No matter if you’re new to makeup or just transitioning into a vintage style, it’s not always easy to know where to start. If you’re looking to develop a pinup/rockabilly/vintage makeup kit, this post might be helpful. As always, I like to focus on offering budget friendly options as well as luxury options to ensure that all of my readers can benefit from these posts.
So, here’s the seven types of product I feel should be included in a pinup makeup starter kit. This post was made with the intent of creating a kit that can be easily put into a fairly small makeup bag or brought along for travel as opposed to creating an entire arsenal of products for every possible makeup need you might have. You may have seen some of these products on the blog before, but that’s because for posts like this I only feel comfortable recommending products I truly enjoy.
Foundations: foundations serve more purposes than hiding imperfections. Firstly, they provide the basis upon which the other makeup is applied and if the foundation you’re using is of a poor quality it will end up affecting the entire look. Secondly, it protects your skin. Yes, I’m talking about SPF. Always opt for a foundation with at least some SPF in it, especially if you’re planning to spend time outside and know you don’t want to risk ruining your makeup by reapplying regular sunscreen throughout the day.
Budget: Etude House’s Precious Mineral Any Cushion with SPF 50. Sells for about 20-30 dollars.
It’s a cushion compact that is perfect for reapplying makeup on the go, protects your skin well, lasts a decent amount of time, and is easy to use. If you don’t have access to a store that sells Korean products, I’d look to Loreal, Rimmel, and Revlon for good budget foundations. Please note that Korean foundations tend to only come in about 3 colours, so if you have a medium-dark skin colour you might have more luck finding a matching shade with western brands.
Luxury: Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere Velvet smooth-effect makeup with SPF 15. Sells for about 70 dollars.
To be honest, this foundation looks amazing when you first apply it but it fades a lot faster than I’d expect for a foundation with this price. I’d save it for special events or a night out for that reason. It feels amazing on your skin and looks a million dollars, but the SPF and longevity are fairly low. If you don’t like Chanel, I’d recommend Dior’s Nude series of foundations that used to be my go to foundation. For dark skinned readers, I’d recommend having a look at Bobbi Brown’s products since they come in a very large variety of darker shades from what I’ve been able to tell.
Mascara: Mascaras are considered a staple of almost any makeup kit and for a lot of people it’s one of the first makeup products they ever buy. For a pinup or vintage look, the eyes tend to be really important and since winged eyeliner is a very common feature you need a mascara that can support that kind of look.
Budget: Clio’s Hitch Eye-King Longlash No Smudge Mascara. Price about 20 dollars.
Another one of my favourite products. This mascara is water proof, easy to work with, has fibres in it for extra length, and really does not smudge. It’s one of my all time favourite products and hands down the best mascara I’ve ever used. If you don’t have a store near you that sells it, I’d even try ordering it online. Other than that I’ve heard Maybeline has some pretty good budget friendly mascaras but I can’t personally vouch for them.
Luxury: Lancome’s Hypnose Doll Eyes Mascara. Retails for just above 50 dollars.
Great doll eye effect that works really well with a pinup look. Not waterproof or as smudge proof as the Clio one but still a really good mascara. Since I personally don’t use mascaras that often, I don’t know too many other options (and I tend to buy these at duty free or substantially discounted). Armani and MAC are brands I often hear recommend for mascaras.
Eyeliner: another pinup & vintage staple. No matter if it’s to be used on your waterline or to create the most extravagant winged liner, it’s good to have one of these in your kit.
Budget: Essence’s Kajal Pencil for about 2 bucks at Priceline
I haven’t used this one for a winged eye, but for filling in your water line and tight-lining it’s actually quite good. It’s also 2 bucks which is less than I pay for coffee on a daily basis. It’s extremely opaque and rich, easy to apply, and hasn’t annoyed my sensitive eyes yet. If you’re not too keen on winged liner but still want to be able to have an eyeliner that does its job, opt for this one. I tend to use it mainly for Character Creator, but it has yet to let me down. For another option, check out TonyMoly. Their gel liner is a cult classic in Korea and I gave one of their liquid eyeliners to a friend for her birthday and she tells me it’s amazing.
Luxury: Kat von D’s Ink! liner that retails for about 30 dollars.
If you want wings, then this is a great option. It has a felt tip and is relatively easy to work with, as a bonus it’s meant to be waterproof. It stays on really well and is a bit of a cult product. A good eyeliner that is on the luxurious side without completely breaking your budget, it’s apparently one of the best sellers for Sephora Australia. Stila is another brand famous for their eyeliners. Just noticed that it says ‘made in Korea’, I keep telling ya, the Koreans make good products.
