Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Beauty Discovered

Makeup & Beauty Tips on How to Start Your Makeup Stash

Share your best tips and tricks for building up your makeup stash!  Feel free to share your first experiences, how you’ve grown, what you’ve learned, and what, ultimately, you found most helpful in learning how to decide what was worth buying.

Temptalia’s Tips

  1. When it comes to staples, go for the products that you really, really love.  Quality over quantity; you don’t need ten foundations, you only need the one that provides the right coverage, finish, and shade for you.
  2. RETURN WHAT DOES NOT WORK! Don’t be afraid to take advantage of return policies from retailers who offer one.
  3. If you want to try a trendy product or color but don’t think it’s something you’ll love/use often, opt for a lower price point since you won’t use up the product.
  4. Palettes/sets are great ways to have a lot of variety without spending a lot of money.

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36 thoughts on “How to Start Your Makeup Stash – Tips & Tricks

  1. This is all really great advice! I am also a big proponent of returning stuff that doesn’t work, especially if it’s pricey. I can afford some high end stuff but I can’t afford to waste it, if it doesn’t work I am going to return it, you should get what you pay for anyway.

    I agree on every single point here too though, all fantastic advice and not just for those starting out.

  2. Dee Dee

    DONT go into debt for makeup!
    DONT charge it on your credit card!

    Its not worth it, its just not worth paying for a blush 2 years later. NO MAKEUP IS!!!!

  3. Yellowlantern

    1. What is your budget? The smaller you budget the more the rest of this matters, the larger your budget the less it matters.

    2. Think about what you realistically will use on a regular basis and what you wont. For example, even if you look smashing with highlighter and contouring makeup if you don’t think you want to spend the time to do that regularly but you do plan on wearing mascara everyday it makes sense to spend more time researching and testing mascara before finding your perfect highlighter.

    3. Choose those everyday items to start researching and testing to find what works for you within the constraints of your budget.

    4. Don’t be afraid to be critical of products. Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean you have to accept low quality. Just because something is expensive doesn’t automatically mean it is of higher quality than a cheaper product.

  4. Amanda

    Take advantage of those free samples! Sephora will give you a sample of many products (obviously harder with powder eyeshadows, etc.), and its a great way to try out a product before you commit to it and/or have to go through the hassle of returning. This is particularly good with foundations and concealers, so you can see how they work throughout the day and in different kinds of lighting.

  5. Tiffany

    If you are really brand new to make up but know that you always look at a certain product when at the store, like say eyeshadow or blush, then you can start to build your collection around those types of items. This is how you learn what formulas work well for you as well as brands. I do this and right now I’m on a blush kick, gotta have all the blush I see lol.

  6. I would say it’s important to experiment, at the drugstore level, when you’re starting out. This way you can get an idea of what works for you (color, texture, formula, applicator…), and what doesn’t. After you’ve gained a sense of what you like/dislike, I’d say to invest in a few products that are fantastic. Sure you could have 10 of the 100 color palettes from ELF, but maybe you’d prefer to get a Naked Palette, and a foundation and blush that really work great for the same money.

    Quality over quantity. If you don’t truly love what you have, you won’t use it and it will juts go to waste.

  7. Sara

    I definitely have my essentials that I’ve been using for a while and they are worth the cost. I agree, one foundation, powder, concealer, etc is sufficient. It’s eyeshadow and eyeliner where I go crazy. I remember back in college when I only had one black eyeliner and a few small palettes (mostly browns, purples, and greens for my green eyes) but I’ve expanded with lots more eyeshadow palettes (thanks Urban Decay!). Now I have too much…

  8. xamyx

    When I started wearing makeup, I was only 12, so I didn’t have much to spend on it. I had just the “basics”, which included: a black mascara, an eyeshadow palette, eyeliner (pencil), pressed powder, and a couple of lipsticks-all DS. As time went on, more was added, and since I had an eyeshadow palette that had a fair amount of variety, I was able to get a feel for what kind of shades I liked. When it came time to replace or add to my stash, I also knew what shades to not bother with.

