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You’ve pretty much nailed the whole “I woke up like this look” and, girl, you are rocking it. But, for anyone who’s ever tried to start dabbling in makeup, it can be slightly intimidating to navigate through the endless product pages on From angled brushes and heated eyelash curlers to fluorescent highlighter and eyeshadow palettes as big as your countertop, some things are better left to the pros. That’s why we created a quick cheat sheet of the 12 essentials that every grown woman should have in her makeup arsenal.

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Clinique Moisture Surge Moisturizer


Look for a lightweight but hydrating face cream to create an even base that won’t cake or peel throughout your day.

Clinique ($39)

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation


Try a formula that is both thin and moisturizing, so you can build upon for less or more coverage depending on your needs. (A little SPF never hurt anyone either.)

Tarte ($39)

Urban Decay Naked concealer


To erase under-eye circles, unwanted blemishes or any imperfections with one quick swipe.

Urban Decay ($29)

Kevyn Aucoin mascara

Black Mascara

A miracle, face-brightening tool that will breathe life into tired eyes.

Kevyn Aucoin ($28)

Stila Gel Tip Eyeliner

Black Eyeliner

For nights when you want a more dramatic look. This tapered felt tip is super easy to use to help beginners perfect the technique.

Stila ($22)

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Pencil

Eyebrow Pencil

Brows are having a huge moment because of how defining they are for the entire face. But don’t get intimidated by all of the varying techniques, a simple pencil that fills in any gaps will do the trick nicely.

Anastasia Beverly Hills ($21)

Nars Blush


For adding a lovely glow no matter what kind of winter cyclone is blowing outside.

Nars ($30)

Clinique Nude lipstick

Nude Lipstick

A universally-flattering hue that can pull your entire face together. Look for a shade that most closely matches your skin tone for a flawless look.

Clinique ($18)


Duwop Red Lipstick

Red Lipstick

On the flip side, a red lip is a total game-changer that can make a major statement even with very little other makeup on. Stick to shades with blue undertones—not orange—to keep it flattering for all skin tones. 

DuWop ($22)

EcoTools Beginner Makeup Brush Set

Simple Brush Set

There’s no need to break the bank on a massive set of brushes. Keep it simple with a set of five: one for face powders, one for blending and contouring and three varying sizes for different eye looks.

EcoTools ($13)

Beauty Blender

Beauty Blender

No matter how many knock-offs pop up, there’s a reason pros still trust the OG version. Use it to flawlessly apply foundation and concealer no matter how new to the makeup game you are.

Beautyblender ($20)


Q Tips Cotton Swabs

Cotton Swabs

Pro tip: Dip into lotion or makeup remover to fix minor errors and stray eyeliner.

Q-Tips ($5)

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