Makeup Products

Basic Makeup: Product Picks

Since we launched the Basic Personal Makeup Class in year 2018, many participants have asked for recommendations on makeup products to get started on basic makeup. There are many products in the market that I love and would really want to recommend for people to use. However, I do understand that most people do not want to purchase too many products, especially when they are just starting out. I have created the list below with some of my favourites. This is a perfect guide for beginners. Some of these products come in smaller packaging which I highly recommend for you to get if you are totally new to the product. Alternatively, you can also try the products at the cosmetic counters and leave it on for the entire day. If you feel the product is good and suitable, you can always make a purchase on another day. Do not rush when buying makeup products.

Do note that to achieve a nice basic makeup look, the base – which is your skin – needs to be prep well. Any blemishes, skin imperfections and discolourations need to be concealed. In the list below, I have indicated “Must Have” and “Optional”.

1. Sunscreen (Must Have)

[L-R] ANESSA Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk 60ml; Biore UV Bright Face Milk 30ml
The brands featured here are from drugstores which usually do not provide ‘testers’.

There is an interesting experiment carried out by a Chinese Cosmetic Instructor which was reported last year on the effectiveness of sunscreen on human body. Check out this link for more details.

2. Makeup Primer (Must Have)

Face Primers
[L-R] Make Up For Ever Hydrating Primer; Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Primer; Hera Magic Starter SPF25/PA++.
This is a product most often missed by makeup beginners. Makeup primer is very important if you are thinking of applying makeup foundations, including BB Cushion, CC Cream and even face powders. Primer prepares a surface for paints or colours to ‘sit’ well on it. It helps to even out skin tones and smoothens the skin’s surface so that makeup can last longer and look better.

If you need to combat skin dullness, brighten dark skin / yellow skin or correct red skin tone, you might want to get Hera Magic Starter SPF25/PA++. I just added this to my makeup kit recently. I like that it really brightens the face. However, if you have combination or oily skin, I suggest you test this product at HERA counters at Ion Orchard or Takashimaya to ensure suitability before purchasing. This product. comes with 3 colours:

  1. 01 Rose: Brighten dark or dull skin
  2. 02 Lavender: Brighten and colour correct yellow skin tone
  3. 03 Mint: Reduce redness on skin tone.
3. Concealer (Optional)
TARTE Shape Tape Contour Concealer
tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer

Concealer helps to brighten up your under eye area, side of nose and other discolourations on your face. At times when you just want a no-makeup look, you can skip foundation and just apply sunscreen, makeup primer, a little concealer on the under eye area and setting or loose powder. I have been using tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer for almost a year now. I love it. It is easy to apply, blend and does not crease. There are many shades available hence it will be very easy to find a close match to your skin tone.

You must get this item if you have blemishes, skin imperfections and discolourations on your skin.

4. Color Corrector (Optional)

Colour Corrector
[L-R] Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid (Green), Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid (Peach), Dermacolor Camouflage Creme
Not everyone require this product. Color corrector is usually use for spots correction. I find this especially useful for people who have very dark circles, pigmentation, blemishes and other more severe skin discolourations. The most common ones in Singapore is redness on skin, dark pigments and dark circles. For these I would recommend URBAN DECAY Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid. For dark circles and dark pigments, choose the Peach shade. To reduce redness such as on cheeks or conceal pimples, use the Green shade.

If you find that the discolouration on your skin is really dark and the above product does not help to neutralise the dark spots or redness, you might want to consider Kryolan Dermacolor Camouflage in D30 Orange or in D Red B Green. Made in Germany, this product is highly pigmented and popular for use in Film, TV and Theatre. You can purchase this at Wilkie Edge, 8 Wilkie Road. For reference, here is their website –

5. Foundation (Must Have)

[L-R] Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation; Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation; Urban Decay Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation
There is a wide range of makeup foundations in the market such as BB / CC Cushion, Liquid Foundations, Powder Foundations, Tinted Moisturiser, BB / CC Cream and Stick Foundations. I have tried them all but I still like liquid foundations best because it is the easiest to blend and the coverage is buildable. When I want a basic makeup look, I can just apply a thin layer. If I need to attend an evening event and would like to glam a bit more, I can easily blend more product on my face. In addition, I feel products that comes with pump or tube is more hygienic as you do not dip on it as compared to cushion or powder foundations.

