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Here's Your A To Z Guide To Makeup

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - June 18, 202422 min read

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I'm not going to lie and say I always enjoyed makeup. In fact, not too long ago, I couldn't distinguish between a bronzer and contour powder even if my life depended on it. I thought people who spend a considerable fraction of their morning time on perfecting their makeup were, well, kind of stupid. And my idea of a full-face, was slapping on some lipstick stolen from my mom's dressing drawer. 


From that, to a person whose makeup bag is stashed with 5 different variants of the same lipstick shade, I have certainly come a long way. Whether it's in the skilful stroke of an eyeliner stick or the perfect blending of my foundation, I think of makeup as art. Similar to what countless women across the world would assert, makeup is my chosen way of self-expression. It's my instant hack to feeling feminine and beautiful, and my method of amping up my confidence to face the world. More than anything, I consider makeup to be empowering and liberating. 


Too bad, it can also end up being confusing, right? There's just so much to make sense of. Start any Youtube tutorial, and before the vlogger even starts with her base, you have Googled the meaning of 4 different words. Cut crease? Fan brush? What in the world is strobing, I thought that was what the lights at the club were called? 


I get it. I was just as, if not more, clueless, until extensive research (read: scanning through online articles) helped remedy the cause. And to pay the kindness forward, I'd like to help you out. Which is why, I compiled this A to Z guide to all kinds of makeup products, so you can find every piece of information you need, accumulated on one page. 


Makeup Products For Prepping 


1. Serum 

This one is rather underrated as a pre-makeup beauty product. But a good quality face serum can do wonders to nourish your skin with essential vitamins. Cleanse and scrub your face thoroughly, and after patting it dry, apply a generous dollop of face serum evenly all over your face. Wait till the serum fully absorbs into your face before you apply makeup. This creates a protective layer between your facial skin and the chemicals in your makeup. From Vitamin C to antioxidant specialised to anti-ageing serums, you can take your pick based on your specific needs. 


Recommended Products 

  • Coffee Face Serum From Mccaffeine 
  • Skin Illuminate Face Serum From Mamaearth 
  • White Seed Brightening Serum From The Face Shop 



Image Courtesy - L'Oreal Paris



2. Face Primer 

I've been guilty of taking the step of applying primer before makeup for granted. But it is only when I made it a regular practice and noticed the enhanced smoothness and pore-free after effect, that I realised how important it actually is. If you're aiming for an even, polished makeup look, a primer will help tremendously in blurring out blemishes and reducing the appearance of open pores, while also making your foundation last a lot longer! 


Recommended Products 

  • Prep Me Up! Face Primer From Nykaa
  • Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer From L'Oreal Paris
  • Ultime Pro Perfecting Primer From Faces Canada



Image Courtesy - L'Oreal Paris


3. Eye Primer

To state the obvious, an eye primer is just like a primer but for your eyes. You know when you step out of the house with your under-eye circles fully covered and your eyeshadow perfectly in place, just to come back home resembling a racoon? An eye primer can take care of that problem! Applying an eye primer under the eyes before you put on concealer, can prevent it from creasing and also make it last longer. The same principle applies to your eyeshadow. 


Recommended Products 

  • Pearly Eye Base From Kiko Milano 
  • Shadow Insurance Eye Shadow Primer From Too Faced 


4. Lip Primer

Now, makeup expert or a complete novice, every woman has dealt with the infuriating problem of smudged lipstick. A lip primer can help with that to an extent. The main purpose of applying a lip primer is to first nourish the delicate skin or your lips, and second, provide a smooth canvas so your lipstick can ensure full and lasting coverage. It also protects your lips against damage due to frequent application of dehydrating lip products. 


Recommended Products 

  • Seal The Show Lip Primer From SUGAR 
  • Lip Prime & Care From Colorbar



Also Read: 7 Make-Up Hacks For A No Make-Up Look


Makeup Products For A Flawless Base 


1. BB Cream


BB Creams, or blemish balm creams, were originally developed for helping patients who have undergone laser treatment, with protecting and hydrating their skin. But over time, they've become a beauty staple. These wonderful creams are especially great for when you don't want to go for a full face of heavy makeup, but would still like to look polished and bright. A BB cream combines the benefits of multiple makeup products like foundation, concealer and sunscreen into one easy-to-apply solution for everyday use. It can also work as a substitute for heavier foundations! 


