You don’t have to shell out big bucks for a makeup artist’s treasure trove of goods to get a high-quality cosmetics kit to call your own. Makeup is a big business — and for a beginner, it may also be overwhelming. Don’t break the bank on trendy risks and unusual colors — invest in basic staples, just like you might in your closet, to create the greatest amount of looks with the smallest amount of products. Start simply — you can always add more later.


Tools

Although you might get away with hand-to-face application for some products, you’ll flounder at eye and brow enhancements without a few elementary tools. Put a brush kit in your bag with at least four brushes: a blush brush, a flat shadow brush, an angled liner or brow brush and a smudge brush, for that smoky-eye look. Add an eyelash curler to get the most out of your mascara application and a pair of tweezers for clean, precise brows.

Coverage

No kit is complete without some simple skincare. Select a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, a basic skin cleanser and a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. BB creams typically moisturize and prime, and often double as sun protectants. If you like to contour, a beautiful blush and bronzing powder are key. Also add a concealer that matches your skintone to hide any blemishes or undereye discoloration. If this concealer is a liquid, add a concealer brush to your brush kit.

Eyes

Give yourself a range of color options with an eyeshadow palette. Palettes are typically themed — choose one with neutral shades, not bold or bright colors you won’t use every day. To enhance your lashes, select an eyeliner you like in pencil, liquid or gel form, and go with a basic black mascara that will spruce up even a completely bare face. If your eyelids tend to be oily and color rarely stays on more than a few hours, an eye primer may be a good investment for you.

Lips

You may be tempted to splurge on all the colors of the rainbow — but hold off for now. Your first makeup collection should be mostly neutral basics, especially if cash is short. Pick the shades that best suit your face, such as universally-appealing coral and soft pink. For a softer lip enhancement, ditch the lipstick for a lipgloss in similar shades, or pick up a creamy lip pencil in its place.