makeup for beginners
So, you’ve decided it’s time to start painting your face “like a grown-up”. Maybe someone mistook you for a 12-year-old, or maybe you just want to give makeup a try. Well, Every College Girl is here for you. Because we were once where you are now, fresh faced, dewy cheeked, and totally ignorant of the beauty world. And it’s pretty terrifying, isn’t it? You go on blogs and YouTube and see stack after stack of powders, creams, pencils, brushes. For some reason there are little foam shapes everywhere.

It’s all very sparkly and all very intimidating.

So where to start? Well, if you’ve already got something you want to work on, then that’s great! If you have no idea where to start then take a good look at yourself in the mirror. What do you love about your face? Do you have amazing eyes? Luscious lips? Bold brows? Lustrous locks? Check yourself out and find something you really want to emphasize. Try starting there.

I know, I know, it’s tempting to go to the store and buy one of everything, but it’s much better to start one step at a time, mastering each feature along the way. You’ll look a lot better with fab lipstick and no makeup anywhere else than you will with buckets of products done wrong. Plus if you’ve got sensitive skin, you’re more likely to react badly if you go from zero makeup to all the makeup rather than taking it gradually and allowing your skin to adjust.

We’ve listed some places to start:

  • Eyeliner
  • Eyeshadow
  • Lipstick, lip liner
  • Skincare
  • Haircare
  • Hiding blemishes
  • Blush
  • Highlighter, bronzer
  • Mascara
  • Brow pencil
  • Nail polish
  • Perfume

We’re going to have separate, in-depth guides for each category of beauty product, so stay tuned for more!

After you’ve decided where to start, it’s time to buy your first beauty product! You can go straight to the nearest drugstore or pop into a fancier place like a department store or Sephora. There are good sides and bad sides to each. Sephora is crazy expensive but has an amazingly generous return policy so if you don’t like something you’ve bought from there, no worries! They’ll refund you or give you store credit! Drugstores don’t issue refunds, but their products are a lot cheaper.

If you’re worried about finding the exact right color, Sephora or a department store is the way to go. You can test the products and see how they look on your skin. Take a sample and swipe it over your forearm. This is called a swatch!

Don’t be afraid to ask the salespeople for help. A lot of help. Not only can they find your perfect shade and steer you towards the best products, but often the fancier stores will do free makeovers or makeup tutorials! Having someone show you a technique in person is always more helpful than trying to teach yourself off YouTube.

If the fancy stuff is out of your price range, don’t worry! Drug store makeup can be just as good. Sometimes makeup experts even prefer the cheaper stuff! And the price tag means you can easily try different products. Search for recommendations online for the best drugstore versions of whatever type of makeup you want to try or check out our in depth guides.

If you have sensitive skin, try brands like Almay and Physician’s Formula. These brands often try to make their makeup hypoallergenic, but be warned! Hypoallergenic just means something is less likely to cause a reaction, not that it never does.

While you’re at the drugstore, don’t forget to pick up some makeup remover! Micellar water is a great choice. It’s affordable, effective, and not too harsh on the skin. It’s basically just water with little balls of cleansing oil, or micelles. If you’d rather go all natural, coconut oil is a great makeup remover too, and you can get a huge tub of it for cheap! If you’re trying out eye makeup, be warned: it often takes extra cleansing. You can buy makeup remover specifically for eye makeup, which will even get off that stubborn waterproof mascara!

So now that you’ve got your new beauty product, it’s time to learn to use it! You can read our guides or check out YouTube for video tutorials. Some major YouTubers include Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Zoella, but really you can just search for any how-to’s. Try looking for videos specifically for beginners. If you’re trying makeup for the first time, you really don’t need to be full on contouring.

Take your time and have your makeup remover handy. You probably won’t get it right the first time, but you can just wash it off and try again. Makeup is all about practice and figuring out what works for you. Different techniques will suit different people. And the most important part? Have fun! You go girl, be your fab self!


Are you a makeup expert? Or a total beginner? What’s your favorite part of beauty?

Author: Maya

1 Comment

  1. Jeremy says:

    This will help me get something for my girlfriend’s birthday … thanks!

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