawless look, I need to use a primer. Primers grip your foundation and help to hold it in place. Primers can also help to even out skin tones and smooth pores. 

They have a primer for pretty much anything. There are even spray primers. I prefer to use primers that mattify and reduce oiliness because I have oily skin. I also like to use primers that have pore smoothing effects. Right now, one of my favs has been the Elf Cosmetics Poreless Putty Primer. I love how it makes my skin feel before I apply my makeup and how smoothly my products blend in once I apply them. 

So, get you a primer girl. You can find some pretty decent ones in Target ranging from about $5 to $9.

2. Eyebrow Product

I think this one is an easy one. Everybody knows they want their brows snatched for their beat. Unless you prefer the natural look, then you can skip this product. But some of us want  a little extra pop on our brows. 

There are many different eyebrow products. It can actually be a little overwhelming. You have all types of pencils, pomades, and gels. What do you choose? Well I am going to keep it really simple for you. Pick one and start with that. If you don’t like it, then try something else. 

I suggest starting with an eyebrow pencil because it is very simple to use. It’s a pencil! Can’t be too hard right? And pencils are usually cheaper. So, if you find you don’t like it, you aren’t at a big loss. 

Pomades are cream products that you apply to your brow with an angled brush. In my opinion, brow pomades require a bit more precision and experience than using a pencil. Again, that’s just my opinion. I have tried brow pomades from Elf, Unique Cosomo Cosmetics, and CV Empire. I have liked each of them. 

It’s all your preference.

3. Eyeshadow

We love us a cute eyeshadow look, right? So it is essential to have at least one eyeshadow palette to begin building your collection. I recommend starting with a palette that has enough neutral shades paired with some shimmers so that you are able to achieve simple everyday looks. Work your way up to those vibrate palettes.

As a woman of color, it may be harder to find palettes that show up well on melanin-rich skin but some places to start your search would be, Juvia’s Place, The Crayon Case.  I started out using Juvia’s Place and BH Cosmetics products. There are so many eyeshadow brands out there I am sure that by the end of this you will have chosen more than one.


So things are getting a little trickier. I’m sure you’ve been in Sephora or to a beauty counter asking to be matched for a foundation. We’ve all been there. It’s tricky. There are so many different options and now we are beginning to have a lot more different shade options for women of color.

When choosing your base or foundation, first think about what kind of base you would like. You could choose a tinted moisturizer, a CC cream, or a BB cream, or simply use a pressed powder. These are all products that are really light and provide light to medium coverage. They are designed to give you a little “umph” and that barely-there, natural makeup look.

You can choose a liquid foundation. Liquid foundations will provide light to full coverage, depending on the brand you choose. You can then decide the type of finish you would like your foundation to have. Choosing the finish means choosing how you would your foundation to look. Would you like your foundation to be mattifying or would you like a more natural dewy finish? A popular and affordable liquid foundation is Maybelline Fit Me. This foundation comes in matte and poreless and dewy finishes.

5. Concealer

Having a concealer is a great addition to your makeup kit. Concealers are designed to do just that, conceal. You can use different colors and tones of concealers to cover dark circles, hyperpigmentation, and red spots. The most common use of concealers is for you brightening your under-eye area for highlighting. Concealers can also be used to contour and create shadows on areas of your face. Implementing concealer in your makeup routine creates dimension in your face and removes the more “flat” look that only applying foundation can create.

Some concealers to start out with would be LA Pro Girl Concealers. They have many shade options and are quite affordable. NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop concealer and Elf Cosmetics 16 HR Camo and Hydrating Satin concealers are also some great affordable options. Just like foundations, concealers have different finishes too. So make sure you are considering what results you would like and what works best for your skin type.

6. Setting Powder

Setting powder, loose setting powder is designed to help to prolong the wear of your makeup. It helps to keep the products you’ve applied, especially the concealer in place.  Everyone can benefit from applying some setting powder to their face, regardless of if they have oily or dry skin. It will help to keep the makeup from sliding down your face and it kind of places a protective barrier on top.

Some setting powders are Maybelline Fit Me Loose Setting Powder, Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, and Chalk Dust by the Crayon Case.

7. Setting Spray

Setting spray is the holy grail. If things aren’t looking too promising, I guarantee some setting spray will bring that look together. I’ve saved my look many times with some setting spray. It helps to melt all of those products and powders together. It also aids in promoting the longevity of your look throughout the day. Setting sprays, like foundations, come in different finishes. There are setting sprays for a matte finish and dewy finish. There are also sprays designed to refresh your makeup throughout the day.

Some setting sprays that may peak your interest are Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, NYX Finish Makeup Setting Spray, or Morphe Continuous Setting Spray.

8. Lip Product

There are so many additions that can be added to your beginner kit, like mascara and eyeliner, but I believe it is important to tie a look together with something on your lips. So pick up a nice lip gloss, or lipstick, whichever you prefer and complete your face!

One of my favorite lip glosses right now is the Milani Ludicrous Lip Gloss. But there are so many small businesses on Facebook and Instagram that have some great products. Oh and don’t sleep on the beauty supply store. There are plenty of options there as well. Check them out first!

9. Makeup Tools

So how do you apply all of these products? You should invest in some makeup brushes and/or sponges to use. You can apply most of these products with sponges, except your eyeshadow. You can use brushes to apply all of these products. It’s all in your preference. You can find brushes and sponges pretty much everywhere! All of the brushes I have in my collection have been purchased from BH Cosmetics or Amazon.

Of course, these are not all of the products you could use in your kit but this is a great start to achieve an everyday makeup look. It can also give you time, if you are a beginner, to master using these sets of products before you add some more.

glass, makeup, cosmetics

Other Products & Tools To Add:

If you want to up your beginner kit add a few of these items to your shopping list:

  • Mascara
  • Eye Liner
  • Lip Liner
  • Lashes and Lash Glue
  • Blush
  • Highlighter
  • Contour Palette
  • Makeup Remover
  • Bronzer

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