A Minimalist’s Guide to Makeup

Originally posted: Oct 28, 2020

I’ve been reorganizing my makeup collection and well, I have a lot of it. I’m not a reviewer by profession and I don’t work in the beauty industry, so why do I have so much? Like most millennials, when I discovered the power of makeup, I started “collecting” make up. Logically, collecting makeup makes just no sense.


Makeup tends to lose its effectiveness, may spoil and they have no value after a few years. And how many palettes and lipsticks can I use up in my lifetime? No, seriously, I’m asking.

I just realized that all you really need is a blush, an eyeliner, and some foundation. If you want to be fancy and Kardashian-like then some bronzer too. I’ve seen tutorials where some makeup artists have reused blush and bronzer for an eye look.

So here’s a look at my idea of a minimalist kit. If I could go back in time and purchase makeup, this is how I would do it. This is perfect for young adults who’ve just started using makeup. 

Drugstore Kit (~ $20):

[All prices in CAD)

  • Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me 10.99 | Option 2: Rimmel Stay Matte 9.99 (If you’re new to makeup, I would suggest sticking to a BB cream)
  • Blush: Essence Blush 3.99
  • Eyeliner: Wet n Wild Kohl Pencil 2.29
  • Lipstick: Wet n wild lipsticks (find them in Dollarama) or e.l.f lip color 4.00


  • Powder (for oily skin): Essence all about Matt 4.99
  • Bronzer: Rimmel London Brick Bronzer or Maybelline City Bronzer 10.99
  • Highlighter: e.l.f. metallic highlighter 5.99 
  • Eyeshadow: Wet n Wild single eye shadow (you should be able to find these in any Dollarama in Canada and Dollar Tree in US)
  • Mascara: Essence Lash Princess 4.99 
  • Concealer: e.l.f Camo Concealer 7.00 (If you can stretch a budget by a few dollars, I’d suggest picking up the Maybelline Age rewind concealer instead)

For base products, stick to Maybelline or Rimmel. They have some decent foundations, primers and BB Creams. For other makeup, choose from Wet n Wild, Essence, or e.l.f. You can walk into any Gap and pick up e.l.f products if you don’t want to purchase off of Shoppers Drugmart’s site.

If you are older and would like to splurge, here’s a kit I’d recommend:

  • Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear 52.00 (My personal favorite is Guerlain L’essential foundation but I’ve seen some mixed reviews about it on the internet) 
  • Blush: Glossier Cloud Paint 22.00 (Quo Featherweight blushes come in close second but they’re always sold out at SDM)
  • Eyeliner: Stila stay all day eyeliner 22.00 (For me, when I don’t need the eyeliner to last long, I reach for the e.l.f H20 eyeliner. It works for my oily and crinkly eyelids. The secret is to wait for it to dry.)
  • Lipstick: Lisa Eldridge Lipsticks 45.00 (I’m probably the only person in the whole world who likes the Hermes lipsticks. They’re like Lisa’s lipsticks – they last pretty long under masks)


  • Powder: Guerlain Meteorites 64.00 or Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder 48.00 (The Glow is real! I use the meteorites to set because I have dry skin. But if you have oily skin, you may need to invest in a setting powder.)
  • Bronzer: Guerlain Terracotta 54.00/Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess 58.00 /Charlotte Tilbury 55.00 (Honestly though, I’d rather use Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer or Fenty bronzers. You really don’t need luxury bronzers) 
  • Eye Shadow: Pat McGrath or Viseart 58.00+
  • Concealer: YSL Touche Eclat 52.00
  • Mascara: Lancôme Monsieur Big | Option 2: Hourglass Instant Extensions 29.00+
  • Highlighter: Dior Nude Luminizer 48.00

This is just a beginners guide. You need to:

  • Experiment and see what works for you. There are brands in between these price ranges that may work for you; brands like Milani, Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, Nars, Urban Decay, etc.
  • Decide on what you’d buy from the drugstore and from high end/luxury brands. For instance, I decided early on that my foundation has to be high end or luxury, preferably clean beauty, which is why I picked Guerlain’s L’essential foundation. I’m not that particular about my mascara because I rarely use it, so I alternate between Physicians Formula Organic wear (I swear it does something good for my lashes) and Essence Lash Princess (this is the only formula that gives me long lashes). 
  • If you can afford it, I’d suggest starting with clean beauty brands like Ilia and RMS. When I started wearing makeup the only (quasi) clean beauty available was bareminerals. If you begin with clean, it’s easier to sustain. 
  • Either way, start small and then add products as per your need. I started with just a foundation, a blush, a lipstick and some kohl pencil. Over time, I started facing issues like my foundation smearing and the need to cover the under eye circles and I purchased a setting powder and a concealer.

Featured Image: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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