6. Under Eye Powder (Optional)
Under Eye Brightening Powder
BECCA Under Eye Brightening Setting Powder

Not everyone requires this product. However, if you have dark circles and you tend to use colour corrector and/or concealer, I would suggest that you get BECCA Under Eye Brightening Setting Powder. Dusting a little of this powder below the eye area helps to set the concealer and prevents creasing.

7. Setting Powder (Must Have)
Makeup Setting Powder
Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder

Setting Powder helps to set makeup. Try not to use too much or makeup can appear cakey once you are exposed to the sun or start sweating. I like Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Setting Powder because it is light and compact. It sets makeup foundation well and does not cause makeup to appear cakey. You just need to pick up a bit of the product using powder brush and dust lightly on your face. It comes with only one shade which is translucent and therefore suits all skin tone. Some people do not like it because it does not come with a powder puff or brush – but I think this is fine. Without add ons accessories, the price can be kept lower. After all this is a setting powder that is meant to last up to 11 hours. On most days, you will not need to bring this around for touch ups.

8. Eyebrow (Must Have)
Eyebrow Pencil
Nudestix Eyebrow Stylus

One thing I always share in my makeup class is the use of eyebrow gel as eyebrow primer to tame eyebrows and pro-long colours you apply on them. Most of the time eyebrow pencils, pomade and gel are not packaged together with eyebrow gel – which means you need to buy two separate products. This is why I find Nudestix Eyebrow Stylus to be great. It comes with eyebrow gel and the pencil is shaped nicely to assist in shaping and filling up eyebrows.

9. Eyeshadow Primer (Must Have)

Eyeshadow Primer
[L-R] Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Portion; Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Amplifying Eye Primer
This item is also usually neglected by people who are new to makeup. It is the most important item to have if you want to apply eye makeup. If you want your eye makeup to last by lunch time or through out the day, please invest in one. Sephora has these products in smaller packaging, so if you are new to this and are skeptical over its functionality, then try the smaller size first. You will be amazed at the difference it makes. Here are the two types I always use on my customers.

10. Eyeshadow (May skip if you have a good contour / highlight product)

Eyeshadow Palette
[L-R] Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Eyeshadow Palette; tarte Cue The Confetti Eyeshadow Palette, tarte Tartelette Flirt Eyeshadow Palette; tarte Tartelette Tease Palette
You may invest in eyeshadow palettes that have glitters and shimmers if you have normal or dry skin. If you are totally new to makeup, matte nude / brown shades with a little peach or light pink will be the safest shades. Slight shimmer is fine but not too much. The more glitter or shimmer you have on your face, the more it will emphasis the shine. If you have combination or oily skin, it will make you look more greasy. If you have bulging eyes, avoid shimmer eyeshadows as it will further emphasis the eye shape.

I love it that Sephora seems to stock up quality mini eyeshadow palettes that cost under $50. Some of these are:

Bronzer, Blusher and Contour / Highlighter cream or powder can also be used as alternative for eyeshadow colour. I would love to recommend Tarte Park Ave Princess Chisel Palette as it works great as Contour & Highlight as well as eyeshadow. The shades work well for most skin tone. Sephora is currently selling this at S$36 which is a steal. However the palette is huge and heavy.

Tarte Park Ave Princess Chisel Palette
Tarte Park Ave Princess Chisel Palette
11. Eyeliner (Must Have)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil

There are many types of eyeliners available but the easiest to use is the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil. The important part of the eyeliner application is to fill in the gaps between your eyelashes (tightlining) so that the eyes appear more defined and eyelashes look fuller. The shade I suggest is Demolition which is a dark brown colour.

