EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN A MAKE-UP KIT FOR BEGINNERS OR THOSE WHO’VE LOST THEIR MOJO

everything you need for a basic make up kit over 40

In today’s post I’m addressing the most common question asked of me…
What should I have in my make-up kit?
As you’ve probably heard me say a thousand times I am all about a light base. I believe for older women in particular, it gives a more youthful glow to natural skin but also the same applies for young women. In general I prefer sheer coverage & as a professional Make-Up Artist I was known for it. This means a BB or CC cream followed by an excellent concealor that will blend easily & last all day. You should only apply concealor to the areas that actually need it – Such as under eyes, red spots & pigmentation thus avoiding a heavy mask-like base over your entire face. When you’re finished simply set your base using a top quality colourless powder. I don’t go in for heavy shading & highlighting either which although looks amazing in photos is actually completely ridiculous in real life & has absolutely no staying power contrary to what you may think. In fact it is incredibly high maintenance, just ask Kim Kardashians Make-Up Artist.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t do a badass smokey eye or red-hot sexy lip, it’s just the base I’m referring to as natural. Where you go from there is up to you. For dressing up nothing is easier than a clean base, nude lip & fabulous cat eye flick. Therefore a basic kit that will give you a fresh natural look for day yet also add some drama for your evening out is all you’ll ever need. Now when I say basic I’m not suggesting that this is literally it, of course add your favourite lip & eye colours!

My Basic Make-Up Kit

1. BB or CC Cream – Maybelline is brilliant & I can’t fault the price. Chanel is extra special with more moisture content although quite expensive. If you’re on a budget I’d save here, not the more important concealor or powder. However it’s worth noting that the Chanel CC takes well to being mixed with a little moisturizer. I do this when I don’t want quite so much coverage. I squeeze a drop of moisturizer & a drop of CC cream into my palm then rub it together & immediately apply over my entire face & neck. It goes on beautifully & blends perfectly. This will obviously make the CC last longer too!

2. Concealor – Kevyn Aucoin does a fantastic concealor with a marvellous range for black skin. Here is where you spend your Deniro’s as it’s not cheap although this pot does last for-bloody-ev-er so it’s money well spent.

O.K I realise some people have more serious coverage issues dealing with acne scars, deep pigmentation or rosacea & have probably tried every concealor on the market without success. Don’t worry I am about to share a secret with you that only the pros know. This is the magic we use in the biz to cover scars & tattoos! This is the holy grail of concealors… This means you do not have to create a mask of make-up over your entire face. Kryolan is the professionals brand that has developed a most miraculous concealor which comes in every conceivable shade. Fortunately for you guys they now sell to the public YAY!

3. Powder – M.A.C Studio Fix loose powder is the one I have used for over 20 years & it’s still a leader in this category. For a compact powder which is arguably easier to carry you can’t beat Chanel Les Beiges healthy glow. However I’m sorry to say Chanel doesn’t do a dark enough colour for black skin so in that case M.A.C Select Sheer Pressed powder compact is also beautiful & does come in dark shades. All should be applied using a good brush or pat very lightly with a sponge – n.b. ask for a free sponge at the Chanel counter.

4. Brushes – Chanel’s gorgeous Kabuki retractable powder brush is perfect for carrying even in the smallest bag. This is a worthy investment as evenly applied powder is key to perfect coverage plus it washes well & if looked after, will last decades. You will also need brushes to apply concealor, eyeshadow & lipstick so 4 in total. The best brushes for quality & price are by M.A.C – I’m still using brushes I bought from M.A.C 20 years ago! I’ve linked to the exact ones I have below in order.

5. Beautiful Brows Eyebrow Kit Is quite awesome. Have a look at my tutorial here for full details. I really don’t think there’s anything easier than a stencil brow kit these days, to be fair they’re probably all quite similar. The nifty little kit includes everything you’ll need & is designed to travel well. However as this is the only one I’ve ever used I can’t say for sure how other brands stack up although see below for another I found that looks pretty good too. What I can say for sure is great shaped brows hold the entire make-up look together so if you’re not confident doing them have an expert create the initial shape then stick with the stencil kit. Nothing could be simpler yet have greater impact on your look.

