The Essentials Guide: Complexion

Firstly, happy 2014 to my beautiful readers. I hope this year brings you all that you work for and more. Now what better way to start the new year than buy trying something new, starting a new hobby or perhaps just learning a little more. This post is to guide absolute makeup novices into the wonderful artistic world of makeup. Here, I will talk you through the essential items I think every girl needs in their makeup kit and provide you with high end and affordable suggestions for each. As you read this guide, you will notice many products need to be selected based on skin type. As a general idea for my readers, I have normal to combination skin, with my t-zone getting slightly shiny as the day goes on, but nothing excessively oily. I originally wanted this to be one post, but in the aim of making it informative and useful I have split it into three parts. This post, part one, will cover complexion. Part 2 will discuss eyes, brows and lips and Part 3 will delve into accessories such as brushes, eyelash curlers and false lashes.

This one is going to be a long one. I have left out photos as I felt they didn’t add to the post so grab a cup of tea or coffee, sit back and enjoy what I hope is an informative read.


The base of your makeup is what makes your face finished all day. It is to me an essential element of a daily makeup routine and a good routine will ensure your face doesn’t get oily, makeup doesn’t streak or cake and you remain looking natural for the entirety of day. However much to popular belief your base does not always need to look full coverage and done up to look polished. When deciding on your products for your base you will always always always need to consider your skin type (oily, combination dry) as well as your skin tone (cool, warm, pink, or yellow). A good makeup artist or makeup counter sales staff will be able to help you out with determining all this.


For any good base to stand the test of time you need a good primer. I don’t personally believe in spending large amounts of money on primers, however it is important to look into your skin type when selecting a primer. If your skin is oily, select oil free or mattifying primers. If you are concious of large pore size select a pore minimising primer. Another thing to consider when selecting a primer is the consistency and texture you prefer. Face primers can range from being cream based (like a moisturiser), quite velvety or very silicone based. I personally prefer the silicone based primers as I feel they work the best in keeping my foundation on all day, keeping the shine away and filling in the pores around my nose. However, often silicone based primers can give you a white cast (or flashback) in photos so it is important to check with your makeup artist or sales person if the primer you want to try does this. SPF in primers, while great for sun protection during the day, can also result in flashback in photos at night so keep this in mind. When possible, always try grab a sample of any product to test out first. Now here are my top 3 primer picks: (none have an issue with flashback)


Foundation is one of the few places I like to spend a little bit more money. I find that a good foundation means you need to use less product for a good coverage, therefore there is a lower chance of it looking cakey. I am one of the lucky few to have pretty good skin so I tend not to wear foundation most days and usually just pop on a powder to minimise shine. However, when I do wear a foundation I like a medium to full coverage (like all the suggestions). This is another product where it is really important to think about your skin type as well as your skin concerns as well as what type of finish you are after i.e dewy or matte.

  • Revlon Colorstay; without trying to sound like a member of a cult, I love the Revlon Colorstay. It has beautiful full coverage, comes in every colour under the sun and I love the finish of it. It does tend to lean a little more matte but with a good highlighter, can give off a very glowy complexion. $25 AUD
  • NARS Sheer Glow Foundation; for my high end pick I love this foundation. It gives such a beautiful finish without looking cakey or heavy. It is definitely a medium coverage and build-able to full coverage. Don’t be scared by the name it is definitely not sheer, and while it is more glowy than the Sheer Matte, I think it is the better option for all skin types, even if you are more oily. $68 AUD.

Other foundations I would recommend you look into are the Hourglass Mineral Veil Foundation, By Terry Teinte Delecatation and the Stila Stay All Day.


When looking into buying a concealer you need to consider you skin type (of course) but also the purpose you are buying it for. If you are looking to use it under the eyes to hide bags or dark circles you want a concealer with a highlighting effect so go 1-2 shades lighter than your skin tone. If you are looking at using it to cover spots or blemishes you want the concealer to match your skin tone exactly. A highlighting concealer can also be used as a matte highlight down the bridge of the nose, the forehead, the cupids bow and the triangle shape under your eyes/on your cheek for that Kim Kardashian look. I have always been on the hunt for a good concealer and in 2013 I finally found one. Unfortunately it is a high end product but heck, I don’t want to recommend an alternative just because it is cheap.

