When I first started getting into makeup, I was completely and utterly clueless. I remember going to a Clicks store and feeling totally overwhelmed by the amount of makeup products on the shelves. I ended up purchasing A LOT of makeup items, because I didn’t really know what type of products I needed. Not to mention I had no idea what was suitable for my skin type and skin tone – heck, I didn’t even know people have different skin undertones. Most of the products I bought that day turned out to be rather disappointing, and I was forced to use them because I had just spent a large chunk of my hard-earned cash.
A makeup starter kit guide or blog post would have helped me so much back then, and would have kept me from wasting my money on a foundation that was way too dark (and way too dewy), a clumpy waterproof mascara, and chalky eyeshadows.
I’ve received quite a few emails and messages from readers who would like to start dipping their toes into the makeup and beauty world, and all of them have asked me what my product recommendations are for makeup newbies. So, I decided instead of replying to each email & message – I’d rather write up a blog post that everyone can read (and refer back to) for some makeup item inspiration.
Being a beauty blogger, I’ve tried and tested my fair share of makeup products (budget-friendly and high-end). It can be very easy to get caught up in the hype of expensive luxury brands, but when you’re just starting out with makeup, drugstore (Clicks and Dis-Chem) is definitely the way to go.
Here are my affordable product recommendations to create a small but strong makeup kit. All these products have a special place in my current makeup collection – they’re high quality, easy to use, and won’t break the bank!
Every single one of these makeup products are available at Dis-Chem or Clicks stores, so no need to worry about placing online orders or anything like that. I’m featuring each product in order of how I apply them when I do my makeup i.e. primer first, then foundation, then concealer etc.
Two things before we get started:
♥ I’ll be suggesting more than 1 product for some of the categories, but I’m definitely not saying you need to buy each option i.e. 3 blushes. I just want to give you a variety of products to choose from, so head over to Clicks / Dis-Chem and pick the product that stands out to you.
♥ You don’t have to follow every single step I mention below, I know a lot of people don’t like adding too many steps to their makeup routine. I totally understand – choose the steps that are applicable to you.
♥ I had to go out and buy some of the products before writing this blog post because I didn’t have them in my makeup collection anymore. For example, I bought the Wet n Wild ‘Comfort Zone’ palette because I gave my previous one to a friend (who, as luck would have it, also just started dabbling in makeup). So you might see some of the products look new (unused), but trust me – I have tried, tested and loved every single product in this blog post.
Grab a pen and paper, make a list – it’s time to go shopping!
PRIMER: Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer ♥ R89,95
Very similar to the original Smashbox Photo Finish Primer but for a fraction of the price, this silicone-based primer smoothes the skin and blurs pores, creating a velvety canvas for your foundation. Suitable for all skin types, Baby Skin Primer will also help your foundation to last a bit longer than usual.
Top Tip: It’s always best to use a light hand when it comes to makeup primers – less is definitely more. After applying your moisturiser, use your fingers to apply a thin layer of the primer. Wait for about 30 seconds to 1 minute for the primer to set, and then go in with your foundation.
FOUNDATION: L’Oréal Infallible 24H-Matte Foundation ♥ R189,95
A good foundation is SO important, it evens out the skin tone and covers up imperfections. However, if you have good skin and don’t need to wear a foundation, then don’t. It’s best to let your skin be foundation-free for as long as possible, as makeup can tend to clog pores (causing blemishes and breakouts). The L’Oréal Infallible 24H-Matte is my current favourite drugstore foundation – it provides great coverage, and leaves the skin with a natural-looking semi-matte finish. I recently reviewed this foundation in a video, so if you’re interested in seeing how well it wears throughout the day, then take a look at my ‘Review & Check-In Wear Test – L’Oréal Infallible Primer & 24H Matte Foundation’ video. If you have normal to dry skin, then the L’Oréal Infallible 24H-Matte foundation might be too drying and mattifying for your skin, I would rather recommend you check out the Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation (R139,95). It feels super light and moisturising on the skin, and blends out like an absolute dream. As luck would have it, I also reviewed that foundation in a video – you can watch the video here.
