Interested in beauty and makeup? No clue where to start? Always been envious of YouTubers and/or your friend’s collections of products? Well as a student studying Makeup at University, I am here to advise you on the ULTIMATE makeup starter kit.

It can often be hard trawling through products at the drugstore, reading all the taglines and promises of the product, trying to find what’s best for you. There are so many products out there; highlighter, contour, foundation, liquid lipstick, false eyelashes, primer etc. It can be hard to find what you need for the basic full face look, especially after watching beauty guru’s work their magic with their masses of products! Throughout this article, I’ll be advising you on the basic essential products, which ones to buy, where to find them, their prices and their benefits.

1 – Primer water

To prep the skin for that flawless look!

Primer is really important when creating a full-face look. Not only does it help your makeup stay on all day, but it can also act as skincare with some containing vitamins and minerals. I, from experience, would suggest using a liquid/water formula as a beginner. This is because silicone based primers can be difficult to work into the skin, and you can also use too much which will make your skin clumpy. I would highly recommend Makeup Revolution’s ‘Pro Prime’ Aqua mist, which can be found in Superdrug stores or online for about £6 for a cheap and cheerful fix. However, my personal favourite is the Mario Badescu facial spray with aloe, herbs and rose water (there are other varieties too, if you prefer!). This spray not only leaves you glowing, but it also feeds your skin with nutrients allowing it to stay fresh for the day. This spray can be purchased for £16 from Beauty Bay.

2 – Concealer

For hiding the evidence from those late nights!

Concealer is great, not only can it be used for under eye bags, but it can also be used for spots too. This product is one of my essentials as a lot of the time just foundation isn’t enough to cover those awful spots, especially when planning for a girly night out or even a date where you want to look your best! Concealer helps you to look fresh AND flawless. I would absolutely hands-down recommend the Collection Lasting Perfection concealer, which can be purchased from Boots or Superdrug for just £4.19. They have a wide range of shades and it’s easy to blend, but has the right consistency to banish those blemishes!

3 – Foundation

For creating that flawless base, making you look fresh as a daisy!

Foundation is important for creating the flawless base, for EVERYTHING! It can make lipstick, eyeshadow and even eyebrows pop. This product is very subjective, and a lot of people find it hard to find the right one mainly because of the large variety of shades and coverages. For a drugstore option, I would recommend L’Oreal True Match which can be purchased from any drugstore for £9.99. My absolute favourite foundation is No7 (only available in Boots, between £10-£18 depending on the type). Not only does it come in a wide range of shades, but you can also be colour matched. This foundation also comes in different coverages and is hypo allergenic – fabulous!

4 – Setting powder

Self-explanatory, maybe a little boring but essential…

Setting powder is important to set your foundation and concealer so it doesn’t move throughout the day. Your skin produces oils as the day goes on, leaving your skin and foundation greasy, allowing it to sink into the natural lines and creases of the skin. Even though powder isn’t very exciting, it’s essential so that you don’t end up looking like a greasy, creasy mess! My two favourite powders of all time have to be the Rimmel Clear Complexion powder (available at any drugstore for £3.99) and the RCMA no colour powder (available on Beauty Bay for £13). Both of these powders have no real colour to them, therefore won’t turn you orange, and neither have flashback, so no ghostly photo nightmares.

5 –  Brow powder

To make sure those brows are on fleek!

Brows are a very noticeable feature of the face, especially in the makeup department. So it’s important to get them right. The likes of eyebrow pencils and pomades can make this difficult, as you have to be rather precise and experienced. However, brow powder can make things super easy, it’s easy to both apply and remove and just adds that bit of definition and depth to the brow without you worrying about making any huge mistakes or creating the infamous ‘slug brow’. For brows, I’d go for the Makeup Obsession brow powder duos, which are just £2 each from boots. They come with two shades, which are available to mix for the perfect shade. Simple!

6 – Mascara

For luscious lashes and bold eyes!

For me, mascara is also very subjective. Personally, it’s not about the formula, it’s the brush… There are so many different eye shapes, meaning one brush isn’t able to curl and colour all lashes from all angles at once. For mascara I would recommend visiting a brand such as Rimmel London, who offer a wide variety of mascaras in different colours, formulas and with different wands. This way you can find out what works best for you for a low price.

