We all have makeup items that we can’t live without. For some, it’s a lipstick; for others, it’s a foundation. Regardless, there is our do-or-die item in our makeup box. Or in my case, my whole makeup box… This past week I took to twitter to ask my followers to vote for what they’d like to see in this blog post. I polled “My Makeup Essentials” against “Summer Wardrobe Musts”, and obviously the former won. I decided I may as well go all out and tell you my essentials for basic makeup. So here we go!
My makeup essentials are pretty basic. Very few are high-end products, but the rest are affordable and great for beginners too! If you want to see what I suggest when starting up a makeup kit, carry on scrolling! (Word to the wise: This isn’t even an eighth of my makeup collection, but I have been collecting for nearly six years. Chances are that I have missed a favourite of mine when digging through my things)
I will never be without a moisturiser! I try to use moisturisers with a dual action. My current favourite one is the Even Tone Moisturiser by African Extracts. Not only does it give my skin the much-needed hydration, but also fights highly pigmented and scarred areas of skin. Even better though, it has an almost primer-like quality to it and works great for prepping skin (I have not included a primer for the simple reason that I feel like I can do without it at times).
Another product that is definitely worth investing in is a good quality BB cream. This is a quick fix if you don’t want to apply foundation, but still want a light coverage! Finding a BB cream that matches your skin tone is incredibly hard, but it’s best to find one with the same undertone as your skin. It’s actually a good idea to match any cream to your skin undertone. Pictured above isn’t my favourite one, which happens to be All-In-One BB Cream by the Body Shop, but they have unfortunately not got stock in Durban at the moment.
A good foundation is a necessity for a flawless makeup base, which is why investing in a high-end product is worth it. I don’t recommend it for beginners, but for those who are a bit more practiced can definitely try this out. Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup is one that everyone rates highly – I’ve used my mom’s a couple of times for important events and I loved it.
My next essential is a line smoother. Thanks to genetics, my skin “wrinkles” easily; Luckily I found that line smoothers plump up the worst areas and reduce the depth of the lines. Obviously this is not a makeup essential for everyone, but it certainly is for me (and these are MY makeup essentials)!
My favourite colour correcting concealer is the wet n wild CoverAll Concealer Palette. This palette offers a green concealer to hide the red patches on your skin, a pink to brighten dark areas, an orange colour to conceal and a shimmery white to use as a cream highlighter. This is an absolute treasure as all four blend fantastically and can even be used on darker skin types. If I had to choose one concealer to use for the rest of my life, this would be it.
I like cream contouring, but don’t really like any palettes that I have come across (Unfortunately I can’t find the NYX palette anywhere)! I have settled for using the Essence Coverstick in two different shades; one three shades darker than my skin tone (Matt Caramel) and the other three shades lighter (Matt Ivory). They’re pretty easy to blend and are inexpensive, so I don’t mind buying them.
My absolute essential pressed face powder is from the Body Shop. I’ve recently run out of mine and have not yet had a chance to buy more (I’m dying inside), so I had to sneak this pic off the interwebs. This wonderful powder is mattifying and can double up as a powder foundation – That’s how great the coverage is!
I flounder in a sea of makeup if I don’t have bronzer at all times. I personally adore the Essence Sun Club Bronzer. The one I use is for blondes, but is buildable and the perfect shade. This is matte, which is always a necessity. I don’t like shimmer products besides eyeshadow or highlighters, so this is perfect for me.
I don’t actually know many people who use this brand, which is Beauty Treats. I picked this out of the “For Sale” bin at Dischem and fell in love. I use the Rose Blush Palette. The six blushes are pigmented, shimmer-free and the best blushes I’ve ever used. I’ve been told that these are a bit of a dupe for some MAC blushes, but I’m yet to test that theory.
I use the NYX Illuminator (IBB04 Ritualistic/Rituel) as my highlighter. Even though this is a recent investment, I don’t think I could go without it again. The light champagne shimmer highlights beautifully and really finishes off any look.
I need a neutral eyeshadow palette at all times. Whilst colours are fun, neutrals are classic and can look great as a day or nighttime look. I love the NYX Love in Paris (LIP10 Je Ne Sais Quoi) palette because it offers shades of cream and brown, as well as a black and mauve for a smokey eye look. Some of the shadows have tiny pieces of glitter mixed in, and this adds some wonderful dimension.
A good highlighting eyeshadow is also essential in my books and I am obsessed with 01 Chill Out by Essence. This shimmery white shadow completes any look and is great for highlighting just under your brows as well!
I’m not a big fan of eyeliner but there are a few that I keep in stock all year round. I have two liquid liners that I think are great. They are both by Essence; one is an smudge-proof eyeliner pen whilst the other is a waterproof felt tip dipper. They’re super easy to use, even for beginners, and both have super instense black colour. I always reach for these when I’m going out at night and feel a bit dramatic.
I also need a ‘I HEART SMOKEY’ jumbo eye pencil, also by Essence, because it’s perfect for a smokey eye. It blends really well and is super easy to get off.
The Essence Long-lasting eye pencil (02 Hot Chocolate) is always with me, wherever I go. It doubles as an eyebrow pencil. It lasts for hours, so I don’t need to constantly reapply it like other brands require. I’m basically a sucker for this product and I keep back-ups so that I’m never without it!
Lastly, I must have a white eyeliner. I adore the Yardley Retractable Eyepencil (Metallic White) because it comes with a built-in smudge tip. On days when I haven’t got much sleep, I apply this sacrilegiously. It brightens my eyes as easy as 1, 2, 3!
I have three mascaras that I live by. These are the NYX Faux Lashes Mascara, the Elizabeth Arden Lash Extending Treatment Mascara and the Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Mascara.
The Elizabeth Arden mascara is probably the best mascara to use if you want to grow you lashes longer, whilst the NYX makes me look like I’m wearing falsies without having to apply any (which is fantastic because those are super-duper hard to put on!). I use the Organic Wear mascara on a daily basis because I feel like it’s not a harsh mascara and doesn’t cause much breakage or lash fall.
The Revlon Line Fantasy Cream Eyeliner (Chocolate) is my current favourite product. I don’t actually use this as a cream liner, but instead as a dipbrow. Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics aren’t exactly in my budget (I would have to import the products anyway), but this is the next best thing.
The texture of this cream eyeliner is actually closer to a dipbrow than most would think and it’s highly pigmented! By all means, you don’t need to use this in the manner I do, but if you would like to practice using a dipbrow, this is a good “starter”.
I can’t live without lipsticks, and I have five colours that I require at all times. I like keeping a milky coffee coloured lipstick, a nude pink, a candy pink, a red and a wine coloured lipstick in my makeup box.
My current favourites are:
- Revlon PlumpPerfect Lip Colour (009 Sassy)
- Essence Longlasting Lipstick (11 Nude Love)
- Essence Sheer & Shine Lipstick (12 Candy Love)
- wet n wild Lipstick (E911D Stoplight Red) – this is a dupe for MAC’s Russian Red
- Revlon ColorStay Lipstick (330 Smoothest Wine)
And finally… My last essential makeup item is lip balm/chapstick. There is no specific lip balm that I need, but I do need one at all times so that I can keep my lips from chapping and cracking. I really like the Body Shop lip balms, which come in a variety of scents. My favourite is the Born Lippy Mango-Peach!
I hope you enjoy this, and possibly try out some of the products I’ve mentioned. Perhaps you can share some of your essential makeup items in the comments!
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Note: I am not sponsored by any of these brands. I am also aware some of them test on animals, but it is incredibly hard to find cruelty-free makeup in South Africa.