    As for foundations, I feel if you are young, and/or have great skin, maybe a TM or BB Cream is a better option, especially if it has a higher SPF. Since they tend to have sheerer coverage, the shades can also be more “forgiving”. If you choose the “traditional” foundation route, I would advise going directly to HE; not because it’s necessarily “better”, but you’re more likely to be able to get a sample that can last several applications. This is important not only to get a proper color match, but also to get an idea of how it applies, wear-time, coverage, etc, and also gives you the ability to try various application methods. Before commiting to one foundation or another, do a bit of research to find which brand/formula matches your needs (try to find 2 or 3, at least), not just what’s popular at the moment, then head to the store/counter & get samples. If they give you a hard time, simply explain that you need to give the foundation every possible chance, and if it works, you’ll come back for a full-size bottle. I’ve never had a problem obtaining foundation, since it’s such a personal product, and often needs more than one application to make a decision. Also, be sure to gety the name of the SA, so s/he can get the credit for helping you. Macy’s is really good about giving samples, and of course Sephora is *always* accomodating. It may also seem like a hassle to feel you need to come back for a full-size, but there’s also the chance that although it looks good in the store, and wears well for the hour or two you’re at the mall, it may not be so great under different conditions, or your skin may still react, and you’ll *still* have to make that return trip. Most samples will last at least 4-5 days, so if you get 3, you’ll have at least 2 weeks before you have to come back.

    Lastly, brushes; unless you’ve actually used a specific brush that’s a bit pricey, and you really love it, don’t feel a need to buy it right away, especially if it has very specific/limited uses. There are many reasonably priced DS options, and they’re often sold in sets. Sonia Kashuk, Essence of Beauty, Posh, & Eco Tools are all really good. Slowly, if you choose, you can add HE brushes, but at least you’ll have a core set, and back-ups if you need them.

  9. Rosaline

    Check out blogs like Temptalia, makeup alley, makeup geek, total beauty, etc, for reviews on products before you buy the products! After purchasing a dud which always makes me feel bad because I wasted my money, I wait for the reviews. No one is going to know that the lipstick shade you are wearing is the latest Burberry or a drugstore dupe. Get familiar with your shade/skin tone and conditions before you go out and try new products. Are you are warm toned medium skin babe with combination sensitive skin? Or an oily in some place and dry in others light skin lady with cool pinky undertones? The type of skin you will will affect how certain products work it won’t work for you. Eye shadows do not stay on my oily eyelids without an eyelid primer and eye shadow cream! Liquid foundations will clog up my pores and break me out but Asian bb creams and tinted moisturizers are more forgiving. Remember that as seasons change, your skin will change too. One foundation may work great in summer months but winter comes, your skin does not like it!

  10. Sample before buying whenever you can! If you can handle loose eyeshadows, many indie companies carry samples for a dollar or so, and most cosmetics counters and Sephora in the US allow you to bring home a sample of a product.

  11. AMANDA

    I think QVC is a great place to start. I keep an eye out for the TSV (Today’s Special Value) for good deals on bundled products. QVC works with a lot of fabulous high end makeup brands like Bare Escentuals, Tarte, Bobbi Brown, Laura Geller, Mally, Josie Maran, Smashbox and more!
    It’s a good way to try alot of products from a particular brand.

  12. Jennifer

    I still haven’t found the right foundation for me. I have 2 drugstore ones that are Okay, and a MAC one. In the past I used prescriptives but they’re gone now. Does anyone have any recommendations for a foundation for someone with dry/very dry skin, pale skin?

    • xamyx

      Just go “counter-hopping”, or Sephora or ULTA and ask for samples. Explain to the SA what you’re looking for, and ask for a sample. If s/he is reluctant, explain that you’d rather have an ample amount to experiment with on your own time, rather than buy something only to return it; also, be sure to get their name, and explain if you decide to come back for a full-size, you’ll be sure to give them the credit for helping you.

      As for product suggestions, have you tried NARS Sheer Glow? I’m pale with dry skin, as well, and once I’ve used up some of what I have, I plan to buy that one. Also, look to brands that cater to an “older” demographic, as we tend to have drier skin, and they may be more likely to have formulas that address that. Elizabeth Arden may be one to try, as well. HTH

    • Hannah

      nuetrogena healthy skin is great for dry skin, as is nars sheer glow. I liked the nars better but it broke me out. still great for dry skin, both leave a really dewy finish.

    • MAC Mineralize Satinfinish SPF 15 Foundation is a good one for dry/very dry skin! :)

    • wikkedlilgrrl

      Try Bobbi Brown — the spectrum of shades are AWESOME!

    • Carrie

      Have you tried Revlon Colorstay? It’s the only one I use.

    • Try Smashbox Studio Skin. Or Pur MInerals new tinted moisturizer.

