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A Makeup Intro: What I Think Teens Should Start With In A Basic Makeup Kit

Teen Intro Makeup Bag Collection
Recently I’ve gotten quite a few emails and messages from young teens asking me to make them a basic makeup kit, similar to the one I put together in my Teen Makeup Kit post. Somehow about 2 years (!!) have passed since I first published that post, so it is time for an update! Today I’ll share my basic recommendations, and in the next few days I’ll share a post that has some specific recommendations for the questions I was asked. Finally, I’ve even found an amazing 14 year old who is going to share (with her mom’s permission) her favorite makeup products as well!

First, I’ve been asked about how to get permission to wear makeup. I strongly recommend to teens that you just initiate a conversation with your parents about makeup if you’re interested in it. A big part about being allowed to do things as a teen is developing and keeping your parents’ trust. If they can trust that you’ll do what you say, and not do things they don’t want you to do, then you really will be allowed to do quite a bit more and will have a better relationship with your parents. Having a discussion before just starting to wear makeup will show your parents that you are mature and reasonable! It makes us parents feel like we’ve done a good job with you, we want to reward you for that. (Pro Tip: This works for everything, not just makeup.)

Starting to use makeup

So, for me, I had this talk with my mom when I was 12 and about to start 7th grade. I think my mom initiated it, not me. She said that she’d let me start wearing makeup gradually. At first I was allowed light pink nail polish, lip gloss and mascara. When I was in 8th grade I was allowed to start wearing more makeup. We were very open about it and because I earned their trust, my parents let me wear makeup earlier than they probably would have otherwise.

The moral of the story is that an open discussion and earning your parents’ trust is definitely worth it!
best beginning beauty books for teenagers
My suggested reading! Both of these books go over basic makeup, beauty and hygiene topics. I recommend them for all pre-teens, especially Bonding Over Beauty. I would get that one for any girl 12 and up, even if she isn’t interested in makeup yet. There’s a lot about puberty changes and hygiene. There are a lot of questions that teens have and are embarrassed to ask. Here are the answers!

Bobbi Brown Beauty Rules: Fabulous Looks, Beauty Essentials, and Life Lessons
Bonding over Beauty: A Mother-Daughter Beauty Guide to Foster Self-esteem, Confidence, and Trust

Best moisturizers for oily skin teenagers

Prepare your skin

I always start by prepping my skin for makeup after washing my face. Whether your skin is oily, dry or combination, you need a moisturizing lotion. I always use one that includes sunscreen.

Because teenagers usually have much more even skin tone, I don’t recommend a lot of coverage all over. I really wouldn’t start using a foundation until you’re older, it just isn’t needed. If you do need a little coverage, a BB Cream is great. So, plain lotion with SPF for most days, but if your skin needs a little more coverage I’d try a BB Cream with SPF.

When picking a lotion or BB Cream, a light lotion with SPF works for pretty much everyone. Don’t use a lot, about the size of a pea is generally enough for me with my combination skin. I spread it around and then pat it into my skin some. (I don’t know why, I was taught this by a makeup artist at Sephora, but it really does make it look better!)

My Picks:
Kiehl’s Ultra Moisture Lotion SPF 30 (at Kiehl’s or Nordstrom)
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 35 (get at ULTA or Drugstore.com)

For a BB Cream, you need to get the right shade for your skin. This can definitely be tricky, I strongly recommend looking around on-line at blog swatches of the shades to narrow it down before heading to the store. If you want a higher end product, go to Sephora and let them pick it out for you. If a drugstore shade, many stores have good return policies (such as CVS) and will let you bring back a product if the color didn’t work for you.

My Picks:
Pond’s Luminous Finish BB Plus Cream at Amazon or Drugstore.com
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream (at ULTA or Amazon), there’s also a Dream Pure BB Cream, which is the same thing but geared toward those with acne, (at ULTA) it has added Salicylic Acid.

