The Ultimate Makeup Kit for Beginners on A Budget

By |2019-08-28T15:56:47-06:00September 7th, 2018|0 Comments
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Are you just beginning your makeup journey? In the midst of the fun and excitement, it is also overwhelming. There is a lot that goes into creating a beginner’s kit such as finding the colors that match you, the products that work best with your skin. Of course, you will also want to learn the techniques that work best for you, play around with different colors, and find the products that you love.

Finding the right products might be the hardest part. There are so many different products available, and you can find them everywhere: online, drugstores, department stores, prestige beauty stores, beauty supply stores, even grocery stores. If you don’t know what you are looking for, it is very easy to get lost.

It may seem like a good idea to start in a prestige store such as Sephora, Mac, or Ulta; but the employees tend to refer you to more expensive products than you need at this point.  If you are new to makeup, or creating a new kit, you may believe that it will cost a fortune to purchase all of the products you need. That is not necessarily true.

Creating a basic makeup kit for beginners on a budget is actually easier than you think. Getting everything you need for a gorgeous face does not have to cost a fortune. Now more than ever, there are great makeup products available for low prices.

Keep reading to learn about the products that you need to create a complete makeup kit on a budget that is perfect for beginners. We even have great recommendations for you. Yes, even if you have dry, oily, fair, or dark skin. We got you!

You will also find some bonus tips! So, are you ready to start your creating your complete beginner’s makeup kit on a budget? Let’s get started.


Although this is a post about creating a basic makeup kit for beginners, skincare is worth mentioning. A great makeup look starts with a good skincare. It is important to begin with a clean and moisturized face; and don’t forget your SPF.


A primer is applied after your skincare products, before any other makeup. The main purpose of this step is to help the rest of your makeup last longer. It also creates a barrier between your skin and the makeup.

There are different types of primers such as face primers, eye primers, lip primers, and under eye primers. For a beginner’s kit, a face primer is the only essential required.

Primer is a controversial topic in the makeup world. Some makeup artists swear you can’t live without it and some think it is an unnecessary step. We think it is a must for a flawless makeup look.

Various face primers can do different things and give your makeup a distinct effect, for example a luminous face primer can give you a “lit from within” look.

There are face primers made for each skin type as well. This means that a primer can help keep moisture in your skin for those with dry skin. Those who tend to be oily can benefit from a primer that can help keep the skin matte throughout the day.

Our favorite budget friendly primers can be found in your local drugstore and online.

For those with oily skin, or like to have a matte and pore free appearance, try out the Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer. This primer will leave your skin very soft and smooth, while giving a blurred filter effect – no app needed. It is lightweight and comfortable enough that you can even wear it on no makeup days over your moisturizer!

TIP:  Just as you would your moisturizer or serum, tap your primer onto your face instead of rubbing. This will help to fill in pores and will stop the product from pilling or rolling into balls on your face.

If you are looking for a primer that will give you a dewy look, check out our favorite from L’Oreal. The L’Oreal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer helps your skin to look smooth and instantly illuminated. Your pores will also be blurred helping to give you a more flawless look. It is also great at keeping your makeup in place all day.

Foundation / Tinted Moisturizer/ BB Cream

The Ultimate Makeup Kit for Beginners on A Budget

Foundation, BB creams, or tinted moisturizer create the canvas for your makeup. These products help to even your skin and enhance your natural color.

But foundation, BB creams, and tinted moisturizer are all different products. The main difference is that tinted moisturizer and BB creams usually provides less coverage and gives a more natural appearance. BB creams also have more skincare ingredients included in the formula.

BB Creams and Tinted Moisturizers

Tinted moisturizer is a great choice for those that are looking to just dip their toe into the makeup pond. It is also a great addition to a beginner’s makeup kit for days when you want a more natural look.

Our favorite tinted moisturizer for a healthy, illuminated, and bronzy look is the L’Oreal True Match Lumi Glotion. This product comes in three different colors that enhances many different skin tones. It also adds a lot of hydration to your skin. We actually love how it mixes with other products for extra special versatility. We like to mix it with our primer or foundation and use it on top of foundation before our powder for highlight.  Apply it on your décolletage for an added glow, the list goes on and on. This is actually one of our favorite drugstore gems.

TIP: Not enough coverage as a tinted moisturizer on its own? Mix it with your moisturizer and foundation for a perfect glowy tinted moisturizer that is formulated just for you. Honestly, this is what we have been wearing for most of the summer.

Are you oily and can’t deal with any added shine? Try out this tinted moisturizer from Maybelline. The Dream Pure BB Cream it is great for those with oily or acne prone skin. It contains salicylic acid to help fight breakouts but still gentle enough to use every day. This BB cream does not give you a completely matte finish; you will rock a naturally radiant look.


