Building Your Makeup Collection: Part 1

Naked 2 Palette : Easy Eyes Look

I’ve gotten a few requests to write about building a makeup collection. So I finally sat down, thought it out, and here I am giving you my input on how to 1. START a makeup collection and 2. Buy makeup you will actually wear.

So, let us begin.

First things first, adapt this to your lifestyle and beauty routine. If you are more of a low maintenance kind of gal, stick with bb cream and a nude/peach blush. If you are looking to play around a little more with makeup, and possibly wear a little more, invest in a great foundation. Neither is better or worse, simply a difference in taste.

1. Find a great foundation. Don’t feel limited to liquid. Try out different textures, talk to employees at cosmetic counters about your desires and skin type. Full coverage isn’t always the answer. I often tend towards liquid foundation because I like that I can control the coverage, but I spent many years wearing Bare Minerals loose powder foundation and loved that as well. The beauty of it all is that you can change up your makeup. The hard part is knowing where to start. 
I really think every women needs, at the very least, a well-matched foundation. It is one of the most important players in making your face look fresh and even. 

2. Blush adds color, warmth and dimension to our faces. Find a blush that you feel comfortable wearing, that lasts all day, and that flatters your skin tone. If you are nervous about blush, start on the peachy end of things. If you are pretty confident, try bright pinks to change it up. 

3. The quest for the perfect mascara is unending. If “they” would some coming out with new formulas already, I could probably stop buying them. 
Try out a few different mascaras and return the ones you don’t like. You really need to give them at least a day of wear to determine if you like them. There is nothing worse than mascara flaking off onto your cheeks thorough the day, and you won’t know if that will happen until you wear it all day. 
As far as mascara goes, even the cult favorites don’t work for me, so it’s really a trial and error sort of thing. Good luck.

4. Invest in some quality brushes. No need to sell your leg to afford fancy brushes, but do find some that don’t shed and are soft. A good blush brush will make applying blush easy. And if you are wearing liquid foundation, it’s never a bad idea to own a foundation brush. More often than not, I apply foundation with clean fingertips so a foundation brush isn’t necessarily an essential
Find a eyelash curler than opens up your eyes and creates a nice bend in your lashes. 

So, now you’ve got the very basics. You’ll probably need a makeup bag to stash everything in. I love this one, this one, and this one

Next time, I’ll dive in a little deeper and talk about concealers, shadows and lip colors. And lastly, I’ll pick my favorite “extra’s” to have in your makeup bag for a little creativity. 


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Devin says · 07.11.13

I’ve never been much of a makeup wearer and when I do it’s safe drugstore brands. My birthday is coming up and as I creep up into my early 30s, I’ve decided to treat myself to a consultation at a makeup counter and some nice makeup. What I’ve noticed from your blog and others is that you use a variety of brands and it worries me that by going to a MAC counter (for example) I’m limited to trying and purchasing their products. Do you think I’m doing myself a disservice by being pigeon-holed into one brand?

jennifer says · 07.11.13

MAC is a great brand with lots of options – I would say you’d do well buying anything by that brand.

virginia says · 07.11.13

Devin, if you live near a Nordstrom, you can book an appointment with a “beauty specialist” who works for Nordstrom, not a particular cosmetics brand. I met with one earlier this year to get some tips on makeup for my engagement photos, and she was amazing. I left with three new products from three different companies, all of which I love and probably wouldn’t have discovered on my own, and – maybe more importantly – the know-how to apply them correctly.

Sephora also carries a ton (A TON) of different brands, and you can get a makeup consultation there as well.