Top Tip: Remember a buffing brush (like this one and this one) will give you medium to full coverage, and a dampened makeup sponge (like this one and this one) will give you lighter coverage with a natural finish.
And for more foundation recommendations, take a look at my recent ‘5 Drugstore Foundations | 5 Reviews’ blog post.
If you’re not a foundation type gal, then I suggest using a BB cream. BB (Beauty Balm) creams provide sheer to light coverage, and don’t feel heavy like some foundations can. They’re a good way to allow your skin to get used to the feel of wearing makeup. I highly recommend the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Creams, there are 3 variants available at the moment – one for combo to oily skin, and one for normal to dry skin, and an anti-aging one for mature skin (and all have 3 shades available as well – Light, Medium & Dark). They provide good coverage (for a BB cream), last well, and feel very lightweight on the skin.
Top Tip: You can create your own tinted moisturiser or BB cream by mixing a drop or two of foundation with your daily moisturiser. Apply the mixture with your fingers for a natural finish, as the heat of your fingers will help the makeup melt into your skin better.
CONCEALER: L.A. Girl PRO Conceal HD Concealer ♥ R45,95
The L.A. Girl PRO Conceal HD Concealer (featured in this annual favourites blog post) is very comparable to the high-end cult favourite MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, and I highly recommend this because it’s a double-duty product. It works beautifully as an under eye concealer and / or as a blemish concealer. It’s creamy, blendable and brightens up the under eye area really well. The concealer gives a good medium coverage, it’s more hydrating than the MAC concealer, and doesn’t accentuate dry / flaky areas. However, if you do have a very dry under eye area, then I would suggest applying a nourishing eye cream before you start with your makeup routine. Hydrated skin is the best canvas for smooth and natural-looking makeup.
On the rare occasion when I’m having a ‘good-skin-day’ I use the L.A. Girl PRO Conceal HD Concealer to conceal the areas where I need it most (under the eyes, redness and dark marks), set it with powder, and I’m out the door!
Multi-Tasker: Use your longwearing concealer as an eyeshadow base / primer – it will not only even out discolouration on the lids, but will also help your eye makeup last a bit longer.
Top Tip: Use a concealer that is 1 or 2 shades lighter than your skin tone, it will neutralise dark areas without making it look too light and unnatural. I like to blend my concealer out with either my ring finger (the natural heat of your body will melt the product into the skin) or a dampened makeup sponge.
POWDER: Rimmel Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder ♥ R99,95
Best affordable setting powder I have ever used! The Rimmel Stay Matte Long Lasting Pressed Powder immediately smoothes and softens the texture of the skin, and helps control oil. I use the shade ‘Transparent’ which doesn’t really add coverage (in terms of colour) but it does set my makeup into place and keeps the shine at bay. It doesn’t feel heavy or chalky on the skin, and leaves my skin looking (and feeling) silky with a velvety finish. To see this setting powder in action, take a look at this blog post. As far as I know there are 6 shades available in this pressed powder, so if you have medium to dark skin then I suggest you rather check out the L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Powder (R199,95) as they have 2 relatively dark powder shades.
Top Tip: If you really want to set your foundation and concealer into place, then press the setting powder into the skin (don’t just feather and swipe it onto the skin). A translucent / transparent powder is best when your foundation matches you perfectly. If your foundation is a bit too light for you, go with a powder that is 1 shade darker. And if your foundation is a bit too dark for you, then go with a powder that is 1 shade lighter than your skin tone to balance it out.
