Beginners Start Here.

When it comes to something like makeup it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
You miss a few months of magazines and all of the sudden everyone you know is obsessed with DD cream you end up having this conversation:
“what’s DD cream!?”
“it’s like CC cream only better!”
“Wait, what’s CC cream!?”
“More or less the same thing as BB cream only with color corrector.”
At which point you’d like to ask what BB cream is but you can tell by her tone she’s getting all judgy. So you nod and decide that you don’t even care about these new alphabetical makeup creations anyway. You’re perfectly happy with what you’ve been using since high school….sort of.

I know it happens. I’m a dang’ed beauty blogger and I can’t stay on top of the new trends half the time.
That’s why I wanted to do a series for those of you that are starting from SCRATCH.
If you’re weathering the makeup world for the first time, or coming back after an extended vacation and you need somewhere to start but you don’t want to spend a fortune, this post is for you.
I present to you a starter kit of good quality/inexpensive makeup.

So simple, inexpensive and pretty.

1. Flower Cosmetics Duo in Gloriously Golden
2. L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black
3. MaybellineBaby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm, in Peach Kiss
4.Maybelline Highlighting Concealer in Ivory
5. real Techniques Travel Essentials Set

Get the products and then click over HERE to the tutorial!
And have an incredibly fun weekend!


107 thoughts on “Beginners Start Here.

  1. I love that you are doing this! Sometimes it great to get back to the basics, and I totally appreciate you doing the guide on a budget! Thank you!

  2. Ha, love your sense of humor! I’ve been reading your blog for a while but have been too timid to actually try any tutorials since I’m such a newbie (well, not really, but I did take a loooong hiatus from makeup because of illness and then a baby, so I’m totally lost now). This post is perfect for me! I’ve been wanting to ask: I bought the Maybelline illuminating concealer a while back to try, but it is so dry, thick, and cakey … it drags my undereye skin when I’m applying and never blends well. Did I just buy a dud pen or is it supposed to be like that and I’m just applying it poorly? I really want to like it, but I just can’t bring myself to use it in the morning because it almost hurts to apply it under my eyes! Is there something with a thinner formula that works as well?

  3. I have a question! :) I have a gorgeous 14 year old daughter with red hair and a peaches and cream complexion. She’s got great color and is not at all washed out but is still pale. She wears eyeliner, in black, and it makes her look pale. How can I help her transition to a color that better suits her when black is so hip??? OK, I know you can’t really answer that. :) But what WOULD you suggest as far as color? Should I steer her from the black if possible? Do you have a video on application to guide me to? I love your tips.

  4. Thank you for this, I am just starting to wear make up more and last night I went to Target and bought some basics (brow/eye liner, lip exfoliator, long wear lipgloss) I have mascara, but I need some brushes and I really prefer a cream blush because the powder ones seem to magnify my pores. I’m a Woman of Color (WOC) so you might want to show other options for the highlighting concealor colors (you specified Ivory). I am a newbie to your blog and I love seeing all your tutorials and makeovers!

    • Totally agree. I’m not a newbie to make-up, but I am a woman of color. We need color suggestions that flatter light, medium, and dark skin tones. Not everyone reading the blog should get Ivory!

      • Revlon Color Stay I believe has good color options & perfect for matte finish. Bare Minerals isn’t cheap but will last forever & I’ve found has amazing matches for women of color. Iman from Ulta is just for women of color and isn’t too pricey. Her line is really smooth cream to powder finish that looks like your not wearing makeup and a beautiful liquid as well :-)

    • Women of color have so many options when it comes to blush! I freelance so I’ve been able to have the opportunity to test out all different brands. Target looks like they carry Iman now so check out her line! Also anything from NP Napoleon cream blush will look great. Maybelline Dream Bouncy is popular and creamy. I like using corals and peachy pinks. Try mixing some into liquid foundation or moisturizer on the cheek bone if it comes out too pigmented. Tarte is a more pricey but has wonderful cream blushes as well. As far as a highlight/contour I would try NP duo for that. See if they have a cream version if not mix two of the Dream Bouncy together-lighter on top-darker on bottom. :-)

  5. You read my mind! Thank you! I’m very excited, just placed my order on Amazon so I’m in! Also trying the soapbox challenge (sort of…trying to improve…at about 50% success rate so far) so your blog is such a wonderful inspiration to me. I never was a girly girl or much into makeup when I was younger. As I’m aging I’m wanting to take better care of myself and looking good is more important to me (oddly?). But just Thank You So Very Much!!!