  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer; depending on what shade you get it is perfect for both blemish concealing as well as under eye highlighting. It doesn’t crease under the eyes, is full coverage, natural looking and a little goes a long way. The doe foot applicator makes it easy to apply and blend with just the fingers. This is fast become my holy grail concealer and I would suggest nothing else for a beginner. To be honest it isn’t even that expensive at only $35 AUD

Setting Powder

This is the product that should be the last step in your base makeup to ensure it 100%, indubitably, ‘fo sho’ stays on all day and all night. It is not a place where I would spend a whole lot of money, but what I would consider is the finish you are looking for. This is where I personally like to add a glow back into my face. You can opt for tinted setting powders, translucent powders, loose powders or pressed powders. When looking into translucent powders if you have a very tanned or dark complexion beware, they are not all truly translucent and can give you a grey or ashy look to the face. Another general mistake people often make is adding a powder foundation on top of a foundation to set it. Technically yes, this will set the liquid or cream products but it will also add more coverage and increase the risk of the dreaded cake face. Try a tinted setting powder instead, it will minimise any risk of this happening. I prefer pressed powders purely because they are not as messy, but the loose ones work just as well. In the end, as with all of this, it comes down to preference.

  • Rimmel Stay Matte Setting Powder; while the name does say ‘matte’ I still think it leaves a nice natural glow to the skin. It is easily the best affordable setting powder I have come across and I definitely think it is worth a try.
  • NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder; I love the finish the powder gives, I look glowy without looking shiny and it definitely gives a radiant finish. While it definitely isn’t cheap, a setting powder will last you forever as you only need the tiniest bit, so to me is a good investment in a makeup collection. $55 AUD.



I find blush to be a very personal choice when thinking about what colour and how much of it you want on your cheeks. However here are a couple of things to keep in mind, for a natural look you want anything pink or peach based as it will give you a flushed look, consider whether you want shimmer (therefore acting as a highlighter as well) or a matte blush, consider whether or not you are a cool, warm or neutral skin tone and thus what colours will suit you and finally think about the pigmentation of the product itself. You will also need to think about whether you want a powder or cream blush. I think for most people a powder blush is a much better option, especially for beginners, as creams tend to be harder to work with and can look patchy if applied poorly. For the purposes of this post, I will not recommend colours but more so brands that I think do a good quality, pigmented blush and come in a range of shades.

  • NYX Powder Blush; this is a super affordable highly pigmented blush that comes in a multitude of shades. They are all beautiful shades and you will certainly find a colour that you love. These are definitely my go to blush for a budget friendly option and to be honest I think are better than many high end blushes I have tried. $5 AUD
  • NARS Blushes; I have done an entire post on my love affair with NARS blushes and I talk about my favourite shades in the line so I will not go into detail about these and if you are interested here’s the link to that blog post.


In my opinion bronzer should be predominantly matte. That’s just me. Many people will love a shimmer bronzer, but I always think I can just add a highlighter on top if I want shimmer. A matte bronzer is more versatile and can be used as a contour as well as in the traditional sense of warming up the face. Think about your skin tone when selecting a bronzer; you do not want anything too dark for you as it will tend to look muddy on your skin. The lighter you are the more red based your bronzer should be, remember you are trying to achieve a sun-kissed look not resemble an oompa loompa. However, the darker you are the more you can get away with an orange based bronzer. It won’t show up as orange on the skin if you are of tanned or deep complexion. My all time favourite bronzer is actually a super affordable option from NYX.


A highlighter is used to highlight the high points on your face where the light naturally hits and give you a beautiful glow. I good highlighter should not make you resemble a disco ball. Highlighters come in a variety of shades so consider what would best match your skin tone as a starter kit. Usually your choices are pink, gold or champagne based highlighters. I find the champagne ones tend to be the most universal shades. To be honest I will only suggest one product in this section as I think for the price it is amazing value.

  • Stila Kitten All Over Shimmer Duo; this product is every girls dream highlighting shade. It is not too shimmery where you will look like you’re covered in glitter but will add a glow from within. The fact you have two colour options makes it a super versatile product. I tend to use the darker shade as a cheekbone highlight and the lighter shade on my brow bone, inner corner of my eyes and cupids bow. love love love! $32

Just a last tip before I finish up; when working with a mix of cream and powder products always apply the cream/liquid products to the face first and finish with the powder products as cream does not sit well on top of powder. This will minimise any caking or balling up on the face.

So there you have folks, the first instalment of your essential guide to makeup. I hope you found it useful and informative and I look forward to posting the second part before the end of the week so keep an eye out for it.

xox your local bohemian.

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