When you’re just getting into fashion and building a whole new wardrobe, there are certain pieces of clothing that are considered essential. The Little Black Dress, for example, deserves proper capitalization.

It’s the same thing with make-up. There are a few things you HAVE to have. It’s true! There is a list!

Okay, fine, so it’s not an official list seeing as I, a fairly boring virgin, typed this up two one lonely summer evening, but give me some credit here. I’m a certified gunkie. Without the actual… certification.

Obviously, I can’t review products I haven’t tried so the ones on this list are the ones I have or are my favorites, but perhaps it can help you find out which products you have to invest in. And by this, I mean all of them. Seriously. Essentials. Look it up.

Make-Up Essentials

1. Face Primer

I believe face primers are a fairly new thing so I guess it’s understandable that most people don’t have one yet. When I go to a store and ask about ‘em, the sales people always get this confused, How-Do-I-Sell-You-Something-Else look. And then they suggest something completely different. Like foundation. 😐 Seriously though, pick up a primer as soon as possible. Face primers create a barrier between your skin and your foundation. They also make application a lot smoother, easier, and more even. I forgot to use my primer once and was shocked at how much tougher it was to get my foundation to glide over my skin.

I use:
a. Bare Escentuals Prime Time – It’s got this beautiful satin texture when it’s on your skin. A little bit goes a very long way. I’ll be trying different primers when I finish this bottle but I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to this one.

2. Foundation/ Tinted Moisturizer

Now, even if you’ve got gorgeous skin, if you don’t want your meticulously applied make-up to disappear after a few hours (an hour even, in this inferno), WEAR FOUNDATION. It takes a lot of effort to find the right shade, I know, but it’s totally worth it.

My tips:
1. Shop when daylight is not too strong (as in, when the sun is at its highest point) or too diffused (as in, when it’s too cloudy).
2. Test a few shades that you think are the closest to your natural skin tone on your jaw line.
3. Go out in natural daylight with a mirror and check which shade is The One.

I use:
a. Revlon Colorstay in Sandy Beige – I think it’s a bit too pink for me, to be honest. When I do just half of my face, it very closely matches my skin tone, actually, but my face is naturally pinker than my neck so I’d still prefer a more yellowy shade. I think I’ll be switching to MAC’s Studio Fix Fluid once I’ve finished this bottle. Colorstay is freaking incredible though. It gives you great coverage and a fairly matte finish.
b. bareMinerals in Light and in Medium Beige – These came as part of the starter kit. The normal ones come in bigger containers but mine are in small ones, which makes the “swirl” part of “swirl, tap, buff” pretty ridiculous and messy. However, I do like the foundations. They’re light to medium coverage and come in two shades to complement the shade changes our skin naturally makes throughout the year.

3. Concealer

I don’t care how pretty you are, everybody has to stay up late once in a while. Also, concealer is pretty multifunctional. It’s not only for concealing under-eye dark circles, redness, and other blemishes. It’s also great for blanking out your lips to make lip colors more vibrant, and, if worse comes to worst, it’ll be an all right lid base. It’s not a substitute, by any means, but if it’s totally a make-up emergency, then it’ll have to do. With a little bit of clear moisturizer, you can even use it as a foundation. But again, totally not a substitute!

I use:
a. Make Up For Ever Concealer Palette No. 5 – I have to say, I don’t love this as much as Marlena does (she is my make-up god, can you tell?). The formulation makes the gunk a little bit tough to blend although with PRIMER underneath, it’s actually fine. Use sparingly because it WILL cake up on you if you pile it on too thick.

4. Blush

I’m not exactly a fan of cheek stains because not only would you have to touch your face with your disgusting hands, they also don’t give you a lot of control. If you put on too much, your kabuki brush won’t do you any good. I suggest powder blushes instead. A girl should have one in pink and another in peach.

