15 Basic Makeup Essentials That Belong in Every Makeup Bag

Author: Liang

Feb. 04, 2024



Tags: Beauty & Personal Care

Whether you stick to a natural makeup look every day or want to go glam for an event, stash these essentials in your makeup bag for easy getting-ready and no-fuss touch-ups. From brushes to blush and everything in between, consider these beauty tools and products the ultimate, everyday makeup checklist.


  • Concealer
  • Concealer is one of those basic makeup essentials to keep on you at all times (just in case). Choose a creamy formula that can hide under-eye circles and uninvited blemishes.
  • Foundation
  • Foundation is, well, the foundation of any makeup routine—basic or elaborate—but you don't need to slather it all over your face. Just apply in places where you see uneven skin tone or discoloration. If you don't need as much coverage as a liquid foundation provides or prefer something a little lighter, consider a tinted moisturizer instead.
  • Blush
  • When it comes to choosing a go-to blush, look for a warm tone that adds a splash of color to the apples of your cheeks (and a little life to your whole complexion).
  • Translucent Setting Powder
  • A quick, light dusting of translucent powder at the end sets makeup and controls shine. You'll particularly love having a shine-busting setting powder on hand if you tend to have an oily T-zone or tend to sweat easily. It's also a godsend when covering up blemishes or discoloration you'd rather not share with the world: Apply foundation to the problem spot, set with powder, apply a dab of concealer, then set with powder again.
  • Mascara
  • There's no better way to wake up and define those eyes than by enhancing your lashes—and a good mascara is all you need. Stick with basic black mascara (or dark brown if you have light hair and lashes). It's up to you whether or not you use waterproof mascara. Just make sure you protect those lashes by removing mascara with care.
  • Neutral Eye Shadow
  • A neutral beige or taupe eye shadow is an instant brightener when swiped across the upper lid.
  • Defining Eye Shadow
  • For a slightly more defined shadow, choose a medium neutral shade like warm brown or charcoal gray. Brush the shadow in the crease of the eye, just under the brow bone, to add depth.
  • Eye Liner
  • You can use your darker shade of eye shadow as a liner along the lashes—or use a dark brown or black pencil to create a thin line that defines and enhances your eyes.
  • Lipstick
  • How about some color? Lipstick (or tint, gloss, or stain if you want a less saturated look) is the perfect antidote to the midweek blahs. You'll be stunned by what a swipe of color can do for your lips, face, and mood. Not feeling bold and bright at the moment? Opt for a natural pink or nude lipstick instead.
  • Fluffy Powder Brush
  • Keep one big, rounded makeup brush to dust on your setting powder once you've finished your makeup.
  • Blush Brush
  • This brush is a bit smaller than your big powder brush and is the right size for dabbing the cheeks with color and blending along the cheekbones.
  • Eye Shadow Brush
  • A basic beginner's makeup kit should include an all-over eye shadow brush that gets your entire lid covered in one swipe.
  • Crease Brush
  • This smaller, rounded eye shadow brush will get into the crease when you add a darker shade for definition.
  • Eye Liner Brush
  • A small, flat, angled brush can be used to line the eyes or add a bit of brow powder to lackluster eyebrows.
  • Tweezers
  • Keep a pair of tweezers in your makeup bag to clean up any stray hairs around your brows that show up in between brow appointments.

Are you a first-timer looking to assemble a beginner makeup kit? Maybe, you’re looking to upgrade your drugstore collection with new products from dermatologist-approved brands? Either way, to help you achieve a flawless look, the experts at LovelySkin have put together a list of makeup products for beginners. Read on for the top ten products to help you build out your beginner makeup kit:

  • Set skin for makeup application with a primer
  • Even skin tone with foundation
  • Camouflage imperfections with concealer
  • Add radiance with highlighter
  • Brighten your face with blush
  • Add a pop of color on your lips
  • Lengthen lashes with mascara
  • Layer on color with eye shadow
  • Make eyes stand out with eyeliner
  • Define brows with an eyebrow pencil

First on our basic makeup list is a primer. Starting your makeup routine with a primer is important because it preps your skin for makeup application. As a result, your makeup will go on more smoothly for a better, longer-lasting look.

Eminence Organics Lilikoi Light Defense Face Primer SPF 23 does all of the above while also providing an illuminating effect. Board-certified dermatologist and LovelySkin CEO Dr. Joel Schlessinger recommends daily use of sunscreen to protect against skin cancer and signs of aging, so it’s an added bonus that this primer also contains two mineral sunscreens, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

To even out your skin tone and help you achieve that flawless look, foundation (also called base) is the next step.

