Guest Blog: Top 10 Makeup Essentials


Makeup shopping can be overwhelming, and we all have that drawer full of stuff we never use, cluttering up our bathroom. I like to call it the “Makeup Graveyard.”

The problem is this: You walk into Sephora, Ulta, or even a drugstore, without a plan. You browse around and purchase things that you are visually attracted to, like that pretty eyeshadow palette, or shimmering pink blush. Although they are beautiful in the store, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will work for you. Rarely will you find someone swooning over a tube of concealer, yet that is one of the most important products in a woman’s makeup bag that will help her look and feel her best.

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Today, I want to share with you the top 10 makeup essentials that should be in your makeup bag. They may not be the most fun products to purchase, but they are true work horses. These are your staples.

My best advice is to splurge on certain products and save on others.  When it comes to skincare and makeup brushes, I always tell my clients to buy the best they can afford. Mascara is a great place to save your pennies.

Without further ado, here is your list:

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1) PRIMER | You wouldn’t paint your walls without priming them first, would you? Same idea here. Primer is magic. It evens out your skin’s texture and makes everything you apply over it, go on smoother and last longer. You will see the biggest difference. There are lots of primers out there for lots of different skin types, so choose one that is appropriate for your concerns. A really good universal option is the Laura Mercier Primer.

2) NEUTRAL SHADOW PALETTE | There are so many palettes out there and many of them are simply too much. Certainly, they are pretty, but you will only use a few shades leaving the rest untouched. This palette maybe not the prettiest, but it is certainly one of the most practical. (Kind of like a nude bra.) You will use every single shade in this palette. It is filled with neutral shades that flatter everyone and can create a multitude of looks, from natural to smoky. Click here for a great starter palette with colors that work for most people.

3) CREAM BLUSH | It is so easy to apply! Just take a bit onto your fingertips, rub them together to warm up the product, and then smile at yourself in the mirror and gently pat it on the apples of your cheeks, blending it upwards. This one has been a long time favorite and is so flattering on everyone.
4) LASH CURLER | If you wear no makeup at all, curl your lashes. It makes the biggest difference, taking you from tired to wide awake in a matter of seconds. A swipe of mascara will magnify this effect. I like this one.
5) MASCARA | A true makeup essential. As mentioned above, mascara and a good lash curler are magical in making you look more awake and youthful in a matter of seconds. L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise is a really good one.
6) EYE BROW PENCIL | Eyebrows are the picture frame to your face. If you can, get your brows shaped by a professional – then fill them in as needed with a brow pencil.  This is my favorite: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
7) CONCEALER | Unless you are a teenager with flawless skin, you need a good concealer.  It will hide dark circles and the occasional blemish. This Nars concealer is one of the best ones on the market. It goes on smoothly, looks natural and brightens your under eye area. It also work great on blemishes. 
8) FOUNDATION | Foundation is a very personal choice, depending greatly on your age, skin type and skin concerns. I highly recommend going for a consultation, getting shade matched and finding the right formula for you. This one from IT Cosmetics (a CC+ Cream with SPF) is my personal favorite.
9) BRONZER | Bronzer is magical.  It works wonders in making you look well rested. I use it year round for a healthy looking glow. It should be used very sparingly on the high planes of your face, where the sun would naturally hit you. This will make it look the most realistic.  It should never, ever be used to contour your face. The results would be cringe worthy. This one from Bobbi Brown is great and Physicians Formula makes an amazing, budget friendly version.
10) LIPGLOSS | Last but not least, a pretty gloss will complete your makeup wardrobe. Gloss looks beautiful on everyone and is easy to apply without a mirror or lip liner.  Just pop it on. I’m addicted to these from Buxom.  My favorite shades are Dolly and Blushing Margarita. If you prefer less shine, a tinted lip balm is also a perfect choice.
This list can be customized to your needs and budget and will help you create a functioning makeup capsule wardrobe. (For example, if you have perfect skin and don’t need a foundation, purchase a tinted moisturizer instead.) Every season, feel free to add a fresh new lip color, blush, or nail color to keep you seasonal and on-trend.
I hope this post helps you shop with intention and reduce your makeup graveyard. Enjoy!


Kirsten is a makeup artist and beauty blogger sharing quick and easy makeup tips for women. Makeup doesn’t have to be complicated, and it is her goal to help women look and feel their best every day. Kirsten shares lots of tutorials on her Instagram @thebeautyblotter as well as on her blog, The Beauty Blotter. She also teaches private Beauty Bootcamp Lessons in and around Annapolis.  Please email Kirsten at kirsten@thebeautyblotter for more information.
A note from Susie…
Once you have edited your makeup collection, it’s time to organize! Check out my Amazon Storefront for some of my favorite products. I also love these angled, expandable drawer organizers from The Home Edit for showing off your beauty essentials.
As always, if your project feels overwhelming and you’d like my team to assist, reach out to setup a free consultation with me. Happy organizing!


Each of my career choices-wedding coordinator, event planner, and teacher — gave me the creative freedom to organize everyone and everything. I have always thrived on to-do lists, planners, and systems! Now, I lead a team of organizers to help me on my mission. Read more…

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