The no fuss, beginners make up bag.

I want ALL THE MAKEUP! Don’t you? I want every shade of every product ever made.  I “need” fifteen shades of blush, in three different formulas and I want them all now. I need drawers and drawers of the stuff!!!

The paragraph above will seem either completely rational and normal (ie you have a problem like me) or leave you scratching your head at why anyone would bother buying so much stuff that they cant wear, after all.. we have only one face and makeup does have an expiry date.

Regardless of your opinion this post is for you, whether you are just starting a makeup collection, are short of cash, clueless when it comes to makeup or looking to downsize your collection into just the basics.

Here are a dozen “essentials” that will help you create a full, polished look for any season or occasion without overspending and having a makeup bag that is overflowing.

1. Primer.

The little phrase “not to prime is a crime” has been floating around for a while. Primer is important as it serves a few functions.

Firstly it helps create a smooth base for your foundation by smoothing down dry flakey bits that would otherwise catch foundation and make your skin look worse than without makeup. It also can fill in pores, control oil or moisturise.

There are many types of primer but most fit into two broad types of primer; the silicone based primer and the lotion style primer. Silicone based primers are perfect for those people who are looking to fill in pores and fine lines, they help balance the skin and create a super smooth surface throughout the day to stick the foundation to the skin, these are the “bluring” kind that have become popular recently.

Lotion based formulas are generally more hydrating and are usually better for dryer skins. This is all trial and error, you might find that silicone based primers clog your pores or make you oily, alternatively you might find that the lotion style doesn’t “stick” the makeup to your face as well as you would like.

Try these..

High End – Smashbox PhotoFinish Primer is silicone based and a firm favourite amongst beauty gurus, Laura Mercier Foundation Primer is a lotion formula which also contains SPF.

Drugstore – Maybelline Instant Ager Rewind Primer is very similar to the Smashbox at only a fraction of the price. Face Of Australia Base Primer is a lotion formula which contains vitamin E and Camomile.

2. Foundation.

There are so many types and formulas around. For a beginner or someone looking to minimise, a liquid foundation is the best bet.  Go for one with a natural or dewey finish as you can mattify with a powder later if you want. Choose a  foundations which is “buildable” that is, you can apply another layer on areas that need more coverage due to redness or break outs while having a single more natural layer on areas that don’t need as much coverage. Even if you don’t feel you want as much coverage of a foundation get it anyway as you can make it less full (more sheer) by mixing it with some moisturiser to create a tinted moisturiser for those days where you skin is already fantastic and just needs a little bit of evening out. You should really get colour tested in store the first time you purchase.

Try these..

High End – Clinique Superbalanced makeup Ive been wearing this for years and find that it gives nice natural coverage that can be built up.

Drugstore – Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Is a product I have really been loving lately.

3. Concealer

Pimples happen, for those times your skin is acting up you might want some additional coverage. There are so many different formulas from sticks to liquids. This is all about personal preference. Depending on what youre looking to conceal will determine the type of product, Personally I tend to use a creamier (more liquid) concealer around the eyes (as it blends more easily into the delicate skin around eyes) and a drier concealer for spots and blemishes. But even I mix it up depending on the weather and how severe my imperfections are that day.

Try these

High End – Benefit Boiing is a crème formula that is super blendable.

Drugstore –  Revlon Colorstay Undereye Concealer is designed to be used under the eyes but can also be used on spots when set with a  powder.

4. Blush

Once you have evened out you skin tone you will probably look a little flat and washed out so you will need to add a little flush of colour to your cheeks. I could write 10,000 words about blush but in reality you will probably only ever need two shades; a pink based one and a coral based one. You could even go even simpler and buy a pink/coral based one. There are so many formulas; creams, liquids (think Benefit tints) and the more traditional powder, then you have to deal with what sort of finish you want…. or you could just keep it simple …

Try these

High End – Nars Powder Blush in Orgasm – Probably the worlds best known shade of blush. This pink coral looks lovely on all skin tones and has a hint of shimmer.

Drugstore – NYX Peach is similar to Nars but is a more matte finish  or Essence Silky touch blush in shade 50

5. Mascara

Mascara is one of those products which instantly makes you look fresher and more awake while bringing attention to your eyes. It can change the appearance of your eye shape and make your eye colour pop. Try a black mascara for full impact and a black/brown for a more natural look.

Try these

High End – Benefit Theyre real is Australia’s most purchased high end mascara. Its completely budgeproof.Drugstore – Covergirl make some great affordable mascaras, their most recent release the  Flamed Out Mascara  gives maximum lift and  volume.

6. Eyeliner

Shape and define your eyes with a fine line or a smudge, If you prefer a smokey look go for a kohl/kajal or pencil formula, If you are after a winged look or subtle line then perhaps a liquid or gel is best for you. The pencil is probably most versatile but will smudge if you have oily skin around your eyes.

