Essential Makeup Starter Kit

Don’t be alarmed friends, this is not what I consider to be the essentials, this is a snapshot of some of my recommendations for those looking to build their first makeup kit. I’ll go through the basics as well as areas you can expand upon as you learn more about what you like and of course what everything does.


This is one of the two hardest things in my opinion to find and love at the drugstore. That’s not to say that high end foundations are better, the samples are just more readily available in the beauty halls. Some say it’s a false economy to spend £10 a time searching for your ideal formula on the cheap when you can find the right one first time if you pay £30 but I’m hear to tell you I’ve never found a big budget base that ticked all the boxes, more expensive does not always mean better quality. If you don’t have the cash to go through the trail and error process I suggest you put on your cheeky pants and take along a little sample pot on your next shopping trip.. no harm in that and it will save you a lot of pennies – not to mention space, I have a drawer full of foundations I hate. All that before we even discuss coverage, finish, lasting power.. it’s a tricky business. My favourites from the two ends of the scale are Garniers BB Cream (original – I loved the oil free but the alcohol content broke me out terribly) and Revlon Colorstay which is longwearing, buildable coverage and what I reach for most often. Again it’s trail, error and personal preference that will help you to find the right formula for you.


First and foremost not all concealers are created equal, most have one of two purposes. The thicker, more yellow toned ones are designed to conceal redness and the thinner pink/peach toned ones are generally targeted at the under eyes. This is a sweeping statement of course and wont always apply, some are indeed double duty but be aware that this is not always the case. I’ve often despaired at the creases under my eyes caused by too thick formulas just as I have at the unnatural pink patches almost highlighting my blemishes. My current favourites are Collection’s Lasting Perfection for under my eyes and Urban Decay’s 24/7 for redness.


Now this is not an essential for everybody, but it is for me. Any oily girls out there will understand but you may not know at first whether you need it and I wouldn’t recommend you cake your face in powder if you don’t. A general rule of thumb is that oilier foundation formula’s will require a powder to set them regardless of skin type but if you are particularly dry I would skip this step. Personally even if I was going barefaced with just a touch of concealer I would always powder away my shine but like I say.. it’s not an essential for everyone. My current favourite is this one from 17. Not something you need to spend a lot of money on!


Once upon a time I would only use bronzer if I was tanning. These days I embrace the pale but like a light bronzer to warm up my complexion a little. This is something you could definitely skip if you have a small budget, it’s something you’re likely going to add pretty soon but you don’t need it straight away. One of the reasons for this is if you’re fairly new to makeup you’re likely to be heavy handed with a the bronze glow and that (along with obvious foundation marks) is one of the biggest beauty faux pas. Save this for when you’re a little more comfortable with your application. My all time recommendation would the the infamous Bourjois bronzer mainly because it’s light and buildable so it’s hard to overdo it accidentally.


When I worked on a makeup counter they would tell us bronzer warmed and blusher lifted. I think that’s true though I am guilty of using either or most days. I would call this an essential and I wish someone had shown me the benefit of blush when I was a teenager. I tend to gravitate towards those with an inbuilt ‘sheen’ so that I can avoid an additional cheek highlight and especially when you’re starting out anything that can be multipurpose is a bonus. Something I talk about all the time is Miners Bronzer/Blusher Blend in Sunblushed and it’s a perfect example of this – and it’s currently on sale!


I’m talking eye primer not base here.. eye primer is completely necassary when you’re on a budget because not only does it make your makeup last longer and look better, it makes every cheap eyeshadow you own perform better too. I have only tried one primer and it’s this one from Urban Decay. It’s had a lot of hype online and so I know you’ll have heard of it but I do intend to branch out in to drugstore versions as soon as this runs out, I’ve heard great things about the ELF and MUA primers if you’re looking for cheaper alternatives.


So.. like I was saying about the cheap eyeshadow. It’s my experience that Urban Decay make the best quality eyeshadow out there and once you’ve used theirs you’re kind of spoiled for everything else. I dislike Sleek because of the serious amount of fallout (that’s mineral powders for you) but MUA have some of the best available for the money. Their individual shadows are just £1 and amazing quality, their 10 pan palettes offer great colour ranges for £4 however you do lose something.. they’re just not as good. I would rather have a few great shadows than palettes and palettes of nothingness when you swatch them.


This is actually something that I wasn’t sure whether I was going to include in a starter kit. It would be something I’d repurchase immediately but not something you would need if you had a good quality dark shadow and an angled brush.. you could make do and I suppose that’s what this is all about, isn’t it? If you were to be looking for a decent black liner on the highstreet I would absolutely suggest you try the Soap & Gory smoulder khol, If you’re more a liquid kinda gal then it would have to be this from Rimmel.. it’s my absolute Holy Grail for easy application and flake free blackest black cat eyes.