BRONZER: essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder ♥ R67,50
I bought this bronzer on a whim last year and it has really become a firm favourite in the drugstore bronzer department. A good bronzer can take your makeup look from flat and dull, to tanned and glowy. Who doesn’t want to look like a bronzed goddess? Yes, please! I personally feel that when you’re just starting out with makeup, a good bronzer is all you need to add dimension to the face. Don’t even worry about contouring because it can be very confusing, and if you don’t know what you’re doing it can also be rather disastrous. The essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder isn’t extremely pigmented (which is a good thing if you’re new to bronzing up the skin), it blends out really easily, and is buildable in coverage. There are 2 shades available – ‘Blondes’ for lighter skin (which is the one I use), and ‘Brunettes’ for darker skin tones. It also smells like coconuts, which is right up my alley!
Another option is the essence Shading Powder (R57,95), which includes a neutral-toned bronzer shade and a shimmery highlight shade. The bronzer shade is quite pigmented and I would suggest using a fluffy brush with a very light hand to apply it. To see the essence Shading Powder in action, take a look at this blog post.
Multi-Tasker: Your bronzer can double up as a matte eyeshadow shade to define the crease of your eye.
Top Tip: Apply your bronzer in the shape of a ‘3’ i.e. start at the forehead close to your hairline, bring it down around your temple and under the cheekbones, and then across the jawline under your chin to warm up and define your features. I prefer matte bronzers because they can double up as contour products, it’s very easy to go overboard with a shimmery bronzer and you might end up sparkling like a Twilight vampire.
BLUSH: Max Factor Crème Puff Blush ♥ R119,95
This is a true drugstore gem, and is apparently a very decent dupe for the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes. These blushes have a beautiful, luminous finish that gives your complexion that effortless ‘glow-from-within’ look. The colour pay-off is sheer enough that you can’t really go wrong with it, and yet it is also very buildable so you are able to build it up to the intensity you want. The Crème Puff Blush (I just love the name) blushes are also incredibly smooth and blendable, so they look really natural on the skin. They really are in a league of their own!
As mentioned they give a lovely glow to the skin, so there’s no need to follow up with a separate highlighter. The shade selection is also great and there is definitely a colour to suit every skin tone.
If you prefer a matte blush, then the new essence Matt Touch Blush (R47,95) or the essence Silky Touch Blush (R47,95) is definitely worth checking out. I featured the Silky Touch Blush in this blog post.
Top Tip: The best (and most natural) way to apply blush is to use the good ol’ smile and swirl technique, it gives you a cute, youthful, and subtle look. Smile and apply your blush to the apples of your cheeks, then blend outward towards the ear.
HIGHLIGHTER: NYX Illuminators ♥ R174,95
Definitely not a necessary step, especially if you already own a blush with a satin or shimmery finish. But if you are looking for that ‘lit-from-within’ glow, then a highlighter is the way to go! Finding a good highlighter at the drugstore is like finding a needle in a haystack! They’re either too glittery, too subtle, or too hard to find. There are a couple of top quality drugstore highlighters in my collection at the moment but both are from limited edition collections, so I didn’t want to mention them here. In case you are interested in which 2 highlighters I’m talking about, take a look at this blog post and this blog post. Catrice and Essence often do great quality highlighters in their limited edition collections, so I suggest you constantly keep an eye on their new collections to find your perfect highlighter.
The NYX Illuminators (available in 5 shades) are also not that easy to get your hands on at the moment, as they are having issues with stock. In case you didn’t know, NYX was recently acquired by L’Oreal Group and so there has been a huge delay with replenishing stock. I’ve been told NYX is trying to sort out their stock issues, and will hopefully be back on track within the next month or so. Anyway, these illuminators (highlighters) are just beautiful – they’re not too shimmery or glittery, but give the skin a lovely sheen when the light catches it. I own the shade ‘Ritualistic’ which gives the skin a gorgeous golden glow (similar to theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer). If you feel ‘Ritualistic’ is a bit too yellow-gold for you, then I would also recommend the NYX Illuminator in ‘Narcissistic’ (peachy highlighter) or ‘Enigmatic’ (pink highlighter, almost to the point of being a blush).