  6. holly hey! i feel like you were reading my mind with this post. i’m your primtime classic case of not only do i not know what’s going on in the beauty world, i have no clue where to start. but, guess what? i’m literally buying all these items today. no joke. i’m about to get my beauty on. i meet even send you a pic of how i look (but no sharing!!)

  7. If you could unveil the mystery of BB cream, CC Cream, and DD cream, I would be forever grateful. Am I supposed to using any of these? What are their functions? Do you have any recommendations?!?

  8. Hey, since you did so well with Allure magazine….I saw Shabby Apple was looking for submissions on a variety of things including hair and makeup. Another challenge for you to shoow others your many talents! look a their FB page.

  9. thank you!!! so psyched for this. I’ve always been completely mystified by make up and now at 40 I felt like I just missed the entire boat and would never ever figure it out. you’re fab! thank you!!!

  10. I saved my wand from my voluminous mascara and washed it real good. It makes the BEST eyebrow brush! It’s also helpful when eye lashes get an occasional clump.

  11. Thanks A MILLION for doing this!!! I can’t wait!! You have helped me so much already, but I am totally one of those who is clueless about products! I’ve never been “into” doing makeup-you’re getting me “into it.” :) I let my nine year old watch one of your tutorial videos…the next thing I knew she handed me her iPod and had made a 19 minute makeup tutorial of her own!! Lol. You inspire us all! Thanks for sharing your talent!

  12. Can’t wait to play! How do we know what color/shades to purchase? Should we go with what you suggest? Are those good for all or are there basic rules to follow? I’m med tan skin tone with brown hair and brown eyes. Help!

  13. What a great idea! Thank you! I notice for the Maybelline Lumi Touch concealer, you sometimes use “nude” and sometimes use “ivory.” Which shade is darker? I have “nude” currently but I’m thinking it might be a little too light on me. (If someone other than Cara wants to answer, that would be fine too!)

  14. Jimmeny Christmas, this is the cheap stuff? Would it cost less to buy all of it at Walmart instead of ordering from Amazon? I’m 25 and have never worn makeup consistently. I’m not sure I want to drop nearly $40 on all this.

    • I would never buy anything online if I could pick it up locally. I have a Rite Aid club card thingy and save 20% on everything, so I’ve been buying all my makeup there for a while now. In answer to your question, I’d guess it would be cheaper to buy at Walmart than Amazon.

  15. You are amazing and wonderful and fabulous! I love your words and your thoughts and your lovely soul.
    I am almost 40 with 3 boys and finding out that I want to look and feel like a girl again! Thank you for helping me do just that

  16. Cara you’ve read my mind again! I’ve been a stay at home mom and now getting back to work I need something quick and easy! I’m so clueless thank you!

  17. OH You saved my beauty life…you are a miracle with this post. I’m on the shoe string beauty budget to end all budgets and so appreciate your expertise on this. I’m just learning about cosmetics…never had the time to stop and smell the roses before and now since I’m a fairly new empty nestor it’s all about little ole me and I’m having so much fun playing with make up something I’ve never done before. You are the best…you are a beauty angel. :)

  18. Thank you for this. My daughter (me too) are have a dark olive complexion, can we use the same colors in blush and baby bliss?? I use the honey miel, I think that works for our dark complexion :)

  19. I love this blog. I have a love/hate relationship with makeup. I have fair, sensitive skin and can get breakouts from makeup even though I am in my 50’s.I go for paraben free at all times so if you can include anything for us fair gals I would appreciate. But I love makeup and have been trying new things. Lately it’s the cat eye but so far only perfected the left eye! ha! 3

  20. Cara, I love that you’re doing this! However I’m pretty sure none of those products would suit my Indian skin. What would you suggest for us brown gals? Thanks! :)

    • I’d go for a darker shade of the Maybelline highlighter (I believe Honey is the darkest). It’s a really nice consistency and very easy to blend. She also recommended some products for highlighting and contouring for darker skin in the HAC FAQ post here: I know, I know, those are expensive, so if you don’t want to spend that much money I’d go for the Maybelline and the darkest cool shades of L’Oreal TrueMatch powder should work really well for contouring – just make sure to go at least 2 shades darker than your skintone. Hope this helps!