6. Mascara, Eyeliner & Lash Curlers – I’ve tried my fair share of mascara’s over the years but the two that have stood out are Tarte Lights Camera Flashes & Chanel Le Volume Noir. Both give no panda eyes & take well to re-application. As for eyeliner I would recommend taking the road of least resistance i.e. A PEN – I have recently tested the M.A.C one & find it does a good job, see here for that full post. Eyelash curlers are an absolute must in my opinion. You won’t get the best application of your mascara if you don’t curl your lashes first. If your’re nervous to use them try doing just a little bend at the ends. Failing that, visit a make up counter & ask them for a demonstration.

7. Lip Liner – For me nothing compares to the versatility of The Body Shops Beech. You can get away with using this nude pencil with pretty much any colour lipstick so it saves shelling out for the matching pencil every time you buy a new lippy. And yes you really should always line your lips before applying the colour. It’ll act as a primer & keep your lips looking plump & sharp longer than without. Speaking of sharp remember to always sharpen the pencil before use. n.b. Ask at the Chanel counter for a pencil sharpener & you’ll get one of the best you’ve ever had for free!

My Extra Special Bits

1. Chanel Eyeshadow – You must have seen the Urban Decay palettes all over social media? It is a brilliant one to have for the range of colours & to achieve a terrific smokey eye but I like my eyeshadow palette small so I can take it away or carry it in my handbag. Also these Chanel colours are incredibly rich which isn’t lost on application like many other shadows so I’m sticking with them. Plus if like me you tend to use the same colours every time there’s really only the need to buy one. If I bought the Urban Decay palette I’d only use 4 of the colours anyway so it’d be a bit of a waste & rather a false economy. Below are my favourite Chanel colour palettes although I only own the first one. I’ve followed with Urban Decay for those of you who feel this is a better choice.


2. Benefit Benetint – This wee little kit is a wonder. It has many uses & again, is a convenient size. The red tint is ideal as lip stain under clear gloss or to give your cheeks a natural rosy pinch. The pearly white is for highlighting your cheekbone & if you pop a spot in the centre of your lips your pout will appear fuller. I also like the white for my brow bone & the inner corner of my eyelid when I’m going out out. Included in the kit is a light bronze powder blush & bronze lip gloss which would pretty much suit anybody. There’s also a handy instruction booklet included if you’re not sure where to begin. I like this product so much that I also have the pink tint.

The Importance of a Beautiful Make-Up Pouch

Last but not least, get yourself the most sensational make-up pouch you’ve ever desired because that will force you to keep everything in pristine condition. Ultimately giving all of your lovely make-up longevity thus making it work hard for YOU! I have this one from Louis Vuitton which was my combined birthday & Christmas present from the family one year. It’s expensive but worth every penny in my opinion. It holds everything I need for a basic make-up in a handy compact size suitable for my handbag. What’s more it doubles as a handy clutch bag when I’m on holiday!
I hope you enjoyed this post even though it’s basically shopping. I just thought it’s a good one to publish as a reference point. If you need advice on any of the products I’ve talked about please drop me a line, I’m here to help. I will update this from time to time so if you want to come back to it just click on the BEAUTY catagory in the top menu then MAKEUP.
Have a fab week lovelies! Mx

  • Comments ( 26 )

  • avatar
    june Brennan

    HI Michelle, I am relatively new to your website and found this article is what I desperately need! However I’m unable to find the information thru the links. Maybe because I don’t do Pinterest? I want to order all the brushes you mentioned – but with the links taking me only to tiny photos of a brush, with no other info, I’m unable to tell which brushes they are, with the exception of the Chanel Kabuki brush. For the Chanel eye shadow palette are any of the eyeshadows frosted? If so, at 65 with fair skin, blue eyes and white/gray hair I find frost eyeshadows make me look older. I need to simplify so that I’m not overwhelmed. When I get ready or travel. I have way too much stuff in my life and Marie Kondo hasn’t “taken” as many times as I’ve read it! If you respond to me – how/where will I see your response?