If you’re struggling to get your hands on the NYX Illuminators, then I also highly recommend the Physician’s Formula Powder Palette Mineral Glow Pearls (R239,95). I have the shade ‘Translucent Pearl’ and I love it! It gives a very natural and muted healthy glow to the skin, and compliments most blush colours I own.
Multi-Tasker: Your face highlighter can also be used as a shimmery eyeshadow all over the lid, or an inner corner highlight to brighten up the eyes.
Top Tip: You want to apply a highlighter to the areas you want to draw attention to i.e. the top of your cheekbones (to lift your features), your cupid’s bow (to help your lips appear more pouty), on the tip of the nose, and under the arch of your brow (to lift those brows for a more youthful look). Remember to blend your highlighter out really well, you don’t want a visible streak of shimmer anywhere on your face.
BROWS: Maybelline Brow Satin Eyebrow Pencil Duo ♥ R99,95
Your brows frame your face and can seriously change your entire makeup look – and that’s why it’s important to keep them looking neat and groomed. Brow pencils are great for filling in any sparse areas or gaps, I personally find brow powders are bit more difficult to work with (but it’s just personal preference – find what works best for you). The Maybelline Brow Satin pencil is a great option for a beginner because it’s double-ended and features a mechanical pencil (you never have to sharpen it) on the one end, and a self loading brow powder with sponge tip applicator on the other. The powder is stored in the cap and the applicator-end is spring-loaded, so whenever you put the cap back on, it burrows back into the pigment. There are 2 shades available (‘Medium Brown’ and ‘Dark Brown’) and both are neutral in tone, perfect for creating a natural-looking brow. Both the pencil and the powder have a dry, matte finish – but the pencil is soft and waxy, making it easy to work with. The powder adheres to both the skin and brow hairs, giving a soft, natural and airbrushed look.
Top Tip: If you have full brows, then don’t even bother with a brow pencil – rather invest in a good brow gel i.e. the Catrice Eyebrow Filler Perfecting & Shaping Gel (R62,00) to hold those brow hairs in place and add the teeny tiniest bit of colour.
EYESHADOW PRIMER: L.A. Girl HD PRO Primer Eyeshadow Stick ♥ R35,00
An eyeshadow primer is essential if you want your shadows to look fresh all day. A primer prevents your eyeshadows from creasing (especially if you have oily eyelids), it makes shadows appear more vibrant, and also helps them go on smoothly and blend effortlessly. My drugstore eyeshadow base of choice is this one from L.A. Girl – the finish is matte, and yet the texture isn’t dry. In fact, it’s quite creamy and glides across the lids very smoothly, making it easy to blend out using your finger. I really like the twist-up delivery system, and that the product itself provides enough coverage to even out discolouration on the eyelids. When using this as an eyeshadow primer, my shadows last between 7 and 8 hours before they start to fade (even my not-so-great eyeshadows). The L.A. Girl HD PRO Primer Eyeshadow Stick is available in 3 shades – Nude (pictured above), White (to really make colourful eyeshadows pop) and Black (to intensify darker eyeshadows).
Another option is the essence I Love Stage Eyeshadow Base (R47,95), it’s also a nude beige colour to even out little veins or dark marks on the lids, but if you have very oily eyelids then this probably won’t work for you. On a very hot and humid day, I find this primer doesn’t do as good a job of preventing my eyeshadows from creasing.
Top Tip: Remember to apply the primer to the bottom lash line as well, to prevent your eyeliner and / or shadows from smudging and fading.
EYESHADOW PALETTE: Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection Palette ♥ R99,95
Eye makeup is by far the trickiest thing when you’re starting out with makeup, so an eyeshadow palette is the perfect way to practice and experiment with different eyeshadows. Wet n Wild has made it relatively straightforward for you with the Color Icon 3-pan, 5-pan (both featured here) and 8-pan eyeshadow palettes. Each eyeshadow shade has a suggested colour placement printed on the eyeshadow, so you know where to place each shadow. You definitely don’t have to follow the suggestions (makeup rules are meant to be broken) and so I would suggest you play around with the shades to explore different combos.
