Streamline that overstuffed makeup bag and stick to these basics.

By Real Simple
Updated October 27, 2006
Makeup bag
Credit: Hallie Burton

Mascara: No matter what your hair color, use black mascara. It will define your eyes and make you appear more wide awake.

Foundation: A full face of foundation can feel heavy, so instead of applying it all over, touch up only those areas where your skin tone appears uneven.

Concealer: Choose a concealer that is long wearing or gives medium to full coverage in a shade that's close to your skin tone.

Blush: To choose the right color for a subtle look, find a shade that's similar to the inside of your lip.

Eye Shadow: A neutral shade acts as a base and will instantly brighten eyes. Use one with a bit of sparkle for a more festive look.

Lipstick: Try a moisture-rich formula so your lips don't dry out. (The inner-lip trick for choosing blush works for lipstick shades, too.)

Brushes: One or two all-purpose brushes, like the medium-size dome brush here, will help. But in most cases a cotton swab (or a finger) will do.