Recommended Products 

  • SKINgenius BB Cream With SPF 30 From Nykaa
  • Perfect Match BB Cream With SPF 20 From Colorbar
  • Fresh Nude Tinted Beauty Balm With SPF 30 From The Body Shop 



2.1 Concealer 

Dark circles, age spots, blemishes, acne marks, fine lines or large pores, you name it and a concealer will cover it for you. It's an absolute must-have in every makeup kit, and a pertinent step after (yes, after!) you apply your foundation for a flawless look. It's usually thicker than a foundation, and comes in varying forms including liquid, pencil, potted cream and sticks. P.S. Many people apply concealer before the foundation base, but that just ends up spreading it around and reducing the effect at one spot. You also end up using a lot more of the product, than when you apply it over a base of applied foundation.


Recommended Products 

  • Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer From Maybelline New York 
  • Pro Conceal HD From L.A. Girl 
  • True Match Concealer From L'Oreal Paris


2.2 Colour Correcting Concealer Palette 

Colour correcting has been one of the coveted hacks used by makeup professionals to create flawless beauty looks, and recently started gaining popularity on social media. This concealer technique makes use of different pastel colours to achieve different effects, for instance, purple is used to minimise yellow spots while green can cover up red pimple marks on the skin. There are various nuances to this technique, that you can start mastering with practice. But the first step is getting your hands on a colour correcting concealer palette! 


Recommended Products 

  • Master Camo Color Correcting Palette From Maybelline New York 
  • Cover All Concealer Palette - Color Commentary From Wet n Wild
  • SKINgenius Conceal & Correct Palette - Correct & Contour From Nykaa 



Image Courtesy - Daily Mirror 




3. Foundation 

I think we all know what a foundation is. But just in case, this beauty product is used to create a uniform base complexion, cover up marks and spots, and enhance your skin tone. Like a concealer, you can get a foundation in varying forms, such as liquid, powder, cream, stick and mousse. When choosing a foundation for your skin, it's advisable to go for a shade that's a tone darker than your actual complexion and is flattering for your skin undertone. Full coverage foundations are always a great idea if you want to achieve a smooth full face of makeup. In addition, matte foundations are also excellent for a more natural-looking finish to your face. 


Recommended Products 

  • Fit Me Matte+Poreless Liquid Foundation From Maybelline New York
  • #FauxFilter Full Coverage Matte Foundation From Huda Beauty
  •  Infallible 24HR Matte Cover Foundation From L'Oreal Paris 



Image Courtesy - Insider



4. Compact / Setting Powder 

A compact powder is another essential must-have makeup product, not just because it tops off the sticky look left by your foundation with a powdery smoother layer, but also because it helps your foundation set and stay longer. Moreover, since re-doing your foundation every hour or so is not practically feasible, brushing on some compact powder is a much easier alternative for touching up your makeup. 


Recommended Products 

  • Dream Cover SPF15 Mattifying Compact From SUGAR 
  • Weightless Stay Matte Compact With SPF-20 Vitamin E & Shea Butter From Faces Canada
  • Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation From M.A.C


5. Contouring Kit 

In addition to achieving an unblemished base, you'd also want to sculpt your face into looking sharper, shapely and more defined. That's where a contouring kit comes in. Contouring is essentially creating the illusion of shadows with a darker-hued product, to achieve chiselled cheekbones, a slimmer nose and a prominent jawline. Contouring as a makeup step, can be slightly difficult to master, but with practice, you can become a total pro! 


Recommended Products 

  • Makeup Wonder Stick From NYX Professional 
  • Contour Stick From Kay Beauty 
  • MegaGlo Contouring Palette From Wet N Wild



6. Bronzer

You know when your makeup looks a bit too light, and you're left with a ghastly facial tone that differs alarmingly from that of your neck? A bronzer can take care of that! The point of brushing some bronzer onto your face, is to give it a healthy sun-tan look, add warmth to your makeup, and in general make your face look more naturally radiant. You can get a bronzer in a cream or powder formula. 