The ‘Comfort Zone’ palette features 8 stunning earth tones and bronzey-browns, perfect for beginners who might be a bit hesitant to use colourful eyeshadow shades. This particular palette contains 5 shimmers, 2 satins, and 1 duochrome eyeshadow. The ‘Browbone’ shade on the left is a dupe for MAC ‘Ricepaper’ eyeshadow, the ‘Eyelid’ shade on the left is a dupe for MAC ‘All That Glitters’ eyeshadow, the ‘Crease’ shade on the left is a dupe for MAC ‘Bronze’ eyeshadow, and the ‘Definer’ shade on the left is a dupe for MAC ‘Twinks’. The ‘Browbone’ shade on the right is similar to MAC ‘Vex’ eyeshadow, the ‘Eyelid’ shade on the right is similar to MAC ‘Juxt’ eyeshadow, and the ‘Definer’ shade on the right is a dupe for MAC ‘Blue Brown’ pigment and MAC ‘Club’ eyeshadow.
Wet n Wild eyeshadows are very pigmented, velvety smooth, and very similar in texture & finish to Stila eyeshadows. Some mornings there just isn’t enough time to do a multi-dimensional eye makeup look using 3 or 4 different brushes, and that’s where an eyeshadow like the bronzey shade on the left comes in. Apply the shade with a brush like the CALA Shading Brush (check out this blog post to see all my favourite brushes from the incredibly affordable brand, CALA), pat it over the eyelid and then use the tip of the brush to blend the edges out into the crease. Easy peasy!
And because I feel like the ‘Comfort Zone’ palette might not be for everyone, I would also like to recommend the essence All About Nudes Eyeshadow Palette (R76,95). It also contains 8 neutral shades (2 matte, 3 satin, 2 shimmer, and 1 glitter) ranging from a light creamy vanilla shade to a dark chocolate brown shade. I always take this eyeshadow palette on holiday with me, because it is so versatile and I can create anything from a soft daytime makeup look to a dark smoky eye.
Multi-Tasker: Use a dark eyeshadow shade as an eyeliner (I often do this when I’m in a hurry, like in this video), it creates a soft blurred effect instead of a distinct line. You can apply it wet for a more intense and dramatic effect (just use eye drops or a makeup setting spray to dampen your angled makeup brush) or dry for a softer look.
Top Tip: In terms of eyeshadow placement – light shades should be applied to your lid, inner corner and brow bone, medium shades to the crease, and dark shades to the outer corner and lower lash line. The most important step in doing your eye makeup, is blending. Blend out any harsh lines using a fluffy blending brush like this one.
SINGLE EYESHADOW: NYX Nude Matte Shadow ♥ R89,95
It’s always good to have a matte crease shade (usually a neutral brown) in your makeup arsenal because it adds depth to the overall eye look, especially if your eyeshadow palette doesn’t contain any matte eyeshadow shades. Using a shimmery eyeshadow in the crease, combined with a shimmery / frosty shade on the eyelid can sometimes look a bit too much. Remember shimmer reflects light, and you don’t want your whole eye area to be reflective. Balance your shimmery shadows out with a matte eyeshadow that complements the lid shade, this will create a sculpted eye look that pops. In case your eyeshadow palette doesn’t contain a matte crease shade, then I highly recommend getting your hands on the NYX single eyeshadow in ‘Blame It On Midnight’ (a warm-toned medium brown shade). This one is very smooth and isn’t too crazy pigmented so you can build up the intensity to where you want it. If you have a darker skin tone, then I also recommend the Catrice Absolute Eye Colour eyeshadow in ‘Hakuna MATTata'(R49,95) – it’s a pigmented dark chocolate brown shade. There are tons of single eyeshadows at the drugstore, so I suggest you spend some time swatching the ones that interest you. I don’t think many people know this, but the Catrice stands at Dis-Chem have pull-out drawers that house all the tester eyeshadows.
