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20 Makeup Essentials Every Woman Should Own

Makeup Trends

20 Makeup Essentials Every Woman Should Own 20 Makeup Essentials Every Woman Should Own 20 Makeup Essentials Every Woman Should Own

When was the last time you took a peek inside your makeup bag? If you haven’t taken stock of the makeup products you own in a while, this is the perfect time to do just that. In fact, there are quite a few items that you might not have in your possession but probably should. Ready to upgrade your makeup bag with the latest and greatest products, including foundation, mascara, lipstick, and more? Consult our guide to find out all about the 20 makeup essentials we believe every woman should own. Once you’ve read through and marked down everything you desperately need, it’s time to go shopping!

Makeup Essential #1: makeup primer

After spending time creating a stunning makeup look, you surely want all of your hard work to last, which means investing in a makeup primer is a must. A primer will even out your skin, prep it for makeup application, and keep your makeup looking fresh throughout the day.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Glow Lock Makeup Primer. This primer hydrates skin for better makeup application while leaving you with a healthy, radiant glow.

How to use it: Simply apply the primer all over your face before reaching for any other face makeup.

Makeup Essential #2: STICK FOUNDATION

Regular ol’ foundation just not doing it for you anymore? It’s time to get your hands on stick foundation! Stick foundations feature a creamy, glide-on formula housed in compact packaging. For this reason, stick foundations are way more travel-friendly than bulky bottles, as you can easily toss one in your purse for midday touch-ups, your suitcase if you’re traveling, or your work bag if you plan to do your makeup during your commute. You can also use them to easily contour your face by using varying shades!

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Longwear Foundation Shaping Sticks. Their buildable, creamy formula provides medium to full coverage that lasts all day long.

How to use it: Using a shade that's one to two shades lighter than your skin tone, apply the shaping stick in an upside-down triangle below each eye, down the bridge of your nose, on the center of your chin, and on the center of your forehead. Then, use a shade that's one to two shades darker than your skin tone and apply it to the hollows of your cheeks, jawline, and temples. Use a makeup blender to buff out the product and create a perfectly sculpted face.

Makeup Essential #3: bb cream

Full coverage foundation may be your go-to for a night out, but a BB cream is a great daytime alternative. Not only will it smooth imperfections, BB creams also have skin care benefits.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Magic BB Anti-Fatigue (For All Skin Types). This BB cream has color-transforming pigments to counteract signs of fatigue. The ultra-light lotion will leave you with a flawless, bare skin finish.

How to use it: Blend and buff this BB cream onto your face using a makeup blender for even application.


You know those pastel-colored concealers you’ve been seeing everywhere lately? Well, if you have any complexion imperfections you want to hide, they’re what you need! Seriously, pick up a color correcting concealer palette or crayon pronto. Color correction relies on the basic principle that colors can be cancelled out by their opposites—and that idea can be applied to your makeup! You can use a peach concealer to hide bluish dark circles, yellow to hide purple discolorations, green to hide redness, and purple to hide dull, yellowish skin.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Total Cover Color Correcting Kit. Containing the four most popular color correcting shades (peach, yellow, green, and purple), this palette can be used to disguise almost any imperfection.

How to use it: Apply your color corrector sparingly to targeted areas (such as underneath your eyes to mask dark circles) and build coverage as needed. Use your color correcting concealer before regular concealer and foundation.

Makeup Essential #5: BLUSH PALETTE

Oftentimes, blush gets a bad rap—but we swear it doesn’t have to make you look like a clown. With the right color and proper application, it can actually elevate your look. To avoid entering clown territory, choose the right shade of blush for your skin tone. If you have fair skin, stick to a baby pink or peach; if you have medium skin, try a mauve or apricot shade; if you have olive skin, reach for rose; and if you have dark skin, opt for raisin or berry. A blush palette can be a great investment because you can mix and match to create a custom color that’s flattering on you. Once you have your perfect shade, don’t brush symmetrical circles onto your cheeks. Instead, apply your blush based on your face shape.

