Updated: Apr 8
Are you interested in makeup but you don’t know where to begin? Well, this beginner's guide to 7 key makeup products should help you! It can be difficult to know what product would be best for you. What’s the difference between eyebrow pencil and pomade? What’s a lipliner for? And what even is an eye gloss anyway? In this post I will outline what 7 different makeup products do and how they are used to hopefully make your makeup shopping easier!
To prep your skin for makeup, you can use a primer. For on the face, you can use a face primer, and you can now find primers specific for eye makeup! Face primers can be gripping, pore filling, mattifying or can lean more on the moisturising side.
Pore filling primers
Pore filling primers do exactly what they sound like they do; they fill in your pores so that when you apply your foundation, you have a smooth base. They are applied to the areas where you have pores, which tends to be the T-zone: the forehead, the nose and the chin. These primers can also have the additional benefit of being mattifying, meaning they will control the amount of oils you produce throughout the day, stopping you from looking shiny.
Gripping primers increase the longevity of your makeup look by helping your makeup to grip your face. They are usually applied all over the face and can be used in conjunction with a pore filling or mattifying primer.
For dryer skin types, a mattifying primer may not be suitable- instead of keeping you looking matte, they can make you look cakey and dry! For dry skin I recommend moisturising primers, which will also increase the longevity of your makeup but will add well-needed moisture, helping to avoid any dryness or roughness.
Foundation is used to create a smooth, even skin tone, and is usually applied all over the face. Foundation can be extremely full-coverage, but it can also be thinner, creating a natural skin-like finish. For foundation, it is important to match the tone of the product to your skin. Most foundations fall under one of three undertones: warm, cool, neutral. Once you ascertain what the undertone of your skin is you can choose a foundation that will seamlessly blend with your face. Foundations can come in a liquid form, cream form or powder form. Foundation can come in different formulations, such as:
Foundations with a matte finish are usually more suitable for combination or oily skin types, as they are not very moisturising. Matte foundations leave the skin looking smooth and shine-free and are usually longer-wearing than other formulations.
Glowy or dewy foundations have more of a shiny look to them on the skin. They are not necessarily oily-looking but will make the skin look dewy and hydrated. These foundations are usually more suitable for dry skin.
Satin foundations have a finish that is in between matte and oily; the skin is not left shiny, but it is not completely dry. I personally find that satin finish foundations are the most natural looking on the skin.
Concealers are like more concentrated foundations, which can be used atop of foundation for additional coverage wherever you require it. You can also use concealer without wearing foundation for a more natural look, by just covering certain imperfections. I personally do not like the feeling of foundation on my skin, but I like covering pimples and dark circles with a concealer perfectly matched to my skin tone. Like with foundation, concealers can come as creams or liquids.
4- Eyebrow products
To add definition and depth to your eyebrows, you have a wide variety of products you can use!
I personally exclusively use eyebrow pencils as I feel that for my eyebrows, they give the most natural look. Eyebrow pencils usually come with a spoolie at the end, to allow you to brush the product through your brows once you have drawn them on, making the result look more natural.
Eyebrow powder is used in a similar way to eyebrow pencil. Using a thin brush, the product is applied to the eyebrows in your desired shade. I find it is more difficult to control the amount of product you apply with eyebrow powder, meaning your brows can look a bit patchy.
Eyebrow pomade is a thick and waxy cream-based formula which gives concentrated colour to the brows. Eyebrow pomades are great for defining brows and are often waterproof and smudge-free, and longer lasting than pencils and powder.
Eyebrow gel can be clear or coloured and is usually applied at the end of your eyebrow routine. Gel fixes your eyebrows in your desired shape, and a coloured gel (usually in a natural eyebrow colour) can be used to lighten or darken your eyebrow hairs.
5- Eye products
Products that apply colour to the eyes can come as a liquid, powder, cream or even a gloss! The product that you choose use depends on the look you are going for, and also what formulation you prefer to work with.
Powder eyeshadow is the classic eye colour formulation. They often come in palettes, containing many different colours, but you can also find them as single shadows. An advantage of powder eyeshadow is it’s very blendable; using your finger or a brush you can easily mix two colours together and apply it to the eye, and you can blend the line between two colours on the eye for a smooth colour gradient.
Liquid eyeshadow is a relatively new concept. These come with an applicator which can apply the colour directly to the eye, which you can then blend out with your finger or brush. These are particularly beautiful when they are glitter shadows, such as Stila’s Magnificent Metals liquid eyeshadow, and Pixi’s liquid fairy lights range. These are extremely long wearing, but sometimes they can be tricky to blend out.
Eye glosses are clear, or extremely sheer gloss products which can be applied as a stand-alone product or on top of powder/liquid eyeshadows for a wet-look. Eye glosses create very editorial-style looks, but they are generally not very comfortable to wear on the lid as they can have a sticky feeling. If you are interested in buying an eye gloss but aren’t sure if it’s for you, you can try it out using Vaseline!
6- Lip products
Choosing a lip product can be overwhelming as there are so many different types, colours and finishes. Check out my previous blog post breaking down all the different types of lip products for more information!
Lip liner is applied to the border of the lips for many different reasons. Firstly, it can add definition, which can be useful when overlining the lips, and secondly, it can prevent your lip sticks or glosses from bleeding outside of your lip line. Thirdly, if you use a neutral lip liner, or a lip liner close to your natural lip colour, it can make your lip product colour look less harsh and more natural. This is especially useful for people of darker skin tones when applying a light nude or light coral shade, as without a lipliner it can look very stark and unflattering against our natural skin tone.
7- Setting spray/fixing spray
Finishing off your makeup look with a setting spray has a lot of uses! The main advantage of using a setting spray is that it’ll lock your makeup in place, extending the wear-time of your look. Also, using a hydrating setting spray can help rebalance the skin and the appearance of your makeup if it’s looking cakey or powdery. Mattifying setting sprays will help to reduce oil production throughout the day to keep your skin looking more matte.
With all the different types of makeup available nowadays it can definitely be overwhelming to know where to start. I hope that this post helps you out!
If you have any questions, please leave them below!
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