    • Jade

      Haha you poor person! My advice is DON’T GIVE UP!! It’s very disheartening to try a lot of different things, but once you find something that works it’s truly awesome, and worth the hunt. In regards to your request, I actually think you should focus on finding a good moisturiser. I used to try to find foundation to treat my skin problems, until I realised that NO foundation was going to hydrate my skin like a good moisturiser will. Once you have that down, you will probably find that your foundation will look and wear much better.

    • Micah

      Hi Jennifer (and hello Christine – I’ve been lurking and loving Temptalia for several weeks now and this is my first comment. I LOVE your blog!! Thanks for such a gorgeous labor of love!)

      Jennifer, I also have pale skin – I’m not pink enough to be a true porcelain but I’m a dark mahogany auburn hair with blue eyes and cool tones to my skin. I am also exceptionally dry. I have had terrible trouble finding the right pale shade. Until I found Bobbi Brown. I have been using her Extra Repair Foundation in Sand for about 2 months and I love it. I find I only need to use very little to get a much more even skin tone and I have to say that I love the scent and feel of it on my skin so much that I actually look forward to putting it on. It’s really like a treatment product. It’s a bit steep at $58, but since I use so little product, I am not too concerned about the price. I am 49 years old and this is the first time I’ve found a foundation that I am crazy about. Hope this helps. Take care.

    • Cait

      I have dry pale skin….so dry in fact my skin flakes. I’ve tested MANY..the only foundations I have found that didn’t make my skin flake within hours were Tarte Maracuja Oil Miracle Foundation, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Nars Sheer Glow, Laura Mercier Moisture, & Revlon Colorstay for dry skin. Also, Smashbox’s blue hydrating primer & either Philosophy Hope in a Jar(dry skin) or Dermalogica Active Moist for moisturizer. Because a good base and good skin can make most anything work.

  13. Amelia

    I started my stash with a 99 cent store neutral makeup palette, a maybelleine mascara, a clear lip gloss and a brown lipliner. Later on, I went to sephora and got one of the Bobbi brown bronzers. I was 18 then and now at 24 I have a stash unlike most would imagine. My tip is start with drugstore since is the most affordable to test run with. Start with TM then work your way to foundations. Some things I’ve learned not to skimp on would be primers (smash box is amazing) it keeps your makeup lasting a long time even drugstore. Make use of palettes like said before. My first big palette was from BHcosmetics for 25 bucks with 120 colors. The UD naked palettes are great as well but for those with a smaller budget take a look at the Coastal scents 88 Metal mania palette or the Sedona lace 120 warm palette. Elf does a 144 warm palette that I heard is pretty good for 15 bucks. Imma HUGE fan of wet and wild products that range from 99 to 6 bucks. Their eyeshadows are great.

  14. San

    Reading Temptalia and finding unbiased reviews through an online makeup community were the best things that I did to find the right products for me when I first became interested in cosmetics. They helped me build the vocabulary to establish what I was looking for, and then it became as simple as finding an SA wiling to listen at Sephora (where I know I can always return the product if it doesn’t work out).

  15. Ann

    Such a great little article and the comments are fantastic! I wish these tips had been around when I was starting out. I would have saved a ton of money. Now, like others, I wait for reviews. (Especially Temptalia – this is my number one trusted site!)

    For my two cents, I agree about palettes. In fact, if I had a youtube channel it would be all about the glory of palettes. I love them. I don’t care if it’s an eyebrow palette, complexion palette, or shadow palette – I love them all. Well, I love to drool over them all. As for which ones I actually purchase, see previous comment regarding reviews. :)

    When it comes to brushes, I recommend that any beginner start out with ELF brushes. Yes – I said it – ELF! The studio line of brushes is actually quite good for beginners. It helps you get a feel for what brush does what and what you like/want in a tool. Only then would I plunk down some change on a good set or buy individually. I still use some of the ELF brushes to this day.

    I also agree with the other posters about getting samples (especially foundation) at Sephora, Ulta, etc. Any customer service clerk who sees you are serious will be more than happy to help.

    Thanks for the great post C!

  16. Jill

    Someone said it right on not to go broke buying makeup. Drugstore products really stepped up in terms of quality, and if I had to invest in anything it would be good primers.

  17. Kendra

    I agree with everything Christine!

    I think of buying makeup like clothes, invest more in staples and save on items that are more trendy. I am definitely willing to spend more for a foundation since it really needs to be perfect or as perfect as it can get, since it will cover my face and set the stage for the rest of my look.

