makeup essentials| the plan + wishlist

I've come a long way in the beauty world. Five years ago I was using drugstore foundations that rarely matched my skin tone, old Loreal blush, and an Almay eyeshadow quad. There was nothing wrong with it, and makeup wasn't as much a priority as it was a necessary routine for me. But as our world got smaller and smaller with social media, I started noticing makeup tutorials on youtube. Being a photographer I thought it would be a nifty talent to do makeup as well for creative shoots or whatnot. So in 2013, I stumbled across a "Beauty Guru" on Youtube named Jaclyn Hill. It was a video for flawless foundation and I was tired of mine looking like crap, so I watched the video and bought the exact products she used, slowly building a small collection of brushes as well. I actually blogged the haul and my makeup collection at that time here! Then I started branching out and trying new brands online, and blogged a little bit about it. (I miss the lighting in that apartment for self portraits!) Now I'm in a new stage of life, my taste has matured a bit as well as my ability, and I've decided on a new approach to buying makeup.

A bit about my "Essentials Collection"

Sometimes I get a little too excited and end up with multiple products in one category. Sometimes I buy more than I need because of a good deal, and it may turn out to be a crap product. On top of it all, I wear makeup like once a week most weeks and even then it may just be a concealer and mascara day.
I built off the idea of a capsule wardrobe, and I actually saw a Youtuber create a capsule makeup collection, in which she keeps her collection as a whole in a cabinet and brings out a small collection for her vanity at the beginning of the new season. That's a great idea for people who collect makeup, but not exactly what I need. I decided on building up a collection of essentials with one or two products per category. (Usually one higher end and an inexpensive option for quick makeup days.) There is not a strict number, just some structure to keep my buying habits in check.

I started realizing I was building a small collection of crap makeup, because the items were overhyped or inexpensive. I was buying multiple cheap products trying to find a good option, when I could have bought a really nice product in the first place. I decided to step up my game, which is a bit tough, but it pays off when I love my makeup.

This is a personal choice. I know it can be inconvenient, especially on a budget, and I've had to make cruelty purchases when I'm in my small hometown and had to grab makeup I forgot at Dollar General. It's hard to know exactly what we're buying, and it's impossible to shop completely cruelty free, (I cringe every time I make a clothing purchase from places like Target or Old Navy and pray a toddler didn't make them.) but when I have the knowledge and especially when it's as trivial to me as makeup, I choose cruelty free.

Products I want in my essentials collection. The bold lettering is what I already have, with a couple of plans for what to buy. My collection isn't perfect to me yet, there are still products I'm using up that I plan on switching up for something else.

Primer- high-end
Foundation- affordable, high-end for future
Concealer- high-end, affordable for everyday
Eyebrows- high-end
Eyeshadow- high-end
Eyeliner- affordable
Mascara- high-end, still looking for a good affordable
Blush- high-end
Bronzer- high-end
Highlight- high-end, affordable 
Setting Spray- high-end, affordable for everyday

And last but not least.
How I shop for the best value. I rarely purchase makeup without a sale or promo code, and they're a lot easier to find than I expected.

+ If you're buying items from one brand, check the brand's website before buying from Sephora or Ulta. A lot of sites will give you a discount on your first order or for signing up for their newsletter, which you can always unsubscribe from if they get too spammy.

+ Check promo code sites! Just google " Item promo codes". There are so many great sites like RetailMeNot that have some viable options. (Also do this for samples if you don't like your choices! I always look for mascara sample codes for sephora.)

+ Buy Secondhand. I know, this one may seem yucky to some, but as long as it's not a lipstick I don't really mind. I made some high-end powder purchases from Mercari, and my items were either brand new or very lightly used and almost half price!

+Watch for newsletters and sales. Being on email lists can pay off if you can wait to buy a product until it goes on sale. And some sites have sales constantly.

+Build your collection with samples. The hardest high-end purchase for me is mascara. It doesn't always last very long, especially with how much I use it. Everytime you make a purchase from a sample site, such as Sephora, stock up on some minis that you don't like buying full-sizes of. I have one mini mascara I'm working on, and another unopened. I also do this for fragrance.

That about wraps it up for my plans. I'll share what my collection currently consists of soon, and I'm planning on doing this with my closet one of these days as well. More soon!xx


  1. I love the idea of having a high-end and budget-friendly product in each category. It's a good way to limit myself. :) I also love that you buy cruelty-free. I'm super new to the makeup game, so I love following your advice and recommendations.

    1. Yeah it's nice to have options for special occasion and everyday.
      I still feel new to the makeup game also, but I'm glad I can help a little!