Recommended Products 

  • Natural Bronzer With SPF 15 From Rimmel London
  • Milk Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer From Too Faced
  • Back To Bronze Matte Bronzing Powder From L'Oreal Paris


7. Blush 

As the name suggests, a blush product is used to add a natural flush of colour to your cheeks. Dabbing some blush on the apples of your cheeks can give your face a youthful, rosy look. Even a tiny amount of blush can make your skin look healthier, brighter and more radiant. There are three types of formulas you can go for when buying blush, namely powder, cream and liquid. Be warned though, incorrect or inappropriate application of blush can end up making you look like a tomato. 


Recommended Products 

  • 9 to 5 Pure Rouge Blusher From Lakme
  • Ultime Pro Blend Finity Stick Blush From Faces Canada
  • Mattillusion Blush From Colorbar


Also Read: 6 Ways To Prep Your Make-up Kit After Months Of Non-Use


8. Highlighter 

Think of highlighting as the opposite of contouring. Instead of trying to minimise and sharpen the appearance of certain features, you bring them into focus. Highlighter as a makeup product attracts light and makes the part it has been applied to glimmer, thereby drawing attention to that feature. It creates the illusion of brightness and adds a healthy glow to your makeup look. There are varying forms of highlighter products, including but not limited to strobing cream, stick highlighter, loose powder highlighter and pressed highlighter. Additionally, there are also various shades that you can pick from, such as rose gold, silver, bronze and pastels. 


Recommended Products 

  • Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter From Maybelline New York
  • Strobe & Glow Liquid Highlighter From Nykaa
  • Mineralize Skinfinish From M.A.C



Image Courtesy - L'Oreal Paris


Makeup Products For The Eyes 


1. Eyebrow Pencil/Powder/Gel 

I'm sure your parlour waali aunty does a fantastic job, but sometimes our eyebrows need a little extra sprucing up. An eyebrow makeup product helps you with filling in any gaps on your eyebrows, and making your brows look sharper and more defined. Especially these days when the latest makeup trends favour a full, bushy eyebrow, a good product for the purpose is a must-have. You can get an eyebrow product in different forms, such as eyebrow pencil, eyebrow powder, eyebrow gel, eyebrow pomade etc. There are also different colours available, and it's advisable to go for a shade lighter if you're using an eyebrow pencil, or darker if you're using gel. 



Recommended Products 

  • Arch Arrival Brow Definer From SUGAR
  • Oh My Brow! Eyebrow Mascara From Nykaa
  • Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil From Benefit Cosmetics


2. Eyeshadow 

If you master the skill of pulling off killer eyeshadow looks, trust me your makeup game will level up immensely! There's just so much to play around with here, with both the options of going for neutral and basic shades, or daring, colourful hues. There's also a lot of variety in the eyeshadow techniques one can learn, from smoky to cut-crease to shimmer. Perfecting your blending technique is the first step to becoming a pro at creating lovely eyeshadow looks. The product again comes in different formulas like loose powder, pressed powder, cream, crayon, glitter and liquid. If you're just starting out on your eyeshadow journey, we'd recommend you get yourself two kinds - a quad with dark party colours and a nude eyeshadow palette for regular looks. 


Recommended Products 

  • The 24K Nudes Eye Shadow Palette From Maybelline New York
  • Re-Loaded Palette - Velvet Rose From Makeup Revolution
  • Eye Shadow Quad From Chambor



Image Courtesy - L'Oreal Paris


3. Eyeliner 

This is probably a makeup item that most of us own. A good sweep of eyeliner can do wonders to make your eyes look bigger, highlight them and draw attention to them. In terms of variety, you can choose from liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliner, gel or cream eyeliner, or felt-tip eyeliner. You don't need to necessarily only buy black eyeliner, an electric blue or dazzling green can uplift your entire makeup look without adding any other glam feature! There's no dearth of eyeliner looks, and one Youtube search will bring to you a hundred different tutorials. But a basic defined line and a cat-eye look are good to start with. 


Recommended Products 

  • Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner With Expert Eyeliner Brush From Maybelline New York 
  • Black Magic Liquid Eyeliner From Nykaa
  • Life Liner Duo Pencil & Liquid Eyeliner From Huda Beauty 


4. Mascara 

Some of us might be blessed with dreamy lashes, but all of us could use a layer of mascara to play them up. A good quality mascara can enhance your eyes in a number of ways, from darkening and lengthening your lashes to volumizing them for bigger and youthful eyes. Besides, if you're applying a full foundation and concealer base, skipping out on the mascara is a big no-no! There's an assortment of formulas that mascara can come in, like lengthening mascara, thickening or volumizing mascara, curling mascara, non-clumping mascara, natural mascara etc. There are also certain practices that one must avoid when using mascara, such as putting on multiple layers till your lashes clump together, or pumping the wand in your mascara tube (it can dry out your product). 