Favorite eyeshadow priming base

Enhance Your Eyes

Before finishing my face makeup, I do my eyes. Really, I’m not so great at avoiding fallout of eyeshadow onto my cheek. So by doing my eyes before the rest of my face, it lets me wipe off any shadow without ruining makeup I’ve already applied.

I always start with an eye primer. Because I’m so fair I like to use one by NYX that has quite a bit of coverage, it hides all of my visible blood vessels. If this isn’t an issue then you should be able to use any other eye primer. If you are planning on using a glittery eye shadow, I recommend a glitter primer, ELF and Too Faced both make good ones.

My Picks:
NYX Eye Shadow Base (at Target or ULTA)
e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow Primer (from ELF)
e.l.f. essential glitter primer (from ELF)
Too Faced Shadow Insurance (from Too Faced or Sephora)
Urban Decay Potion Primer (at Sephora)

easy neutral eyeshadows

Once my primer is on, I’ll apply shadow. There’s a lot of information about how to choose the right color shadow for your eyes or apply shadow for your eye shape. I didn’t start wearing shadow until I was about 17 or 18, but if you’re interested in wearing some I’d start with lighter, neutral shades. My favorite shadows are well pigmented, blend easily and last all day. I don’t like dipping into a shadow and have a ton of powder flying everywhere.

My favorite brands for shadows are MAC, Too Faced, Urban Decay, L’Oreal, CoverGirl and Wet n Wild. I also like the NYX single eye shadows (not the palettes, they are much more powdery), and Stila is also good.

My Picks:
Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette (at Too Faced or Sephora)
Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Eyeshadow Trio in Walking On Eggshells (at Drugstore.com or Amazon), or Silent Treatment (from Amazon and Walgreens). Eyeshadow collection in Comfort Zone (from Drugstore.com or Walgreens)
CoverGirl Eye Enhancers 3 Kit Eye Shadow in Shimmering Sands (at Drugstore.com)
L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Dual Effects Eye Shadow Perpetual Nude (from Drugstore.com)

best brown eyeliner

Eye liner is definitely an optional thing at this point, again I didn’t start wearing liner until I was in my late teen’s, really more into my early 20’s. I do not recommend thick black liner on the upper and lower lash lines. It will make your eyes look much smaller! I basically do what Cara does in this blended eyeliner tutorial over on Maskcara. I would go with a brown or grey instead of black and apply right into the lash line. Blend it well with a smudge brush.

My Picks:
CoverGirl Queen Collection Eyeliner in Chestnut (at Drugstore.com)
Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kôhl Liner (at Sephora or Smashbox)
Stila Smudge Stick in Damsel (at Sephora)

easiest mascara to use

Finally, mascara! I wore only mascara for most of high school. It’s a very pretty and fresh look, and really can still draw a lot of attention to your eyes. I strongly recommend using an eyelash curler before applying mascara. My favorite is from Tweezerman, and I don’t recommend using a cheap curler. You’ll get lashes stuck in it and yes, it hurts as much as it sounds like! It’s better to not use a curler at all than to use one that hurts!

There are a lot of great mascaras out there. If you have long lashes use a volumizing mascara. If you have thick lashes, use a lengthening mascara. I would only use waterproof mascara if you really need waterproof, it is hard to remove completely and you’ll end up with residue stuck on your lashes.

My Picks:
Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (from Sephora or Too Faced)
L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara (at ULTA or Drugstore.com)
CoverGirl Flamed Out Mascara (at Drugstore.com or ULTA)

natural brows

Finally, brows. They’re very important for looking pulled together. Most teens probably do have some need for plucking (read more about how I pluck my eyebrows), but I really recommend having some restraint. A lot of girls go crazy with the tweezers and end up with much thinner brows than they should have, without the right arch, and they don’t always grow back! Fuller is always better, especially since they will thin as you age. Having no eye brows in your 30s is not fun, I’m sure! When in doubt find an esthetician to shape your brows and just clean things up in between periodic visits to keep you on track.

