It’s exciting to shop for new makeup, but it can be tedious and frustrating finding products that complement one another to create a single look. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: purchase a makeup set.
Makeup sets take the hard work out of building a look. They come with essential products and tools — ranging from eye shadow palettes to brush sets — to help you create the style you envision. Some sets come with helpful instructions explaining how to build color, use brushes, or go from daytime to nighttime looks.
If you’re ready to start exploring makeup sets, read our buying guide. We’re covering everything you need to know, plus we’re sharing a few recommendations. Our top choice, bareMinerals I Am An Original Get Started Kit, earns high marks for its flawless finish and easy application.
Essentials sets include a full range of products to create a single look. Some sets focus on one area of the face, such as eyes or lips. Deluxe essentials sets create a full face with foundation, eye and lip products, and blushes. Some may include bronzers, highlighters, concealers, or brush sets.
Foundation sets include at least one shade of foundation and usually come with application tools like brushes, sponges, or pads. Some foundation sets also come with primer, concealer, color corrector, or matte setting powder.
Makeup sets for eyes include any combination of products to create a total eye look. These generally fall into two categories: palettes and eye sets. Palettes have a collection of eye shadow pans that range from simple quads to as many as 100 shades. Eye sets include any combination of eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, eye primer, or brushes.
Brow sets consist of products that fill in and shape brows such as brow pencils, brow gel, brow powder, setting gel, or clear mascara. A few brow sets include brow shaping tools as well, like tweezers, razors or scissors.
Lip sets include a broad range of lip products, which are available in either travel size or full-size varieties. These include lip pencils, lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balms, or lip sealers. A few sets also include lip plumper, lip primer or lip exfoliator.
Brush sets, as tools of the trade, earn an honorable mention in makeup sets. Some brush sets include four or five basic brushes, whereas deluxe sets include as many as 20. Brushes are available with natural or synthetic bristles, and it’s worth having both if you wear a combination of liquid, cream, and powder products.
To find the most flattering shades, many makeup wearers shop for sets based on eye color. Brown eyes, for example, look great with gold tones; blue eyes are accentuated by warmer colors like oranges and browns.
Different occasions call for different looks. As far as makeup sets go, they’re often broken down into daytime and nighttime looks. Daytime makeup sets feature neutral, subdued colors, whereas nighttime sets feature bolder or darker colors.
It’s common to choose a makeup set based on skin type, because some formulas wear better than others. Sensitive skin benefits from hypoallergenic formulas to keep irritation at bay, while those with oily skin fare best with oil-absorbing powder formulas. Those with dry skin can find success with creamy or liquid makeup that helps hydrate skin.
Affordable makeup sets from drugstores, which include up to six products, typically cost $10-$30. Mid-range sets that include a few premium products from high-end beauty brands run between $35-$65. Makeup sets from luxury beauty brands cost as much as $75-$200.
A. Unfortunately, mirrors aren’t standard in palettes or compacts. According to some makeup wearers, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Mirrors of these compacts are prone to shattering, especially when they’re carried inside purses or gym bags.
A. It depends on the formula. Powder formulas last up to two years, whereas liquid formulas may only last six months to one year. Cream formulas last anywhere from one to two years.
Our take: A trial-size mineral foundation set that wears so well, most people love it after the first application.
What we like: Unique formula offers buildable coverage to achieve a flawless complexion. Comes with a brush that glides across skin for even application. Powders contain SPF. It's a customizable set.
What we dislike: As a travel kit, the products won’t last through many applications.
Where to buy: Sold by Sephora
Our take: Budget-friendly eye set featuring a neutral nudes palette and a much-loved eyeliner.
What we like: Includes an eight-pan shadow palette, eyeliner, and mascara. Eyeliner is retractable and creates thin, precise lines. Shadows offer buildable coverage and blend well.
What we dislike: Shadows are somewhat fragile and prone to cracking.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Our take: A top-rated brow kit that helps even novice users achieve makeup artist–quality looks.
What we like: Angled synthetic brush makes precision application easy. Gel is high-pigment yet has a natural appearance. Coverage is buildable, so it’s easy to create day and night looks. Cruelty-free.
What we dislike: It’s only available in four shades, which is fairly limiting.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.