  21. Haha, what a funny post! So speaking of creams, what kind would you recommend for a starter kit? Now that I bought the Stila BB cream (non illuminating) I’m noticing that CC is all the rage. Is it that much of a difference? Also, which brands would you recommend that have the most benefits? I’ve looked at the garnier, almay, Maybelline…it’s so confusing :/

    • If the BB creams work for you then you can probably skip the CC creams. In my experience, if you have a lot of red in your skin the CC creams are really useful.

  22. Hmmm… I looked at that Maybelline website above and noticed that each shade also has a number associated with it. So it’s Radiant 310, Ivory 320, Nude 330, etc. If you go by the numbers, I’m assuming that Radiant would be the lightest and Honey would be the darkest.

  23. I’m a beginner too and just started following your blog so this post came at the perfect time. I just went out and got some of the supplies, and I’m going to order the other two next. Can’t wait for next weeks post so I can start using them! So excited!

  24. I love your blog and I’ve never left a comment, but I have to tell you that I just realized who you look like. You look EXACTLY like a young JUNE CARTER CASH. Like when she was in her 20s. Just thought I’d share. :)

  25. I recently discovered that the store Icing sells makeup brushes. I bought a couple and they are AMAZING and they’re very affordable. Just some advice to throw out there

  26. Babylips are my fav! The mint is amazing. I have like 10 of them and keep them in purses, cars, nightstands, bathrooms…the best! I’m excited to hear more about the other products!

  27. So since we’re going back to the basics, im new to this whole makeup thing. Well not really new but new to the idea of more than eyeliner. Oh, oh, and I just discovered brushes too.! Haha so can someone explain exactly how to use the brushes. I ve watched numerous videos and I do what it looks like they do but my results are totalllyyyy diffrent. Its like no eyeshadow is on the brush, although I can clearly see it on there. I just dont get how these girls are able to use brushes to put their eyeshadows on so super perfectly :/

  28. Pingback: Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is

  29. Love how my lashes look when I use that mascara, but it flakes on me. Not just a little bit, I get these huge chunks in my eyes and down my cheeks. Do you have a recommendation for a similar one that I can try? I usually have to use waterproof formulas since my lashes are so straight and don’t hold curl otherwise. However, I used falsies waterproof formula for a while, and it made my lashes fall out twice! I haven’t been able to find anything that looks great, holds curl, and doesn’t flake. :(

  30. Try Pür Minerals Makeup! $27 for a great coverage powder foundation that is healthy for your skin. No parabens or fillers. Looks great on young teens and mature skin! They also have a DD Cream, Daily Defense! It’s an antioxidant cream with a high SPF that you can wear under your make up, or use anywhere if your out in the sun. It has ingredients to replenish stressed skin and protect from environmental factors that age us.

  31. Awww man its such a shame most of those brands test on animals.. for those of us that only buy cruelty free its so hard to enjoy these blogs and youtube videos when people recommend/use animal tested makeup :(

  32. Thank you for this post! Your blog is an excellent resource for my friends with tween girls. Such great advice, insight & clever writing!

    Question: When you “tight line” your upper eye, HOW do you keep it from rubbing or smearing onto your lower eye? After a couple of hours, I have black smudges under my eye, even when I didn’t put any eyeliner or mascara on my lower eye.

    Love your readers’ comments too – you are well loved!

  33. I am confused as well about the Flower Ready Set Glow! recommendation. The one pictured is Shimmering Goddess and on Walmart’s website Gloriously Golden looks really pale…help!

  34. I was wondering if you could do a post on balancing features. I know you HAC to contour your face but is there anyway to fake symmetry specifically for the eyes (if that makes sense).

  35. My question is about reapplication! I work in an office and I feel like I’m constantly touching my face/eyes. At the end of the day, I feel like I look like a streetwalker! How often during the day should I be re-applying?

  36. Cara, I live in Alaska, and our Walmart doesn’t have the Flower products in store. Is there another product that’s similar in quality and price that you could recommend? I’m a make-up newbie, really, so I can use all the help I can get. Help, please! :)

    • I second this! I would love the Flower products, but we don’t have them in Canada! Any tips or suggestions that are close?

