The first time I ever used makeup, I was an eight-year-old girl with nothing but glitter liquid eyeliner and a dream. I'd managed to convince my mum to buy me this sparkling, jellified monstrosity for Christmas with the ever-convincing line: "all the girls in my class are allowed to wear it." I wanted to be a princess, a popstar, or both at the same time.
I can't recall if my obsession with donning an exuberant eye was more Britney- or Disney-inspired, but I do remember the butterflies of excitement as I dabbed twinkly globules of silver onto my eyelids (in what was supposed to be a chic flick).
After that first tacky-lidded mishap, things did get better. In fact, I'd say I got pretty good at makeup after years of trial and error. And, other than my skills improving, not much has changed since – I still use makeup as a confidence-boosting superpower!
So, without further ado, here are my top ten makeup essentials for beginners (and I solemnly swear not to include glitter eyeliner).
Essential items in every makeup beginner's beauty routine:
1) Cleanser + toner (pre-makeup)
Think of it this way – you wouldn’t take your car on a lengthy road trip without making sure it has enough gas first, right? Well, the same concept applies to makeup. If you want to ensure your look goes the distance, you’ll need to properly prep your skin.
Cleansing, exfoliating (if you don't have sensitive skin) and toning will keep your skin fresh, hydrated and ready for makeup application. We recommend our nourishing Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier – which gently melts away any dirt and ensures you start with a clean slate – and our Juicy Greens Exfoliating Toning Essence, which acts as a gentle exfoliant as well as a hydrating toner.
2) Moisturiser + primer (pre-makeup)
A good primer helps to create a smooth canvas for the makeup you apply on top. Avoid dry patches, dullness or uneven coverage by using a purpose-built face primer or a targeted moisturiser before applying your base.
Depending on your skin type, our Skin Dream Firming Night Cream (for dry skin), Skin Feast Nourishing Moisturiser (for balanced or combination skin), and Fresh Waves Balancing Moisturiser (for oily, blemish-prone skin) are all COSMOS-certified organic moisturisers that also act as perfect primers. Each of them not only works to hold your foundation in place, but also treats your skin to the natural goodness it deserves.
3) Basic brushes
No makeup routine is complete without some good, sturdy brushes. You may think that applying makeup with your bare hands is the most ecologically friendly option – but it doesn't have to be!
Our range of Eco Artist sustainable wooden makeup brushes are vegan-friendly, ethically sourced and expertly designed to ensure flawless makeup application every time. For makeup novices, we recommend the Eco Artist Precision Face Brush for complexion, Eco Artist 3in1 Eye Brush for eyes and brows, and Eco Artist Lip Brush for lips. Et voilà, you're ready to paint!
4) Base makeup
A smooth, glowing complexion provides the ideal base for any makeup look. Whether you're going for natural beauty or something a little more sophisticated, every makeup artist (beginner or professional) needs a capsule collection for their complexion.
To make the application of an immaculate base as simple as can be, we've put all your must-haves in one place with our Flawless Collection. Including Beauty Booster Sheer Foundation, Mineral Foundation, Illuma Light-Diffusing Concealer and the Eco Artist Full Coverage Kabuki Brush, this contains everything you need for that long-lasting, flawless finish that looks like it’s been done by a pro.
Add to your healthy-looking glow with a few strokes of a silky natural bronzer. We recommend our Jet Set Pressed Bronzer to give you that 'just back from the Bahamas' radiance. Meanwhile, the formula's coconut amino acids help condition and smooth your skin. Trust us, you don't need the sun to warm up your skin tone!
6) A trusty makeup palette
Our Custom Colour Palette is the golden key to your simple makeup routine. You can choose your own unique configuration depending on your preferences, but we recommend choosing configuration B. Depending on your skin tone, pick out two neutral Eyes On You Pressed Shadows, one bold and one neutral shade of Kiss Me Quick Lipstick, one Way To Glow Cream or Pressed Highlighter, and one Blush Crush Cream or Pressed Powder. It truly is the beginner's makeup kit of dreams, and the beating heart of your new routine.
Whether you opt for a statement winged liner or a subtler eye look, our glide-on eye pencil, Silk Gel Liner, promises easy and smooth application, sharp lines, and hours of wear. What's more, it comes in a wide range of richly pigmented shades, so you can be as bold or demure as you wish!
Maybe you’re wearing one coat of mascara with a pared-back base, or perhaps it's the cherry on top of a glam, playful look. Either way, there's no denying that mascara is a staple.
If you want a mascara that you can layer and build on – so you can create a subtle look or a full-on flutter – our lengthening, powerfully pigmented Fixing Gel Mascara is the one for you. Plus, the vitamin B5, candelilla wax and jojoba oil in the formula keep your lashes silky soft, whilst plant peptides ensure lashes grow strong and resilient.
9) Brow powder/pomade
Having a neatly shaped set of brows is one of life’s little miracles. It lifts your face, makes you look younger and gives you that ‘I’ve got this’ sense of empowerment. This is why we’ve created our Brow Boss Defining Powder and Pomade, so everyone can enjoy beautiful brows.
Made to thicken, shape and fill in any gaps (using your Eco Artist 3in1 Eye Brush), Brow Boss also has pigments blended with coconut oil and shala tree resin, which condition the hair and ensure a long-lasting finish. With six shades to choose from, redheads and blondes should opt for Walnut or Willow Bark, dark blondes and brunettes will suit Cedar and Hazelnut, while Carob and Tazman Pepper will match up with dark brunette or black hair.
10) Setting powder
Now for the finishing touch to ensure all your hard work lasts for the day! We're all partial to a good photo filter, but what if our skin could look smoother and more flawless in real life, too? Well, that’s exactly what Soft Focus Perfecting Powder does. Hand-blended, it mattifies the skin so you don’t get any unwanted shine as the day rolls on, while the mineral microspheres ensure a natural-looking finish. Blurring fine lines and pores, it’s lightweight and blends like a dream – you’ll love your makeup so much, using a filter won’t even cross your mind.
Why not put your newfound beauty knowledge to good use by following our simple yet effective spring/summer makeup tutorial, ‘It’s Only Natural’? With fresh-faced freckles, fluffy brows and a soft, healthy glow, this is for beginners who want a go-to daytime look that boosts their confidence.