Makeup Essential #6: CONTOUR KIT

Oh contouring, we just can’t quit you. This is the makeup trend that continues to be oh-so-popular among celebrities and girls-next-door alike. Contouring entails applying dark and light makeup to enhance—and even slim down—certain facial features. As such, it’s no surprise that nearly everyone is obsessed with this trend.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Total Cover Concealing and Contour Kit. Complete with four creamy shades of concealer, you can use this palette to contour to your heart’s content.

How to use it: Using a concealer that’s two shades lighter than your skin tone, highlight key areas of your face (under your eyes, down the bridge of your nose, between your brows, and on the center of your chin) to add extra dimension. Then, use a concealer that’s two shades darker than your skin tone to contour anywhere you want to accentuate, such as along your hairline, under your cheekbones, and down the sides of your nose.

Makeup Essential #7: highlighting stick

Glowing skin is all the rage right now and a highlight stick is just what every woman needs to stay on trend. It allows for easy, convenient, and mess-free application, while providing instant radiance.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Longwear Highlighter Shaping Sticks. The shimmery pigment of this highlighter will give you a glowing complexion that looks completely natural.

How to use it: Apply the stick directly to the high points of your face before blending out with a makeup blender.

Makeup Essential #8: MAKEUP BLENDERS

Sure, you could apply foundation or concealer with your fingers, but when you do so, you may transfer germs from your hands to your face—something you surely don’t want to happen. Instead of relying on your hands—no matter how handy they are—reach for a makeup blender, which can help to provide a much smoother finish than your fingers ever could.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Blend Artist Foundation Blender. This makeup blending sponge has a pointed tip and rounded edges for easy application and effortless blending.

How to use it: Apply a small amount of foundation onto the pointed end of your blender, then use the rounded side to dab and roll the foundation onto your skin.

Makeup Essential #9: LASH PRIMER

When it comes to mascara, it’s just one swipe and go, right? Well, not exactly. You may want to consider applying a lash primer before you put on mascara. You know that primer is essential if you want to help keep your makeup in place and create a smooth canvas to work on—and the same holds true for your lashes. A good lash primer can help to make your mascara application smoother, condition your lashes, and add volume and length to your fringe.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise™ Mascara Primer/Base. This primer, which comes in a pretty pink shade, can help mascara adhere to lashes and thicken their appearance.

How to use it: Place the brush at the base of your lashes and gently sweep it up to the tips. Apply primer and mascara to one eye at a time, making sure you put on your mascara before the primer dries. For more impact, use two coats of primer.

Makeup Essential #10: COLORED MASCARA

Speaking of mascara, go ahead and toss your tubes of black mascara to the side in favor of something with a little more pop. Burgundy mascara is trending in a big way, and it can seriously open up your eyes for a brighter look. Burgundy and other colored mascaras are perfect for spicing up your look for a party or any weekend activity—and trust us, you’ll turn heads when you give it a try!

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara in Deep Burgundy. Whoa, baby! This mascara is formulated to resist clumping, soften lashes, and build lashes evenly for a dramatic look in a trendy color.

How to use it: Place the brush at the base of your lashes and gently sweep upwards. Use the mascara primer first to really maximize the color effect.

Makeup Essential #11: brown mascara

Think colored mascara is too wild for you to wear on a daily basis? That’s where brown comes in! While you may consider black your go-to when it comes to mascara, don’t be so quick to disregard brown mascara. A brown formula will give your lashes the length and volume you desire without the harshness that comes with a black hue—basically, it’s perfect for daily wear.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise™ Washable Mascara in Black Brown. The silky-smooth formula of this mascara glides on evenly and easily, leaving your lashes with intense length and voluptuous volume.

How to use it: Start by placing the brush at the base of your lashes, then gently pull the brush through your lashes.