Recommended Products 

  • Eyeconic Curling Mascara From Lakme
  • Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara From LOreal Paris 
  • Better Than Sex Mascara From Too Faced


5. Kohl 

Do I need to explain this one, we all know what difference some good old kajal can make! The only tip I'm going to put down here is to always go for a highly smudge-proof and waterproof formula. Also, black kohl can make your eyes look smaller, so if yours are already small to begin with, you might want to skip out on this eye makeup step! 


Recommended Products 

  • Stroke Of Genius Heavy-Duty Kohl From SUGAR 
  • The Colossal Kajal 24Hour Smudge-Proof From Maybelline New York
  • Technakohl Liner From M.A.C


Makeup Products For The Lips 


1. Lip Liner

You can think of a lip liner as being the same kind of assistant to lipstick, as a primer is to foundation. Not only does it outline your lips and give them a sharper shape, but it can also make your lipstick look better and last longer. Especially on the outer edges of your lips where there might be uneven areas, some lip liner can fill those out along with keeping the lipstick from bleeding out. Mostly, you'll find lip liner in the form of a pencil, although some gel-based products are out there. 


Recommended Products 

  • Suede Matte Lip Liner From NYX Professional Makeup
  • Matte Action Lip Liner From Kay Beauty 
  • Lips Don't Lie! Line & Fill Lip Liner From Nykaa


2. Lip Balm 

A lip balm isn't so much a lip makeup product, as it is a lip care solution. The point of applying lip balm is to have a shielding layer on your lips to seal moisture in, and protect them from conditions of external exposure, like drying wind, cold and the sun. If you have chapped lips, putting some lip balm on before you apply a layer of lipstick or gloss is a good idea to keep your pucker hydrated and nourished. Also, if you have an uncontrollable habit of licking your lips, a lip balm stick can come in handy to control that urge! 


Recommended Products 

  • Vitamin E Lip Care With SPF 15 From The Body Shop
  • Roses Et Reines Pink Lip Balm From L'Occitane
  • Norwegian Formula Lip Moisturizer With SPF 15 From Neutrogena 


3. Lip Stick 

Yeah, I don't think this one warrants an explanation. If you don't know what a lipstick is, I just have one question......when did you come back from Mars!? Not just for highlighting your lips, a good lipstick can be used for multiple other beauty purposes, such as adding some blush on to your cheeks or even swiping some onto your eyelids for an instant creamy eyeshadow product. I think of all the makeup products, the department of lipstick is where you'll find the most staggering amount of variety. To name a few off the top of my head, there's matte, cream, satin, liquid, transfer-resistant, frosted and sheer. The formula of a lipstick product may also vary based on the strength of its pigment. When it comes to lipstick and its shades, the world is truly your playground. But as a general rule of thumb, every girl must own a high-quality nude, and bold red lipstick. 


Recommended Products 

  • Matte Luxe Lipstick From Nykaa
  • Color Riche Moist Matte Lipstick From L'Oreal Paris
  • Matte Lipstick From M.A.C


Also Read: 10 Rookie Makeup Mistakes That Are Easy To Avoid


4. Lip Tint

Think of lip tint as the bridging gap between lipstick and lip balm. Made with natural oils and waxes, a lip tint can give your pout a healthy, rosy hue. The idea of a lip tint, or lip stain is to leave behind an imperfect layer of colour, very close to how your lips look after you're done with a nice glass of chuski! Lip stains are also more lasting than your average lipstick, and more natural-looking in their appeal. 


Recommended Products 

  • Benetint Rose-Tinted Lip & Cheek Stain From Benefit Cosmetics
  • Dear Darling Water Gel Tint From ETUDE HOUSE
  • Vivid Oil Tint From Innifree



Image Courtesy - Beauty MNL 


5. Lip Gloss

Again, this one is a product most of us are familiar with. The purpose of a lip gloss is to give your lips a layer of lustrous shine, and in the case of certain products, add a tint of colour. Especially if shimmery lip makeup looks appeal to you, a great lip gloss is definitely worth investing in! Look for a non-sticky formula to avoid hair strands from being stuck on your pout. 


