Beauty 101: How To Curate Your Essential Makeup Kit


essential products

You might have heard of a “capsule wardrobe” – a streamlined clothing collection that allows you to create a ton of different looks – and it’s possible to do the same when it comes to makeup. Maybe you want to create a capsule makeup collection for your everyday life, perhaps you want to keep a bag in your car or purse for emergencies, or maybe even a little kit that you can toss into your suitcase without a second thought. We’re outlining everything you need to pull it off.

A Buildable Coverage Foundation

This product can technically be your usual go-to, but when in doubt choose a base that’ll let you manipulate coverage. That way you can apply a sheer layer on days when you want your skin to show, but that still allows you to increase coverage on days when you feel like you’ve got more to hide.

Our picks:

essential products Source: Glossier, Fenty Beauty, e.l.f


Though an optional product to keep in your capsule collection, having a concealer on hand might just feel like a saving grace. It’ll swoop in to cover dark circles, conceal lingering acne pigmentation, and can nix flaming angry red spots. We recommend choosing a product with a doe-foot applicator since it’ll make on-the-go application easier. A stick-form also works.

Our picks:

essential products Source: Hourglass, Neutrogena, Colorpop

A Brow Product and Brush Combo

The goal with your brow product is to maximize limited space by using a two-in-one design. We suggest something that features a pencil on one end and a spoolie on the other, or a gel-type product that you apply with an included brush. Groomed and filled in with one product!

Our picks:

essential products Source: Glossier, IT Cosmetics, Anatasia Beverly Hills

An All-You-Need Eyeshadow Palette

Small and mighty is the way to go with a capsule collection eyeshadow palette. It’s also smart to choose a product that’ll let you create a variety of looks ranging from “no-makeup makeup” to “barely there” to all-out party. Darker shades can double as eyeliner, as well.

Our picks:

essential products Source: Urban Decay, Milani

Mascara That Lets You Build Intensity

In the same way that you want to be able to manipulate coverage with your foundation, choose a mascara that gives some wiggle room with volume. In other words: a product that lets you go feathery and light but can be applied in multiple layers to build intensity without leaving you with clumpy spider-leg eyes. Well-formulated fiber mascaras excel here.

Our picks:

essential products Source: Anatasia Beverly Hills, Covergirl, Milk

Multi-Tasking Highlighter & Blush Combo

You’re starting to get the drill: multitasking products for the win. There are so many highlighter and blush duos out there that do it all and will help you to streamline your capsule collection. They’re available in several different formulations, too, including cream, powder, stick, and gel.

Our picks:

essential products Source: Wander Beauty, Catrice Cosmetics, Kosas

A Mini Brush Set That Does It All

Unless you prefer to only use your hands, a simplified brush set that only includes the essentials will prove useful over and over again. Aim for a kit that includes a variety of eyeshadow brushes, including an angled eyeliner brush, so you can perfect any eye look. We also believe that a makeup sponge can do basically everything (just check out these 15 makeup sponge hacks and you’ll see what we mean), and we love the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge + Travel Sponge Case, $7, which keeps the sponge clean and hygenic in your makeup bag.

Our picks:

essential products Source: Real Techniques, Sephora Collection

A MLBB Lipstick (My Lips But Better)

A neutral lipstick for your cosmetic capsule collection is optional, too, but it might help you feel like your look is more complete. Find the perfect neutral shade for you that builds on your natural lip color and can work anywhere – the office, the beach, brunch, or the club.

Our picks:

essential products Source: Charlotte Tilbury, NYX Cosmetics, Sephora Collection

If you create a cosmetic capsule collection we’d love to see it! Share a picture with us on Instagram by tagging @hudabeauty.