Beginner's Makeup: Where to Start?


I have had alot of questions about makeup and in general, where to begin. So today, I thought I'd do a post on that. This is not a one-size-fits-all kinda thing but it does cover most of the basics. 


Some girls go for eye looks, some obsess more with lips but I think my favourite makeup process is the base. 

I had a bad bad bad skin allergy reaction when I was experimenting with makeup on my own and no one taught me the importance of prepping and removing your base. So I always tend to emphasize more on that. 

Basic prepping includes cleanse, tone & moisturize. This helps with patchiness, control of oil and basically, good canvas = better hold of makeup.For removal, I am a strong believer of double cleansing. I use micellar water to remove my base, oil-based remover for my waterproof mascara & matte lipsticks and then I will use a cleanser. 

I used to own the Clarasonic Mia 2 but I've switched over to the Foreo (you can read about my comparison here). I use my Foreo once a day; normally at night before I stripped my face bare! After cleansing, I will follow up with my skincare routine!

Step 1: Sunblock

You can read my post here on sunblock! My first base is always sunblock. So this goes on top of my moisturizer (once that soaks in for ~15-20mins). I pat in my sunblock either with my fingers or with a clean sponge. You don't want to rub your sunblock in!

For makeup users, this sunblock is light and doesn't cast white ghastly-ness on your face! I love that its SPF 50 and its really awesome and lightweight for sunny humid Singapore.When I choose a sunblock, I try to go for SPF 50 and more. Also, the more '+' the better. That means the product is more stable.

Step 2: Primer

There's so many different kind of primers out there, it's kinda scary. 

As u can see, I have tried out quite a few! Primer is the key to smooth out your base (e.g filling out your pores) before you apply your foundation. There are different primers catered to different skin types and silicon ones are normally more suitable for oily skin. If you have drier skin, skip the silicon ones and go for something more hydrating like the MUFE Step 1 Skin Equalizer (Nourishing).

Silicon-based primers (Benefit Porefessional, NYX Angel Veil, Maybelline Baby Skin etc.) smooths out pores and blurs them out, giving a filtered look. However, I find that they emphasize dry patches. These would be great for people with oily/combination skin.

I mix my primers accordingly because of my oily/combo skin. Silicon primer goes on my tzone and around nose area, while the more hydrating primers go on my cheeks as I find that they tend to be drier there.

For beginners who just want to try using primers without over-splurging, the Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser is a honestly good product to begin with. I've tried it and loved it. I didn't really enjoy the brightening one (pink packaging) as much. This is a really easy introductory product for beginners.

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Step 3: Foundation / BB / CC cream / Tinted Moisturizer

There are so many different kind of foundations and bases out there - liquids, mousse, 2-way, compact, cushion, tinted, hydrating, dewy, matte.....the list is never-ending. Its about knowing what base you personally prefer and whaich products will suit your skin better!

If u don't want to look too oily, or too flat, you want semi-matte. If you like the Korean trend, go for dewy. If you prefer heavier coverage, go for liquids. If you like smth lighter, try cushion or tinted. I like mixing my matte foundation with 1-2 drops of facial oil in windy Boston. It helps give that slightly dewy look and prevents my skin from feeling too dry, and I still get oil-control.

For beginners who wants to try out a drugstore liquid foundation base, L'oreal True Match Liquids have a wide range of shades. They also came out with the infallible Pro-Matte and Pro-Glow foundations and those are amazing for drugstores! I think it's a good choice for beginners. Revlon Colorstay is also another good foundation. 

For BB cream, I definitely suggest the Curel one. For cushions, I've heard great stuff about the Etude House ones.

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Step 4: Concealer

Concealers are good alternatives for those who don't like too heavy coverage (foundation, bb cream). You don't have to use it on the entire face but it can be used strategically to cover/even out blemishes or uneven skintone!

For concealing zits and blemishes, I use a concealer that's matched to my skin tone. For under the eyes, I like to grab it in a shade or two lighter so it highlights my undereye areas as well. I also like to use a lighter shade concealer to 'highlight', especially if I'm not using foundation. So under brow bones, center of forehead, nose bridge, chin and laugh lines. This gives more dimension to the face and at the same time, evens out my complexion. 