Recommended Products 

  • Time To Shine Lip Gloss From SUGAR
  • 3D Hydra Lipgloss From Kiko Milano
  • Infallible Pro-Matte Gloss From L'Oreal Paris


Makeup Tools


1. Beauty Blender

Girl, if you've been using your fingers to put on concealer and foundation....just, stop. A beauty blender is an absolute must-have in every makeup kit, not just because it helps tremendously with blending your base to perfection and making it look dewy and natural, but also because it's extremely versatile. Especially because the texture of a beauty blender is perfectly congruent with the porous nature of your skin, it's the ultimate tool to achieve a smooth, non-flaky face of makeup. 



2. Makeup Brush 

There's a literal assortment of makeup brushes in the market, and this list isn't entirely exhaustive. But we've tried to include every kind a pro-make-up-kit must have. 


Kabuki Brush 

For: To apply loose, powdered make-up with natural-looking coverage on large areas of your face (powder foundation, compact, blush etc). 



Image Courtesy - Nykaa


Blush Brush

For: This brush with fine bristles and a rounded head will help you to be precise with your blush application on the apples of your cheeks.


Flat Eyeshadow Brush 

For:  Applying a base layer of eyeshadow on the entirety of your lids. 


Powder Brush 

For: This is a soft, full and rounded brush with fluffy bristles, meant for dusting on a fine layer of loose powder products. 


Slanted Brow Brush 

For: The angled bristles of this brush help with filling in sparse eyebrows and making them look sharper and angular.


Also Read: Create A Full Make-Up Kit In Under INR 2,500


Foundation Brush 

For: This one comes with long and flat bristles and a tapered tip, sort of like a paintbrush. Use it to seamlessly apply foundation on your face.


Stippling Brush

For: The literal meaning of stippling is to dot, and this brush is used for dotting on your foundation or concealer, for a more diffused and evenly spread out finish.


Image Courtesy - Carousell


Fan Brush 

For: A fan brush is the perfect tool for delicate makeup application and gently dusting on a product like a bronzer, highlighter, blush, or even contouring powder. They can also be used to dust off specks of eyeshadow or eye makeup fallout.


Image Courtesy - Tarte Cosmetics


Contour Brush 

For:  A contour brush is large and flat-structured with densely packed bristles, meant for precise and pigmented contouring along the cheekbones, forehead, jawline and nose. 


Multi-Purpose Brush 

For: Practically all kinds of makeup products, including blush, creams, liquids, contouring pigment and powders.



3. Eyelash Curler 

For the longest time, I thought of this makeup tool as scary, afraid it was going to snap off my eyelashes. But once I got the hang of using one, it was a genuine game-changer. An eyelash curler is often overlooked, but truthfully works like magic to make your lashes look more lengthy, curled upwards and voluminous. If you want dramatic, full lashes, using an eyelash curler once before you apply a layer of mascara, and once after the layer has dried will help tremendously! 


4. False Lashes 

Particularly useful for more glamorous eye makeup looks, especially dark smoky eyes, sticking a pair of false lashes is a great idea for adding definition to your eyes, and adding length to your lashes. False lashes can also be a useful hack to draw more attention to the eyes, when the rest of your makeup is sparse. It might take a bit of struggle to get the sticking part right, but there are plenty of Youtube tutorials that will guide you through the process. 


For The Finishing Touch


Setting Spray 

Another very over-looked makeup product, usually associated with more professional makeup purposes. But if you don't want to waste the one hour you spent perfecting your makeup in the morning by letting it become smeared, creased or smudged, a setting spray will be your true saviour. One spritz will help all your makeup stay where it's supposed to, and make sure it still looks just as fresh by the end of the day! 


Recommended Products 

  • Lasting Fix Make Up Setting Spray From Maybelline New York 
  • Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray With Matte Finish From NYX Professional Makeup
  • Resting Boss Face Setting Spray From Huda Beauty 



Image Courtesy - Charlotte Tilbury


“If you’re sad, add more lipstick and attack.” - Coco Chanel