Top Tip: Some eyeshadows definitely age you – especially light shimmery shades, which accentuate fine lines and wrinkles on the lid and crease. For more makeup tips & tricks for ageing skin, take a look at this blog post.
EYELINER: L.A. Girl Glide Gel Liner ♥ R59,95
If you’re new to makeup, then an eyeliner pencil is definitely the way to go – it can intensify any look and really make your eyes pop. When just starting out, I think it’s important to have 2 different coloured pencils: A brown / bronze for everyday definition, and a black to add a sultry and smoky effect to your look. Forget gel or liquid eyeliners for the time being, because you have to be quite precise when applying them and so I find they are a lot more difficult to work with. I’m not a makeup newbie, and I still find them a bit tricky sometimes. When using a soft eyeliner pencil, you don’t really need to be precise as you can smudge out any mistakes that you make. The L.A. Girl Glide Gel Liner pencils are firm favourites of mine (I’ve already featured them in a monthly favourites blog post, as well as a yearly favourites blog post) – they are smooth, creamy, longwearing, pigmented, and budge-proof. My 2 favourite shades are ‘Deep Bronze’ and ‘Very Black’.
Multi-Tasker: Running an eyeliner along the upper waterline (inside of the upper lash line) is called tight lining, and it makes your lashes look longer and fuller.
Top Tip: Smudging is key when you’re afraid you won’t create a straight line. Apply the eyeliner pencil from the outer edge to the inner corner of your upper lash line (but try to taper the line when you get closer to the inner corner of the eye). If, like me, you have wrinkly lids close your eye and pull your lid taut to draw your line. But don’t pull it too taut, as this can cause wrinkles around the eye area if you do this every day. Then use a small angled brush (or a cotton bud) to smudge the line to make it softer.
MASCARA: Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara ♥ R149,95
If you could buy only 1 product on this whole starter kit list, then mascara is definitely it. It’s truly amazing what long, full, and defined lashes can do for your face – it opens up the eyes, making you look more awake and youthful. The drugstore has some of the best mascara formulas out there (I’ve always preferred drugstore mascaras above high-end ones) and Maybelline has always been THE brand with the best mascaras. They just get it right every single time! The Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara (featured here) currently holds the throne as my # 1 favourite mascara. It adds volume to your lashes, lengthens, separates, and lasts all day long. The curved shape of the wand also helps to make application so much easier, as it grabs each lash (even those tiny baby ones), lifts them from the root, making them hold the curl better. I find it’s really similar to the Benefit Roller Lash Mascara (which I also own).
If you feel the Lash Sensational Mascara is a bit too pricey for you, then I would also highly recommend the essence Multi-Action Mascara (R47,95) – amaaaaaazing formula, it separates and bulks up the lashes, plus the pigmentation is super black.
Multi-Tasker: You can make your mascara double up as a gel eyeliner. Swipe an eyeliner brush over your mascara wand (focusing at the top of the wand where there’s always a little glob of mascara), and then use the formula on your liner brush to trace your upper lash line for a gel liner finish.
Top Tip: This is probably my favourite mascara tip, and I ALWAYS do this (I’m sure you’ve seen me do this in my YouTube videos). If you have thin or light-coloured lashes, coat both sides of the upper lashes by alternating between looking up and looking down while applying your mascara. That way, each lash is completely covered and will appear much thicker.
LIP LINER: essence Lip Liner ♥ R17,95
You can’t go wrong with these essence lip liners, especially with a price tag of under R20,00! A lip liner is a great way to define your lips and increase the longevity of your lipstick. For your first lip liner, I suggest choosing a shade that is similar to your natural lip colour. Neutral toned pencils are the perfect way to add subtle definition the lips, making them look more pouty, plus they also create a base for your lipstick to go on top of. I have found that the essence Lip Liner shade ‘Satin Mauve’ is a pretty good match for me and it matches most of my favourite lipstick shades (yes, you guessed it…nude pinks, and dusty mauves). If you find the essence lip liners feel a bit too dry on your lips, then I also recommend the L’Oréal Color Riche Lip Liner Couture in ‘Bois De Rose’ (R129,95) that I featured in this video and this blog post. It’s a bit more creamy, and in a way easier to work with (but also more expensive).
