Your Cosmetic Toolbox: 15 Essential Makeup Products and Tools

May 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Face Makeup

Just as technicians have their toolkits and artists have their art boxes, if you regularly wear makeup, you can benefit from having a “toolbox” of your own, filled with the essential tools and makeup products a woman shouldn’t be without. These fifteen items will cover your bases, whether you just want to look fresh for the day, or glamorous at night. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. Somewhere to organize your makeup: If you have beauty products strewn around your home in various drawers, purses, and shelves, it just makes things more complicated. Keeping a spare lipgloss in your purse, or storing a face cream in more than one room is fine. However, you should organize and store the bulk of your cosmetics in a single location for the sake of simplicity. Look at a storage system like this one to try to to keep in your bathroom.

2. SPF skin-prep face cream: Even if you don’t usually get sunburned, protecting your skin from the sun’s rays is vital and should be part of your daily routine. Before applying any other makeup, prep your skin with a face cream containing at least SPF 15. It can help improve the quality of your complexion underneath your makeup, and protects your skin at the same time, preventing skin cancers, sunburn, sun spots, dry skin, and wrinkles.

3. Foundation: Foundation is essential if you want to instantly smooth out your entire complexion. You can buy either the liquid or cream-based kinds, but pay attention to whether they’re oil free, contain SPF, or have any other qualities that might affect your skin. To apply, use cosmetic sponges or clean fingers.

4. Translucent powder: Not everyone likes using powder over their foundation, because they worry it’ll look “heavy”, or dry out their skin. Translucent powder is the perfect solution for shiny skin, because its light consistency leaves your face looking naturally matte, not powdery. It also sets your foundation, helping to avoid smudging. Get a medium-sized brush, or a cotton pad to apply the powder.

5. Blush: When applied correctly in a natural shade for your skin tone, blush can give your entire face a healthy glow while adding a bit of color. Make sure not to use a blush that looks unnatural for your skin tone, since this will defeat the purpose. For powdered blushes, apply with a medium or large blush brush to avoid creating small “hot spots” on your cheeks. For cream blushes, use your fingers and blend evenly.

6. Clear Lip balm: This works perfectly as a pre-lipstick application. Lip balm will keep your lips soft and prevent chapping, and helps your lipstick or gloss glide on smoothly. Burt’s Bees and Chapstick brands work well, and come in clear colors that won’t counteract the lipstick shade you use.

7. Lipstick: For snazzy parties, it’s always great to have a sexy lipstick shade to go with your Little Black Dress. Get a lipstick in a bold, vibrant shade, or a sheer one with a subtle shimmer that looks great with your complexion, and lets your lips be the center of attention.

8. Lip gloss or colored Chapstick: While lipstick is great for dressy parties or for work, a nice lip gloss or colored chapstick works for both dressing up and daytime wear. Find a non-sticky lip gloss or rosy-colored lip balm, such as cherry flavored Chapstick or Bonnie Bell, to instantly enhance your lips.

9. Mascara: If you run out of time for makeup and can only apply one thing, mascara is the product to grab. It makes your eyes “pop,” which will brighten up your entire face. The key to having great lashes is to get a quality mascara with a good wand, to give your lashes length, volume, and a rich, dark color.

10. Eyeliner: If you’re afraid eyeliner might look too heavy for your style, try switching colors. Get a pencil liner in a complimentary shade, such as black, brown, or charcoal grey. You can do a smoky eye if you want to make a bold statement, or just smudge a tiny amount in the outer corner of each eye to for a subtle look.

11. Eyeshadow: Eyeshadow duos are great because their two colors compliment each other perfectly and create depth. Choose two eyeshadow duos: one in a natural tone, to work as an “extension” of your skin color to enhance the eye area, and another duo in a fun color that looks good with your eyes.

12. Concealer: If you have blotchy skin, dark under-eye circles, or breakouts, get at least one good concealer to wear alone or under your makeup. Yellow tones are good for concealing blue or purplish colors, and green tones are good to counteract reddish-colored skin.

13. Face wash: Before you go to bed, use a gentle face wash to remove your makeup and avoid breakouts and clogged pores. Get a non-irritating eye makeup remover if you use eye makeup regularly. Vaseline is also good for removing most kinds of makeup, including eye products.

14. Moisturizer: After washing off your makeup, use a moisturizer to treat try patches and keep your skin soft. Choose an oil-free kind or an acne-fighting moisturizer if you tend to break out.

15. A good mirror and well-lit space: There’s nothing that ruins an otherwise good makeup job like bad lighting or a tiny hand mirror. A large mirror keeps both hands free and lets you see your entire face, and good lighting shows whether you’ve missed a spot.

The author is webmaster at — a web portal dedicated to beauty, skin care, and product reviews.

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