Beginner’s Guide to Makeup: Make-Up Essentials Every Apprentice Needs

If you walk into a store like MAC or Foschini Beauty or even the beauty section at Clicks and Dischem for that matter, and find yourself overwhelmed, it’s probably safe to say you’re quite new to the makeup world. For a beginner, makeup can be quite intimidating. Today there’s such a huge selection of products available which often makes newcomers feel pretty confused. “What does that do?” “What do I need this for?” The choice seems endless. And more often than not, you end up buying something that doesn’t work for you. Don’t worry. Makeup, like many things, involves trial and error and lots of practice, but a little help never hurts. I’ve compiled a “makeup starter kit” of affordable essentials that every newbie needs in order to fully dive into the realm of makeup.


Nivea Men’s Post Shave Balm (RRP – R101.95)

A primer, while not always essential, will help your makeup go on smoothly and increase its longevity. A good primer acts as a barrier between your skin and your foundation which helps to avoid breakouts. A primer fills up your pores to create a smooth and flawless look. When choosing a primer, it’s important to take your skin type into consideration. If you have dry skin, you’ll want something hydrating and brightening. If you have oily skin with larger pores, you’ll want something mattifying and blurring.

For an excellent selection of primers, check out NYX Cosmetics Range. They carry every kind, from high definition to pore filling to color correcting. If you are looking for something affordable, value for money and still great quality  I would recommend the Nivea Men’s Post Shave Balm, you can read my full review here.

Colour Corrector

LA Girl HD Pro Concealer (RRP – R59.95)

I’m sure we can all relate to under-eye dark circles, and some form of red marks as well as dark spots on our face? Yes! It all boils down to how we neutralize these imperfections so that you look flawless!

  • Orange: the colour orange neutralizes blue/dark tones and is used to conceal dark circles/marks
  • Yellow: the colour yellow neutralizes purple, and can be used to cover up any bruises.
  • Green: the colour green neutralizes red and can be used to cover up any red spots –pimples.

LA Girl offers a wide range of excellent Colour Correctors at affordable prices.

BB Cream

Ponds Flawless Radiance BB Cream (RRP – R99.95)

If you’re new to makeup, I suggest trying out a BB cream before jumping into the world of foundation. BB, or “beauty balm,” creams provide light coverage and don’t feel heavy like some foundations can. They’re a good way to allow your skin to get used to the feel of wearing makeup. Like primers, knowing your skin type is important when choosing a BB cream. Ponds offer great inexpensive BB creams in their line which are available in three shades, Fair, Medium, & Dark.


e.l.f. Flawless Finish Foundation – Oil Free (RRP – R210)

If you’re daring and want to jump right into the game, then I would suggest trying out a good Foundation. Foundation is used to cover up any blemishes or imperfections. Always match your foundation to the colour of your neck, this ensures that your neck and face blend once you have applied your Foundation. I suggest swatch’ing Foundations in store and looking at them in natural sunlight before making a decision as the lighting in store are often deceiving – or you could just ask for samples. If you are purchasing Foundation online, always ask for swatches before choosing a shade.

e.l.f. offers an excellent selection of affordable foundations that provide great coverage. e.l.f can be purchased online in South Africa from Samika.


LA Girl HD Pro Concealer (RRP – R59.95)

Even if you’re hesitant about using face makeup for the first time, a concealer is a must. Concealers contain more pigment than foundation and allow you to cover up things like dark circles or any unwanted blemishes. Concealers are used over Colour Correctors and Foundation for extra coverage. For a beginner, I suggest a liquid concealer, like the LA Girl Pro Concealer. Always choose a shade 1 or 2 lighter than your Foundation for your Concealer.

Concealers can also be used to Contour & Highlight the face. Contouring requires concealer 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone and Highlighting 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone.


Essence Stay All Day Translucent Powder (RRP – R82.95)

Powder is essential for locking in your makeup and making sure it won’t budge. If you have drier skin, you can usually get away without it but if you have combination/oily skin, it’s a must. The most important part of your face to set is the T-zone—the forehead, nose and chin—as this is the area that produces the most oil. Use a loose translucent powder, like the Essence Stay All Day Translucent Powder. The loose formula is lighter than a pressed powder and the transparent shade ensures that the color of your face makeup won’t be affected.


Benefit Hoola Bronzer (RRP – R385)

Bronzer allows you to fake that sun-kissed glow all year round. It’s best to apply a warm shade in the shape of a “3” along the sides of your face, hitting your forehead, cheekbones, and jawline. You can also use what’s left on your brush and dust it across the bridge of your nose. Bronzers can also be used subtly in the hollows of your cheeks to create a natural-looking contour. TIP: Remember not to be too heavy handed and to choose a shade that isn’t too dark for your skin tone.