  37. Cara I love this basics list! Just happen to have more color in my skin (I’m medium/olive toned). Any favorites for medium to deep gals? You’re a total godsend with your work, love your blog to death :-)

  38. Pingback: A Guide to Sephora:: Part 1, Researching the Product ‹ Love, Bliss & Coffee

  39. So I’m 24 and have only ever attempted makeup for special occasions: high school dances, weddings, and driver’s license pictures. This is the first tutorial I’ve seen that makes it seem accessible to me. There aren’t too many products or advanced techniques, and you don’t come off as one of “them” to me (the secret society of people who are in on girl-secrets that I will never understand). THANK YOU.

  40. Even though I’m not really a beginner, I’m new to your HAC technique-so I bought this travel set as well as the core set and one other set from this brand you recommended. All I need now is your HAC kit!!! When will it be ready???? I’m all sorts of excited!!!

  41. Thank you so much for this! It was super helpful! I have one question, is there an eyeliner that you would recommend that’s fairly inexpensive? I don’t use much makeup but I do use that and mascara and I would like to find a good eyeliner. Thanks!

  42. Silly question, but does the same highlighter generally work for everyone or do you match them to your skin tone? I want to try your HAC techniques :)

  43. I have a quick question about the color of the blush/bronzer combo. I like it but I love the Beachy Keen color combo a bit more. Is there a particular reason you suggested Gloriously Golden? I think I have light medium skin tone. I am open to whichever color you think is best, I just wanted to ask if there was a specific reason for one color over the others before I buy! Thanks!

  44. What the best way to choose the correct shade of the Mabelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting concealer? I don’t want to buy the wrong shade then be stuck with it.

  45. I was using the Bare Essentials highlighting concealer and read your rave reviews on the Maybeline product. I love the Maybeline so much more! It’s more natural and better coverage. One problem, I’ve developed an allergic reaction. There must be some fragrance that doesn’t agree with me because I cannot wear their mascara either. I can’t say I’ve tried any of their other products in the last 10 years. Do you have any other recommendations for a highlighting concealer?

  46. did any one ever find out if she used foundation. i grew up with the assumption that you HAD to spread foundation over your entire face first. then you went on to applying the other stuff. so maybe i really was a mathelete this whole time and didnt even know it?

  47. Has anyone tried the waterproof version of the mascara? I’m always looking for the “one stop shop” and thought maybe the waterproof version would be better? We don’t swim a whole lot, but when I laugh really hard with friends, I sometimes tear up!!! So, any thoughts would be helpful if someone has tried both …

  48. I just purchased this kit and after using it for a little over a week, I am breaking out like crazy. Before I start replacing each piece, I wanted to see if anyone else has had a similar problem. That might help me narrow down the culprit. I’m thinking it’s the blush, but I’m not sure, could also be the lumi.

  49. You are so right! The products and trends change so quickly that you can (ie me lol) get easily confused. Love your starter kit, thanks for the post, it sometimes pays to get back to basics :)

  50. Is there a something I could substitute for the Flower Cosmetics Duo in Gloriously Golden? I can’t get it in Canada or at least can’t find it yet.

  51. Kara, I am so inspired by your site. I am a stay at home mom of 3 little kids and I haven’t really worn makeup except for special occasions in probably 15-20 years. But now I am approaching 40 (I shouldn’t say it out loud, or it will be true), and I am starting to feel like I need to figure this whole makeup thing out again. On this past Thursday another mom at karate thought I had bad allergies because of how my face and eyes looked. Except that I don’t. So ouch! Then I had to go give a talk to a bunch of engaged couples at our church about marriage, so I had my mom bring over her makeup so I could put some on before leaving for the event. That’s right, I don’t even own makeup anymore. So today, I put the kids at the kitchen table with playdoh and the baby on floor next to me and came straight to your site to make a list of the tools and products I need. I am hoping everything on this list is still ok even a year later. Heck, even if it is a year out of a date it’ll be better than the nothing I am doing now.

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  55. Is this the only post for beginners? I can’t seem to find a link to the rest of the series. Can anyone tell me where to find more posts like this?

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