A Beginner’s Makeup Essentials Checklist

For those of you who don’t know, I have a group on Viber Public Chats where I help out people with their skin/hair/beauty queries. Several of the emails I get are regarding makeup, what basics one should have in a makeup kit, some tips for makeup newbies etc. So, I thought, why not write a post on it? Here is a little checklist of the products you need for a BASIC makeup kit. You may, of course, add many more products to it depending on your likes but for a newbie/beginner, these are the makeup essentials…..
A beginner's makeup essentials checklist


Depending on your skin and the kind of coverage you need, you can choose either a light, medium or full coverage foundation. If you are the kind to wear foundation just occasionally, then you can choose a medium coverage one that can be built up to full coverage. When purchasing the foundation, please remember to swatch it on your cheek, near the jaw line and not on your forearm or wrist. You will be wearing the foundation on your face after all. And please, don’t go for a shade lighter in an attempt to look “fair” because it will give you a mask-like effect. Always choose a shade that’s closest to your skintone.
One of my current favourites is the L’Oreal Nude Magique because I love the kind of natural-looking satin finish it gives. It is super easy to blend and can be applied with the fingers making it ideal for a beginner.
MAC Studio Tech is another wonderful foundation that I used when my skin was breaking out. Since it is water based, it didn’t aggravate my acne and gave good coverage. Plus it comes as a cream compact which is so travel friendly (I haven’t reviewed it yet though). Lancome Teint Miracle is another favourite for light coverage and Estee Lauder Double Wear for medium to full coverage.


Concealers are needed to cover minor flaws like acne marks or freckles as well as dark circles and I prefer a “one size fits all” concealer that can be used for both. My favourite concealer is the MAC Select MoistureCover because it is really creamy and not drying on my already dry undereye area.


A powder is essential in your makeup kit, whether to layer over a foundation (which I often don’t) or to wear by itself. You can either choose a loose powder like this Clinique Blended Face Powder or a pressed powder, more commonly known as a “compact” powder.


A blush adds a lovely wash of colour to your cheeks and there are loads of shades to choose from. For Indian skintones, I’d recommend warmer shades. Try to choose a mid-tone shade that isn’t too pale nor too deep. My absolute favourite one these days is the L’Oreal Paris Lucent Magique blush in Sunset Glow that can give a light flush of natural-looking colour and can also be built to give a deeper, more defined look.I wore it for the New Year’s Eve party where I layered it for a more colour and definition….

……as well as on the 1st of Jan when I wore just a light layer for a sheer wash of colour…


As a beginner, you need just 3-4 basic colours. A base colour, a darker one for the crease and a pale one for highlighting. Better still, get a palette which has a  nice mix of light and dark shades, mattes and shimmers such as the Sleek iDivine Storm Palette. A palette would help you go from work to dinner to party without much fuss.


From liquid to gel to pencil, there are loads of liners available. Pencils are the easiest to work with and that’s what I would recommend for novices. Liquid liners take a bit of work while with gel liners, you need to have patience (at least for me, they are the least favourite of the lot). I love pencil liners for the ease of application and portability; you can carry it in the slimmest of clutches! For years, my favourite used to be the Estee Lauder Double Wear Eye Pencil, till the Maybelline Colossal Kajal came along.


I’m not much of a mascara user but yes, for weddings and other events, a mascara is a must. Mascaras are one beauty product (along with primers) that I haven’t experimented much with. The YSL Effet Faux Cils mascara used to be one of my favourites for years as well as the Lancome Definicils but now I have other new ones to play with including the Mirenesse Volumising mascara, Lancome Hypnose and Maybelline Colossal. Choose one according to the effect you desire (lengthening, volumising etc) and your budget.


Now this is an area that I’m sure no girl needs advice. Everyone usually has loads of lipsticks and glosses for various kinds of looks and occasions. Most people tend to stick to tried and tested “safe” colours but remember, don’t be afraid to experiment a little, the results might give you a pleasant surprise. I didn’t wear red lipstick till I was 29 and now I think I was a fool not to.
So, those were the makeup essentials needed in a kit, or a checklist for a novice starting out on the makeup journey. Personally too, I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to makeup and can put together a decent-enough look with just 4-5 products. And that is what a lot of us want to do, isn’t it….look nice with minimal makeup?
I hope this post helps you. Please do let me know if you have any other questions or queries and I will try to help you out 🙂

11 Replies to “A Beginner’s Makeup Essentials Checklist”

  1. great post..you are looking lovely in pictures 🙂

  2. Nope, it isn’t new. It really is a great foundation, esp for oily skin since it’s water based. Try it out at the MAC store.

  3. Thanks Nausheen 🙂

  4. I realised most of my eyeshadows were lying unused except gold, bronze, black and dark brown coz i would use only these 99% of the times.

  5. So glad you found it useful Brinda 🙂

  6. Niesha Indianbeautyforever says: Reply

    Great post!! You look really pretty in those pics dear.

  7. Hey this is very nice

  8. These posts are very helpful !!I agree about the eyeshadows. Its better to get the shades you need. instead of hoarding more n more.

  9. loved the look dear, nice post for beginner’s 🙂

  10. I adore this post. It’s truly the basic beginner’s makeup requirement post. MAC studio tech- is that new? I don’t know much about MAC.

  11. Thanks a lot for sharing! I follow your viber chat too ! N this was definitely something i was looking for 🙂
    Awesome post! 😀

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