18 Makeup Essentials Every Woman Should Own in Their Dresser

These makeup essentials are in every millennial’s cosmetic bag

By Hana O.
18 Makeup Essentials Every Woman Should Own in Their Dresser

Whether you are an avid makeup user or a beginner who does not know the difference between a bronzer or a highlighter, makeup essentials are for everyone. There are some cosmetics products that we cannot live without. It’s all right if you have five varieties of blushes or just one lipstick that needs a backup, essentials are essentials, no matter the quantity.


The general makeup essentials that must be found in your dresser or makeup kit are foundation, concealer, blush, eyeshadow, eyebrow product, mascara, eyeliner, lipstick, and a set of brushes.

For those who are more attuned to the world of makeup, we also have the face primer, BB cream, highlighter, bronzer, setting powder, eye primer, sponges, and lip gloss included somewhere in between that list.


Keep scrolling to see a list of makeup essentials for different occasions as well as one for your everyday look.

Basic makeup essentials for everyday wear with reviews

For an everyday look, it all depends on how much time you can allot to makeup application or the demands of your professions. Some ladies can’t stay seated for more than 20 minutes putting on makeup while there are those who love the 2-hour process of transformation. We will tackle both types to achieve a balance.

1. Foundation: Josie Maran Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation

Price: $45.00

Vibrancy Argan Oil Foundation Fluid - Josie Maran | Sephora

This revolutionary medium-to-full coverage foundation works as a primer and foundation and is made with 100% pure argan oil and nutrient-rich pigments. It activates your skin’s vitality making it glow and radiant.

I love this foundation for my dry/fair skin. The Euphoric color blends perfectly & covers the red patches on my cheeks & chin. I don't notice a scent w/this product that other reviewers have noticed. But, I'm not usually sensitive to smells. When you read the ingredients list, this product is packed w/good stuff, so I feel confident using it. The price is a little high, but you're getting 1oz. - should last awhile.


2. Mascara: Clinique High Impact Mascara

Price: $19.00

High Impact Mascara - CLINIQUE | Sephora

Clinique’s High Impact Mascara is perfect for those who have extra sensitive eyes and can’t stand to bare having something come into close contact with it.


Ophthalmologist-tested, the mascara will not cause any irritation to the eyes and is free of mineral oil and fragrance. Women swear by how well it sticks to the lashes and doesn’t produce clumps.

This stuff is the bomb. I had been a loyal devotee of Benefit They're Real for years. I tried this as it was a sample and I like trying new things. I was pretty amazed. I still have high marks for They're Real, but Clinique HI is now my go-to. Length, no clumps, gets every lash!


3. Eyebrows: NYX Micro Brow Pencil

Price: $10.00

Amazon.com : NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Micro Brow Pencil, Espresso, 0.01 Pound : Beauty

Light on the pocket and the brows, this deep brown (other colors available) mechanical brow pencil will create high-definition shapes on your brows and fill in any sparse areas for a natural eyebrow on fleek look.

NYX is my absolute favorite when it comes to brow products. I’ve tried so many brow products and they’re always either too creamy or too dry. The formula for this products is just perfect for both natural and dramatic looks. And the tips stay so precise throughout use. Some tips: be conscious of what cap you’re putting into what end and make sure to roll down the pencil before capping it again. Pics include with one eyebrow done and then with both brows done.


4. Blush: NARS Orgasm

Price: $30.00

Blush - NARS | Sephora

When it comes to simple, no-frills-attached blushes, NARS is the way to go. The award-winning pressed powder blush creates a healthy-looking color to your cheeks that flatters any skin tone.

I think "Lovejoy" is the brown girl's "Orgasm". It's very subtle, and adds a warm, peachy, slightly shimmery highlight to deep skin tones. It's beautiful. I wear this almost daily.


5. Lipstick: Glossier Generation G

Price: $18.00

Sheer Matte Lipstick: Generation G | Glossier

This lipstick is perfect for daytime use. It gives a just-blotted finish with just the right amount of coverage. Infused with sunflower and synthetic beeswax to create a smooth texture, blue agave for comfortable wear, and safflower oil to prevent moisture loss, this lipstick is a regular tenant in women’s makeup kits.

I admittedly spend a lot of my disposable income on beauty. But I never spent much on lip products before. I decided to try Gen G shades because they were supposed to be different, and they are! I wear "Like" daily and "Jam" at night if I want a bolder look. I love that you can layer them, I'm obsessed with the simple packaging, and it's very handy that you can apply them without a mirror. I don't have time for a 20-minute tutorial on lip color. This stuff is effortless and gorgeous.

The minimalist makeup essentials with reviews

For the ladies who love the less is more look, whether in ingredients, formulation or the actual no-makeup makeup look, this one is for you.

6. Tinted moisturizer: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20

Price: $46.00

Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 - Oil Free - Laura Mercier | Sephora

This product is a perfect blend of skincare and makeup that helps control oily skin while giving a sheer hint of color for that natural and healthy glow. Minimalists typically go for fewer products on the face; hence they choose one that provides more benefits in one go.

I absolutely love this tinted moisturizer!! I’ve always just used concealer on my skin but this just gives me a perfect even skin tone. The formula is not heavy at all and it matches so great it’s ridiculous


7. Concealer: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

Price: $25.00

Match Stix Matte Skinstick - FENTY BEAUTY by Rihanna | Sephora

Our girl Riri has created this makeup stick that conceals, corrects, and contours all skin types in 20 shades. It truly is a minimalist product that packs a punch.