Lastly this is the second hardest products to find and love I mentioned earlier. I have found only 2 that I love, L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes and One By One Volume Express by Maybelline. I would recommend them all day long however mascara (like foundation) is such a personal thing, what works on my lashes might be crappy on yours. This is another product that I have never found and loved from the beauty hall and given that they last just a few months they are absolutely not worth spending more that drugstore prices on.


I have never really gotten on with applying foundation with brushes, I never find it applies as naturally so there’s something that in my opinion you can skip right off the bat. If you’re going to use a powder I would strongly suggest you use a duo fibre brush such as the F50 from Sigma, it helps to dust the powder evenly without overdoing it and appearing cakey. I use the F30 for applying bronzer and buffing any blush lines etc and for blush I would use a tapered contour brush such as this, although this would be more appropriate I just don’t have one of it’s shape. Moving on to eye brushes there are a lot that I love but if I was to recommend just a couple I would reach for my Real Techniques. The starter set is ideal, unfortunately you can’t buy these individually but value for money wise you get the ones you need and the ones you don’t are effectively free. You can lay down colour, contour, blend and define the brows with this kit as well as blend out your concealer, it really is perfect for your first set of brushes and at £21.99 is not a bad price, although I appreciate you may not want to pay that if you have the outlay of all this new makeup at the same time.

I hope this was helpful to any of you just starting out or looking to expand on a small collection. If you’d like to me do any collections for favourites in future let me know as there as so many products I can recommend but there just never seem to be enough videos/posts to do it in.

Miss BB



  1. Gillian Gallacher
    11 October, 2012 / 11:54 am

    The new service at No7 is great for foundation. After years of hit and miss foundations and wasting loads of precious pennys, i feel i finally have a foundation which suits me.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      11 October, 2012 / 9:25 pm

      I’ve heard mixed reviews.. will have to try it for myself

  2. Nina
    11 October, 2012 / 12:02 pm

    Quite a lot of essentials! 🙂

    For me, essentials are basically concealer, blush and mascara, and, for extra oily days, a (translucent) powder. Those I use everyday and have more than a few of each. 😀

    I still haven’t found the right foundation, there are three in my drawer, don’t particularly like any and use them very very rarely. I have a dozen eyeshadows, but I don’t often reach for them. I have a bunch of eyeliners, pencils, lipsticks, a face primer, an eye primer, eyelash curler (a cruel little thing)… Most of the time they just sit in my drawers and wait for expiration date. :/

    • missbudgetbeauty
      11 October, 2012 / 9:24 pm

      I wanted to encompass everything so that it would be useful for those that already have the bare bones. I would agree that base of some kind, blush and mascara are essentials but for me there’s little point in applying eyeshadow without a base these days as it will crease. Eyeshadow/liner define my eyes to the point where I don’t want to be without them, the only thing I could happily forgo is lipstick.. in fact did I even mention it in the post? lol. In the video I mentioned tinted lip conditioners and balms which I reach for most but bright colours are not essential in my eyes. They’re a nice addition but they don’t make me look so much better that I NEED them x

  3. Carmel
    11 October, 2012 / 1:20 pm

    What does Lee think of your make-up? It’s kind of interesting how different men view make-up. My husband likes that I make an effort but still says he prefers me without it – aka natural. Just curious, sorry if it’s nosy, hah.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      11 October, 2012 / 9:19 pm

      to be honest I never believe men when they say they prefer us without slap haha.. I dont think they like to see it caked on but lets face it we all look better with a bit of something. He will comment when he thinnks my makeup looks especially nice but he knows nothing he says really ever matters if I feel a certain way about my appearance. It’s nice that he takes notice though!

  4. Gemma Turner
    11 October, 2012 / 2:28 pm

    I really liked this post 🙂 x

    • missbudgetbeauty
      11 October, 2012 / 9:21 pm

      thank you

  5. Anna R
    11 October, 2012 / 10:24 pm

    I’ve tried the MUA primer because some bloggers have claimed it’s as good as the UD (it was worth £2.50 just to try it out) but in my opinion it isn’t. It moves into creamy little creases after about 4 hours taking my make-up with it. The UD primer makes even the lightest colours last all day. Yes it costs more but you don’t need to use much and it lasts for ages so it’s good VFM and it’s just the best. Signed, Ms Oily Eyelids xxx

    • missbudgetbeauty
      14 October, 2012 / 9:15 am

      oh no that’s disappointing 🙁

  6. 13 October, 2012 / 9:57 pm

    I spotted the BB Cream immediately: undoubtedly an essential! it won’t be leaving my bag this summer.

    • missbudgetbeauty
      14 October, 2012 / 9:20 am

      absolutely! My skin was never as nice as when I used that every day

  7. Meeeeee
    23 March, 2013 / 4:32 pm

    I think this is an excellent essential makeup starter kit but instead of paying £21.99 for the Real Technique brushes, I would recommend the much cheaper Elf brushes instead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *