Makeup Shopping for Beginners

makeup tips for beginners

If you’re new to makeup, it could be pretty overwhelming: with tons of products, brands, and tips floating around, you may wonder, “Where do I start?”

I know that when I started to wear makeup, I was so overwhelmed by everything and didn’t know where to start. Here I write the “order” in which I personally started, and perhaps can be a guideline for you too; as well as some of my personal product recommendations, so you hopefully don’t have to have as many “trial and errors” as I did.

Makeup Shopping for Beginners

The first thing you need to know in makeup is that it is broken up into 4 parts: Skin, Eyes, Lips and Cheeks:

  • Skin. This makeup for your skin (usually called “base” makeup) such as foundation (in that we have liquid foundation, cake foundation, BB creams, tinted moisturizers, etc), concealer and powders.
  • Eyes. These are products for your eyes such as eyeliner, eyeshadow, mascara, and it includes eyebrows (pencils, powder, etc)
  • Lips. These products include color for your lips, whether it’s lipgloss, lipstick, lip stains, etc.
  • Cheeks. These products are usually blush, bronzer, or highlighters and contouring methods

For a beginner I think you really only need the very bare basics. What I did when I first started wearing it was to slowly start trying one product in each category, seeing what I liked, and then took it from there. Here is a step by step of how I started:

makeup is art beauty is spirit quote


I started with eye makeup because that seemed to be the most exciting. At least to me – I remember looking at all the gorgeous smokey eyes on models and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some eyeliner! However, eyeliner may be too much right at the beginning, so for the eyes, you can start off with mascara (as I did). Mascara is a great first-makeup product to try as they make such a big difference in your eyes.

mascara makeup beginners

Some great mascaras (shown above) are:

  • Benefit They’re Real! mascara. I love the brush, which features very thin bristles so it coats each and every lash. Makes lashes look super long, one o the best mascaras in recent years. Buy it online at Sephora, ULTA, Boots, Amazon, Feel Unique and ASOS.
  • The Body Shop’s Super Volume mascara. This is an older mascara, but one of my firsts and my favorites. Standard brush and standard formula, which makes it super easy to use and great for beginners. Great for length and natural definition. A little hard to find but yuo can buy it on the official pages, The Body Shop (US), The Body Shop (UK) or Amazon.
  • Maybelline Great Lash mascara. An inky black formula that gives great definition and so affordable. A must try at least once in your makeup journey. Buy it at Drugstore, WalmartAmazon and Boots.
  • Lancome Hypnose mascara. Hands down my favorite department store mascara – I’ve bought this for several friends and they all loved it. It gives the thickest, darkest most defined lashes. Buy it online at SephoraNordstrom, John Lewis and Amazon.


After I started wearing a bit of mascara, within a few months I wanted to wear more makeup! That, and my dreaded teen acne started, so I desperately was looking for something to cover up all my blemishes, and even out my skintone, so “base” makeup was next for me.

Foundation comes in various forms, from pressed powders, liquid formulas, stick formulas – you name it. Since you’re a beginner though, I would recommend starting with a tinted moisturizer or a BB Cream, to get you used to the feeling (and application)… and, to be honest, I prefer those over good old foundation – foundation is just too thick for my liking. But experiment at the shops to see what you like best. BB creams and tinted moisturizers are also great because they are much more lighter, so you can get used to applying it, not to mention you can make “mistakes” and it wouldn’t be that obvious.

foundation makeup beginners

For concealer and powder, I would actually only recommend them if you feel you need it. I feel that as a young girl, you really don’t need to paint your face with so much “base” makeup (actually, make that at any age). I feel it can look too fake, and as I mentioned in the very first post, Beautifille’s philosophy on makeup is that you should be enhancing your beauty, not covering it up! So I’d seriously just recommend a tinted moisturizer and leave it at that. If you have a problem with acne and blemishes, on top of your tinted moisturizer, apply a dab concealer with your ring finger to cover them up. If you have very oily skin, then apply a sweep of loose powder on top.

My favorite picks shown above include:

  •  Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (oil free version). If your skin is already decent, then this will work well as the coverage is very light. But it really makes your skin look flawless. One of my all-time favorite makeup products. Buy it at SephoraAmazon, Nordstrom and John Lewis.
  • Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizer. This gives medium to full coverage and is also great and one of my favorites. Blends beautifully and makes your skin looks naturally flawless. Excellent SPF too. Buy at Sephora, Nordstrom, John Lewis, and Amazon.
  • The Body Shop BB Cream. I’ve tried many BB creams from The Body Shop, and honestly I have liked them all. Find them at their official sites, The Body Shop (US), The Body Shop (UK) and Amazon.
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Foundation. This is a fairly new discovery that has blown me away. Incredible coverage, though a little sticky to apply, but I feel the formula is that way for the great lasting power. It’s also very good for those with acne prone and oily skin. Buy online at Sephora, Macys and Amazon.


I was never personally a big fan of blush when I first started out (I have only realized the importance of it recently) so I’d definitely recommend getting a pretty blush.

