You’re curious about getting into makeup, but have no idea where to begin. It can be difficult to know where to even start to research which brands are cruelty free, feature great diversity and representation, and have positive marketing messaging.
All of the brands featured here are cruelty free, offer diverse shade ranges across their products, and in some form or another recognize makeup as a tool for self-expression rather than correction.
Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint ($56 for 0.54 oz.)
A sheer, dewy skin tint that’s easy to roll on and blend out with your fingers. Available in 14 shades. (Bonus SPF doesn’t hurt, but you should apply a dedicated sunscreen before your foundation.)
LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush ($22 for 0.23 oz.)
Black-owned and new to Sephora. Cream blushes are easy to blend without any tools and provide a fresh skin finish. Higher Standard comes in 5 gorgeous shades and is packaged in a unique triangular compact.
Tower 28 Beauty Shine On Jelly Lip Gloss ($18.00 for 0.13 oz.)
No mirror required to apply this subtle hint of colour. This cushiony gloss feels nourishing on the lips and is available in an array of wearable and bright shades. Choose a shade close to your natural lip colour for an easy, everyday look.
Cover Girl mascaras are the best and CG is one of the few cruelty free brands at the drugstore. Clump Crusher (the green tube) in particular lengthens and volumizes lashes, and builds easily with an extra coat. Doesn’t smudge or flake. Comes in a waterproof formula as well.
Fenty Beauty Snap Shadow Eyeshadow Palettes ($33 for 6 x 0.035g)
Palm-sized, 6-pan palettes available in 8 well-curated colourways—lots of options depending on your personal style! Double the fun by grabbing two palettes and snapping them back-to-back.
This clear, extreme-hold gel separates and defines brow hairs while holding them in place for a laminated look.
Nude By Nature ($22-$36)
Most of what’s listed here can be applied with fingers, but I would recommend getting a couple of eyeshadow brushes, which will make application and blending a breeze. Start with a flat shader brush to pack colour onto the lid; use a fluffy blending brush to blend throughout the crease. Add a smudger brush if you want to play around with a smoky liner look.
This list covers the basics for a full face, but you can definitely explore additional categories like primers, highlighters, bronzers, and facial mists. What other beginner-friendly makeup products are you using? Leave a comment below!