Foundation comes in many different formulas. It can be full coverage, sheer, matte, dewy, satin – the choices can be overwhelming.  We can make it easier to choose with a few top picks for affordable foundations.

L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Liquid Foundation, Fair

L.A. Girl Pro Coverage Liquid Foundation, Fair. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

For those with dry or normal skin, we have two budget friendly foundations that would make the perfect addition to your beginner’s makeup kit. The L.A. Girl Pro Coverage liquid foundation will give you medium to full luminous coverage. This long-wearing foundation only comes in 16 different shades. The lightest foundation shade is a white color that is meant to be mixed with a foundation to lighten any shade.

Want more of a glow while keeping your skin hydrated?

L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation, Buff Beige

L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Foundation, Buff Beige. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

Another favorite for those with dry or normal skin that are looking for a more illuminating foundation, check out the cult favorite L’Oreal Infallible Pro Glow Foundation.This longwearing, glowing foundation provides medium coverage. It lasts all day without looking cakey and all while keeping your skin hydrated. It also contains an SPF 15. The downside is that it only comes in 12 shades.

TIP: Foundation and tinted moisturizers help to even out your skin. It is not necessarily meant to cover all of your blemishes and “imperfections.” That is what concealer is for. Applying layers of foundation to cover any marks on the skin that you want to hide is a mistake that many beginners make since it will make you appear overdone and cakey.

The Ordinary Serum Foundation

The Ordinary Serum Foundation. (Click to check latest price at Cult Beauty.)

If you prefer a more matte look, check out The Ordinary Serum Foundation. This semi-matte foundation provides medium, lightweight coverage. This serum foundation is specially formulated to not sit in fine lines or wrinkles. This foundation gives a naturally flawless finish.

NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation

NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation. (Click to check latest price at Ulta Beauty.)

For a fuller coverage matte look the NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation.This new foundation seems to do it all. Besides controlling shine all day and keeping you perfectly matte, it is waterproof, lightweight, and has tons of coverage. This foundation doesn’t transfer and stays pigmented for 24 hours. It also comes in 45 different shades, this means there is something for anyone. This is a truly matte foundation. If you want to add a bit of hydration and glow beneath this shine controlling foundation, pair it with the NYX Hydra Touch Oil Primer.


Concealer is an essential part of a makeup routine. They can be used for covering up skin discoloration, pimples, and undereye circles.

TIP: Keep in mind, the color you use to cover these different “skin imperfections” may have to be different colors with different undertones. To learn more about concealing check out our free eBook.

Our favorite concealer for covering under eye bags and dark circles is Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer.This is the perfect secret weapon to add to a beginner’s makeup kit on a budget. This undereye concealer provides full coverage to hide dark circles and fine lines. It is also filled with skin loving ingredients to help treat the area.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

Another great concealer is the L.A. Girl HD Pro Conceal. This concealer comes in many different colors, that allows you to color correct, contour, and highlight all using concealer. There are 28 different colors to choose from! The formula of this concealer can be used under the eyes and on other parts of the face, to hide any and all of your secrets.


Some people have a bad experience with drugstore blushes. They have the bad reputation of having a chalky texture and providing little to no pigment.

Although this is true for some, hey they all can’t be winners, the drugstore formulas have come a long way. A few of the products are so good that those in the beauty community consider them “dupes”for higher end products.

A dupe in the makeup world is a product that is less expensive but gets the job done like a prestige product. These do not just apply to blushes. There are dupes for foundations, concealers, mascaras, you name it.

Special Note:  Dupes are quality products in their own right.  A dupe is not a high-end product sold for a lower price at another location other than a drugstore or beauty store.  Those are counterfeits.  Beware of counterfeit products, they can cause serious health problems due to irregular ingredients, how they are made and stored. To learn more about buying fake makeup, check out this article from CBS, it is pretty shocking.

You will find that their texture very similar. When looking at swatches of the two makeup products or seeing them applied, it is difficult to tell the difference.

This means that they give the exact same look, and even sometimes the same lasting power, without the same price tag! We are all about saving some dollars!

It is true that lower priced items will typically lack the more luxurious packaging, better ingredients, a high-end name, and may possibly not last as long (but as mentioned above the jury is still out on that one).

Milani Baked Powder Blush, Luminoso

Milani Baked Powder Blush, Luminoso. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

One of the most well-known o.g. dupes in the beauty community, and for good reason, is the Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. This is a dupe for the coveted Nars Blush in Orgasm. Both shades are so popular because they work very well on many different skin tones. They are peachy and have a beautiful golden shimmer that is just enough to add a little glow.