We recommend Glo Skin Beauty Pressed Base for makeup beginners because it’s easy to use and provides buildable coverage, meaning you can apply it lightly for sheer coverage or layer on for heavier coverage. It’s a mineral-based formula in a pressed powder compact, which is best applied in circular motions on your face using a makeup brush.

If you skin is acne-prone or you spend a lot of time under stage lights for dance or theater performances, you might want to try Oxygenetix Acne Control Foundation, a breathable formula that also contains 2% salicylic acid to help keep skin clear. “Many of my teenage patients look for an acne-friendly makeup. While mineral-based makeups are great, those who need extra coverage or who are in plays or other events 'under the lights' may opt for the Oxygenetix Acne formula, which is excellent in these settings,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Whatever the case, if acne occurs, always consider that your makeup may be contaminated, or your brush. Clean your brushes regularly and always consider whether it is a good idea to discard makeup that is old or that could be past its freshness date.”

If you are looking to minimize dark under-eye circles, acne scars or other discoloration on your face that foundation doesn’t quite cover, that’s a job for concealer.

Dermablend is an industry leader when it comes to coverage, so investing in one of their high-quality concealers is a must-have for your beginner makeup kit. We recommend Dermablend Cover Care Full Coverage Concealer, a waterproof and transfer-resistant formula with a soft doe-foot applicator that makes it simple to apply precisely where you need it.

For professional tips on how to apply concealer and foundation to cover acne, watch our video tutorial.

Using a highlighter might seem like an advanced makeup maneuver, but it makes the cut for this basic makeup list because it’s actually really simple to use for radiant results.

RMS Beauty Luminizer has a satin-like cream texture and an opalescent glow. To get that dewy, fresh-faced look, apply it with your finger to your brow bones or cheekbones.

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Though it might be one of the most overlooked makeup products out there, the rosy glow of blush can really elevate your whole look.

For a natural-looking flush, try Perricone MD No Makeup Blush. This gel-cream blush in a rich peach shade flatters all shades of skin. Use the built-in applicator on the lid to lightly dot the blush on your cheeks and blend using a makeup sponge or just your fingers.

For beginners, we love moisturizing lip colors with a balm-like texture—they’re pretty foolproof to apply and look fantastic on.

The RMS Beauty Signature Set in the Pop Collection has three options for lips in one palette: lip color in red and pink shades, plus a clear balm to layer over or wear solo. Moisturizing shea butter and coconut oil make these lip colors comfortable and nourishing to wear too.

For professional tips on how to apply your lip color to achieve fuller-looking lips, check out our video tutorial.

Another all-star product on our makeup list for beginners is basic black mascara. It’s so versatile--it can be the finishing touch on an ultra-glam look or the only makeup you put on for the day.

Try Colorescience Mascara, a smudge-free, mineral-based formula that will help your lashes look longer and thicker. It also strengthens and conditions lashes over time to protect against damage.

For defined eyes that pop, add an eyeliner to your makeup arsenal.

We recommend Senna Ultra Last Eyeliner for your beginner makeup kit because of its automatic twist-up design (no need to mess with pencil sharpeners) and silky texture that glides on easily and smoothly. The long-wearing formula will last all day, smudge-free.

While eyeliner and mascara help define your eyes, eye shadow can add depth to your look.

jane iredale Eye Shadow Kit is a palette of five mineral-based shadows with a ton of color collections to choose from. We recommend you start with neutrals such as Pure Basics (browns, pinks and peaches, pictured above). When you’re ready to expand your collection, try bolder options such as Purple Rain (an array of shimmery violets).

For some professional hints on how to best apply eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara, watch our video tutorial.

The final item on our list of makeup products for beginners is the almighty eyebrow pencil. An eyebrow pencil helps fill in sparse spots on your brows and adds definition by darkening your natural brow color.

Osmosis Skincare Brow Pencil has a super-fine retractable tip that makes it easy to achieve more sculpted eyebrows that still look natural, making it our number one choice for brow-defining beginners.

Are you wondering how to wear makeup with a face mask? Check out our recent blog post for mask-friendly makeup tips.

15 Basic Makeup Essentials That Belong in Every Makeup Bag

10 Essentials for Your Beginner’s Makeup Kit

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