Make Up Essentials for College/Work

I am in no way someone who wears a lot of make-up, but I do believe that a little war-paint goes a long way.

When I was in college, I would sometimes have to meet people after a day of work, or stay over at a friend's. So I constantly had a trusty make-up bag with me, holding all the essentials I may ever need in case of an emergency.
There is nothing worse than being without the mascara-kajal-chapstick pick-me-up and somewhere to go. I was the source of some flack from my friends (they thought I was being high maintenance) but when they started borrowing stuff off me for their own emergencies, somehow, I was praised more than blamed. (You girls know who you are :P)

Also, I get quite a few questions from friends who want to buy their make up basics, so I thought I'd share what I personally feel would be a good starter kit. All of these are available in your local Health n Glow, or department store or even your Selvam/Kannan/Murali stores. I sincerely advise you to physically go make up shopping instead of buying things online (unless you're repurchasing). You can never actually judge colors or textures otherwise.

So grab a make-up pouch and start filling it in!

1. Powder 
   I may as well start off by saying I do not wear powder unless I'm going for something along the lines of a wedding or a sit-down dinner. Here in namma Chennai we tend to have make up melt off our faces within the first ten minutes unless you're guaranteed an A/C venue. Even then. The walk from the car to the entrance may destroy you anyway (you know I'm not exaggerating). But I do recommend the L'oreal True Match powder. Any Loreal counter should stock this (I think Shopper's Stop or Lifestyle may have it). It's extremely blendable, doesn't look cakey on your skin and has pretty good color matches.

2. Blush
I feel like a good blush can really make you look healthy and awake. Most people I see tend to think that darker blushes work on darker, Indian skin. And then they proceed to the Lakme counter and pick out some shade that looks like powdered brick. NO, LADIES. A healthy 'flush' is something that is a coral, or a rosy pink. There are so many brands with so many different light shades that we Indian women shy away from because we think it won't show up on us. They will!
I have currently been loving Pearlescent Pink by Wet n Wild. A US purchase. Works wonders for dusky and fair skin. VERY versatile. If you have an uncle/aunt/brother/sister/boyfriend/cousin in the States, ask them to go to their nearest Wal-mart or drugstore and pick this up. It is $2.99 and according to the make-up gurus, a real dupe for the higher end blushes that cost ten times more.

3. Liner
Eye liner is something that can really define your entire look. It is part of my holy trinity (liner, mascara, kajal) and I almost NEVER leave the house without my little cat-eye (or big, depending on my mood). Experiment with your liner to see what shape suits you most and stick with it.
I think every single girl I have ever met has the ridiculously cheap but awesome Lakme Insta Liner. I've used this from the time I was 14 and have never looked back. Only problem is, it isn't waterproof AT ALL. It's okay. Reapply through the day if you need to.
I do own a couple of more expensive ones, but I think if you're carrying this to college or work, stick with something that you wont cry over if lost/stolen (personal experience here).

4. Mascara
Mascara is a staple for that 'I'm wearing make up but not really' look. It requires no time at all to apply, and can really open up your eyes. You can even do away with liner and kajal sometimes, and just put this stuff on and run to college. You'll still look put together. I recommend waterproof in the summer but a regular formula post August.
I use the Volume Million Lashes by Loreal. A little pricier than your average Maybelline ones, but worth it. It does what it says. As someone who has average lashes (not too sparse, not too thick) this makes me look like I'm wearing false lashes sometimes. Best part? It doesn't clump. I recommend also Maybelline The Colossal Volume Express Mascara (thicker, more dramatic) and Lakme Iconic Curling Mascara (a more everyday one)

5. Kajal
Every Indian woman knows the power of this item. All my late nighters are followed with a copious swipe of kajal under my eyes in the morning. You can double this up as an eyeliner, too. It truly is a lifesaver.
I prefer the thin twist ups over the fat pencil variety purely because they don't need sharpening. But I do know that they don't last very long. The day that they make a long-lasting twist up, I will be the happiest person alive. I recommend Maybelline The Colossal Kajal and L'oreal Paris Kajal Majique.

6. Lip Balm
Hydrated lips are extremely important. Nothing is worse than well-done make up and chapped lips. And they're actually a make up essential for me. When I don't want to wear lipstick, I feel like a bit of lip balm sheen still makes you look put together. I swear by the Himalaya Lip balm. It costs a grand total of INR 25 or so and when I have chapped lips, this fixes it in 24 hours and makes them soft and supple. When I want something with a little bit of color, I've been loving the Body Shop Born Lippy chapstick in Plum that I spoke about in my last post.

7. Cream Eye Shadow
Why cream eye shadow, you ask? Because they're awesome.
Powder shadows in single cases or in quads are all well and good when you're getting ready at home, but when you're stuffing this in the bottom of your college bag or handbag there are very high changes of it shattering and staining your make up pouch (again, personal experience). I find that my blush never shatters, funnily. Maybe because it's bigger? No idea.

I think a single, neutral shade of cream eye shadow is something that you can swipe on with your fingers if you ever have to go out anywhere directly from work or college. The Maybelline Color Tattoos (I'm using Pomegranate Punk) or the L'oreal Infallible 24 hour eyeshadow (a powder-cream formula) are an absolute godsend (I wish I had used these in college). My lovely friend gave one of the former to me and I've been carrying it around in my bag ever since. Cream eye shadows stay on your eye a fair bit longer than powder ones do, so any impromptu nights out/clubbing plans can be saved by this and this alone. Smoke it out with a bit of your kajal and there. You're ready to roll.

8. Lipstick
I could do a whole post on just how much I think lipstick can change your life. But that's another story.
I think that even though you may not wear the lipstick every day, all day, it doesn't hurt to carry around one with you. It's such a pick-me-up, it can make you feel like the sexiest woman alive. Lipstick honestly changes my mood. I carry around a couple with me and depending on what I need I either go full-on, or sheer it out by mixing it in with a bit of my balm. In my bag currently is MAC's Russian Red and Revlon's Ruby. The former is an in-your-face matte red and the latter is a shinier, more cool toned one. Love them both.

9. Moisturizer
I cannot emphasize enough on the use of a good facial moisturizer. Especially after you've washed your face. It helps restore the balance of your skin and prevents drying. I carry around the age-old, tried and tested Olay Moisturizing Lotion which is good for face and body.

So that wraps up this post, I hope you guys find this helpful.
Contents of a make up bag is just like a wardrobe, you have to build it. Don't go out one day and buy 7 or 8 essentials all at once. Spend time hovering around the counters especially for lipsticks, eyeshadows, blushes and powders which are all skin tone specific.I strongly advise again buying these items on the internet for the first time (unless you're sure of the shade and it's cheaper online). Check that you're not allergic to powders/blushes by patch testing it on the inside of your wrist.

And most importantly, ALWAYS take your make up off before you go to bed!


  1. Is Maybelline's Cheeky Glow a good alternative to the blush you mentioned? I've been using one (Peachy Sweetie) for a few months and it's been good to me. They come in cute, tiny cases too! And also last quite a bit.

    1. YES. And that exact shade. Especially for dusky skin. It's very similar to the shade I have. And with the price point - 250? I don't think you can go wrong at all.

  2. Max Factor Cream Blush, kicks ass - tiny as hell too! Good thing to add to your list of things as it works as a lip product also.


    1. Any particular shade you'd recommend similar to think one I have? I need a good cream blush also.
      And yes <3 :)


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