The Milani Baked Blushes are great in any color though, honestly. They are very easy to work with for a beginner. Each blush blends easily onto the skin and they come in different shades. These are also pretty silky and pigmented, so no needed to worry.

wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick- Blush

wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick- Blush. (Click to check latest price at

A cream blush can give you a more natural and dewy look. One of our favorites is the wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick- Blush. Cream blushes are super easy to use, as you can apply it to your cheeks and then blend it out with your fingers, a beauty blender, or a brush – you have plenty of options. The formula is velvety and dries to a natural finish. This is definitely a great addition for any beginner’s makeup beauty kit on a budget.

TIP: When you can, multitask, multitask, multitask. Cream blushes are one of the best multitaskers in your makeup bag. They can be used as a blush, lip color, and we have even heard of some beauties using them as a base for their eyeshadow.


Highlighter is probably our favorite part of our daily makeup routine – and no we are not talking about the ones you would find in your school bag. We love how you can enhance your features so easily. And I mean, who doesn’t like to look like a glowing goddess?

When highlighting, you are trying to bring light to parts of your face that you want to bring forward.

There are so many different highlighter colors out there. You can choose from holographic, gold, even black highlighters.

TIP:The key to choosing a great highlighter for a natural look is to pick one that complements your skin color. A natural color is the best choice to add to your beginner’s makeup kit. In our eBook, we go more in depth about the colors that are best for each skin tone. Check it out

Wet N Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powders

Wet N Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powders. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

Want to know our favorite affordable highlighter? Again, wet n wild came through with a winner with the wet n wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder. This highlighter has the silky texture of a high-end product and comes in 5 different colors, one for every skin tone. We love that it gives you a gorgeous glow all day for such a low price!

Revolution Liquid Highlighter Liquid Lustre Gold

Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter. (Click to check latest price at Ulta Beauty.)

There are also liquid highlighters that are great for those with dry skin or even to layer under a powder highlighter for an ultra glowy, longer lasting effect. The Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter comes in 7 different colors and blends beautifully into the skin. It has also been called a dupe for the very popular Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops.


Contour can be one of the scariest techniques for makeup beginners. As long as you use the right technique and the correct colors, you are set.

When contouring you are trying to create a shadow and therefore takeaway light from some areas of your face. Contour is how you chisel your cheekbones and get the “Kardashian look.”

This can actually give you the appearance of a slimmer face or nose. It can also give the look of a smaller forehead. There are many things that contouring and highlighting can do.

For some, contouring will not be a part of their everyday look, but we are always about a little bit of contour to sculpt our cheekbones!

Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette

Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

Finding an affordable contour for those with darker skin tones can sometimes be a real struggle. Thank goodness for Black Radiance True Complexion Contour Palette. This product comes in two colors, light to medium and medium to dark. The palette comes with three colors in it: a contour shade, a warming shade, and a highlighting shade. We love getting more for our money!

A great cream contour product from the drugstore is the Maybelline Master Contour V-Shape Duo Stick Contour & Highlight. It comes in three colors and is very easy to use with the stick applicator. The creamy formula is easy to blend and is great for those with drier skin.


Well isn’t bronzer just contour? No, no, no. Contour and bronzer are each meant to do different things. Bronzer is meant to add warmth to the face. Think of it as helping you to look like you just came back from a beach vacation.

TIP: Stay away from orangey bronzers! There are some amazing drugstore bronzers on the market but beware of those that are too orange. Just like a spray tan, these will give you an Oompa Loompa look and that’s not what we want.

Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer

Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

One of the most well-known brands for creating amazing drugstore bronzers is Physicians Formula. The Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer Murumuru Butter Bronzer is a luxurious, silky, bronzer that comes in 4 different colors. This formula is very hydrating due to the fatty acids and vitamins on the ingredients list.

The Ultimate Makeup Kit for Beginners on A Budget

Morphe Brontour. (Click to check latest price on Ulta Beauty.)

The Morphe Brontour is another bronzer that gives great results without breaking the bank. It has a matte shade and a shimmery shade, one is meant for bronzing and one for contouring. When combined, they also make a gorgeous muted glowing color. It comes in six different shades to have you looking bronzed.


Eyeshadow can be one of the most fun parts of makeup. This allows you to have the most creativity, as there are thousands of looks that you can do. You can be as dramatic or as natural as you would like with your eyeshadow look.

Some drugstore eyeshadows are not the best formulas. Like blushes, they can be chalky and not pigmented but there are plenty of exceptions.  So, it is important to do your research before you buy.

The Morphe eyeshadow palettes are some of the best ones for the value. The best one for a beginner’s makeup kit on a budget would be the Morphe 350 Color Nature Glow Eyeshadow Palette. It has 35 mattes, shimmers, and satin shades that are perfect for pulling off many different looks. This palette can easily take you from day to night.

Juvia’s Place Saharian Palette

Juvia’s Place Saharian Palette. (Click to check latest price on Ulta Beauty.)

The Juvia’s Place Saharian Palette is another great option. This palette only has 12 different colors, but it has more than just neutrals to create a variety of looks. Again, there is a mix of mattes, shimmers, and satin shades. With over 1202 reviews online, this palette is a fan favorite.