Makeup Essential #12: EYE SHADOW QUAD

The only thing better than one eye shadow is four. Whether you want to create a smoky eye or just play around with multiple shades, having an eye shadow quad can help you get the job done.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Quads. Available in 20 visually arresting color combos, this eye shadow quad makes makeup experimentation easy.

How to use it: You can use the applicator, your fingers, or individual brushes to apply your shade of choice to your lids.

Makeup Essential #13: neutral eye shadow palette

While an eye shadow quad is certainly an essential, having a neutral eye shadow palette in your makeup stash is also totally necessary. A natural eye makeup look will never go out of style, and neutral shades can be used for both day and night.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Paradise Enchanted Scented Eyeshadow Palette. With 12 captivating warm shades of shadow, this palette has plenty of opportunity for different eye shadow looks. You’ll find shades ranging from coral pinks to bronzed ambers to rosy nudes. The velvety texture allows for ultra-blendable application.

How to use it: The sky’s the limit! This eye shadow palette gives you the freedom to create your own eye shadow looks.

Makeup Essential #14: waterproof eyeliner

Eyeliner can instantly transform your eye makeup look, especially if you opt to apply a bright color on your waterline. However, without a waterproof formula, your liner is bound to fade and disappear throughout the day.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Last Waterproof Pencil Eyeliner. This creamy eyeliner has a long-lasting, smudge-resistant formula that’s perfect for all-day wear.

How to use it: Simply glide the liner wherever you choose, using a makeup pencil sharpener first if needed.

Makeup Essential #15: clear brow mascara

Whether you fill in your eyebrows or not, a brow mascara is a makeup essential. Not only will it thicken the appearance of your brows, but it will also keep them in place throughout the day so you don’t have to worry about any awkward stray hairs showing up.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Boost & Set Brow Mascara in Clear. The gel-mousse formula of this brow mascara boosts volume for a naturally thicker-looking eyebrow.

How to use it: Use the angled skinny brush to apply the product to clean brows in short, upward strokes.

Makeup Essential #16: MATTE LIPSTICK

There’s just something so chic about a matte lip. For some reason, it looks more mature than a shiny finish. So, when you’re after a sophisticated look, matte lipstick is the way to go.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick. Whether you want to show off a classic red, a sandy brown, or an eye-catching lilac, this line of 12 matte lipsticks features an alluring hue that fits what you’re looking for.

How to use it: Outline your lips using the pointed applicator, then fill your pout in. Make sure to exfoliate your lips first and apply a primer too—this will make for more even application.

Makeup Essential #17: LIPSTICK PALETTE

When you want to create a custom lip color—just as makeup artists generally do—look no further than a lip palette featuring multiple shades and finishes. Whether you want all-over color or you’re looking to create an ombré lip, a palette should feature everything you need.

Editor’s tip: Check out our article, How to Curate the Perfect Lip Palette.

Makeup Essential #18: tinted lip balm

We’d argue you can never have enough lipstick, but when you’re running errands or heading to the gym, you likely won’t want to be sporting your favorite red lippie. In those times, a sheer tinted lip balm is enough to do the trick.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick Glossy Balm. This lip balm will provide a dose of pigmented shine while soothing and conditioning your pout.

How to use it: Start at the center of your upper lip, working your way towards the outer corners. Do the same for your bottom lip.

Makeup Essential #19: PLUMPING GLOSS

If a fuller-looking pout is what you’re after, create that effect in one step with a plumping gloss. Instead of going through a tedious routine of using lip liner and lipstick to fake bigger-looking lips, this allows you to achieve the same look in less time.

Makeup Essential #20: setting spray

Makeup primer is amazing for locking in your look, but it doesn't hurt to have another line of defense against fading and smudging makeup. A setting spray is another way to help keep your makeup in place all day and night.

Product pick: Try the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray. This lightweight mist will give you a “just applied” makeup look throughout the day.

How to use it: Spray your face in an “X” and “T” motion four to six times.

What more beauty essentials? Read our article, 10 Beauty Essentials to Stash in Your Gym Bag.