Cindy Balmer says · 05.01.15

Hi thought to ad and update your insight to the Real Mascara/
Ive a pro Makeupartist for many years. Fortunately.. Benefit Real is an amazing mascara ..However they way they teach it on HOW to use the mascara online and on the counter is ridiculous..!! wiggle??
If you look at the brush .. its hard and there is no mascara product on the wand….and yet..people think they understand the whole concept of the Are they real or false lashes????.. concept..””
Designers and sales people need to really get their act together.. Its a technique of application of the Gel mascara thats Crucial for False Eye lash look.
Tip : use the Black” Waterproof” BadGal Pencil in the” tight line?”.. made in Germany!! best.!! then wipe excess and thin tight line( whilst still moist.. ) NOte make sure eye is not oily .. ( will come undone for any waterproof).
.. The rim of any false eye lash look.INbetween the Lashes.. important to know… Thin but Full tightline.
… then Hook the REal at the roots .. STAY there but let your Lashes do the Work… curls AT THE ROOT>>long lashes. the wand does NOt go up.. but the eye muscle does the work against the hard brush.. Curls amazing and seperates everY LASH.. like a false lash should look like.
Done in two strokes.. Rotate for volume away from the root in the same spot..
NOW thats the way their REAL Mascara should work..
if you keep pumping you land up with 4 sticky lashes rather that a full Fan of lashes of what you own as lashes.. ENJOY cindyx.

Samara says · 07.29.13

I’ll echo Virginia’s suggestion! As a Nordstrom employee, I only ever worked with beauty stylists. They know tons about lots of different brands and work with you to find the right products for your skin/routine/lifestyle! Make sure you are open and honest with your stylist, because they are responsible to promote certain products and you want to make sure you leave with the right product for you, not just something they wanted to sell you.

Meg Cady says · 07.11.13

Great advice!!! Especially about brushes!

pretty little things says · 07.11.13

great tips for the makeup challenged like me!! xo

The Sweet Catastrophe Blog says · 07.11.13

This is a great series thanks for the insight!

Angie Mae Scullion says · 07.11.13

These are some really great tips! I feel like I’m forever on the search for a great foundation!

Rebecca says · 07.11.13

This is well thought out and you have some great tips! I am not very organizing in my makeup purchasing. If I were to write something like this, it would be like: BUY ALL THE MAKEUP. The end. 🙂

julie says · 07.11.13

At 59 years old I have just recently gotten really interested in experimenting with make up. I didn’t really feel like I knew what I was doing. And then along came you! Even though there are many years between us, many of your helpful thoughts and hints apply to me. Thank you!

Allison Meyer says · 07.11.13

I love new ideas to try especial mascara. LOVE mascara. I did just find my new favorite blush is Sephora brand. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.

Elizabeth Hansen says · 07.11.13

Kate- have you ever reviewed any LUSH products? I’ve recently discovered this brand and I’d love to hear what you think!

Robin Hinchee says · 08.06.13

Yes, I’d love to hear your thoughts on LUSH as well!

eatgreatbegreat says · 07.11.13

Super helpful! Thanks Kate!

Missmacbeauty says · 07.11.13 Reply
Laurin says · 07.11.13

I feel like I’ve tried every single tube of mascara but I finally found one that doesn’t flake off, makes my lashes look amazing, and it’s cheap, which is pleasing. Loreal Double Extend for the win!

Heather says · 07.31.13

I use this also and LOVE it!! This is the only mascara I can use that doesn’t leave black circles under my eyes by the end of the day. Can’t beat the price and quality. I ended up trying it after talking to a consultant at Ulta and she said “look I know I’m suppose to tell you to use *her brand* but they all smudge on me too and this is the ONLY kind I can wear”. She told me that most mascara has wax in it and on some people the heat from our faces makes the wax melt leaving smudges.

Suzanne S. says · 07.11.13

Such a fun little post! I think it is so important to built a good make-up collection 🙂
Suzanne from written by suzanne

hkschulte says · 07.11.13

Maybe you can just take me make up shopping?? Please and thank you 😀

Melissa says · 07.11.13

Artistry mascara. My secret weapon. I have tried many other mascaras and none of them stack up. The first time I ever used it I was fifteen. I came out of the bathroom saying “Mom! LOOK at my lashes!” and have been loyal ever since.

Another thing to keep in mind is that as our skin changes over time our makeup needs will change too. I used the same foundation for years until I had my first baby and my skin did a total 180. Suddenly my trusty foundation made me break out. So I switched to a different foundation and that did fine for a couple of years. Then it started turning orange on my face! Eek! I started using Pur Minerals last winter and it’s my current favorite. Just gotta be flexible! 🙂

Melanie Lien says · 07.11.13

Any particular makeup brushes you would suggest? I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Carly says · 07.11.13

Mascara is key, isnt it? They’re real is my FAVORITE!