Try these..

High End – Benefit Bad Gal Waterproof liner is a nice smooth eyeliner pencil that can be easily smudged out but then sets to be waterproof. The Clinique Brush on cream liner is budge proof and gives a lovely smooth line.

Drugstore – Rimmel scandal eyes gives a great smooth look. Essence eyeliner pens are super inexpensive and give a nice defined liquid liner look.

7. Lipstick/Lip colour

You “need” 6 basic products. Lipsticks in; A classic red, a plum/wine, a pink, a coral and a nude shade as well as a clear gloss. Buy as expensive or as cheap as you like but those five colours will get you through all occasions and seasons. There are soooooo many colours and formulas available and you will be tempted to buy them all. But those 5 are the basics that can be mixed and matched and also combined and layered to change the hue.  Go for a more matte finish as opposed to a super shimmery or glossy as all can be topped with a little clear or shimmery gloss to completely change their appearance.

Try these…

High End –  Clinique Different Lipstick, MAC lipstick

Drugstore – Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick, Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick

8. Powder

Applying a little powder over your foundation will help to set it and stop it from moving around. Apply especially over concealer as this will crease and fade away other wise. It also helps stop shine throughout the day and will easily convert your dewey and glowing spring and summer foundation into something more matte looking for the cooler months.  Your best bet is a colourless or translucent powder. Either pressed or loose is fine, but pressed is a lot easier to carry around with you.

Try these…

High End – Nars Light Reflecting Powder is invisible but helps lock everything in

Drugstore  – Rimmel Stay Matte is cheap and cheerful and long lasting

9.  Brow Product.

Who would have thought brows were so important. So many formulas are available from pencils to powders, waxes to pomades. For a beginner a pencil or gel is fool proof, for those with more experience a powders might suit you. Filling in your brows is highly underrated and completely finishes off a look.

Try these

High End – Benefit Gimme Brow is a gel that has tiny little filiments that stick to your hairs and skin to make your brows look fuller,

Drugstore – Natio Brow Kit comes with powders and wax to fill in and define light or sparse brows

10. Bronzer

There are times that you will like to define your cheek bones and other features (contouring) or make your complexion look a little bronzed and sunkissed (bronzing) A bronzer that compliments your tone is what you are after. I generally don’t bronze very often as I am quite pale but most girls swear by it.

Try these …

High End – Scout Cosmetics Mineral Bronzer comes in two shades and has a slight amount of shimmer to also illuminate the face. Benefit Hoola is matte and an extremely popular product.

Drugstore – Savvy Graduating Bronzer has three shades so you can customise your look depending on the season.

11. Illuminator/Highlighter

Sometimes we all need a little sparkle, shimmer or highlight to emphasise certain features or turn a matte shade into a shimmery shade. There are generally two different formulas liquid and powder.  Liquids need to be blended but you do avoid fallout and looking like a disco ball.

High End – Benefit High Beam is one of the best, the cool pink tone is describes as super model in a bottle as it brings a healthy and pretty glow to your finished look, It can also be mixed it with your liquid foundation to add a bit more luminosity. Thebalm maryloumanizer is a champagne coloured powder that adds pizzaz to any look and can also be used as an eyeshadow. I highly highly recommend Marylou as it will last forever as it is so pigmented.

Drugstore – Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights comes in many shades and is similar to the high beam.

12. Eyeshadow

You don’t really need eyeshadow but it is a nice addition to a night time look. For a minimalist but versatile palette go for a neutrals palette. Most major brands have a good range of palettes and singles to help you achieve everything from a contoured eye look to a smokey eye. Look for a palette that has a mix of shimmer and matte shades

Try these

High End – Smashbox Full Exposure Palette has a good range or mattes and shimmers that can be used wet or dry

Drugstore – Chi Chi  Glamorous Eyes Palette Nude  is a great palette that can create so many looks.


There are a few items that you will need to properly apply makeup and avoid looking cakey and uneven

Foundation can be applied with finger tips but to get the most flawless and natural look possible I recommend the Beauty Blender (no imitations even come close) You will also need a few brushes including a blush brush, a powder brush and a couple of eyeshadow brushes. Real techniques do some great little kits that aren’t ridiculously priced. I also recommend keeping  some cotton buds and an eyebrow spoolie in your little kit to fix up mistakes and also groom your brows.And that’s it! Is there anything else you would add to a complete but minimal makeup kit? Goodluck to all beginners! I hope you enjoy your makeup journey!


Lipstick 'n' Linguine
About me


ON THE GO! Portable makeup bag essentials.
April 09, 2015


Holly Bissell
Reply July 27, 2014

What a great mix of products a really good selection for a beginner!
xo Holly xo


Lisa T
Reply July 27, 2014

Omg I need to get me som Bobbi Brown under eye concealer! It's on my must have list! This is a great list for starters!

Lisa | Multitasking Damsel

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