I use:
a. Nars Orgasm- MOST. AMAZING. PEACH BLUSH. EVER. Actually, it’s got both peach and pink undertones. I can’t explain it but trust me, it’s gorgeous. I’ll be doing a whole other review for this one. It’s THAT special.
b. MAC Smile- Pink. Eh. It’s all right. I kind of want something pinker. But I did just steal this from my mom. I do not have the right to complain.
c. If you have to use a cheek stain for some reason, go for The Body Shop’s lip and cheek stain. Wouldn’t use it for my lips though.

5. Nude Lipgloss

Nude. Not sheer! If you don’t get the difference, find a dictionary. I am not Dictionary.com.

There are so many lipglosses in the market so really, there is no excuse for NOT owning any. Every girl should have a NUDE one though. If you’re just starting out in make-up, I’m willing to bet you aren’t quite ready for the more high-maintenance lipstick yet. The trick is to find a gloss that’s PIGMENTED enough to actually show its color when it’s on your lips. Too sheer and why bother with a colored one? A nude lipgloss will go with any outfit and will let you have more fun experimenting with eyeshadows since you’ll be able to go as heavy as you want with your eye make-up.

I use:
a. CoverGirl Wetslicks in 350 Shimmershell – I love this shade but unfortunately, I will no longer be patronizing CoverGirl since they are not a cruelty-free brand. (For a list of cruelty-free companies, click here).

6. Lid primer

Ok, now THIS, I really believe every girl should invest in. I cannot stress enough how important a lid primer is! It makes an impossibly huge difference when it comes to preventing your shadows from creasing, making them last longer, and making the colors more vibrant. Seriously, I think that it is kind of a sin not to own one.

I use:
a. Smashbox Photo Finish lid primer – This can be worn on its own as an eyeshadow and that’s just fine but as a base, it works SO. WELL. Use sparingly though or it will be a bit difficult to blend. The haters on the Internet are probably using it wrong. I have to admit, though, that the only reason I bought this lid primer was because we don’t have Urban Decay here in the Philippines and the shipping costs for UDPP are ridiculous. We have decaying urban areas though.

7. Three Neutral eyeshadows

I think with these three, you’ll pretty much be safe because it’ll be easy to switch from a daytime look to a nighttime one. Basically, you’ll be set to secretly go to a job interview, show up for the job you haven’t quit yet, go on a date, and then attend a wild after party with your girlfriends.
a. Highlight
b. Medium color- pink or closest to skin tone
c. Contour- darker brown. You can also use this to line your eyes! 😀

I use:
a. Coastal Scents 88 Color Matte Palette – And you don’t have one yet… why?

8. Lash Curler

Eyelash curlers are easy to use. Any idiot with lashes can use these. Yeah, even if you have short ones. I seriously don’t think anyone’s lashes are so short that no eyelash curler exists for them. If you “just can’t” use ’em, you’re probably doing it wrong.

I use:
a. Revlon Lash Curler – Works fine. There really isn’t much to say.

9. Black Mascara

It is so easy and it does SO MUCH. Also, eyeshadow WILL get on your lashes and the easiest way to take care of this problem is to put on some mascara. There are several kinds on the market. Some will give you volume, others will lengthen, and still others will do both. Find one that works for you.

I use:
a. MAC Loud Lash – Not too happy with this. What it does is lengthen when what I really need is volume. Overall, it’s an okay mascara. I’ll be buying a different one when I’m done with it though.

10. Setting Powder/Spray

Both will make your make-up last longer. Setting powder will help keep your face matte. Some kinds claim to soak up the oil, even. A setting spray will, well, SET your make-up and get rid of that powdery look we often get. It can also make you look dewy and fresh instead of oily and gross. If you can get both, DO SO.

I use:
a. bareMinerals Mineral Veil – LOVE THIS PRODUCT! It’s completely sheer so you’re sure to never get that pasty look. It’s also very light on the skin.
b. Mac Fix+ Spray – Again, LOVE THIS PRODUCT. I bring a little bottle of it around with me wherever I go.

