A Complete Drugstore Makeup Kit for Beginners

When I first thought of putting this post together, I literally was like why haven’t I thought of this sooner. I get asked all the time from friends “Can you teach me what’s a good highlight?” or “I want to wear bronzer, but don’t know which one to get?” or “I can’t afford anything from Sephora, what’s a good eyeshadow?”  And I love these questions. I love helping others learn about makeup products, how to determine what will work for them, and how to apply the product. So you should know how excited I am about this post.

I’ve pulled together some of the easiest to use products at the drugstore for you to create a complete everyday makeup kit when you have no idea what you’re doing with makeup. And don’t be ashamed – I’m still learning every day – and so are the huge beauty gurus on Youtube. Makeup can be very overwhelming and it shouldn’t be. It should be fun. Below the graphic, I’m going to break down each product with why I recommend it, where to buy it, and the cost.

Drugstore Makeup Kit for Beginners on Kristin-Marie.com Infographic


a. Maybelline’s Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer – This is great for smoothing out imperfections, pores, and fine lines to create a smooth base. It doesn’t clog your pores and washes away easily with your daily cleanser. Just place a pea-sized amount on your fingertip and tap into your t zone or any area where you feel your pores are more noticeable. You can get this primer at Walmart, Target, Ulta, or any drugstore. It runs about $6.99. I usually grab mine from Ulta since they frequently run BOGO 50% off sales on their drugstore brands.  You can check it out here.

b. e.l.f. Hydrating Face Primer – I don’t always like to use a full-on moisturizer before applying my makeup because it can take so long to sink into your skin fully. This is a great way to pass on the moisturizer, but still give your skin a drink without making your makeup difficult to apply. This is another product you can grab at Walmart, Target, Ulta, or any drugstore. It costs $6.00 for the small bottle or around $10.00 for the larger size.  If you’re an oily skin girl you may like the mineral infused primer to help combat oily skin.


c. Maybelline Fit Me Foundation. This comes in both Matte and Poreless for those of you who have oily skin (or just prefer a matte finish to your skin) and Dewy and Smooth for those who prefer a dewy or natural finish, or if you have drier skin. The Dewy and Smooth has a dewy finish, obvs, and is light to medium coverage. I generally use a setting powder to help it last. Matte and Poreless has better coverage and lasts longer. I do enjoy both. I just put a little on my fingertip and dab dots across my face. Then, I use a brush and blend it out. It goes on effortlessly. They have a really good range of shades for the drugstore – I think around 40 but you may not be able to find every shade at the drugstore. It costs about $7.99 and you can check out Matte and Poreless here and Dewy and Smooth here.


d. Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define. Enough said. This is a powerful concealer but it’s so easy to use. This is a dupe for the Tarte Shape Tape concealer and is 20 dollars cheaper. I personally think it blends better than Shape Tape as well. I go a couple of shades lighter than my skin tone so that I can use it for a highlighting or brightening effect for my under eye circles. To apply, I wipe the excess off the die foot and dot just the tiniest three dots under my eyes and one in the middle of my lid. A little goes a long way and you can very easily tap on a little more. I personally apply it in a stippling motion with my Morphe G40 brush, the pointy tip of a blending sponge or use my ring finger. It costs about $7.00 and you can find it at Ulta or check it out here.


e. Coty Air Spun Loose Setting Powder. It’s important to set your concealer (and your foundation… especially if it’s a dewy finish) to help it last all day long and prevents your makeup from creasing and settling into lines. These two things can make you look like Mrs. Doubtfire. This comes in a couple different shades. I usually work with translucent but if you feel it leaves a white cast (a white powdery look to your skin) then you could use one more suited to your skin color! The great thing about this powder is that you can get it at Walmart. It cost $5.99. I apply with a fluffy brush like the Real Techniques Setting Brush or the e.l.f. Blush Brush. Its pointy shape is perfect for getting in the corner of the under eye area. If you want to read the reviews and check out more photos click here.


f. e.l.f. baked highlight in Moonlight Pearls. There are a lot of great drugstore highlighters, but this one is very inexpensive and very good for everyday use. This highlight is flattering on a lot of skin tones and doesn’t look like a chunky, glittery highlighter. Just grab a little on a brush (I use this Morphe M510) and gently swipe it back and forth over the high points of your cheeks, brow bone, and down the center of your nose. It costs $4.00 and you can check it out here.


g. Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso. Milani baked blushes have an amazing color payoff and are very easy to use. I love Luminoso as a dupe for the cult-classic Nars Orgasm Blush, but without the hefty price tag. You can just very lightly drag your brush across the product and it blends very easily on the skin. It’s a nice glowy blush, but it’s not glittery. It’s that healthy glow we all strive for. They have really wearable shades and some that are matte. The blush lasts a long time and it’s another great everyday product to have in your makeup kit. It costs around $6.99 and you can check it out along with the rest of the colors here.


h. This has been my ride or die mascara since it launched. I’ve used quite a few tubes of it too. L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara. Nuff said. I’ve talked about this mascara before on my blog, I know, but, I can’t get enough of it. It gives you big, fluffy, separated lashes, but if you keep building up coats, then you can get thick, bold lashes. It’s inexpensive (around $10), doesn’t dry up too much over time, and lasts a fair while. There’s not a big learning curve with this one like there is with some mascaras, so I knew it had to be included in this list.


i. For that all year sun-kissed glow, I always reach for my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer. I personally use the shade Light Bronze, but they have a few different shades if you have darker skin than I do. It’s one of the pricier items on this list at $14.99, but it’s a great dupe for Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer that costs $29. Also, you can’t beat the scent. It’s coconut summer in a bronzer. I love it. Again, a little product goes a long way and it’s easy to add bronzer, little by little. My favorite way to apply it is to use either the e.l.f. complexion brush or the Real Techniques blush brush when I want a less focused bronze.

Eye Shadow

j. Wet n’ Wild Color Eyecon 10 Pan Eyeshadow Palettes. These are phenomenal drugstore eyeshadows and are only $4.99!! I’ve posted about them before as being dupes for the Anastasia Beverley Hills Palettes. You can read that post here (don’t worry – it opens in a new window so you won’t lose your place). These are very easy to work with. They kick up a pretty good bit of powder when you put your brush in the eyeshadow so I usually just barely tap my brush into it. They’re very buildable and blendable and have a very good color range. Even Wet n’ Wild’s eyeshadow quads are wonderful.

m. e.l.f. Need it Nude eyeshadow palette. They have other hued palettes and some are dupes for the Naked Palette family by Urban Decay. This is great considering that the UD Original Naked Palette is now going away forever. They are $10.00 and are fairly easy to work with. They have great pigmentation for the price and again I find them to be buildable. I like this pinky-nude shaded palette and think it’s a nice addition to a basic drugstore makeup kit.


k. Nyx Micro Brow. There’s a lot of great drugstore brow products, but I really enjoy this one. it’s forgiving, easy to work with, and a great product if you only have space for one! It costs $6.99 and I use the shade taupe. I think this shade is great for my other blonde gals who like their brows darker than the ends of their hair. If I make a mistake, I use the spoolie to help wipe away stray product. I love the fine tip and that it’s retractable. Nothing is worse than twisting out a product to look at it, only to realize you can’t put it back in the tube… looking at you Colour Pop (although no shade because I love their brow pencil too!). Nyx has a good shade range for these pencils and you can get them pretty much anywhere. 


l. What’s a makeup kit without a bag to put it in when you travel or go see your bff for the weekend? There are tons of cute bags out there like this avocado one from Romwe that has just been put on sale from $12.00 to $3.99. I also really love the makeup bags from Sephora and Target. It’s easy to keep your every day products in one place and it’s essential to have when traveling. 


A bonus item that I cannot go without in my makeup basics kit is a setting spray. Y’all, I personally believe the right spray can change your makeup game. At the drugstore, I love the way the Milani setting sprays mist. It’s smooth and a very fine mist. They have the Make it Last for combination/oily skin and the Make it Dewy for dry skin. I also enjoy the Wet n’ Wild Photofocus Setting Spray, but feel like you don’t get much in the bottle. I wish they would make a larger size of it.

So those are my recommendations for a complete drugstore makeup kit for beginners to makeup. Even if you’re not a beginner, these are still great products that I use pretty regularly. I’d love to hear if you have other product suggestions or additions you would make!

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