If you have fair skin, a pink/peach would look great on you, but if you have tanned skin, dusty rose colors and bronzers would look beautiful on you. If you have dark skin, you’re really blessed – your skintone can take any color, especially deeper colors which make your skin look rich and lovely. To apply blush it’s almost too simple: smile really, really big, and you see those fleshy parts of your cheeks sticking out? They are called the “apples of the cheek”; lightly swipe blush on that area in a circular motion.

blush makeup beginners

Some of my favorite blushes are MAC, Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush (the best blush ever made, in my opinion), and Bourjois (they’re a little hard to find, but Amazon carries a lot of them). Bourjois is very famous for their blushes and they are very affordable as well; however I’d recommend investing in a good quality blush, it’s important to get a good color payoff (cheaper blushes might be too much like talcum powder and make you look “cakey”). Blushes can last 3 years so they’re a great investment.

If you’re not really into the blushing beauty look and would rather a stronger, sculpted cheek, you can read How to: Contour & Highlight Cheekbones.


lips beginners makeup

For lips – I think it’s pretty straightforward. When you’re new to lip products it doesn’t really matter about colors, but for beginners, I’d recommend to test out some lighter colors first, as darker colors are a bit more tricky in terms of application and there are a few “advance” tips on making them last longer which I’ll talk about in other posts. Some of my personal favorite lip products are:

  •  Dior Addict lipsticks. Two words: Amazing colors. So deep, so rich, so long lasting. A real luxurious slurge. Buy at Sephora, Nordstrom, Macys and Boots.
  • Clinique Chubby Sticks. Again, one of the best makeup products made recently. So easy to use and so ridiculously moisturizing. Gives a very nice, natural color. You can buy them at Sephora.
  • Bourjois 3D Effet lipglosses. I lived for these lipglosses back in highschool, as did my best friend. Ridiculously glossy and makes your lips look so juicy. It’s a little hard to find, but they are all over Amazon which ships to every country. A good alternative (which I also adore) that is super easy to find are Stila Lip Glaze, which you can buy at Sephora and Amazon.
  • MAC lipsticks. The best lipsticks for beginners. This was my first, too. Find them at Nordstrom, Debenhams and Macys (all has international shipping).

In conclusion…

I hope my tips have helped some of the newbies to makeup. To round it up quickly, when you’re just starting out with makeup I’d recommend a mascara, a tinted moisturizer/BB cream, concealer and powder only if you need it, a simple blush and a nice lip color.

If you know anyone who is new to makeup, please share this post with them. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

P.S. This may be of interest: Beauty Brands That Do Not Test on Animals.

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  • Mei

    Hey Renee. I’m 12 and just started to get interested in make up. Thanks for these helpful tips :)

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey Mei, you’re most welcome. :) I am glad you found it useful. If you ever need any more help, feel free to e-mail me!

  • Rish

    How would I know the right color Mac lipstick for me ?

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey Rish! Stay tuned as I will be updating this post with more details on makeup shades for skin tones and types :) But I can help meanwhile, what is your skin tone?

  • Jasmine

    hi :) thanks for this wonderful post! I truly agree with using just a bb cream / tinted moisturizer because I also think foundation is too thick for my liking. my only question is, if you use either bb cream or tinted moisturizer, does it last throughout the day? if not, what do you do to make it last? thanks! :) xxx

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey Jasmine! You’re so welcome, I am glad you found this post useful. :)

      I know what you mean, foundation can be too thick for me too. Your best bet is a BB cream – they are *almost* like foundations without that heavy feeling, and of all the ones I’ve tried, they last just as long as regular makeup. I’m actually planning to write a post on my favorite BB creams, so look out for that!

      If you have trouble with making your face makeup last, you can also try a foundation primer which helps a lot, especially if you have super oily skin or live in a really hot country. But in general, I think a BB Cream would be fine. :)

      I hope that helps Jasmine! Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with x

  • Alex


    Just check, Are bb cream and tinted moisturizer samething? When you put BB cream on your face, do you add anything on top of the bb cream? Or just leave that? Thank.

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Aloha! BB Cream and Tinted Moisturisers are *different* technically, but are used as the same – base makeup. So no, you don’t need to put anything on top of BB Cream or Tinted Moisturizers, they are like foundation. But they are more “popular” than foundation now because they are lighter on the skin, more skincare ingredients, and has better SPF. :)

  • Lauren renee

    Thank You for this info,by this info many females get the solution of their problems about makeup and when I was new to makeup I was also confused that what should I use on my cheeks or lips but then I got a guide in the face of store called Fuel The Army they have a wide range of categories and cosmetics and when ever I have to buy cosmetics or beauty products my first choice is Fuel The Army store.They also provide their coupons called Fuel The Army promo codes and by using those coupons peoples including me got discount on their orders and save their money.If You don’t believe me check out Your self

  • Kitty

    Hi I know its kind of strange for an 18-year old to not know anything about make up but I don’t. I found this list so helpful. Question: what primers do you recommend; specifically foundation primer

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey, sorry for the late reply, I only just saw your comment :x

      Make Up For Ever makes amazing primers, as does Laura Mercier!