A good beginner's concealer brand would be NYX HD, Collection Lasting Perfection, ZA Perfect Fit. These cover well and are light to begin with.

Step 5: Contour/Highlight

This is really optional! I just really enjoy this step so I'll just include it. 

I realize that these two products are actually really great beginner's products. They come with both a contour shade and highlight shade. Also, because of the applicator, it's so easy to use! They make 'drawing it on' easier.

The liquid contour has a doe-foot applicator which means u get to control placement and amount. 

The stick contour is also not messy, and u get to place it exactly where u want. 

For powder contour, I highly recommend the Australis one and its a close dupe to the ABH Contour Kit! I like to use the Real Techniques Contour Brush with that!

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Duo products are the best. 

Highlighters are easier to use than contours. I like using them especially in inner corners of eyes cause it really brightens and awakens you up. I like to use it on the top of my cheekbones too. 

I classify highlighters into 2 - matte and glowy. Matte highlighting is when I use a lighter shade of concealer or like the products above, to highlight and give my face a 3D look, on top of foundation.The other kind of highlight is the shiny shiny ones I am obsessed about!

Using the Australis Contour Palette, the yellow powder is one of the shades I like to use to set my undereyes. It helps to prevent creasing of my concealer and brightens it up at the same time.

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Step 6: Blush

Blush quite hard to go wrong lah. For beginners, I think it's easier if you pick a soft pink. 

U can also pinch ur cheeks abit and see what shade it makes, and pick a blush that is closest to that shade. That will help give u get a blush shade closest to ur natural flush. Cream blushes are more natural than powder ones cause they don't just sit on the surface of ur skin.

Sleek does good palettes and cheap too! Most drugstore blushes are quite impossible to go wrong with!

Step 7: Setting Powder

Because Singapore is so humid and hot, I have to set my face or everything is just gonna melt off.

This setting powder is ~$10 and easily comparable to my Tarte one. Very good beginner's setting powder. It smells v herbal/minty tho. I just pick up a'lil with a big brush and dust it all over.


I personally think eyebrows have too many variables so I wont go into that much. I highly recommend going to a professional and having them shaped properly and you can just maintain it after! There's a ton of different brow products out there so it depends on what you want and need.

I'm a huge mascara fan and for drugstore brands, I love Maybelline and Loreal. 

And I always, always pick waterproof. After I curl my lashes, I use a waterproof mascara to hold my curls throughout. Also, I find that waterproof mascaras flake less on me and don't smudge. I have pretty oily lids so waterproof is a must. 

If u use a waterproof mascara, then go with a oil-based remover or u will just end up tugging ur lashes repeatedly to remove the mascara.

Different liners have different purposes. Liquid eyeliners lasts a lot longer than pencils but they are more difficult to control. Gel liners tend to last longer and are waterproof. 

I used to take 30 mins to line my eyes and practice does help! I like to practice drawing it before I wash off my makeup for the day. So when I make mistakes, it doesn't really matter.I like using the above liner to tightline (the gap between your eyeballs and the roots of your lashes) because it makes a whole world of difference when you are wearing simple makeup!

With and without tightlining!

With and without tightlining!

I like to tightline cause it means that my lashes look longer and fuller, as u can see from the image above.

The NYX Tres Jolie liner is available in Sephora. And it doesn't smudge, doesn't budge and just stays all day! I've compared it to MJ Highliner and Hourglass Mechanical Gel liner, and this $20 liner held up better or as good as, any of my high-ends one.

Eyelid primers are also optional, if u don't really wear shadows or liner. But what some of them can do is even out the skin tone on the lids and brightens it up. With a primer, it can enhance the look of shadows and aid in its longevity. The UD one is my HG as it helps with oil control on my oily lids as well. It prevents the shadow from creasing too. The E.l.f eyelid primer is a fantastic drugstore one if u want to try out a cheap eye primer!

If you made it to here, hi-5! I hope this post helped gave you the confidence to start somewhere if you're new to makeup! Finding good drugstore products are awesome and are wallet-friendly too. I will cover basic tools soon :)