Eyeliners are used to define the eyes. Depending on the technique you use, you can even change your eye shape.

Eyeliner is another product that you can get away with not spending an arm and a leg on. There are so many affordable formulas that are just as good if not better than the more expensive products.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner

SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner. (Click to check latest price on Sephora.)

A prime example is the Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner. These eyeliners come in 18 different colors so you can create any look that you want. This retractable eyeliner has a built-in sharpener and a smudge. The formula is long-wearing and waterproof, so it will last you all day.

TIP: To help your eyeliner last longer throughout the day, set it with a matching eyeshadow.


Mascara tints the colors of your lashes. Depending on the formula and brush used, mascara can help add volume and length to your lashes.

In our opinion, drugstore/ affordable mascaras are just as good as high-end mascaras. This is definitely our favorite budget buy!

TIP: When using your new mascara, do not, I REPEAT, do not, pump your mascara into the tube. This will push air into the product, causing your mascara to dry out faster and increasing bacteria. Twirl your mascara wand lightly upward to distribute product equally over the wand.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

First up for our favorite mascaras is the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. This mascara adds instant volume and gives you big, bold lashes. Your top and bottom lashes will love this product! The formula also gives a feathery and soft look. The Lash Paradise Mascara comes in 3 different colors and in regular or waterproof.

Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara. (Click to check latest price on Ulta Beauty.)

The Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara is a relatively new cult favorite in the beauty community. This mascara gives a false lash effect that gives a ton of dramatic volume and length. Who wants to wear false lashes when you don’t have to?


There are many different ways to enhance your eyebrows and many different products to use.

TIP: When choosing a brow color, avoid choosing the color black. The color deepest brown will look more natural, whereas black typically appears too dark and intense, even if your hair is black.

NYX Cosmetics Precision Brow Pencil

NYX Cosmetics Precision Brow Pencil. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

If you want to try your hand at using an eyebrow pencil, the NYX Precision Brow Pencil is awesome for filling in brows. It has a precise tip to create hair-like-strokes. This helps you creates a very natural brow or a more dramatic glamorous brow.

Maybelline New York Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer

Maybelline New York Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

For an easier approach to fill in the brows a gel lets you swipe and go. Maybelline Brow Precise Fiber Volumizing Eye Gel. This product helps to quickly fill in brows, add color, and all while taming them. The gel is infused with fibers to add more volume to give you a bushy and natural brow look.


A lip color is great to add a pop of color to your makeup look. Lip products are something that are pretty easy to choose from the drugstore. Just be careful of matte formulas. They can be more drying if not made with the right ingredients.

Revlon Balm Stain, Sweetheart

Revlon Balm Stain, Sweetheart. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

Revlon makes great lip products. The Revlon ColorBurst Balms are awesome. They come in matte lip balms and regular lip balms that leave a stain. Whatever formula you choose, they are comfortable to wear and easy to apply. There are many colors to choose from.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss, Super Natural

Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss, Super Natural. (Click to check latest price on Amazon.)

Revlon also makes some of our favorite lip-glosses. The Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss gives our lips the perfect amount of shine without being too sticky. It is also hydrating and comes in some really pretty colors. We love a glossy list.

Setting Powder / Setting Spray

After you have worked so hard on your makeup, you HAVE to set it into place. Well, you don’t have to, but why would you want to risk letting all of your beautiful work go to waste?

When choosing how to set your makeup, you have a few choices. You can either set it with a powder, a setting spray, or with both.

TIP: We recommend setting your under eyes with a powder if you are using a concealer. This will stop your concealer from moving it throughout the day and keeping it from settling into your fine lines and wrinkles.

Using a translucent powder will give you the most bang for your buck. You can set your entire face with one product.

The best o.g. drugstore translucent is the Coty Airspun Loose Translucent Powder. This powder helps to hide fine lines and wrinkles the same as that higher end powders due to its soft texture. Your makeup is locked in and lasts all day with this powder.

As for setting sprays, the L’Oreal Infallible Pro Set & Spray Makeup Extender Setting Spray keeps your makeup looking fresh all day. It is perfect to spritz before you walk out the door. Remember to let your mascara dry before the spritz!

Summing Up

See, creating a beginner’s makeup kit on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality.

Now that you know what products we recommend, there is probably a lot more you would like to know about makeup. Grab your copy of our free eBook that is full of even more tips and tricks for our beginners. There is even some useful information if you are already a makeup junkie.

Need some inspiration for an easy, beginner friendly look? Youtube is a great source for learning how to apply all of your new products. Videos like the one below will really help you improve your skills! Remember you don’t need the exact same products to achieve a similar look. Work with what you have!

What are your favorite affordable makeup products? Are any of these in your makeup bag already? Let us know in the comments below.

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