  • Nina Kato

    Does anyone have a recommendation for eyeliner???

    • Renee / Beautifille

      The very first eyeliner I used and loved was from MAC, which I still recommend – they make amazing liners!

  • Miratul Maghfiroh

    I just unwittingly bumped into your blog which I found it helpful for me. I am 29 yo women and just getting started to try this whole new world called make-up :) thanks for sharing such beautiful blog.

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Thanks so much, Miratul, and you’re so welcome! Glad I could help.

      • Miratul Maghfiroh

        glad you replied me back. I have some questions :
        how can I choose the right foundation and lipstick (i.e the color) for my not-white-not too-brown-skin/lips ? I find it really overwhelming lol. thanks :)

        • Renee / Beautifille

          My pleasure!

          For foundation color, the best is to go the the store and ask the sales lady to help you choose a shade. Swipe about 2-3 colors you think looks like your shade on your jaw line (don’t test products on your hands, they are a different tone than our faces!). After that, go out in the sun light and see which color blends in perfectly with your skin – this is important, because in shopping malls their lighting is always off and you might get the wrong color. So always use natural light!

          For lipstick, it’s a little more relaxed. Honestly, whatever color lipstick you like, you should go for it and have fun with it! But if you’re really looking for a color that suits you perfectly, for a nude shade, look for a color that mimicks the color of the inside of your lips, or even your gums – that is usually a deeper, “healthy” color than our lips, which can get pale sometimes.

          For other shades of lipstick colors, it’s all about finding out your skintone and what suits it. The quick way is to find a celebrity that you feel has your skintone, and then check out what lipstick she uses! (For example, if you are very fair like actress Emma Stone and you are looking for a red lipstick, you can Google “Emma Stone red lipstick” and see what kind of shade she uses).

          I’ll be editing this post to include much more info like the ones you’re asking about now (color selection, proper application, recommendations of products at different budgets), so stay tuned! :)

  • Rebekah Pinkham

    Thank you very much! I’ve just been using mascara but I want to use more. This helps me out a lot! Thanks again!

    • Renee / Beautifille

      You’re welcome! Thanks for reading Rebekah!

  • Nurulhuda Albukhari D’Cruz

    I really want to try the Benefit They’re Real Mascara but it is on the expensive side.

    • Renee / Beautifille

      It really is yeah. :/ But worth it if you will be using mascara A LOT in the 3 months (that’s their use-by date).

  • Newbie

    Thank you! I’m 31 and need to learn some make-up basics for formal occasions. Everything else I found was way too complicated. Your tips are perfect.

    • Renee / Beautifille

      You’re so welcome, I am glad it helped!

  • Haya

    Great post! I’m 16 and I really have no idea where to start on buying makeup, so this is a helpful post!
    Question: Do I need to start applying base foundations like CC cream or tinted moisturizer or is it too early? Thanks x

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey Haya, thanks, I’m happy to help! :)

      I think it depends on your skin – if you’re skin is still perfect, then leave it alone! If you see it getting just a bit oily after a long day, then I’d recommend some light loose powder. If you are starting to get a little bit of blemishes or just want some light coverage, then I definitely recommend a tinted moisturizer or a CC cream. As far as foundation, I wore a lot of it at your age because I had mild acne and it was just too much… I don’t think any 16 year old needs that much coverage – it looked like I was wearing a mask! I definitely recommend that if you do use base makeup, keep it very light. x

  • Bit of a Latecomer

    These are some great tips! I’m 21 and a i’ve never been huge on using makeup, mostly because I feel like I don’t have the time to apply it every day. However i’m looking to invest in some solid basics now and i’m wondering what kinds of makeup (i.e. face, eye…) have a short use by date? I would really like to get some products that will cover all the bases and last me a very long time since I probably still won’t wear makeup very often but I would like to not have to replace half used stuff after a few months because that could get pretty costly and wasteful.

    • Renee / Beautifille

      Hey! Your best bet is to use powder based products then, as liquids, creams and such “go bad” quicker.

      For face, try a powder foundation, that can last for 2 years. For eyes, skip mascara (they need to be replaced every couple of months), and instead you can use eyeshadow, which can last up to 3 years, and eyeliner 2 years (sharpen your eyeliner very regularly, though). Then for blush use a powder blush, that can also last 3 years. For lips, best to stick to a lipstick then, which can last a few years too.

      While those are the best options, don’t forget that if the product starts to change in texture (for example, starts to get really runny), changes color or starts to smell, it’s spoiled and should be dumped and replaced. Keep your makeup as clean and your application as hygienic as possible (I’ll be doing a future post on that!) and away from the sun and your makeup should be fine.

      Another option is to use mineral makeup, which I *hear* has no expiry date since they are so “pure” and made of minerals, but personally I am not sure if I buy it – I would still replace them as I would regular makeup.

      • Bit of a Latecomer

        Thanks for the tips, i’ll definitely remember them when I am stocking up on the basics.

  • brittney

    love each and everyone one of this tips! do you have any specific brushes that you find better than others? would love to hear recommendations.