7 – Neutral eyeshadow

Eyeshadow is a staple in any makeup kit. However, beginners can often struggle with blending and colour coordination, so it’s best to start with a more neutral toned palette, as unblended blues and pinks on the lid aren’t the best look. Eyeshadow can get expensive, but a lot of the time cheap eyeshadows aren’t of the best quality and end up with you wasting your money. I highly recommend the NYX ultimate palettes, which come in warm and cool neutral shades depending on your eye colour and personal taste. I myself have one of these palettes and they are extremely pigmented and easy to blend and are only £16. I can’t not mention the Urban Decay Naked Palette. As this is a beautiful palette with literally every shade you need as a beginner, it was in fact my first proper palette! It is around £40, so maybe not ideal for the beginner, but if you’re pushing the boat out or have a birthday coming up soon, then why not treat yourself?

8 – Contour Powder/Bronzer

To warm up the face and enhance your bone structure!

Contouring is a trend that has swept the international makeup scene and has become an essential. As a beginner, sometimes it can be difficult to get the right colour, right amount and right areas. I would often recommend purchasing a cheap contour kit that contains both a bronzer and contour powder, my favourite it the Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit, which is £6.49 from Boots/Superdrug. I feel like this product is extremely under rated, as not only does it have the perfect range of colours, but it also has instructions for beginners! I have recommended powder as it is often easier to blend than cream for beginners – it can take a lot of work and practise. POWDERS ARE THE WAY FORWARD.

9 – Blusher and Highlighter

To add a youthful flush to the cheeks!

Blush is a very under rated product, with not many people using it outside professional industry. I love blush and think it really brings back some lovely colour to the face after it has been masked with the likes of foundation. I can see why some people may not agree with this product, as bright pink cheeks aren’t always the best or most favoured look. It’s all about being subtle with blush, one or two taps in the pan and then a tap of the brush to tap off any excess will do. I would recommend a cheap blush, and definitely a more muted one (no clown brights!) Highlighter is one of my favourite products to research, and so many people are obsessed with it and with collecting different varieties. Highlighters come in many different formulas and shades, however I would recommend, again, powder as its easier to blend and remove if issues arise. I would also recommend a shade that is perhaps closer to your skin tone e.g. white or gold, sometimes pink and blue sheens can be intimidating… I decided to put these two together as throughout my time working and investigating makeup I have found the perfect palette that combines the two. This palette is the ultra-blush palette from Revolution, which comes with six different blushed to fit your mood, or the occasion, and it comes with two natural tones highlighters. This product can be purchased from Superdrug for £6 and gives a lovely flush of colour and natural sheen.

10 – Lipstick

For that pop of colour!

Lipstick is also very subjective, as it comes in so many different colours and formulas. It really is down to experimentation to find what you prefer the best. I prefer liquid lipsticks, but for beginners these can be difficult to use and apply as you need to be very sharp and have a steady hand. Therefore, I would recommend normal cream lipsticks. You can get a variety of decent lipsticks from brands such as MUA and Revolution/Freedom in Superdrug for £1, however, for on the move and travelling you can get lip palettes containing multiple colours. My top picks for lip palettes are either the smaller six colour NYX palettes, for £10 from Boots, or the £10 30 colour palettes from Superdrug. Both are very good quality and pigmented, allowing you to get to grips with lipstick easily and at a cheap price.

11 – Brushes, applicators and brush cleaners

These elements are so important in a makeup kit. Brushes are obviously what you use to apply the makeup so are vital. For beginners, it can be hard to find relatively cheap brushes to play around and experiment with. Don’t spend £60 on some ZOEVA brushes only to wreck them through learning and experimentation! When I first started studying makeup, I purchased the ‘MSQ’ brushes from Amazon. They come in a variety of different sets e.g. eyes, face, or combined, and are an amazing price. The quality is super good, and I still, after two years haven’t had one break or shed on me yet. I also use beauty sponges to apply makeup. I usually buy bulk off Amazon or eBay as they are quick and easy to use and then dispose of, and are also very cheap. You can (if you look after them and clean them regularly) purchase a Real Techniques sponge, but for quite a hefty price! It is so important to look after and clean your brushes for hygiene reasons. You can clean makeup brushes with hand soap and water, or if you’re travelling or on the go you can use a spot cleaner, for around £5. For cleaning sponges, it is advised to use a bar of soap and rub into the soap with the sponge and then rinse.

So, there we go folks! That’s the Ultimate Makeup Starter Kit, from an MUA herself! Hopefully you feel a little easier about delving into the world of makeup if you’re a beginner reading this, or are feeling enlightened if you are maybe looking for some cheaper alternative products. Thank you guys for reading, if you fancy following my makeup adventures on Instagram go to @lydiaellenartistry and check out my work. See ya later!