11. Retractable Blush brush

When you’re out and you go to a public bathroom to retouch, this is what you’re bound to do: Set everything you need on the make-up counter, retouch, and throw everything back in your purse, INCLUDING YOUR BLUSH BRUSH. That counter probably had every sort of disgusting germ one can find in a bathroom (can you say “E. Coli”?!) and your make-up containers probably picked up generous amounts of bacteria. And when all of that is in your purse, where’s all of it gonna go? That’s right. The bristles of your blush brush. Ugh.

The answer is so simple, I could die. Either keep your brushes in a totally different container OR just buy a retractable blush brush, the cap of which will keep it Public Bathroom Counter Grossness-free. This, however, doesn’t mean you can skip washing your brushes regularly. Please, your face isn’t Mother Mary’s heart.

I use:
a. Stila retractable blush brush – Super dense and super soft. You actually have to be careful not to pick up too much product with this. Hahah. Other than that, I love it.

12. Eyeshadow brush

As Marlena on http://www.makeupgeek.com/ says, “You gotta pat, pat, pat.” When applying your base color, you want as much pigmentation as possible because you’ll probably lose some of that color when you start blending. Pat, don’t swipe!

If your eyeshadows come with sponges or little brushes, don’t use them unless you really, really have to. Because they suck.

I use:
a. E.L.F. – It’s PHP129!!! It’s totally worth it. This works just fine. It picks up color well and it isn’t prickly.

13. Blending brush

Well, you can’t just dump every color on there. You need to blend, whether or not you want a smoky eye.

I use:
a. E.L.F. – This isn’t going to perform as well as the MAC 217, believe me. But if you’re spending your lunch money on a make-up brush, then this is the one to get.
b. MAC 217 – THERE IS A REASON WHY EVERYBODY LOVES THIS BRUSH. That is because it WORKS.

14. Make-up Remover

Whatever sort of make-up you use, it’s important to get all that gunk off your face before you go to bed. I don’t care what your mineral make-up’s commercials tell you, YOU NEED TO GET FOREIGN MATTER OFF YOUR FACE.

I use:
a. Elianto Lip & Eye Make-Up Remover
b. Bench Face Wipes
c. The Face Shop’s Brightening Rice Water Lip & Eye Make-up Remover ( a review of it here).

The brands and products I mentioned may or may not work for you but if you’re going to use this as a reference, you might as well know a very personal thing about me: I have combination/oily skin. IKR. Groundbreaking.

You may want to get different brands or kinds or whatever. Visit make-up counters and test out a few and see which ones work for you. I know I listed quite a few things up there but I really think that these are items that should be in every gunkie’s make-up kit.

Anyway, if you want reviews of other brands and products, all you have to do is BOOKMARK THIS BLOG.

See what I did there?

13 thoughts on “The Make-Up Wardrobe”

  1. Please, your face isn’t Mother Mary’s heart.–> hahahaha
    Oh and your blog is awesome. Thank you for it.
    And your welcome for that ^.:D
    You skipped eyeliner, was that intentional?

    1. Hello, Anonymous! Giggle, giggle. Yes, I skipped eye liner. I find that while it’s easy to find eye liner, it’s actually pretty difficult to find a GOOD one. I see so many girls who wear just eye liner and none of them ever get it perfect. Also, if it’s a particularly smudgy one, by noon, the poor girl wearing it looks like a raccoon. Oh, and dark eyeshadows can also work as eye liners anyway. I was trying to list down as few items as possible since I know that somebody just starting out won’t want to immediately splurge on every cosmetic product.

      1. gel eyeliners or liquid liners
        I have visibly asymmetrical eyes so I make up for it through eyeliner 🙂 It makes a big difference for me, but you’re right, some girls dont even need it! Lucky!
        Anyway, in case you want to try some, I recommend Wet n’ Wild’s liquid liners because it’s in pen-applicator form and just so easy to use!
        For gel liners, Bobbi Brown’s is the best so far (MAC fluidline get liners are too gunky). Try the black-brown color of the gel liners (forgot the exact name of the shade).

