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What should be in a makeup set?



Feb. 04, 2024
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Building a collection of beauty products as extensive as that of a makeup artist is no small feat — after all, they are pros. It may take some time, but you can build a makeup kit that would make any makeup artist envious. To help you get started, we created a complete guide for building the perfect makeup kit from scratch. From face primer to setting spray, here’s everything you’ll need. 

Face Products

Face Primer

Smooth the skin’s canvas and ensure the longevity of your makeup with a primer. Depending on your skin type and concerns, you can choose a formula that’s mattifying, hydrating or brightening. Two great options are the Urban Decay All Nighter Matte Face Primer to keep your beat shine-free or the NYX Professional Makeup Pore Filler for a blurred finish. 

Color-Correcting Concealer

Depending on which shade you use, these colorful liquids and creams can actually conceal dark spots, hyperpigmentation and redness and minimize the appearance of under-eye circles. Palettes are often your best bet because you’ll have several shades at your disposal, but if you have one specific need, such as correcting the redness, pick up a formula in yellow or green. We like the Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Corrector. 


Available in a variety of formulas, including sheer liquids, cushion compacts and full-coverage creams, finding the right foundation should be based on your skin tone, type and concerns. One of our favorite crowd-pleasing formulas is the Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation. It offers lightweight, medium coverage and a natural-looking glowy finish.

Face Concealer

Blemishes and dark spots can still peek through even the highest-coverage foundations. For those situations, look for a concealer that matches your foundation. We’re loving the Uoma Beauty Stay Woke! Concealer and the Lancôme Teint Idôle Ultra Wear All Over Concealer.

Under-Eye Concealer

When you’re looking to conceal bags, puffiness or dark circles, reach for a concealer up to two shades lighter than your skin tone to brighten up your eye area. Some under-eye formulas are also made with illuminating particles for extra brightening powers. The Maybelline New York Super Stay Under-Eye Concealer is our go-to for this.


Whether you’re into a subtle pop of color on the apples of your cheeks or dig the revived 1980s trend of full-on draping, blush is one of those desert-island beauty products. One of our blush obsessions is the Giorgio Armani Beauty Neo Nude A-Blush, a lightweight, buildable formula. Or, for a creamy blush stick with a pigmented, long-lasting finish, we recommend the NYX Professional Makeup Wonder Stick Blush.

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Highlighter is key for enhancing your bone structure and achieving a major glow. Focus highlighter on the high points of your face: the tops of cheekbones, the bridge of your nose and along the brow bones. The Valentino Beauty V-Lighter Face Base will help you achieve this in the blink of an eye.

For an all-around dewiness, opt to moisturize with a glowy lotion or CC cream and add your facial products on top of it. L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer Lotion is ideal for prepping the face with an ultra-light, glowy base.


Sculpt and define your face by contouring. A little bit of contour can go a long way, so make sure to use a light hand. Try a chubby stick or pencil, and work from the inside of your face outward, along the hollows of the cheeks, the jawline and the forehead. Buff away the line using circular motions with a blending brush or sponge. We recommend the Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Contour V-Shape Duo Stick for the ultimate chisel. For a more subtle definition, add a bronzer to your makeup kit. The Saie Sun Melt Cream-Balm Bronzer is perfect for a sun-kissed, natural look.

Setting Spray or Loose Powder

To ensure your flawless beat stays that way, don’t forget to apply a setting spray or powder after your face makeup is on. If a setting spray is more your jam, the Dermablend Lock and Last Water-Resistant Setting Spray is a great choice. For a powder, we love the Maybelline New York Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder.

When it comes to makeup, we all start somewhere. That's why it's so important to start by following makeup tips for beginners rather than jumping to a cut-crease or advanced contour technique. Of course, before we start with simple tips and tricks, we need to put together a solid makeup kit.

Putting together a good makeup kit can be quite challenging and overwhelming for even the most seasoned makeup connoisseur — let alone a makeup beginner. With thousands upon thousands of products to choose from, it can start to get a bit confusing when figuring out which ones work best for you.

If you're just starting out on your makeup journey and are looking for a good guide, we put together a list of all the makeup staples, products, and tools you need in your cosmetic bag. What's more, we consulted experts in the makeup industry to find out which products are the best of the best. Here Sharon Becker, as well as Donni Davy, both weighed in on all the essential products for your makeup starter pack.

meet the expert

  • Sharon Becker is a Manhattan-based makeup artist.
  • Donni Davy is an Emmy-winning makeup director for HBO's Euphoria and co-founder of Half Magic Beauty.

QUIZ: What's Your Style Personality?

You can trust us that not only are they easy for newbies to use, but they've also been put to the test and have quickly become pro favorites.

Discover exactly what you need to have on hand with our selects below.

What should be in a makeup set?

The Makeup Tips For Beginners Everyone Needs to Know

Additional resources:
How to Use Color Correcting Makeup: a Step-By-Step Guide
We tested the best full-coverage foundations: Here are our 14 favorites
The Pros and Cons of Lip Gloss
How to Apply Foundation: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
The History of Lip Balm



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