Eyeshadow Palettes: You’ll need more than one eyeshadow. I’d recommend getting a palette that allows both for a subtle brown smokey eye and for a true smokey eye for when you want a stronger look. For variation, I’d say opt for one with 6-12 colours where the vast majority of colours actually work for you.
Budget: NYX’s Natural eyeshadow palette. Sells for 12 or 13 bucks at Target.
This palette tends to get meh reviews. I don’t see that at all, I think it’s great. It contains all the colours you need, is of a pretty good quality (especially given that the price per shadow is 2 dollars), can be used by both pros and beginners with good results, and lasts a long time. Downsides? Doesn’t include a mirror in the package and the applicator that comes with it is a bit meh.
Luxury: Bobbi Brown’s Warm Glow Eye Palette for 125 AUD
Bought it heavily discounted. 9 shadows, they’re all ok but for 125 dollars they’d have to be truly mindblowing for me to be like ‘you should totes buy this right now’. It was a part of the 2014 holiday collection so you might need to look to eBay or amazon to get your hands on it. I like the palette but it might not be the best one out there. I don’t have these palettes but Urban Decay’s Naked (any of them) or Too Faced’s chocolate palettes are probably better options to be honest. This palette got on this list because it’s small enough to fit into a regular makeup bag (which the Naked palettes aren’t). The Balm has some pretty cool big palettes too.
Powders: a less dramatic staple but one that is incredibly helpful when it gets hotter and your face goes shiny the moment you get out of the shower. It’s a good kind of product to keep in your bag for quick touch ups, can replace foundations on really hot days and provide a good option for discrete coverage.
Budget: Innisfree’s No-Sebum Blur Pact. Sold for 20 AUD on Innisfree’s website.
This one is meant to minimise pores and prevent your face from looking all shiny. And it does that. It’s light weight, comfortable to wear, comes in a very practical pact with a sponge and mirror, and gets the job done. I’ve heard Revlon has some great powders too if you want a western drugstore option.
Luxury: The Balm’s Sexy Mama anti-shine translucent powder. Sells for about 28 at David Jones.
Ok so, the price difference here isn’t massive. I just didn’t have any other powders, they’re both good. Honestly, either one is fine and they’re similar in quality. I’d opt for the Innisfree one because it comes with applicator + mirror when the Balm only comes with a mirror. Still two really good products for a reasonable price.
Blushes: A good blush is helpful in adding some colour to your look or to upgrade your everyday makeup to the event version of itself. I don’t use them too often, but it’s a good tool to have and I know a lot of people really like them. Makes for a classic vintage look quite easily.
Budget: Revlon’s Powder Blush. Sells for about 25 dollars and is often on sale at Priceline.
I bought this ages ago and there’s still a lot of product left. You don’t need a lot of it to get the desired effect (at least if you’re my shade of pale). It lasts all day, doesn’t make you look like a clown, is comfortable to wear, easy to use, and comes with a mirror and decent brush for casual use. Solid product, worth the price.
Luxury: Bobbi Brown’s Retouching Powder for 62 dollars.
It’s a lightweight product in a more mineral type formula. Don’t drop the product with the lid off – kind of product. It’s a great subtle blush, just be careful when you apply it to ensure it is even. It’s good but I only bought it because it was on sale (paid 36) and am not sure 62 dollars is a reasonable price for any blusher. If you want a luxury blush, this is a good one.
Red lipstick: this is non-negotiable. You need a red lipstick. I’m 100% convinced that anyone looks better with the right shade of red lipstick. It’s probably the most iconic makeup item for vintage and pinup looks.
Budget: TonyMoly’s Lip Click Styling Colour for about 16 dollars.
Oh Korean brands and their puns. You click the end of the stick to make the product move upwards rather than twisting the stick, hence the name. The shade I have is a classic vintage red. It’s very very easy to use, the shape is great for precision application, it looks really good, is opaque, stays on pretty well, doesn’t migrate away from your lips, or stain everything to a ridiculous degree. It’s good and it’s pretty cheap. Other good options include the long lasting liquid lipsticks from Rimmel and Maybeline. Rimmel is really really popular, but I prefer Maybeline since it doesn’t dry my lips out.
Luxury: Guerlain’s Rogue G de Guerlain for about 68 dollars at David Jones and probably cheaper elsewhere.
Did I even need to type this one out? It’s the best shade of red I’ve ever found, is easy to work with, lasts for fucking ever, is rich as hell, moisturises your lips better than most lip balms, has badass packaging, lasts forever and stays on forever, and is like the t-rex of makeup products. Honestly, if you want a luxury lipstick, nothing else compares. Guerlain is where it’s at. Slightly more budget friendly lipsticks that are still luxurious include MAC’s lipsticks that everyone seems to love. They’re cheaper and still good. But they’re not Rogue G de Guerlain.