  2. coastal scents
    oooh…i have always been intrigued by that Coastal Scents eye color palette. Only, I have so many eyeshadows that I’ve accumulated over the years from MAC. How are the eyeshadows of CS compared to MAC? 🙂
    Also, for mascara, may I humbly recommend Make-Up Forever Smoky Lash Mascara? It’s not waterproof (but it won’t smudge easily either), but it really is one of the best masacara I’ve tried.
    My favorite nude lipstick is MAC’s Honeylove (I know you were talking about nude lipgloss, but, oh well, hehe)

    1. Re: coastal scents
      CS palettes are VERY comparable to MAC’s. The textures aren’t exactly the same. I mean, MAC is MAC. But the CS palettes are beautiful on their own. The colors are gorgeous, there’s good color payoff, and they last long. Really high quality. I still can’t believe they are that cheap.

  3. Saved
    you would laugh at my poor make up collection ._. I am 20 that i’ve just realized recently that I am in dire need make up, currently venturing the beautiful world of cosmetics. I just googled BB cream a few weeks ago, I am that much of a virgin. Thanks for sharing this, it really helps!

    1. Re: Saved
      BB Cream is a fairly new product with a lot of promises so I’m pretty leery about it. :)) But as I’ve said before, don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, yeah?
      Glad to help! If you’ve got anything in particular that you want to ask/request, feel free to do so and I will do my best to help you. 🙂

    1. Oh, I’m sorry but I would never buy anything from Lancome, which is, by the way, the parent company of L’Oreal. Both companies do animal testing, and I will never be okay with that. I’d rather be ugly than patronize cruelty to animals.
      I don’t know if you care about that stuff but if you do, I hope you find a cruelty-free mascara that works for you. There are many alternatives on the market and with a little research and a little patience, I think everyone can find exactly what they’re looking for without compromising anything else. Good luck! 🙂

      1. OMG thank you for that information! 😮
        I wouldn’t want anything from a company that does animal testing. 🙁
        What would you recommend?
        Honestly, I was so giddy to find out that there’s a Lancome store in Greenbelt 5 now. Oh, damn Virtuose. *sigh*

        1. I tested out Revlon mascaras and I really liked them! Revlon has invested a lot of money in researching and coming up with alternatives to animal testing.
          Also, I actually like the MAC mascara formulas. Just have to get the right one.
          Oh, and just FYI, The Body Shop, which is still a cruelty-free company, was sold to L’oreal a few years ago. The reason that Anita Roddick agreed to this was because L’oreal wanted to take steps towards being completely cruelty-free and The Body Shop would’ve helped with that endeavor. However, I have not come across any news of L’oreal’s steps to eradicate animal testing so until I’m sure that their products ARE cruelty-free, I will not be patronizing them. I WILL still continue to support The Body Shop just because it is still a company with values and principles, and my money will be supporting steps to ANNIHILATE animal testing. But that is just a personal choice. Some people may think the opposite and wouldn’t want their money to feed the pockets of L’oreal (which also owns Maybelline, by the way, so that is another brand I do not support).
          Anyhow, I’m sorry for the lengthy comment! I just feel really passionate about this. I am so glad to hear that you care! It makes me feel really sad to encounter people who just don’t. They’ll say they think animal testing is sad but that they won’t condemn it when what they really mean is “I think my eyeliner is more important than the tear ductless bunnies it was tested on.”
          There is no reason to test on animals. There are already approved ingredients that are free for everyone to use so that they won’t have to hurt animals to test out new ingredients and products. What it’s about is greed, really.
          So yeah, IT’S ABOUT TIME I SHUT UP. So, thanks for reading! And mostly, for caring. 😀 Good luck with that mascara hunt. I’ll let you know if I find anything good.

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