Usually a little filling in will make your brows look more polished. You want to lightly fill them in, mostly in areas that are a little more skimpy. Your brows should not be drawn on or made to look very stylized a’la YouTube. It just looks strange in real life. If you have light brows you need to go a little darker with your shade, and if your brows are dark go with a lighter fill.

My Picks:
It Cosmetics Your Brows But Better Brow Power Skinny Pencil (at ULTA)
NYX Micro Brow Pencil (at ULTA)
L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara (at ULTA and Target)

Teen Face Makeup

Cover Up Skin Imperfections

As a teen pretty much the only imperfections that I needed to cover up were my blemishes. I would start with a redness corrector on blemishes (read more about how to use a color corrector), and then cover it up with a light layer of a liquid concealer that is the same shade as your skin. Set it with a little powder.

My Picks: Color Corrector
Maybelline Corrector Concealer from ULTA or Amazon
NYX Color Correcting Concealer Palette from NYX or ULTA
Wet n Wild CoverAll Corrector Palette (not online, search your local store)

My Picks: Concealer
NYX Above and Beyond Concealer Jar from NYX or ULTA
Maybelline Fit Me Concealer from Drugstore.com or Amazon
Too Faced Absolutely Flawless Concealer (from Too Faced or ULTA)

My Picks: Powder
NYX Stay Matte But Not Flat Powder Foundation from NYX and ULTA
e.l.f. Studio High Definition Powder from e.l.f. or Amazon
L’Oreal True Match Mineral Powder from ULTA and Amazon

Makeup Kit For Young Teen

Finish The Look

The rest of this list is even more optional than the things above, and it really depends a lot on your preferences. Don’t want blush? Maybe try some bronzer. If you want a little extra glow, try a little highlighter. Everyone does need a lippie, but that can be simple plain chapstick to keep your lips hydrated, if you want some color try a tinted balm, or even a lip stain. Lipstick can be much more intensive, I personally won’t wear it for every day use so I’m not including it on this list.

My Picks: Powder Blush
CoverGirl Clean Glow Blush from Amazon and Drugstore.com
NYX Powder Blush from NYX and Amazon
Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush (from Sephora or Too Faced)

My Picks: Cream Blush
If you have a problem getting powder blush to stay all day or want an extra glowy look, try cream instead of powder. I apply with the same brush that I use for powder blush, it gives a more even look than using your fingers.
Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush from Drugstore.com or ULTA
Stila Convertible Color (at Sephora or Stila)

My Picks: Highlighters
e.l.f. Essential Shimmering Facial Whip from e.l.f.
NYX Born To Glow Liquid Illuminator from ULTA or NYX
RMS Beauty Living Luminizer (at Birchbox or Anthropologie)

My Picks: Bronzer
Too Faced Soleil Matte Bronzer (from Too Faced or Sephora)
Wet n Wild Color Icon Collection Bronzer (at Amazon or Drugstore.com)

My Picks: Lippies
I recommend going for something that you can easily pop into the pocket of your jeans and reapply while on the go! Tinted balms and lip stains will be perfect to provide a bit of color for hours.
Bonne Bell Lip Smacker Lip Gloss in Dr. Pepper (at Drugstore.com)
CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain (at ULTA or Drugstore.com)
Yves Saint Laurent Volupté Tint-In-Oil (from Sephora)

You’ll notice that I’ve listed a lot of stuff. Do you need all of this? NO. Absolutely not. This should be one of those things where you pick and choose what you need/want to try based upon your needs. It is very important to remember that when you wear a lot of makeup as a teen, it is much easier to cross over into the “trying much too hard” area than it is for an adult. If you have blotchy skin, use a BB Cream and concealer as needed. Maybe a bit of blush and whatever you want to do with your eyes. That’s pretty good. Have great skin? Just a light moisturizer (and yes, you need it even if your skin is oily, oil is not the same as hydration), maybe a bit of blush or bronzer and some lip stain. Don’t pick everything on this list!

Product Sent for Review Affiliate Links I Bought It Myself

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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