Building a makeup kit for the first time can be oddly stressful. It’s hard to know what you really need, and buying a lot of products at once gets pricey.
That’s why Sephora exists. The store offers every major makeup brand you can think of (and its entire product line) so you don’t have to shop around when you’re stocking your kit. Yes, there are a lot of expensive products, but between the $50 lipsticks and gold-infused face masks, you can find some truly affordable buys.
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Since it can be tough to figure out exactly what products you should consider essential for everyday use, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to serve as your Sephora shopping list. Better yet: Every product on it is $20 or less.
Keep scrolling for the products that every beginner needs in their first makeup kit.
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Moisturizer keeps skin hydrated, which in turn helps makeup go on more smoothly. First Aid Beauty’s cult-favorite Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration also contains calming colloidal oatmeal and allantoin to eliminate irritation and redness.
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Although it’s often overlooked, taking an extra minute to apply a primer after your moisturizer is only going to make your makeup look better. Along with setting it so it doesn’t slip or melt off, primers like Touch in Sol’s target common skin struggles. If you’re always on a quest to make your pores look smaller, this formula’s green tea extract shrinks them down to a size that’s unnoticeable under makeup.
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Foundation And Concealer
Start with a liquid concealer with medium to full coverage, such as Clinique’s Beyonce Perfecting Super Concealer ($20; sephora.com). You can add an extra layer for more coverage as needed without worrying about it looking cakey. A powder foundation like Sephora Collection’s Matte Perfection Powder Foundation ($20; sephora.com) is a spill-free option that’s easy to apply. Although it’s powder, it melts into a cream finish so that your foundation is never chalky.
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Blush and Highlighter
A little bit of blush swept across the cheeks and highlighter on the cheekbone is the key to a lit complexion. Try Ciate’s Blush Pop Creme Blush ($19; sephora.com) for a seamless flush on the apples of your cheeks, and Sephora Collection’s Golden Hour Highlighting Powder ($16; sephora.com) to give the high planes of your face a healthy glow.
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Add a brow pencil to your makeup collection to reshape and fill in any sparse spots you might have from over-plucking your brows. This Milk gel pencil glides on smoothly, but won’t smudge with wear. Use the spoolie to keep hairs under control.
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No makeup brush is as versatile as a BeautyBlender. It can be used to seamlessly apply foundation, concealer, and blush, to name a few of the things it excels at. The tool even corrects your makeup application mistakes. If you apply too much blush, use a damp sponge with a bit of foundation to tone down the color.
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Sephora Makeup Kit
Available in several different finishes and virtually every color imaginable, Urban Decay’s bank account-friendly Vice Lipstick is a good option when you’re building a set of go-to lipsticks. Make sure to find your perfect nude, and a classic red such as the shade “Bad Blood.”
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Before you start experimenting with bright eyeshadows, pick up a palette with neutral shadows that will allow to master the basics—like a wash of taupe across your lids, or a smoky eye. This Sephora Collection Colorful 5 Eyeshadow Palette comes equipped with every color you’ll need.
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Eyeliner and Mascara
Skip false lashes and define your eyes with eyeliner and a few coats of mascara. A creamy gel liner like Smashbox’s Always On Gel Liner ($18; sephora.com) is ideal for beginners because it just glides on with little effort—even if you have a shaky hand. As for mascara, a volumizing formula like BareMinerals Lashtopia Volumizing Mascara ($19; sephora.com) will thicken and separate lashes so they look more full.
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Mistakes are inevitable. Clean up uneven eyeliner or overdrawn lipstick with a makeup removing wipe. They’ll also come in handy on nights when you’re too lazy to take off your makeup. These, by RMS, are soaked with nourishing coconut so they’re gentle enough to wipe away mascara without irritating your eyes.
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