What should you buy in your first makeup kit?


As a beauty blogger and makeup artist I get asked this question a lot. When I’m making people over I have a lot of products at my disposal which can be daunting for people. From chatting with the girls this weekend and also from the lovely comments you guys leave me I know a lot of you can find the haul and what’s in my collection posts quite mesmerising. Which is why I wanted to do this particular post. Guys we all have to start our collections somewhere. None of us just went out and bought a bijillion products in one go. So I wanted to touch on what you need to start with in a basic kit.

Not everything will be high-end. Some of my Holy Grail (HG) products are pricey, which if you’re looking to splurge will be money well spent.  Where possible I’ll try to include cheaper (but good) dupes or alternatives. Unfortunately sometimes there will be no alternative to the perfection of some products. OK let’s get into it…

Right, the most important part of your kit is brushes. You can buy the most expensive makeup on the planet, without the right tools to apply it however you will have a hot mess on your hands! Make sure to prioritise a good set of brushes!

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Real Techniques Starter Set – five fantastic eye brushes to get you started. You have a couple of good eyeshadow blending brushes, an angle brush for brows or liner, a thin liner brush and best of all the accent brush which is fab for precision placement of waterline and tear duct shadows.

Real Techniques Expert Face Brush – simply one of the best foundation brushes ever! Buff your foundation in with this brush and then sit back and revel in the perfection that is your skin!

Real Techniques Setting Brush – another fab brush with multiple uses. I use this for setting my under eye concealer with powder. I also sweep my highlighter on with this.

Eco Tools Blush Brush – Eco tools make some amazing budget makeup brushes. Their brushes are so soft and all made with eco-friendly materials, hence the name.

No7 Powder Brush – No7 have some amazing brushes, this powder brush is gorgeous. If you’re in the market for one wait until you get one of those £5 off vouchers from Boots.

Zoeva Rose Gold Luxury Brush Set – this set is the most beautiful brush set I’ve ever laid eyes on. I use every brush in this set more than any others I have, and I have a lot! There’s some fab eye brushes but mostly it’s the amazing face brushes that are perfect for foundation, concealer, contouring and powder! Check my review here.

Zoeva Rose Gold Complete Eye Set – if you’re big on creating different eye looks then this kit is exactly what you want! I’m soooo desperate for it!

MAC 217 Brush – this has to be the most famous blending brush in the world, and for good reason. There are lots of great blending brushes out there and plenty of dupes for this brush. None match up to its perfect standards though!

Prep, Prime and Fix
If you’re serious about creating a flawless face that will look picture perfect and last for hours then you need to prep your skin properly. Always make sure you cleanse properly and then apply an oil free moisturiser before you start. Next you want a great face and separate eye primer, and once your finished you’ll want to spritz on some fixing spray. Here are my top pics…

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Maybelline New York Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer – primer is super important if you want your perfectly applied base to stay put and look picture perfect. This one by Maybelline is great for those of you on a budget. It helps to shrink those pesky pores a little. It’s not as good as its high-end counter part Benefit’s Porefessional, but it does a good enough job for its price.

MUA Pro-Base Eye Primer – if you skip any priming step don’t let it be this one. Even people with the driest skin get oily lids that eat their way through shadows. This MUA one stops this issue in its tracks and it’s only £2.50 .

MUA Pro-Base Fixing Mist“Fixes your makeup in place all day long. Protects against heat, humidity, cold and windy conditions; whatever your day throws at you – your makeup will hold in place!” What more do I need to say?!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer – my fellow beauty bloggers rave about this stuff and for good reason. It’s hands down one of the best primers to keep your base in place all day long.  It’s an absolute must in my pro and personal kit!

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion – now this is the absolute bomb diggity of eye primers. Not only does it keep your shadow in place all day without creasing, it also makes them more vibrant and easier to blend. There is absolutely nothing as good as this little beauty!

MAC Fix+ – you can use this as a primer as well as a finishing mist to lock your makeup in place all day and night!

By now I’m hoping you’ve realised that there is no point in moving forward with your makeup kit if you don’t have good brushes. The products I’m going to suggest are fab, but there’s no point investing if you’re planning on slapping them on with your fingers. OK with that being said let’s have a look at the best face products about!

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Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation –  before this little gem came along I didn’t believe that there was good budget foundation out there. This stuff is fab though,. You only need a tiny bit for a great fresh looking base, it also has the added bonus of smelling of cucumbers, yum!

NYX Concealer Wand – this suff is definitely a must for any of you contour addicts out there. Buy the correct shade for skin tone for a great concealer, then go two shades lighter for a great contour shade.

NYX HD Finishing Powder – we all need a fab powder to set those annoying shiny areas. This one leaves skin looking fresh and perfect. One shade literally fits all, just be careful about applying this if you’re going to be photographed. The silica in HD powders can cause a flash back under a camera lens, leaving you looking like someone threw a flour bomb at you!

MAC Soft & Gentle – I know this isn’t strictly a budget brand but at £23 it’s a steal considering how amazing it is. This shade looks fab on any skin tone.


Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk – seriously this is the absolute best foundation you can get your hands on. It leaves skin looking ethereal and glowing. It may be a little pricey at £35.50, but it will be the best money you will ever spend on makeup!