Multi-Tasker: A lip liner can be used as both a definer (with lipstick / gloss on top) and a matte colour for your lips (without any other lip product on top).
Top Tip: Lip liners give lipstick something to adhere to, therefore increasing staying power and preventing the colour from bleeding into fine lines (especially if you have wrinkles around your lip area). To avoid that dreaded ‘ring around the mouth’ look, rather fill in the entire lip area with your lip liner. Here’s how to do it in a natural way: After outlining your natural lip line (I prefer not to overdraw my lips), softly fill in the rest of the lips with the lip liner pencil, then smudge and blend the colour using your ring finger. When your lipstick wears off, you’ll be left with a natural colour on the lips and not just an outline.
LIP PRODUCT: essence Longlasting Lipstick ♥ R44,50
For a makeup beginner, lipstick is probably the easiest way to play and experiment with different colours, finishes and looks. There are a variety of finishes (sheer, matte, creamy, frosty) and shades to choose from, and if you stick to the more affordable brands (essence, L.A. Girl, Wet n Wild and Catrice) then there’s no reason why you can’t buy a couple of different shades to see what works best for you. When you’re new to makeup, you’re probably be a bit intimidated by bright and vivid lip colours (heck, I’m still intimidated by them!) so I would suggest sticking to nudes, and neutral pinks.
I really wanted to recommend the Revlon Colourburst Lip Butters but I recently discovered they have been discontinued! WHYYYYYYY!? Why do brands discontinue the products that we love so much?
Anyway, next up on my list of favourites is the essence Long Lasting Lipsticks – my current favourite shade is ’07 Natural Beauty’ (thank you for introducing me to this shade, Kate). There are 12 shades to choose from, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find a shade that you feel comfortable with. ‘Natural Beauty’ is the perfect ‘my-lips-but-better’ shade, it’s a mid-toned rose pink with a slightly warm undertone. This is unfortunately not a dupe for MAC lipstick in ‘Syrup’ but it’s a gorgeous shade nonetheless. These lipsticks from essence are pigmented, very creamy, they feel comfortable on the lips, and give the lips a lovely sheen. I wouldn’t say they are the most longwearing lipsticks, but they are a good option to start out with. I’ve also been loving the new Catrice Ultimate Stay Lipsticks (R89,95), the colours are intense and they give the lips a satin-matte finish. They’re not as creamy as the essence lipsticks, so they are a bit longer wearing (but do not dry out the lips at all). There are 8 shades available ranging from soft nudes to a dark vampy shade.
If you feel lipstick is a bit too intimidating for you, then another option is the Max Factor Colour Intensifying Balm (R109,95) – it’s basically a tinted lip butter. They are so easy to wear, incredibly moisturising, plus they give the lips a sheer wash of colour (featured in this blog post). It’s one of those products that you can throw in your handbag and apply on the go.
Lip gloss is an excellent way to add colour and shine to your lips without dealing with the maintenance of a lipstick. The glossiness enhances your lips, making them appear more pouty and youthful. I personally don’t like frosty or glittery glosses as the textured glitter particles bother me while I’m wearing the gloss. I’m sure most of you already know what my ultimate favourite lip gloss is…the NYX Butter Glosses (R124,95). For a review on these amazing glosses, take a look at this blog post. But in short, they’re super pigmented, not sticky, have great staying power and they smell amazing. Oh! And there are like 15 shades to choose from (take a look at my collection here). If the Butter Glosses are a bit too pricey for you, then check out the essence I Love Nudes glosses (reviewed here) – I particularly love the shade ‘Soft Almond’.