I suggest Benefit Hoola Bronzer, as its matte finish creates a very natural look.


Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Radiance Blush (RRP – R465)

Blush, if applied correctly, adds life to your face. A good way to choose a perfect blush is to select a color that imitates your natural flush. If you want to experiment with different colours, you should keep your skin tone in mind. Peachier tones tend to look best on those with warm skin, while pink shades suit those with cool skin. Apply blush starting towards the back of the cheek and work your way forward towards the apples. I love Elizabeth Arden‘s Beautiful Colour Radiance Blush, the pigmentation is excellent and they have four appealing shades to choose from.


Catrice Cosmetics Delux Glow Highlighter  (RRP – R92.95)

This is my favourite part when applying make-up. It’s not a necessary step, it’s a MUST! If you want to achieve that gorgeous, lit-from-within glow, you’ll need a highlighter. Highlighters are light, shimmery champagne or golden toned powders or liquids that are applied to the tops of the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the cupid’s bow and under the brow to attract light to the high points of the face. It’s important to remember that if you’re oily, a highlighter might make you look overly shiny, and if you have larger pores, it will accentuate them. For a subtle glow, check out Catrice Cosmetics Highlighters.

Brow Pencil/Pomade

Maybelline Brow Satin Brow Pencil (RRP – R109.95)

Your brows frame your face and can completely change your entire look. That’s why it is so important to keep them looking groomed and neat. Brow pencils, like Maybelline’s Brow Satin Brow Pencil, are great for filling in any gaps or sparse areas in a natural way. Make sure you choose a shade that isn’t too dark and use short, light-handed strokes to mimic natural hairs.

Eyeshadow Primer

e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer (RRP – R45)

An eye primer is absolutely essential if you want your eyeshadows to look amazing all day. Eye primers prevent your eyeshadows from creasing, make them appear more vibrant, and help them go on smoothly and blend easily. e.l.f. eyeshadow primers are a super cheap yet great option.

Neutral Eyeshadow Palette

LA Girl Inspiring Eyeshadow Palette (RRP – R99.95)

Neutral eyeshadows are the most basic and essential thing a makeup beginner needs in their kit. A single eyeshadow palette, such as LA Girl Naturally Beautiful Palette, contains shades ranging from beige’s to browns and is the perfect way to start practicing and experimenting with eyeshadows. In general, light shades should be applied to your lid, inner corner and brow bone, medium shades to the crease, and dark shades to the outer corner and lower lash-line. The key to great eyeshadow application is a good blending brush.

Eyeliner Pen/Pencil

LA Girl Line Art Matte Eyeliner (RRP – R45)

Eyeliner pencils can deepen any look and really make your eyes pop. When just starting out, I think it’s important to have three different coloured pencils: a black, a brown, and a nude. Black can be used to add a sultry and smokey effect to your look, brown is perfect for every day definition, and nude/white can be used in the waterline to really pop your eyes. The LA Girl Line Art Matte Eyeliner Pens are great for beginners, they are inexpensive, easy to work with, and available in the above needed colours


Revlon Ultimate All-In-One Mascara (RRP – R159)

If you could only buy one product on this whole list, it should be mascara. It’s remarkable what long, full lashes can do for your face. Applying a few sparing coats of mascara to both your upper and lower lashes will open up your eyes, brighten up your face and make you look more awake. Revlon has great mascara’s to choose from as well as an astonishing range to choose from.

Lip Liner

Essence Lip Liner Pencil  (RRP – R18.95)

Lip liner is an excellent way to define your lips and increase the longevity of your lipstick. When starting out with makeup, we suggest purchasing a lip liner that’s similar to your natural lip color. “Nude” pencils are the perfect way to add subtle definition, make the lips look more pouty, and create a base for your lipstick to go on top of. You can read more about Lip Liners in my ‘Lipstick Mistakes You Need To Stop Making Right Now’ post, here.


Revlon Balm Stain (RRP – R175)

For a makeup beginner, lipstick is probably the easiest way to really play with different colours. There are a variety of finishes and shades to choose from, and really, it’s all about experimenting! Revlon’s Balm Stain line has a ton of shades and finishes, from nudes to creamy mattes; you can’t go wrong with them!


Swiitch Beauty Dolce Rose Gold 5pc Brush Set (RRP – R450)

Any makeup product can look good with the right tools. Having good quality brushes is essential if you really want your makeup to apply correctly and stay looking good throughout the day. While some products, like foundation and concealer, can be applied with your fingers, sometimes a brush is absolutely necessary and just amplifies the finished look. You’re going to need a brush for foundation, powder, blush/bronzer, and a few for eyeshadow. Swiitch Beauty produces amazing quality synthetic brushes that are a staple in even professional makeup artists’ kits.

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