    Holiday value sets really are a great way to save and build your collection of products like lip gloss, eye shadow and such.

  18. Love a good set! You get variety of shades in smaller (travel ready!) sizes. Such an easy/inexpensive way to build up your collection.

  19. I do 1 and 3, fear #2 and will be starting #4. I wanted to revamp my current stash as well as my makeup routine. I was a bit weary about buying, returning and actually just the whole trying. So…I joined a couple of beauty in the mail subscriptions. At $10 a membership I get to sample things I wouldn’t otherwise try or learn of. I also started checking out YouTube gurus, that’s a great way to see and hear about products and some common complaints.

  20. blueraccoon

    Everyone has really good tips so I’ll just add this one: Try to buy around the holidays, if you can. Lots of companies put out gift sets around then, or sampler kits, and it’s a great way to try a lot of products for less than you’d pay normally. Sephora does a ton of these – there was a kit of blushes, bronzers, and luminizers; a mascara set; eyeliner set; the lip product set, etc. Some of the sets are availale year round and it’s definitely worth picking up if you think you want to try a bunch of blushes, say, but don’t know specifically what colors or textures you want.

    This was how I started, actually–I bought the Sephora Give Me Some Lip sampler in 2011, and then the Smashbox lip gloss sampler, and then I kept buying things…

  21. charlotte

    Research products online before you buy and read several different reviews. Pay attention to the skin type and coloring of the reviewer.. the closer they are to you, the more likely the product will work similarly on you. Don’t believe the hype or fall for fads, stick with tried and true formulas and products at first. Don’t buy multiples of the same product until you have tried a lot of different brands.. make sure you love it or you might find you love something else more and be stuck with six of the same thing you never use. Don’t be afraid to try something completely new and be sure to return it if you don’t like it for any reason. Wait for sales, unless the product is LE. Price/brand name does not equal quality. If you hate it, don’t use it.. makeup is supposed to make you happy and if you don’t like it, or worse it damages your skin, it’s not a waste to rehome or discard it. Plan ahead with organization, it’s much easier than trying to organize a huge pile of products after the fact.

  22. Michelle

    Great advice, Christine! Unfortunately, I’m always hesitant to return/exchange cosmetics. I’ve had good experiences in my local MAC stores, but the SAs at my local Sephora make me feel so uncomfortable. It’s like an interrogation coupled with a debasing attitude.

  23. BeautynBullets

    Hello, I am new on this site and just wanted to share a few things – Growing up in a strict parental environment where I could only wear gloss and mascara at 15, left me little options to create a makeup stash, until that glorious day when my mom said, ok you can wear eye makeup! I dashed to the local drug store and bought up mostly the “wet and wild” brand and that’s how it all began. My cosmetic addiction. Now as an adult and former MAC makeup artist, I’ve learned over the years that a less price point dosen’t always mean less quality, it depends on the product itself. I’ve had lipsticks that were just as good or close to MAC brand, but maybe had to sacrafice that pleasant vanilla scent for a more “crayon” type one, still the color and texture was just as good. However, when it comes to shadows, I am picky and really look for good color payoff, blendability, little fall out and adherence to my primer, no creasing allowed – So I have several brands I use as default, MAC being one of them. For my stash, I have converted my bathroom into a makeup shrine, with everything organized from my brushes to my glitters – and I have everything categorized by brand. It’s easier that way to pack for an event. I have also utilized my local craft store and bought several cases, compartments, and plastic boxes – these are great for organization of lipsticks, glitters, pencils, and compacts just to name a few. I’ve bought differen’t size glass vases, filled with colorful beads and stick my brushes in them – (Sephora uses the smaller white beads in the square boxes), but this is a great idea, keeps the brushes in upright position, for me it’s easier to choose which one I am working with and is just delightfully appealing to look at through an artists eyes anyway :-) Hope this was helpful, have a lovely day beauties!

  24. Amanda

    I often by value sets. Sure you get less in each prouct, but in the last year I’ve finished one pressed powder. I’ve barely even made a dent in other products. Unless you use the same colours every day, makeup lasts a long time. I also never buy individual eyeshadows. And I only buy drugstore mascaras due to the short shelf life. Most of my brushes are those $3 ones from elf. Also, do your research. If a product sucks, chances are someone on the internet will tell you and save you from throwing away money on something crap.