    • avatar
      MT

      Hi June, welcome! OK so when you hover over the product image click on the name of it. This will take you to the shop page. If you click higher on the image it takes you to pinterest but that’s just for people who want to save info or images for their own reference. As for the Chanel eye shadow palettes – some or only one per palette is frosted, it varies. Your best bet to know for sure, is test them at the Chanel counter of your nearest department store. You’ll notice that even the frosted ones are very subtle so don’t be put off just yet. Now I’m excited to hear what you get! xxx

  • avatar
    Patricia

    Thank you for a great post. In fact, after your first makeup post I got a sample of the KA concealer, and it is indeed the best, a tiny sample lasted 15 days, so it is great value too.I got SX06, great texture, my skin but better, the works…but I found it a tad too yellow. So I did more homework and ordered SX07, and I having a Goldielocks moment, it’s a tad too pink. Should I try SX05, mix the two, or accept that no shade would be an exact match? Also, if I tan a shade, despite spf50 use (I live in Southern Spain) what shade would I be then?

    • avatar
      MT

      Yes do mix them Patricia & actually I would suggest keeping both is an excellent idea because your skin colour changes quite obviously with a tan. I think you’re doing absolutely the right thing here by getting your own custom shade every time. You can pick up a couple of those small travel pots from the chemist to keep your mixtures in & use a sharpie to mark the underneath so you know which is which. Perhaps by seasons – S & W?
      This is exactly the type of thing I advocate, thrilled to bits to read what you’ve done Patricia!

  • avatar
    Lizzy

    Such a useful article Michelle- thank you. I use a light base (Lancome) and pressed powder but am always open to suggestion. I agree totally about keeping it lightweight as we age. I love the Benetint and will definitely check out the Body Shop beech liner. I have a neutral-ish Mac one and a red Dior one to compliment the Dior Rouge 999 lipstick. Liner makes all the difference doesn’t it?! xxx

    • avatar
      MT

      Thanks Liz, glad you enjoyed this post. Your make up always looks beautiful xx

  • avatar
    Samantha

    On a night out recently, I spent FOREVER doing my makeup, using all the tricks I’d learnt over the years. I left home feeling a million bucks, but once I saw my reflection in the restaurant mirror, I felt like my carefully applied foundation made me look old and overdone! I referred back to an earlier makeup post you did and now have ditched it, and am not ever doing anything more than a light base, and a little colour on the cheeks, and either a dramatic eye or a full lip. Looks much fresher and I’m ready in half the time!
    Thanks again (and again) Michelle!

    • avatar
      MT

      Wise woman 😉 You know what I’ve done exactly the same thing. I was in a restaurant loo once actually wiping off my base when I realised how aging it was! It’s so nice to know you’re enjoying my make-up posts Samantha, thank you for taking the time to tell me, I loved reading your story xxx

  • avatar
    Porcelina

    Thanks for these recommendations. I can never find a BB cream in a light enough shade, but will have a look at Maybelline’s.

    • avatar
      MT

      Ah really? Now that is interesting Porcelina, please try adding a little of your moisturizer to lighten the BB if it’s not pale enough. Another idea is to make your own using your usual base mixed with your usual moisturizer. Let me know how you get on xx

  • avatar
    Suzy Turner

    I LOVED this post, Michelle! Especially considering you’re a make-up artist (I didn’t know that about you!). In my twenties and thirties, I was always a bit lazy with make-up – I always used it, but never really paid much attention to it. Always just going for cheap options. It’s only now I’m in my forties, I’m actually taking more care with what I use. This advice really is brilliant for me. I’m going to favourite this page so I can come back to it again and again! Thank you.
    Suzy xx
    http://www.suzyturner.com

    • avatar
      MT

      Ha didn’t we all Suzy? I’m so happy to hear this post has been useful, thank you for telling me. One day I’d love to publish a reference book on make up sort of like a dictionary. So it covers everything (alphabetized) that you can easily look up for a quick guide even when you’re about to go out. xx

  • avatar
    Abby@Midlifecrisisnut

    Now that’s some professional info there! You did an amazing job Michelle on covering all of the essentials of make-up artistry. Most of the stuff like Kryolan concealer I know from modelling but some of the things you mention are new to me. One thing is sure that I wear way less make up now than I did in the early 90’s (remember the caked on foundation back then?). ❤️ xx Abby

    • avatar
      MT

      Thanks Abby! Hahaha Oh yes indeed I do remember the old style foundations, so glad they’ve improved since then. You bet would have picked up some pretty handy tips from your modelling days 😉 xxx

  • avatar
    Chrissie

    Great post! What exactly is BB or CC cream and what do they do? Why would you choose one over the other? Do they need to be matched to your skin tone, and if so, any recommendations for dark skin?

