Beauty

A fuss-free guide to building your first make-up kit

Beginners, this way

If your idea of dressing up involves slathering on some lip balm and a dash of kohl, I feel you. I'm a beauty newbie and words like 'strobing' and 'undertones' meant very little to me. However, the need for a basic make-up kit could not be denied. So, in my quest to demystify the ever-evolving world of beauty, I spoke to a pro.

Here are the 5 essentials you absolutely need in your beauty kit:

1) The first thing you should get your hands on is the right foundation. It evens out your skin and hides blemishes. "It's like the base of a high rise building  it needs to be great. If you've never worn foundation before, it might feel like you're wearing a mask. So, take baby steps and go for light coverage by using just one or two drops of liquid foundation. You'll barely feel it there  like a hidden, feel-good factor," Stafford Braganza, national make-up artist, NYX Professional Make-up, says. If you're used to it, take your make-up game one step higher and build more coverage by using four to five drops of foundation. 

Choosing a foundation that's right for your skin tone is crucial. A common mistake people tend to make is test it out on the wrist. Instead, you're better off swatching the foundation on your neck, just below your ears. If it blends in perfectly, congratulations, you've found the perfect make-up companion. Stafford recommends starting out with NYX Professional Make-Up's Total Control Drop foundation.

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2) You've probably heard your make-up loving friends and beauty bloggers excitedly discuss strobing. It has nothing to do with disco lights and everything to do with enhancing your best facial features. "Strobing is another word for highlighting. The next thing you want in your kit is a highlighter palette. It gives you an intense glow and draws attention to your strongest features  which could be your brow bones, cheeks bones  or bridge of the nose," he says. It's wiser to start off experimenting with powder highlighters. If a cream/liquid highlighter isn't blended in properly, you'll be staring in the face of a disaster. According to Stafford, NYX Professional Make-Up's Born to Glow palette is ideal for newbies.

3) "Walking around without mascara is like walking around naked,"  Stafford declares. While that might sound extreme, there's no contesting the instant gratification that comes with a few swipes of it. "It's the perfect accessory to your eye make-up. It lights up your eyes in a subtle way," he says. A mascara can give your lashes volume, length, definition and curls. Pick one that defines your face and don't be surprised when compliments come your way.

Once you're confident in using mascara, you can move away from black and experiment with colours like blue and brown.

4) The opposite of a highlighter palette  a contour palette  is be the fourth product you need to make friends with. "Contouring is used to hide or minimise certain features of your face. Choose a palette according to your undertone - a shade you're born with and cannot change," he says. To know what your undertone is, look at the back of your wrist. If the veins are blue-ish, it indicates a cool undertone. If they're green-ish, it points to a warm undertone. If you have a cool undertone, a brick-like shade will flatter you, whereas, if you have a warm undertone, gold/bronze shades are your best bet.

5) The last thing in your beauty kit is a bit of a cheat. Stafford recommends investing in products that can be worked two ways. "A lipstick can be used as blush. You can also apply a bit of lip oil on your cheeks for a dewy effect. As a thumb rule, pick colours like pink and lavender if you are part of team 'Cool Undertone', and colours like burgundy and copper if you have warm undertones.