12. Mascara (Must Have)
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara Waterproo
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara Waterproo

Opting for a waterproof version is recommended if you want a smudge-free mascara that can last throughout the day. My favourite is Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara Waterproof. I have lost count as to how many I have purchased already.

13. Blush (Must Have)

Nudestix Blusher
[L-R] Nudestix Nudies Matte All Over Face Color Blush & Bronze; Nudestix Intense Matte Lip & Cheek Pencil
I like powder blushers but most are so easy to break / crack. Especially if you buy expensive ones and you accidentally drop it – that would a very heart-breaking moment. This is why I find Nudestix Nudies Matte All Over Face Color Blush & Bronze handy. It is a cream blusher and comes with a brush. Very portable and useful for travels. You might also want to opt for Nudestix Intense Matte Lip & Cheek Pencil. This does not comes with a brush but you can blend the colour on your cheek easily with a makeup sponge (or a clean fingertip) and use it as a lip colour too.

14. Contour & Highlight (Optional)

Contour and Highlight
[L-R] Kat Von D Beauty Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo; Tarte Tarteist™ PRO Glow to Go Palette; MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream
Not all of us need to contour our face. Over contouring can make you look like a theatre performer – so be very careful on this one. Kat Von D Beauty Kitten Mini Shade + Light Contour Duo is a great palette. It is small and easy to bring along for travels.  Another palette that is worth considering is Tarte Tarteist™ PRO Glow to Go Palette.

I also like to use MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream on cheekbone for a natural dewy look.

15. Lip Colour (Must Have / Optional)


Lip Products
[L-R] Make Up For Ever Lip Booster; Etude House Play 101 Pencil; STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick; Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Ink Matte Liquid Lip Colour Lipstick
Make Up For Ever Lip Booster is a must have in my makeup kit. You will notice a lot of difference seconds to a minute once you apply this product on your lips. Lips appear smoother, more plumped and lesser appearance of lines. Once you apply lip colour, your lip will appear very nice and healthy. It’s really magical!

To outline lips and for a longer lasting colour, I like to use a lip liner. I have tested many brands and I realised you do not have to buy expensive ones. Etude House Play 101 Pencil is a great multi-purpose pencil that can be used for Eyeliner, Lip and Cheek. If you purchase a red shade, you can use this to line the waterline of your eyes for a horror look during halloween. Do note that all lip pencils are safe to be used on the eye area because of certain ingredients they contain.

My pick for lipstick for now is Pat McGrath Labs LUST: Mini MatteTrance Lipstick TrioLip Colour, simply because I find it so worth it to get. It comes in a mini size which means it is easy to carry around the whole day and only cost $39. I also like STILA Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick and Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Ink Matte Liquid Lip Colour Lipstick.

Lip gloss or shimmer is optional. I usually like matte lips texture. I hate lip gloss that are sticky. Some cause the skin on lips to peel or becomes flaky by mid day and this is so gross. When you do want a little shine, I would suggest choosing a gloss or shimmer that is not sticky such as Pat McGrath Lust: Lip Gloss. Sephora has the mini version now and the price is really friendly for our wallets.

Pat McGrath Lust: Lip Gloss
[L-R] Pat McGrath Labs LUST: Mini MatteTrance Lipstick TrioLip Colour; Pat McGrath Lust: Lip Gloss
16. Setting Spray (Must Have)

Makeup Setting Spray
[L-R] Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Setting Spray; Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray.
I have tried many setting sprays in the past. None of them actually worked on me – until I tried Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Setting Spray and Urban Decay All Nighter – Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray. This really helps makeup to stay and prevent oxidisation. Smaller size bottle is also available if you want to try it first and for use during travels.


That’s the list for this time. Do leave your comments below on what you think of these products. Some of you might have tried them before. Feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Working on the next post. Stay tuned!


*Reference: Photos obtained from, etude, and

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