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The Ultimate Beginners Makeup Kit: What You Need to Start Out

04 Sep, 2018
By Andie Reeves
There are thousands of YouTube tutorials on advanced makeup techniques, like how to contour your face like a Kardashian, how to apply highlighter like a pro, or the secrets of nailing a winged cat eye, but what if you don’t even know the basics?

If you still struggle with knowing how to get mascara on without it smudging or aren’t quite sure how to transport the foundation from the tube to your face don’t worry; we’re here to help.

Makeup aisles can be intimidating. What exactly is highlighter and why do I feel like I need it in my life? Do I need a different lipstick for every day of the week? How crucial is blush, really? To avoid getting tricked into spending money on products you don’t end up using we’ve put together a list of affordable makeup kit basics which won’t break the bank. If you have all of these essentials at hand you’ll be able to easily put together a beautiful natural look.

Prep Is Important

Remember that your skincare routine is the first step of your makeup routine too. Applying makeup onto skin that isn’t moisturised will result in caking, flaking and make up that melts away throughout the day. Once you’ve finished cleansing, toning, moisturising and have applied your primer you’re ready to start painting your face.

Face Basics

Sun Screen

If you think you’re exempt from wearing sunscreen everyday you’re mistaken. The sun is one of the biggest causes of ageing and hyperpigmentation problems so be sure to cover up every single day, even when it’s overcast or you’re inside. Invest in a non-greasy formula and you won’t even feel that you have it on.

Our product picks: Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturiser SPF30, which is a two-in-one moisturiser and sunscreen, and BioNike Defence Sun 30 Light Sun Cream for Sensitive Skin.


Having flawless skin is always in, making foundation a crucial part of your kit. Even if you aren’t someone who wears foundation every day it’s great for emergency skin situations and special occasions. Most of us go a few shades lighter in the winter months so you might need two different shades to carry you through each season. If you prefer a more natural look then a BB Cream will provide lightweight coverage.

Pro tip: Using a damp beauty blender or a foundation brush will give you the most natural foundation application. Always apply in downward and outward strokes away from your nose (in the same direction as the fine hairs on your face), and don’t forget to blend along your jawline.

Our product picks: Catrice HD Liquid Coverage Foundation, Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Matt And Poreless, LA Girl Pro HD BB Cream and Cala Makeup Blending Sponge.

Read More. Want to Find Your Perfect Foundation? Here's What NOT to Do


Foundation is amazing for evening out skin tone but sometimes you will have stubborn spots, under-eye circles that just won’t budge or bright red blemishes. Concealer is a more concentrated formula that will give you a good cover up for problem areas like this.

Pro tip: When applied with your finger concealer tends to melt and not do its job so rather use a concealer brush. Dot a tiny bit of product on the area you want to cover up then blend outwards using small tapping motions.

Our product picks: Yardley High Definition Concealer Pen, Maybelline Fit Me Concealer and LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer.


Don’t rely on the little brushes that come with your products or your finger if you’re wanting an easy and seamless application. You’ll need a foundation brush, a powder brush (for bronzer and highlighter), a blush brush, a concealer brush and an eyeshadow brush. It may sound like a lot but if you care for and wash them regularly your brushes should last you a long time.

Our product picks: Barbara Hoffman Silver Foundation Brush, Cala Powder Brush, Cala Blush Brush, Cala Concealer Brush, Essence Eyeshadow Brush and for real value for money, Basics Beauty 5-piece Cosmetic Brush Set Rainbow, which has all the brushes you need.

Read More. A How to Guide on The Brushes You Need for Super Easy Flawless Makeup

Eye Basics

Nude Eyeshadow Palette

Once you get comfortable with the basics you can start experimenting with colours and shimmery shades but for starters you can’t go wrong with a nude palette. For an everyday look just sweep a tone that is one shade darker than your skin colour onto your lids.

Pro tip: A smoky eye is a good go-to and can easily be achieved with a nude palette. Use a light matte shade along the area between your lid crease and eyebrow, a medium shimmery shade on your eyelid and then a dark matte shade in your crease and outer corner of your eye. Then take a clean eyeshadow brush and blend the edges of the shades together. Super easy!

Our product picks: Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette, LA Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadows – Nudes and Catrice The Fresh Nude Collection Eyeshadow Palette.

Read More. Simple Insider Secrets on Exactly How to Apply Eyeshadow Right

Eyebrow Pencil/Eyeliner

A brown pencil is perfect for filling in and neatening up brows, plus you can also use it as an eyeliner. Brown is less dramatic than black eyeliner making it more ideal for daily wear.

Pro tip: You could also use the darkest shade of brown in your nude eye palette to fill in your brows. You will just need an angled brush and use short, sharp strokes in the same direction as your brow hair growth.

Our product picks: Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil Professional and Essence Eyebrow Designer or if you want an eye pencil which can also do both jobs, try Catrice 18H Colour & Contour Eye Pencil in Stella McBrowny.


Arguably the most essential part of anyone’s makeup bag, mascara instantly opens up your eyes and just one slick of the stuff can totally transform your face. While it might be tempting to grab that exciting-looking electric blue, for your core kit a black mascara is non-negotiable.