Justine J says · 07.11.13

Great tips, thanks for sharing them! I really like posts like this xx


Martyna says · 07.11.13

Great tips, thanks! xx


Elizabeth says · 07.11.13

Have you tried Buxom mascara? I have tried many brands, and I LOVE this stuff! It creates length and volume without being clumpy. It is a Sephora exclusive and is $19. Although it is more expensive, it is worth it!

Amanda says · 07.11.13

Hey Kate! Love your blog by the way, and congrats on your pregnancy! We are due with our first at the end of November!

Do you have a eye lash curler you’d suggest?? I’ve spent a pretty dime a couple just to be disappointed in the end… :/ Thought I’d see if you have any favorites!

Julie says · 07.11.13

I was glad to see you add eyelash curler as an essential. So few of my friends use them or save it only for very special occasions, curling your lashes IMO is an everyday thing. I use a tweezerman brand curler – inexpensive and works.

Anonymous says · 07.11.13

The ‘sell your leg’ comment made me giggle!

Amber Hunter says · 07.11.13

What great advice! I’ve already pretty much built a base makeup collection but I will never tire of reading things that go back to the basics!
Lovely Notions

Kerri Muffin says · 07.11.13

Perfect advice- these are my basics!

JoAnna says · 07.12.13

So helpful, thank you for this!

Reply says · 07.12.13

Such great advice and not too overwhelming for anyone starting out!

Catherine says · 07.12.13

What do you mean, return the mascaras you don’t like? What store would ever take back a product used on your eyes once the seal was broken?

Janna says · 07.12.13

Great series!

would love to find a blush that lasts all day! Any tips!?!

Our Little Family says · 07.12.13

I have been using Maybelline Volume Express mascara in black for years. I have tried other ones, but always end up coming back to that one. Sometimes I will add another layer of a thicker mascara, but it works well by itself too!

Katie says · 07.12.13

Love this post, even though I’m not ‘building’ a make up collection (more like hoarding, expanding?!) this was still helpful :). X

Hanna Lee says · 07.12.13

Great post!! My basics are always blush, mascara, & lipstick 🙂

Anne says · 07.12.13

I love this post! My basics include all of those you’ve listed. I always have them inside my bag. I’m actually looking for really good brushes. Do you have any suggestions?

Anne’s Scribbles and Doodles

CC says · 07.12.13

Can you do a review on BB creams for the beginner? I really want to try one but am scared too. I usually wear nothing or a light loose powder (Physician’s formula).

Amy says · 07.14.13 <— seriously, go there! They sell everything you need and it’s comparable to big brands and SO inexpensive.

Elizabeth says · 07.15.13

Great post! As someone who didn’t start wearing makeup on a regular basis until I was 22 (three years ago), I’m playing catch-up with other women my age who seem to have great eye makeup down pat. Looking forward to Part 2!

Dashing Tales says · 07.15.13

loving this post and can’t wait for the following ones 🙂

speisecj says · 07.17.13

I love your blog!! I have been wondering if you use a makeup mirror to put on your makeup, or just a regular bathroom mirror. What light is best to put on your makeup?

Reply says · 07.19.13

Thank you for this series. I am in need of some make up basics. I am almost 40 and have never been a make up wearer. I feel like I need to polish myself up a little but it’s hard to know where to start at my age!

AMY SAVINI says · 07.23.13

Great advice. It is easy to get stuck in a make-up rut, and a refresher and trying new products is always a good thing!

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Anuradha Rana says · 10.02.13

great post thanks for sharing.
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Becca Roberts says · 10.25.13

Hey Kate! I loved this post, but I was wondering how to make my foundation & powder not looks so powdery and flaky on my skin? I have acne prone skin and when I put my “face” on in the mirror, it looks nice and smooth, but as soon as I get to school, I avoid looking into any sort of mirror. Any tips? Thanks so much!

tipsoncosmetics says · 12.17.13

This post was very nicely written, and it also contains a lot of useful facts. Thanks for sharing wonderful information

tipsoncosmetics says · 12.20.13

i love cosmetics

Mrsblachford says · 04.22.14

Was any follow up ever done on this post? I’ve looked a little but I’m not finding one. I am 27 and just now starting to get into being “pretty” and this blog is major help. 🙂

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