Makeup for teens isn’t what it used to be: today’s generation of teenagers have access to makeup tutorial videos on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok that help them learn how to do their makeup in ways most millennials didn’t learn until after college. Teens today are used to shopping at chic beauty stores like Sephora, Ulta, […]
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Makeup for teens isn’t what it used to be: today’s generation of teenagers have access to makeup tutorial videos on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok that help them learn how to do their makeup in ways most millennials didn’t learn until after college. Teens today are used to shopping at chic beauty stores like Sephora, Ulta, and new emerging brands rather than picking up whatever they can find at the drugstore (and don’t get us wrong, that’s where we get some of our fave mascaras, shampoos, and lipsticks) or in their mom’s vanity. Still, shopping for the best makeup for teens is a bit of a different experience: You want them to buy and receive products they’ll love and use, but you also want to keep things age-appropriate.
Since most teenagers already have naturally dewy, glowy, soft skin (siiiigh), you really don’t want them to cover it all up with a thick foundation. Instead, something lighter and more natural-looking is the way to go. The same can be said for any face makeup, whether it’s blush, concealer, or highlighter. And while you can encourage them to have fun with different colored makeup, it’s also a good idea to get some natural-looking options, like neutral eye shadow, while they learn the ropes. Below are our picks for the best makeup for teens that they’ll definitely want to use — and you may want to borrow, too.
Best Makeup For Teens
Natural-looking makeup is great for teens, but who says they can’t have a little fun with their look? If anything, their younger years are the best time to do so. This Milk Makeup Holographic Stick is perfect for that because it’s fun but also subtle: a swipe of this vegan highlighter gives off a shimmery shine wherever you use it. It’s also made with mango butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil for a moisturizing feel.
Think of this First Aid Beauty product as the perfect combination of skincare and makeup. Made of a nourishing blend of coconut water, quinoa protein, and minerals, this is super hydrating and is just as much a moisturizer as it is a primer. It smooths the skin and has micro-pearls that reflect light, making the skin subtly glow. It’s also excellent for sensitive skin.
This 12-shade eye shadow palette is versatile and makes it easy to create a variety of different looks. Because the shades are all blushes and nudes, they are easy to blend and natural-looking. Reviewers compare it to more expensive palettes, like Urban Decay, and note that the pigments are fantastic.
For those interested in bronzer, the Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Lite is an excellent pick. It’s a lighter version of their cult-favorite Hoola bronzer, so it gives off a natural sunkissed look. It blends easily, stays on all day, and never looks dry or cakey.
There are so many different types of mascaras out there that it can be overwhelming, but this essence option is great. Not only is it super inexpensive, but it also has over 165,000 positive reviews on Amazon. It defines and separates lashes while adding volume and length, and it lasts all day without fading or flaking. The conic fiber brush is so easy to use, even for beginners, and doesn’t lead to annoying clumping.
Not ready for your teen to wear lipstick? Then opt for lipgloss instead, specifically this Tower 28 product. It’s hydrating and moisturizing, never sticky, and offers just a touch of sheer color while still looking nice and shiny.
Another great lip gloss option is the iconic Lancome Juicy Tubes. They come in a wide variety of different shades, and they offer lots of shine and a nice pop of color without being too much. This perfect formula glides on smoothly, promises four hours of lasting hydration, and is made with vitamin E to keep lifts soft.
If your teen wants a foundation but you want them to get something lightweight, go for this Revlon pick. It’s a truly excellent lightweight foundation that offers medium coverage that is also really buildable. It goes on smooth and blends easily, and it never feels heavy or cakey. It covers everything, and it’s made with shields for protection against pollution and blue light. It also comes in 31 different shades, so there should be something for everyone. And under $5? Yes, please.
Eyeliner can be difficult to master, but this Neutrogena Intense Gel Eyeliner makes it easy. It’s highly pigmented for lines that won’t crack or melt easily, and it goes on smooth with just one swipe. It’s also dermatologist tested, so it’s gentle and water resistant.
NUDESTIX was actually started by two teen sisters, so they definitely knew what they were doing with their target audience. The crayon-like makeup is meant to be super portable and easy to use on the go (like at your locker). The sticks come in a convenient carry case that includes a little mirror so they can be reapplied anywhere. Plus, the makeup itself is great. This set comes with a highlighter, eyeshadow, and lipstick, all of which give off an “I-woke-up-like-this” color and glow.
Teens who want to cover up pimples, other blemishes, and maybe some dark circles should look for an easy-to-use concealer that isn’t too heavy. This e.l.f. option is lightweight but still offers full-coverage, and it blends really well. It’s also 100% cruelty-free and vegan, and as a bonus, it comes in at a great price point that even your teenager can afford.
Best Natural-Looking Makeup For Teens
Not sure you want your teen to use foundation yet? Try a tinted moisturizer like this bareMinerals BB cream. It offers light to medium coverage, but it’s so lightweight that it just feels like a moisturizer. It’s super hydrating, it actually conceals blemishes and imperfections, and it gives a really nice, natural-looking glow. A little goes a long way, and it’s easy to blend in with just your fingertips. We also love how it has SPF 30 for sunny days.