Pro tip: If you struggle to apply mascara without clumps don’t stress; you can always comb them out with a clean spoolie brush afterwards. Remember when choosing a mascara, a volumising formula is going to thicken them, a lengthening mascara will give you longer lashes, and if you want a bit of both you can totally combine two products.

Our product picks: Maybelline Lash Sensational Lash Multiplying Mascara, Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara, Revlon Dramatic Definition Mascara and for your spoolies, Basics Disposable Mascara Wands.

Face Essentials


Skin that looks luminous is having a big moment right now, making highlighter one of the most important pieces you can own. The results are subtle yet will be the difference between an average face and one that looks dewy and Instagram-worthy.

Pro tip: The crucial spots to put highlighter are on your brow bone (that’s the spot just under the arch of your eyebrow), on the tip of your nose, dotted in the inner corners of your eyes, along to top of your cheekbones and dusted on your Cupid’s bow (the middle part of your top lip).

Our product picks: LA Girl Velvet HiLite Contour Stick or for more shine, LA Girl Strobelight Strobing Powder.


Bronzer is great for warming up your face, and when used correctly you can use it to contour and give your face gorgeous angles you never knew you had.

Pro tip: The easiest way to apply bronzer is to make a ‘3’ shape on either side of your face. Start along your hairline, bring the middle of the ‘3’ in at the hollow of your cheek, and finish the shape along your jawline. Blend well and ta-da: you’ve just done some basic contouring!

Our product picks: Palladio Baked Bronzer in Caribbean Tan or if you don’t want any sparkle, try their Matte Bronzer in Nude Beach.


A lot of people skip the blush but the subtle difference it makes is so worth it. Especially on days where you’re sick or your skin is looking less-than-glowing, a touch of colour can totally add life to your face.

Pro tip: Sweep your brush onto your blush then tap the brush handle on your hand lightly to remove any excess product and avoid the way-too-rosy look. Find the apples of your cheeks by smiling then sweeping blush in light circular motions on the most raised part of your cheek..

Our product picks: Maybelline Master Blush in Peach Pop and LA Girl Just Blushing in Just Fearless.

Read More. Easy Tips That Will Guarantee Natural-Looking Contouring Every Time

Finishing Off

Lipstick/Lip Gloss

Every makeup bag should have a classic red lipstick as well as a more day-appropriate lip colour. If you’re on a budget lipstick can double-up as a cream blush by dotting it lightly on the apples of your cheeks and blending with your fingertip.

Pro tip: The fail-safe way to apply lipstick is to begin at the two peaks on your top lip. Make an X with the peaks of the X matching up with your lips’ peaks. Fill in the rest of your lips from the centre outwards then do your bottom lip. Don’t rub them together as this will shift the product. Before you leave the house close your lips around your finger and pull it out to avoid any lipstick on your teeth.

Our product picks: Rimmel The Only One Lipstick Matte in Take The Stage, Essence Colour Up Shine On Lipstick in Spicy Latte and Yardley Stayfast High Definition Lipgloss in Coco Kiss.


If you struggle with makeup meltdown during the day, then you should invest in a powder to fix your makeup into place. Makeup slippage can easily happen if you have an oily skin or live in a hot climate. It’s best to choose a translucent powder, which has no colour so won’t overpower the rest of your look.

Pro tip: For the best results, apply a light dusting of powder where you either have excess oil or under your eyes to set your concealer, and leave on for about 10 minutes to allow the warmth of your skin to ‘bake’ your makeup into place. Then using your powder brush, lightly sweep off any excess powder.

Our product picks: Yardley Absolute Translucent Loose Powder and LA Girl Pro Powder High Definition Setting Powder.

Read More. Here's How to Apply Makeup Perfectly, According to The Pros

Shop Your Products Now

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Barbara Hofmann Silver Foundation Brush
R 119.00

Basics Disposable Mascara Wands 12 pieces
R 24.95

BioNike Defence Sun 30 Light Sun Cream - Sensitive Skin
R 129.95

Cala Blush Brush
R 64.95

Cala Concealer Brush
R 59.95

Cala Makeup Blending Sponge - Pink
R 74.95

Cala Powder Brush
R 74.95

Essence Eyebrow Designer - Dark Brown 02
R 26.95

Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara
R 64.95

La Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadow Nudes
R 99.95

LA Girl Just Blushing - Just Fearless
R 99.95

LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer - Toast 981
R 62.00

LA Girl Pro HD BB Cream - Neutral
R 64.95

LA Girl Pro Powder High Definition Setting Powder
R 62.95

LA Girl Velvet HiLite Contour Stick HiLite - Luminous
R 49.95

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer - Medium 25
R 102.95

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Matt And Poreless - Caramel 350
R 102.95

Maybelline Lash Sensational Lash Multiplying Mascara - Very Black
R 148.95

Maybelline The Nudes Eyeshadow Palette
R 255.00

Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturiser SPF30
R 159.95

Palladio Baked Bronzer - Caribbean Tan
R 145.00

Palladio Matte Bronzer - Nude Beach
R 145.00

Rimmel Eye Brow Pencil Professional Dark Brown
R 92.95

Yardley Absolute Translucent Loose Powder
R 149.95

Yardley High Definition Concealer Pen - Dark
R 99.95

Yardley Stayfast High Definition Lipgloss - Coco Kiss
R 119.95


Visuals. Pinterest

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