SETTING SPRAY: L’Oréal Infallible Fixing Mist ♥ R179,95
This isn’t necessarily an absolute must if you’re just starting out with makeup – BUT, I personally always set my makeup with a makeup finishing spray. There is another more affordable option out there i.e. the MOD Makeup Finishing Spray (R80,00 at Dis-Chem) but I’ve tested it and it unfortunately did nothing to prolong the wear of my makeup. This L’Oréal makeup setting spray is relatively new to the South African market and I’ve been testing this one for the past 2 or 3 weeks. I don’t wear makeup every single day, so that’s why I haven’t even made a dent in the bottle yet. I feel like this is more of a makeup fixing mist (to set your makeup in place) compared to the NYX Makeup Setting Sprays (reviewed here). The L’Oréal Infallible Fixing Mist contains ‘Alcohol Denat’ (as the second ingredient), which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because it’s actually the alcohol that sets the makeup in place (that’s why stage makeup artists sometimes use hairspray to set their clients’ face makeup). But alcohol also dries out the skin, and I can actually feel my skin tightening while this L’Oréal spray is drying down. It also contains ‘Methacrylate Copolymer’ and after doing some research on this ingredient, I think it is the white substance the settles at the bottom of the bottle. Copolymer is a synthetic ingredient meant to adhere to surfaces and form a film, the ones used in makeup setting sprays are formulated to be more gentle on the skin. Their job is to create a film that will defend your skin against humidity and sebum (the oil your skin produces), these are two main causes of fading makeup. The L’Oréal Infallible Fixing Mist does a decent job of keeping my makeup in place, but it’s not the best setting spray I have ever used. It is definitely the best drugstore option out there at the moment though.
Top Tip: You can intensify any eyeshadow or foil your metallic eyeshadows / pigments using your makeup setting spray – it enhances the shadow and makes it more adhesive. I usually load up my eyeshadow brush with the eyeshadow or pigment, spritz the brush until it’s damp (not sopping wet), and then apply to the eyelid. I know some people like to do it the other way around i.e. dampen the eyeshadow brush first and then dip the brush in the eyeshadow pan. I don’t like doing this because some eyeshadows (especially low quality ones) can glaze over and you might have trouble using it for dry applications next time.
And there you have it! A makeup starter kit suitable for all budgets, and all of these products have a special place in my current makeup collection.
Any makeup product can look good with the right tools, so having good quality makeup brushes is essential in my honest opinion. Would you like me to write an ‘Affordable Makeup Brush Starter Kit’ post where I feature only budget-friendly brushes that I think are necessary for a makeup newbie? Only the bare essentials, because I know (unlike me) most people don’t have a rather (un)healthy obsession with makeup brushes.
Here’s my last tip for today: Don’t be shy to swatch the makeup products you are interested in in-store, that’s what the ‘Testers’ are there for. BUT please don’t open up a new eyeshadow or lipstick because you can’t find a ‘Tester’. Rather ask a sales assistant if they are able to open one up for you – hopefully they’ll then stick a ‘Tester’ sticker on it so that someone esle doesn’t buy a product that has already been used. Just last week I bought an eyeshadow from Catrice, only to get home and see that it had been opened and swatched. Also, don’t let the beauty counter assistants pressure you into buying something. If you’re not sure about the colour, finish or quality of a product, tell them that you want to think about it for a while longer. There’s nothing to feel ashamed about, ladies, you are spending your hard-earned money on these products – you want to make 100% sure they will work for you. The assistant probably won’t even remember you the next time you visit the store, so be confident and stand your ground. If it looks like the sales assistant is taking offense to the fact that you are not buying the product then and there…well, who cares what they think!?
I hope you found this blog post to be helpful? Please share this with family and friends who you know are looking to start their own makeup kit.
Also, let me know what would be in your makeup starter kit in the comments down below…I’d love to hear! Or please recommend affordable products that you have tried, tested and loved so that my readers have more options available to them.
Oh! And one last thing: Is anyone interested in seeing a luxury brand version of this blog post i.e. ‘High-End Makeup Starter Kit’?