April 13, 2023

Makeup Shopping Made Easy

makeup shopping made easy

“I walked into Sephora, and I got so overwhelmed by all the color choices that I immediately walked out!”

Makeup for Media 101 student

Have you ever felt this way? With over 18 decillion color variations (that’s 18 with 33 zeros), is it any wonder why makeup shopping is so confusing? 

You have more options than ever with all of the shade, formula, and finish selections. Unfortunately, product “over choice” can make makeup shopping overwhelming. That’s why I’m sharing my process for how I shop for myself and my clients to save time and money and eliminate frustration.

Makeup Shopping for Beginners  

When a client opts for a makeover series or color concierge service with me, I transform into their Fairy God-shopper by serving them a curated selection of products that complement their features, their preferences, and of course their wallet. Here are 7 steps to makeup shopping made easy (BONUS: Steps #1, and #6 are one and done! There is no need to start from scratch once you’ve done the work upfront).

1. Create a profile

 Here are a few essential questions to answer before you begin makeup shopping: 

  • What is your skin type? (Normal, Dry, or Combination)
  • What is your skin tone (Ivory, Beige, or Bronze/Ebony)
  • What is your skin undertone (Cool, Warm, or Neutral)
skin undertone quiz
  • What color is your hair? 
  • What color are your eyes?
  • What is your preferred foundation finish? (matte, dewy, natural)
  • What is your Budget? 

2. Audit your current collection

The goal of the Makeup Bag Audit is to determine what you love and what needs to be replaced. Makeup has an expiration date. To keep your color safe (bacteria-free) and performing at its best, there are a few general replacement guidelines you might want to keep in mind. I included a Makeup Replacement Schedule in the Ultimate Makeup Makeover Guide to make sure your color stays fresh and you stay gorgeous! 

Ultimate Makeup Makeover

3. Make a list

 The Ultimate Makeup Makeover contains a complete makeup shopping list. By “complete” I mean, the whole buffet from which to pick and choose what you want and need. When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, prioritize the makeup shopping list based on what you need to stay truer longer. For example: 

  • The canvas (Foundation, concealer, powder): These are the treatments I would advise going high quality. Primer is essential in my book, however, whether you reach for cheap or expensive, some primer is better than no primer. In other words, it stays on the makeup shopping list.
  • The tools: the better the brush, the better the results. The same rule applies to applicator sponges. Also, don’t skimp on an eyelash curler. You need a quality rubber insert to work its lash-curling magic.
  • The Eyeshadow: For eyeshadow to stay in place and last all day, I recommend shopping for department store quality or above. In addition, apply an eyeshadow primer and allow it to dry before applying your color. This doesn’t have to be a big-ticket item. Prime on a dime is better than no primer at all.

Here’s a simple chart to help you designate your dollars to get the most out of your makeup. 

makeup shopping list

4. Finalize the color palette

 Your skin tone, skin undertone, and natural coloring serve as a backdrop for your best colors. Once you have a firm grasp of your 5 Must-Have Colors, makeup shopping online and in retail stores becomes easier and a lot more fun. 

Here are 3 of my favorite palettes based on the 5 Must-Have Colors

Brown eyed color palette

Blue eyed color palette

makeup colors for green eyes

5. Consult the Experts 

Read the reviews: Reference makeup websites such as Byrdie and Allure for quick, specific, and unbiased product reviews. Ultimately, you are the final judge. The product that works for you is the one that gives you the best results.

Reference 2 or 3 remote mentors (ie. celebrity makeup artists, influencers, bloggers, and brand ambassadors). Chances are if they are all talking about the same product, you can easily narrow down the product contenders and feel more confident about your final purchase. 

Enlist the help of retail shopping services or independent beauty consultants. There are pros and cons to this approach. The pros: This option guarantees more individual and customized attention, and a faster (and less overwhelming) shopping experience. The cons: Typically this type of service requires a minimum purchase. Depending on the consultant, you could end up in a hard-sell scenario and limit yourself to the brand(s) that the independent distributor represents. 

6. Curate a Pinterest Board {and invite me to join}

Pinterest banner
Follow me on Pinterest

Have fun with this step. Pour a glass of wine and pin to your heart’s content. Refer to step #5 to figure out what to pin. Don’t overthink this part. Once you load a master list to a designated board, go through and separate your favorites into sections (ie. Face, brows, cheeks, lips, eyes, tools). You will likely notice ideas you pinned more than once (which means it is most likely a win for you!) 

7. Check the return policy

Most department stores, drugstores, and online retailers offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but it is always best practice to check the store’s return policy. Department stores are more likely to allow you to test makeup products before you buy. But, when in doubt, request a mini or trial size. This will allow you a few weeks to assess whether or not you want to invest in the full-sized product. If you decide to forego it, you will still have avoided an expensive trial-and-error mistake.

The Ultimate Makeup Makeover: The High-Performer’s Guide to Camera-Ready Makeup is the best way to streamline your makeup approach so that you have everything you need at your fingertips to do your own makeup like a pro. With a little preparation and intention, makeup shopping can be fun once again!

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