Putting together a reliable and durable make-up kit can be daunting if you are new to cosmetics. Using simple tools and investing in essential classics is the smartest way to build a collection that will serve you on every occasion, year after year with minor additions.
This article is a checklist of makeup essentials for ladies who are beginning to wear make-up. I have put in most things you’ll need for a trusty make-up kit, along with product recommendations common for the dark skinned. Shall we?
In my opinion, it is smarter to spend your hard-earned money on the best quality make-up products that do what they promise. Good products by strong brands like MAC, Black Up, Black Opal, MakeUp Forever, Nars, Sleek etc are expensive, but you often require small amounts to get satisfactory results. They also keep you looking good all day, with little to no touch-up required regardless of the occasion. I’m a huge MAC fan, so some product recommendations here aren’t cheap but they will last you almost forever.
My Advice: If you don’t earn a lot, you might not be able to afford all these at once. (Heaven knows I didn’t). Learn to save up for a good product you want.
Lipstick or gloss is an important basic makeup essential and with a little patience you can easily pull off the perfect pout. I would suggest you get at least one in your kit. Stop buy the MAC store in Jabi Mall (Abuja Residents) or the Palms Shopping Mall (Lagos Residents). Don’t leave without Ruby Woo regardless of your skin tone. Ruby Woo is a bold red lipstick that puts your pout out there, with a matte finish that makes it acceptable for the office, date night, weddings, and just about anywhere. Best part is, a little goes a long way and lasts forever. It’s really every woman’s weapon of mass destruction.
If you aren’t ready for coloured lips just yet, get a lip gloss. The shine will attract the desired attention and provide protection. I don’t have any favourites in this category. Vaseline Petroleum Jelly or Maybelline Baby lips work just fine.
I don’t consider lip pencils an essential but they give definition to your lips to give that professional finish, or serve as lip colour. My go-to is MAC’s Chestnut, which is a matte brown colour which matches most dark skin tones, and works as a nude lip colour when paired with MAC Spice.
Your eyebrows define your look, whether dramatic, natural or minimalist, and significantly influence your overall facial expression. If you wear nothing else, don’t leave home without your eyebrows. My go-to brow pencil is MAC Coffee Eye Pencil. It’s a brown pencil that’s dark enough to stand out on dark skin tones but not as contrasting as black. Get one and use it with your brow stencil to get perfect eyebrow in seconds. In my opinion, retractable pencils are a fraud and have less in them than regular pencils.
Liquid Eye liner
Using an liquid eyeliner easily switches up your look from simple to sultry. A little practice and your cat-eye will be flawless! Get one in black. I this one in Wuse Market for N300 and it lasts forever.
This is not an essential, but if you are going to line the top of your eyelid, you might as well line your wet-line (lower lid). It takes some getting used to, but it completes the look. Besides a little smogging, it’s long-lasting, easy to find and costs less than N500 in any Nigerian market.
Depending on your eye shape, using eye-shadows can dramatically redefine your eyes, make them sparkle and take center-stage of your face. You want an earth tone or neutral colour palette in your make-up kit, I mean a collection of golds and matte browns like the examples below. Leave the blues and greens for later. Sleek eyeshadow palettes are great.
Mascara is definitely an essential. Get one in black and please be careful not to poke your eye.
Foundation as the name implies is the bedrock of your makeup routine. It gives you a flawless complexion, evens out your skin tone and hides those acne scares and blemishes. Visit any of the brand stores and have them try out the right foundation for your skin tone. Again testing is free. Wear the foundation on your face all day to test its general performance on your skin type (oily, dry combination) and any possible allergic reactions (although rare) before you make a purchase because Nigerian stores do not have a return policies. Get one if you are satisfied.
No foundation should be moving around, that’s why primers are important. They keep your foundation in place even when you are sweaty. There are a lot of primer recommendations out there including Milk of Magnesia for oily skin. However, I haven’t tried it. Those I’ve tried include Lancome’s La Base Pro and MAC Prep + Prime below.
Now, let’s get you a few tools...