This product was so dewy after application and added that extra depth I needed to my look. I also bought the ‘Flyliner’ which was like liquid velvet and never came off. Ever. I would purchase them again. I actually have to because they were stolen from me along with my car. Great products girl!


8. Brow gel: Milk Makeup KUSH Fiber Brow Gel

Price: $18.00

KUSH Fiber Brow Gel - MILK MAKEUP | Sephora

KUSH Fiber Brow Gel is cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan, gluten-free, fragrance-free, and silicone-free. It is easy to use and stays on the brows for a long time without flaking.

I absolutely love this stuff! It’s buildable coverage for your eyebrows!! I love that it’s not super dark right away! They color matched my brows perfectly and it doesn’t even feel like I have anything in my brows!


9. Mascara: Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara

Price: $28.00

Limitless Lash Mascara - ILIA | Sephora

Another cruelty-free product, this buildable natural mascara makes the lashes look lengthened, curled, lifted, and voluminous.

This mascara is great and doesn't flake. Normally I like a fuller brush like the Better Than Sex mascara, but this one works great if you put on front and back of your lashes!


10. Blush: NARS Liquid Blush

Price: $30.00

Liquid Blush - NARS | Sephora

Nothing says natural flush than this highly-pigmented liquid blush that works great on all skin tones.

LOVE this liquid blush. First time I tried one and it's amazing. I've been wanting a dewier look and this helps me not look so matte.


Makeup essentials for holiday looks with reviews

For the holidays, we tend to expend extra effort in how we look; therefore this list will be more detailed.

11. Brush: Sephora Collection

Price: $62.00

Tools Of The Trade Brush Set - SEPHORA COLLECTION | Sephora

This high-quality set of eight brushes will add a professional touch to your eyes, cheeks, and complexion.

This fabulous set up brushes includes all you need for every look. The case rolls up nicely and does not take up much space. Perfect for home and travel.


12. Becca Backlight Priming Filter Face

Price: $39.00

Backlight Priming Filter Face Primer - BECCA | Sephora

A makeup primer that blurs imperfections and creates the perfect base. Can be used by all skin types, including sensitive skin.

Love this stuff. It smells amazing, the glow is perfect, and a pea-size amount will cover your entire face. I also like that you get a full ounce. So far, so good...just wish it was a tad less expensive.


13. Highlighter: Urban Decay Naked Skin Shapeshifter

Price: $45.00

Naked Skin Shapeshifter - Urban Decay | Sephora

This three-in-one complexion palette contains both powders and creams to contour, color-correct, and highlight.

I LOVE the shades in here: perfect cool tone for contour, warm tone for bronzer, the setting highlight powder is so soft and doesn't crease on concealer, and the highlight has gotten me like 10 compliments already! And in a pinch you can use the powder for your eyeshadow too!


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14. Setting spray: Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Price: $15.00

All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray Mini - Urban Decay | Sephora

For events that will last through the night, this weightless setting spray will ensure that your makeup stays for up to 16 hours.

This setting spray has been my go-to for years. It's amazing and my makeup lasts forever. can't live without it!


15. Eyeshadow: Huda Beauty Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette

Price: $27.00

Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette - HUDA BEAUTY | Sephora

Beauty lovers get the best of both worlds (day to night eye colors) with this compact eyeshadow curated by Ms. Huda herself.

I must say this was one that caught my eye right off the bat, the colors are bold but yet blend beautifully together! Well done! I would recommend this even to the beginners.


16. Mascara primer: Lancôme CILS Booster XL Super-enhancing Mascara Base

Price: $13.00

CILS BOOSTER XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Base - Lancôme | Sephora

Ensure that your mascara stays on beautifully throughout the night with this primer.

I got this as a 100-point perk, and at first I was skeptical. As soon as I put it on my lashes, I fell in love!! I have short thick eyelashes and they made them sooo long! I will be buying a full size on payday, and I will never wear mascara without this again!! I am in LOVE


17. Blush: Nudestix Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze

Price: $32.00

Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze - NUDESTIX | Sephora

The soft, matte, monochromatic nude color of the stick works as a blush and bronzer for that dewy and elegant finish.

I listened to a lot of reviews on YouTube about nudestix and universally the most popular of their products are their bronzer and blush sticks. I gotta say that the deep maple is lovely on dark skin. On my medium deep skin tone it functions wonderfully as a dual blush/bronzer and as it fades during the day fades in the most natural way, still leaving some pigment by the end of the day. Easy to touch up if need be and has the most natural appearing glow. I think this product really is a must-try if you’ve been on the fence about it. There’s a good amount of product as well.


18. Lip liner: BiteBeauty The Lip Pencil

Price: $9.00

The Lip Pencil - Bite Beauty | Sephora

BiteBeauty’s wood-barrel lip pencils are available in a wide array of colors to line the lips accurately. The product is also certified Sephora Clean.

Applies so easily and lasts throughout the day. I love how my lipstick applies over it and keeps it from running.



Don’t get discouraged by the vast lineup of makeup products available in the market today. It takes time and trial-and-error to build your makeup essential list. The good news is, once you have it, you’re set!

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