Simple Makeup for Beginners

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If you don’t wear a lot of makeup but want to start including a few simple essentials into your routine, this post is for you.

I love makeup, I love a multistep process, and I love experimenting with so many different things. And since I do the leg work for you, I can tell you that these recommendations are really perfect for a makeup newbie.

The very first product I would suggest that you purchase is concealer. Even if you never wear foundation, and don’t plan to, the simple act of adding a bit of concealer under the eyes, around the edges of the nose, and perhaps on any dark spots or blemishes, can make your entire face look rested and fresh. It’s very common for me to skip foundation on the weekends, or in the summertime, and just hit my under eyes and blemishes with a bit of concealer.

My holy grail concealer is NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, but if you’re looking for a lower price point, the Milani Conceal + Perfect is pretty close! I have yet to find a drugstore-level concealer that blows me away, but I admit that I have, sometimes, impossibly high standards.

The video will demonstrate the simple steps of this quick and easy, minimal makeup look. You can find a few helpful pointers below as well!

SIMPLE AND EASY Makeup Recommendations:

Foundation: Revlon Candid Glow ($10.99), Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer ($48), NYX Naturally Born to Glow ($10)

Bronzer: Physician’s Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer ($13.29)

Concealer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30), Milani Conceal + Perfect ($8.49), Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment ($7.99)

Eyebrow Pencil: Revolution Pro Define and Fill Brow Pencil ($8), NYX Micro Brow Pencil ($10)

Cream Eyeshadow: NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil ($5.50), Revlon Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow ($8.99)

Mascara: L’Oreal Lash Paradise ($10.19), Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara ($12.99)

Eyeliner: NYX Professional Makeup Epic Smoke Liner (shade: nude haze) ($11), PIXI by Petra Endless Silky Waterproof Eyeliner ($12), Almay All Day Intense Eyeliner ($6.49)

Lip balm: Morphe 2 Wondertint Cheek & Lip Mousse ($12), L’Oreal Paris Glow Paradise Balm-in-Lipstick ($7.99)

A few helpful tips:

-stick to a radiant or glowing finish instead of matte. Why? It’ll look MOST like skin, which is likely what you’re used to seeing!

-sheer makeup may leave you wondering, “what is the point?” but you’d be amazed at how some sheer tinted moisturizers or sheer foundations do just the right amount of balancing without leaving your face feeling like it’s caked in makeup.

-you can use your fingers for a lot of makeup application, but if you are applying blush or bronzer, I highly recommend using a brush, even for cream products! A brush really allows you to seat the product on your face and control where it goes versus fingers which may spread it out and leave it splotchy.

-a lot of times the cream blush can be used on the lips as well.

-if you’re going to keep your makeup light, steer away from black eyeliner. It’ll likely be too harsh and can make your eyes look smaller in some cases. Go with a soft brown (no matter what your eye color) or even a mushroom/taupe color. You may even find an eyebrow pencil in a soft taupe shade that would look extremely natural as eyeliner on the upper lid.

-skip mascara on the lower lashes for a modern, open-eyed look

-bronzer is optional!

Real Techniques makes brushes and sponges that work VERY well and come at a comfortable price point.


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Michele says · 03.15.22

About recommending the glowing finish instead of matte: I’ve been using It Cosmetics CC cream for years. When I decided to try the illuminating formula instead of the matte one I usually used in the same shade, I found the color to be really different. Is this normal? Did I just get a bad tube?

Jeni says · 03.15.22

I also use the IT CC cream and had the same problem with the illuminating shades being very different. I took my regular shade and had to match in store and it was off by several shades.

Michele says · 03.17.22

So glad I’m not crazy!

Meghan says · 03.15.22

Hi Kate! Thanks for the great tutorial. What shade are you wearing in the eye pencil, nyx eyeliner, and cream blush? Thank you so much! This was a great tutorial.

Kate says · 03.15.22

eyeliner shade is listed in the post! It’s nude smoke. I also used shade 2 in the morph blush! Brow pencil is taupe!

Meghan says · 03.15.22

I am sorry, I meant for the eyeshadow stick, is the color yogurt? And for the blush, I don’t see numbers listed next to the colors, is the color Fyp (blushing rose)? Thank you!

Meghan says · 03.15.22

I am sorry, I was curious about the color for the eyeshadow stick, what is the name of that color? And for the cream blush, can I also have a color name, please? I am not finding shade 2. Thank you! I love the look and would like to recreate it with the correct colors.

Kathy Brown says · 03.15.22

I’m having trouble with mascara removal! I’ve tried Maybellibe and L’Oréal. What kind is easier to remove at night? And what remover? The liquid kinda do not work on my makeup!!

Allie says · 03.15.22

This is such a helpful video, thank you! What lip color / product did you in the video? It looks like a balm of some kind.

Ashley says · 03.15.22

What color or the L’Oréal glow paradise lip do you recommend?

Karen says · 03.16.22

Hi Kate,
Your post says “nude smoke” for the eyeliner, but the Ulta site doesn’t have that shade listed. Is it “nude haze”? Thanks!

Kate says · 03.16.22

Yes, that is it–sorry for my error!

sms says · 03.24.22

What shade did you use for the eye shadow pencil?

Lora says · 03.28.22

What is the color of the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil? What color is the bronzer?

Debbie says · 03.28.22

I have a similarly fair complexion so I love seeing what specific shades you use. I bought the NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil based on this recommendation and I like it so far. I’m curious if you have had luck with sharpening this product? Their website is full of Q & A of people asking how to get more product beyond the original tip, and the answers direct users to sharpen it using a normal sharpener despite it being a hard plastic exterior rather than wood. Just curious if you have found that to work. Thanks!

Lauren says · 08.25.23

I would love to try the revlon candid glow foundation, however I’m really not good at color matching. Do you have a suggestion so I can get the right shade?

Veena Pannu says · 10.10.23

“-a lot of times the cream blush can be used on the lips as well.”……mind blown!😱👌🏼