Beginner’s Guide

I am well aware that I own an abnormal amount of make up. I’m also aware I don’t need even a twentieth of it. I was thinking not too long ago, about the little bag of make up I started out with and how little I knew about it all!

So, that gave my thinker an idea…if I were to recommend a starter kit for my younger self, what would I advise??? I’ve tried to stick to products that I have used in the past, or even currently use. I don’t feel comfortable recommending products that I have never tried or tested on myself.

I’ve also endeavoured to keep the higher end products to a minimum or at least to provide an alternative. This is for two reasons…

  1. I’m well aware that, in many cases, funds will either be limited or coming from parents, so it wouldn’t be fair of me to recommend a £35 foundation or a £26 lipstick. I’m sick of young girls feeling like the make up they do have isn’t good enough because it’s not expensive and I blame the YouTube for that!!!
  2. I’m equally as sick of teeny boppers lining the make up counters of ‘higher end” brands and applying every product to their face with reckless abandon. No means to purchase and no concept of hygiene!

Firstly, I would advise myself to put off wearing make up for as long as possible. Early on in my teens, when I was allowed to apply foundation, it quickly became a mask for me to hide behind. That’s really not the point of it and if that’s how you rely on it, well, I get it if truth be told, but it’s not ideal! At that time, make up should not have felt like a necessity. It should have been fun, something to play with, something to wear from time to time or for special occssions and something that I enjoyed, rather than felt I needed or couldn’t leave the house without.

I would also advise to keep it simple. Don’t pile the products on like you see others do. This was never an issue when I first started out but now, you can’t miss it. Girls, a fresh, healthy looking face is so beautiful! So I won’t be recommending a contour powder, a highlight and all the other trappings that seem to have become “standard” these days.



Foundation, for me, would have been the hardest thing to get right as a teen. For my oily, acne prone skin, a tinted moisturiser just wouldn’t have cut it, so I would advise my younger self to try mineral make up. I know my experience with it now has been a bit up and down but back then, if I had been shown how to use it properly, it could well have worked in partnership with all my medicated washes and creams from the doctor.

Estée Lauder Double Wear, which my oldest chum got me hooked on from the age of 16, was too expensive, even then, and too thick. I see that now. It clogged my pores and likely made my skin complaints a whole heck of a lot worse. Something lighter and non-comedogenic (won’t clog the pores) would be so much better for the skin and be more age appropriate…there’s something that seems to have gone out the window!


BareMinerals Original or Matte Foundation £27 from Debenhams.

Rimmel BB Cream Matte £6.99 from Boots

I would even say to avoid foundation altogether and try concealing any little blemishes with a well matched concealer instead. This will give a little bit of confidence and take any redness from the skin but still allow the skin to breathe.


Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer £3.99 from Boots

Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer £5.49 from Boots

A youthful glow can be achieved by stopping here but with my oily skin I would have needed to have set my foundation.  If only I had discovered this fact sooner!


Bare Minerals Bare Skin Perfecting Veil Finishing Powder £23.00 from Debenhams

Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder £3.99 from Boots


When I was a teenager NO ONE filled in their brows.  It just wasn’t a thing.  Do teenagers really need to fill their brows in?  Most likely not.  As we age, we lose fullness in the brow area and the wee tail starts to disappear.  That’s not a problem when you’re 15.

However, brows are very much played up these days so, if there’s a sparse area or two I would have advised one of two products- a perfectly matched brow powder (as in don’t get espresso brown if your brows are fair) or a brow mascara.  A quick swish of either of these will polish the brows rather than block them out, which is way too harsh in any case.  It will also conceal the fact that you may have got a wee spot of foundation or powder through your brow hairs.


Tanya Burr Perfect Brows palette £6.99 from Superdrug

NYX Tinted Brow Mascara £6.00 from Boots


A subtle blush is always a good idea, particularly when you have made the face quite flat and tonal using your foundation, concealer and powder.  The key word here is SUBTLE.  Placement is important (see my 5 Do’s and Don’ts: Powders for help), careful shade selection is advisable but subtlety is vital! As beginners in make up, a light hand is always best.  Truth be told, as an expert in make up, the same truth applies! Blusher will add life back to the face and make the cheeks appear plump and healthy. If you don’t have oily skin, you want likely love a cream blush but, for my younger self, a powder formula was the only way to go.


Bourjois Little Round Pot Blusher £6.49 from Boots

Milani Baked Blush £8.00 from Beauty Bay


Again, keep it simple.  Enhance your eyes, don’t disguise them behind a smokey, perfectly lined, false lashed look. One palette of basic shades is all that is required.  Even then, little cream shadow pots would be even better!  Don’t worry about crease colours, transition shades, glitters and the like.  One shade all over the lid is stunning and it keeps you looking fresh, modern and bright eyed!


Maybelline Colour Tattoos £5.99 from Boots ( I would recommend the shades ‘On and On Bronze’ and ‘Creme De Rose’)

Wet’n’Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio in ‘Walking on Eggshells’ £3.49 from Amazon

I very quickly got into black liner on my waterline when I began wearing make up, and I still love it to this day.  Now, though, I would advise starting with a nude liner on the inner rim of the eye, to keep the eye looking open and awake.  The reason being, I still find it very difficult to think of my eye look as ‘complete’ without black liner!  Truth be told, it’s a habit I am trying to break, but it’s almost a habit of fifteen years!

Product (There’s only one that’s necessary here!)

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Nude £3.99 from Boots

I think that is more than enough make up to enhance the eyes and all that would remain would be a sweep of mascara.  Black, of course, and I would have advised myself to avoid waterproof!  Trust me, I was never doing anything that warranted a waterproof formula and it probably did more harm than good to my little lashes.  I always applied mascara to both my top and bottom lashes, but it’s really personal preference.


Maybelline Colossal Big Shot mascara £7.99 from Boots

Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara £8.12 from Amazon but keep an eye out in TK Maxx!


In all honesty, I didn’t bother too much with lip products as a teenager.  Those of you who know me personally will most likely be able to deduce why.  I may have gone for a lip gloss or a lip balm but neither would have had much, if any, colour to them. I would probably recommend myself to stick to that ethos but perhaps venture to a subtle tint for special occasions.  For school…clear gloss or a clear balm is more than sufficient.


Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm £5.99 from Feel Unique

Clinique Superbalm Moisturising Gloss £17.50 from Clinique

That’s it!  No doubt, if you are a teenager and have managed to make it through this entire post without screaming at the screen, you are horrified!  Just remember, the true intention of make up is to enhance, not to hide, and a wee make up  bag with these products inside will do just that! No one really NEEDS make up, no matter what they say (and I include myself here) but it’s nice to feel good about ourselves and for some, make up helps with that.  What isn’t good is feeling like you NEED full on glam to look good. You don’t!  It takes up a lot of your time, your money (or your parents’ money as the case may be) and you’ll quickly get stuck in a rut.

Scale it back, take it back a notch.  Enhance, don’t mask.  Keep it simple.  Enjoy make up, don’t rely on it.

J x

Current Thoughts

  • Teenage Julie may have been guilty of sleeping in her make up once or twice.
  • And using a foundation shade that was way too dark.
  • And plucking her eyebrows pencil line thin.
  • Bad Julie!


2 thoughts on “Beginner’s Guide

  1. Scarletpiper says:

    The maybelline big shot is an awesome everyday mascara, not only is it affordable but performs like a champ! I love it…Nice picks…


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