    • avatar
      MT

      Oh gosh you’re right I really should have begun the post with a short description of what these creams are, apologies.
      BB Cream stands for Beauty Balm or Blemish Balm – It contains make up & skincare, typically moisturizer & sunscreen. It is essentially a light coverage make up ideal for evening out skin tone whilst allowing a natural glow through.
      CC Cream is the ramped up version of BB or the big sister if you like. It will have a higher SPF, perhaps a creamier consistancy due to a stronger moisturizer, primer, serum & of course the make up element. The two creams are similar but if I had to differentiate I’d say the CC is better for older skin. Every Brand does them now but in my honest opinion there isn’t a hell of a lot between them when it comes to quality. If they say they can perform miracles such as smooth out lines DON’T BELIEVE THEM it’s nonsense 😉
      Hope this has helped Chrissie & sorry for the delay in answering , we’ve been away on holibobs xxx

  • avatar
    passion fruit, paws and peonies

    This guide is so useful. There are loads of products here I’m interested to try. Have you ever used Lip Glow by Dior? It goes brilliantly over lipstick as a stress free re-fresh. I use it when I’m at a restaurant (after a glass of wine when the lighting is really bad). It massively reduces the fear of wonky/badly applied lippy. They do more shades now too!

    • avatar
      MT

      Thanks so much! No I haven’t tried that product but I will now, sounds like just the ticket for me too 😉 Not saying I’m a messy eater at all hahaha

  • avatar
    Biddy

    Another very informative and practice article from Michelle. What I particularly admire is that it’s evident she is recommending tried and tested products as opposed to someone sent products to flog.
    I love the Chanel pallets and have returned to them time and time again over the years. I also love a light foundation.
    A word of warning about Louis Vuitton makeup bags- the lining doesn’t wear well and they will not repair or replace them.
    Thank you once again for this helpful ful

    • avatar
      MT

      Thank you so much Biddy, I couldn’t be more thrilled by what you said & yes all true for sure. I would never recommend anything I hadn’t tried personally & loved. Boo to Louis Vuitton though, that is disappointing & a little surprising actually. I had a broken wallet clasp once & they were more than happy to fix it for free, I hope they’re not getting stingy. Did you write a letter of complaint by any chance? I’m big into that & find it often works, perhaps it’s worth a shot? xx

  • avatar
    sequinist

    I’ve been using the Kevyn Aucoin concealer since you first recommended it, and it is ACE! It is SO highly pigmented; a little goes a very verrrrry long way. It covers up anything.

    Like you, I also like my BB and CC creams instead of traditional foundations, although the one I use is quite high coverage for that type of product (I use the Jane Iredale mineral one).

    I’m making note of your other recs to try on here. I’ll be looking into that Beech pencil. It sounds like the perfect thing to keep in your purse, to wear with nearly any lipstick? Thanks for all the tips, Michelle! Keep ’em coming. xxx

    • avatar
      MT

      I had no idea you were using KA now Lisa, that’s made my day! I get such a buzz when my recommendations are successful, yes you’ll love the Beech pencil too xx

  • avatar
    Rachel

    I find powder so aging I have pretty much stopped using it, other than the occasional dusting of hourglass. Agree about a light base, I fished out the fav Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser this week too now the sun is shining and remembered how good it is.

    • avatar
      MT

      Oh yes tinted moisturizer is pretty much the same as BB cream particularly if it contains sunscreen. I have heard that the Laura Merier one is good Rachel.

  • avatar
    Danish Pastry

    I’m so on your wavelength as far as the base goes. I haven’t used proper foundation for years. I’m all for concealer and powder, and if it looks a bit too powdery I spritz with a water spray. This seems to set my base too.
    I do love the look of the first chanel eye palette, but have decided not to buy these kind of palettes, as I always end up using some colours more than others. So I go for individual eye shadows, but am inspired by the mixed palettes.

    • avatar
      MT

      Oh yes that is a brilliant tip about spritzing water! I’m so glad you mentioned it, that’s one thing I should’ve said in the post. You’re absolutely correst about it setting your make up too, thanks for that xx

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