Another fantastic lightweight foundation option is Ilia’s Skin Tint. It’s definitely a little up there price-wise, but if you’d prefer your teen to use a more natural makeup formula, then this is the way to go. This is a clean, tinted serum that offers lightweight coverage that really works, and has SPF 40 protection. It’s basically like skincare and makeup in one.
Many teens struggle to get out of bed to arrive at homeroom on time (and we don’t blame them), but the right concealer can help hide their tired eyes. The Lip Bar’s Cinnamon Caffeine Concealer — which comes in six skin-flattering hues — does double duty by covering dark circles and perking them up with a dose of (you guessed it) cinnamon and caffeine. (Yep, you’re going to want one for yourself, too). Socially-conscious teens will also appreciate that TLB is a Black-owned company and its products are vegan, diversity-inclusive, and cruelty-free.
Most teens are not about to ignore their eyebrows, so if you want them to use something foolproof, Glossier’s Boy Brow is the way to go. This magical little brow brush transforms eyebrows while also giving off a natural look. It’s super easy to use and the tints blend seamlessly with natural brow colors. And, you get points for getting them a product as trendy as Glossier. (P.S. You can find some shades on Amazon, as well.)
A smart way to introduce your new teen to mascara without getting it all over their face is to start with a clear wand, like this. It conditions lashes and brows while also separating and adding some lift. It’s versatile, smooth, and clump-free, and it’s washable, so it’s really a no-mess piece of makeup.
While Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty makeup line seems like it would scream “teen-friendly,” it’s actually full of really well thought out, sophisticated makeup. That said, it is, in fact, very teen-friendly. The cream blush is a favorite from the line, thanks to the fact that it’s highly blendable, feels creamy and hydrating on the cheeks, and is a breeze to apply. Any of the shades will give a lovely tint as it melts instantly into the skin.
A highlighter is a must-have for teens, and if you want something that doesn’t reflect like a disco ball, then go for Glossier Haloscope. This crayon-like stick of highlighter is incredibly moisturizing, it goes on so easily, it’s buildable and super blendable, and it has a beautiful color to it. The stick makes it easy to reapply whenever and wherever, and this product will also last forever.
A multistick like this one is great for teens because it can be used in so many different ways. This one also happens to be very inexpensive, which is a nice plus. A glistening peach hue, this is a universally flattering shade and can be used on your cheeks as blush, on your eyes as eyeshadow, and on your lips as a shimmery touch of color. It’s easy to use and foolproof for makeup newbies.
Sure, you probably think your teenager already has baby skin on their own, but they likely don’t feel that way. This Maybelline primer is excellent at smoothing out skin and filling in any pores for an even, seamless look. It feels silky and lightweight, and it gives a slightly matte finish that’s not too overdone. And the colorful packaging is so cute!
Unlike when we were teens and overly-manicured eyebrows were a hot trend, now, natural brows are in (thank the Lord.) However, your teen can still shape and tame their brows — sans tweezers — with the Browzey Brow Gel from gender-fluid makeup brand, We Are Fluide. It goes on clear and has a strong hold to keep hairs looking groomed and in place. Your teen can use it alone or to finish a full, filled-in look so their brows will be on point and Insta-ready all day long. And, P.S. — it’s also vegan, and cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain nasty preservatives.
This smooth-as-butter gloss is a bestseller for a reason! Lip Gloss Boss’ fan-favorite product is a gloss and balm in one; namely, it goes on shiny but locks in moisture like a balm (with a minty-flavored finish) for smooth, hydrated lips. And it serves even more purposes, too: It can be dabbed on lips, cheekbones, and brows for a dewy overall look. For a splash of color, check out the Magic Wand Lip Glosses, too.
Best Makeup Kits For Teens
Buying them their very first makeup set? This one is perfect. Not only does it come in a really cute flower layering package that makes it easy to store and put on display, but it’s also loaded with the basics. There’s concealer, blush, eyeshadow, eye pencil, lip gloss, lipstick creams, lip pencil, blush brush, eyeshadow brush, applicators, and a mirror. It has everything they need to start out, and everything is nicely pigmented with lots of color options.
This eyeshadow palette is ideal for teens who want to experiment with different looks but also want to keep the shades relatively neutral. It features a variety of nude, blush, and gold shades, all with a luxuriously creamy feel that melts right into the skin and is loaded with pigment. We love this inexpensive Urban Decay Naked dupe, and so do 22,000 Amazon reviewers.
This is another great basic set. It includes cream eyeshadow, tinted lip gloss, and an eye pencil. You can get it in soft nude shades or one of the more colorful options. Everything is easy to use and take on the go, and they’re cruelty-free and vegan.
Packed with neutral basics, this set is what you need to create a beautiful eye look. It comes with eyeshadows, eyeliners, and mascaras that enhance your natural look and add just a hint of color. The shades blend well together and you can mix and match for a look that is natural or dramatic.
This e.l.f. beauty set includes some of the brand’s best-sellers: the Poreless Face Primer, a face sponge for application, Makeup Mist and Set, No Budge Retractable Liner, and Eyeshadow Duo. It includes staples that your teen can experiment with to find their own look. It’s inexpensive and everything is easy to use.
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