Laura Mercier Secret Concealer – this is the best concealer I have ever come across. It is so silky and lightweight, you can pop it over a zit or under your eyes for a crease free flawless finish.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder – there are six shades of this kickass powder to chose from. Depending which one you go for will leave you looking like you’re in a very flattering light.

Kevyn Aucoin Celestial Bronzing Veil – Oh my, you will have noticed that there is no alternative bronzer on my list, that’s beacuse nothing I have ever tried has come close to this baby. Every woman should own one of these. Here’s what they say…“You don’t have to spend hours in the sun to look like you did. Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil uses crystal pigments in bronze, gold and silver to give you a natural looking glow. Ideal for adding colour or highlights to your face. Perfect for every skin tone.”

NARS Orgasm Blusher – NARS really are the ‘Big Daddy’ of blushers. Their piece de resistance is definitely Orgasm. This little beaut is perfect for any skin tone and will last you ages. Again there is no budget alternative to this as in terms of pigment, application and last ability it’s un-touchable!

Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight Highlighting Powder – probably the most beautiful highlighter i’ve ever laid eyes on! This gorgeous powder is finely milled to perfection and leaves a perfect ethereal glow wherever it’s applied. Again I don’t think there is anything as good as this on the market!

Oh once you open up the pandora’s box that is eye products, you can be in a world of trouble if you give into temptation. I would start with just one fab shadow palette, a great mascara, eye liner and eyelash curler.


MUA 12 Shade Undressed Palette – this is pretty much an exact dupe for the infamous NAKED palette. The NAKED palettes have gained cult status in recent years due to the fact that they are fricking amazing! I’m not opposed to you getting all three but for starting out you only need one. I would recommend the original palette due to the fact that it suits every skin tone, has shadows for day and night looks and is well, fab! In all honesty there is no touching the original but this MUA offering is as close are your going to get, especially for £4!

Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara – I know this is another item that isn’t exactly budget but in my defence it’s pretty fantastic for it’s price. Plus it’s the lowest priced mascara that is actually good! I have never tried any others priced lower than this that are actually worth purchasing!

Revlon Brow Fantasy – I love this fab little gel and pencil combo. If you’re looking to save in the brow department then this is your best option.


Urban Decay NAKED Palette – as I said above this is a kick ass palette that everyone should have in their collection. Don’t be tricked by it’s name, it isn’t just useful for a neutral eye, it’s pretty fab for recreating those smokey effects too!

Urban Decay 24/7 glide-on eye pencil in Perversion – again no budget alternative in the liner department beacuase this is the best damn liner in all of the land! Once you pop this on it wont budge for love nor money! Make sure you have a good eye makeup remover on hand to get this stuff off!

CHANEL Inimitable Mascara – the absolute best mascara that has ever graced my lashes! Take a look at my review here.

Anastasia Brow Wiz – oh hello perfect brows. Another beauty blogger fave and again for good reason. You don’t need to worry about falling into the ‘Scouse Brow’ trap with this baby at your fingertips!

Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers – these are raved about by pretty every beauty blogger, journalist, MUA, makeup fiend you will ever speak to. They are absolutely incredible and once you get your hands on pair you will never want to put them down!

Glosses, pencils, lipsticks, crayons, what should you chose and why? Personally I love them all but I would start with some good lip pencils and a few lipsticks. I have written an in-depth review on my fave lip products here. For the purposes of this post however I’m going to keep it to what I think you can’t live without!



Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss– these are fab lipsticks, especially for the price. Their creamy formula glides on and stays put for hours, plus they taste yummy.

NYX Slim Lip Pencil – these are definitely some of my fave lip products, they’re just as good as any other I have tried and they  have a brilliant range of colours to chose from.


MAC Lipsticks – apart from YSL lippies these are my absolute faves. I’ve put them on my list not just because of how fab they are but because of how expansive the range is. There are about a million colours in multiple finishes, MAC cannot be beaten on their lipstick range.

So my lovelies these are my top picks for your starter kit. I know it’s a lot of info but really when you narrow it all down you simply need; brushes, face primer, eye primer, finishing mist, foundation, concealer, blusher, bronzer, powder, highlighter, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, brow pencil,  eyelash curlers, lip liner and lipstick.  HaHa ok it seems a lot but it’s not that much if you stay focussed and don’t waste your money on what you don’t need!

Start with the list I gave you and you will be set for any occasion. Then once you have all your basics you can start to branch out into other products. I would definitely research any products you’re considering buying so you don’t waste money. Get the artists at the makeup counters to try products on you before you buy so you get a feel for how they suit our skin. Most of all though, enjoy your makeup shopping and remember to take your time building your collection so you get products that are right for you. Also make sure that you get points cards in places like Boots and Debenham’s so you can save up and treat yourself to freebies :O)

If you have any thoughts or questions about my suggestions drop me line in the comments. Also if you think I forgot anything let me know.

Sonya D x

12 thoughts on “What should you buy in your first makeup kit?

  1. This was so helpful! Thank you 🙂 I am looking to go into freelance make up artistry at some point either this year or the next. But I still want to do a crash course in it….. Do you think it is necessary?

    • Hey hun, to be honest I don’t. You need to have a good understanding of colour theory, the techniques involved and very importantly health and safety to avoid cross contamination and reactions. If you are talented at makeup then that will take you a long way. A professional kit is a whole other thing though, I’ll be posting about that in the next few week, or can get a glimpse at my kit here: http://sonyadanielle.com/products/ xx

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