Agree with going to a make up counter to ask for help. Definitely emphasize that you want something that feels light on the skin, like a BB cream or tinted moisturizer.
And yes, definitely check out ELF. I have a mix of high end products (example: Giorgio Armani foundation, it’s very light) and inexpensive products from ELF (eyeslipsface). I think ELF definitely has a lot of nice products for very inexpensive prices, and allows you to play around with make-up without shelling out $$$$. They also have their own make-up tutorial videos on the product pages so you can see how you should be using the product.
You should also invest in their brush set – it’s a good beginner’s brush set (the drawbacks are that it does shed a little, and after cleaning you need to moisturize them well or else they get very dry). They also have eyeshadow palettes that are convenient for testing out different colors like 144 color palette for $15 (the pigment is pretty good, much better than Sephora’s which I would not recommend).
Products I used from ELF that I liked:
Mineral Eyeshadow – it was very shimmery, and the colors were how they appeared on the sit
Waterproof Eyeliner pen – it’s kind of like a liquid eyeliner pen. It’s not great, but it does the trick and is very simple to use
Studio Pigment Eyeshadow – was very intense in pigment, and matched the colors on the website
Mineral Foundation SPF15 – it’s light and actually matches my skintone (although I wish I had gotten the personal blend, it’s adjustable so when you have a tan you can make it a little darker)
Products I used from ELF that I disliked:
Liquid Eyeliner – extremely hard to use and get a nice straight line. Also takes forever to dry, and if it’s not dry it smudges and gets all over
Eye Primer and Liner Sealer – very greasy and doesn’t actually seal anything. If anything, it makes it harder to apply eyeshadow/eyeliner and smudges everything.
Eyeliner and Shadow Stick – it was easy to use, but it doesn’t last long and smudges easily
Regular and Wet Gloss Mascaras – didn’t really do anything, you’d be much better off just getting a regular drugstore mascara like from Maybelline (Maybelline actually makes fantastic mascara, I’m currently using Diorshow but honestly I feel like Maybelline is just fine)
All Over Color Stick – it was sticky and hard to blend (the baked blush would probably be a better try)
If you’re interested in trying out liquid eyeliner – order some from SASA. They carry Japanese liquid eyeliners, which are fantastic. The one I like to use is K-Palette. It’s super long lasting, and very easy to use.
If you can get to a Sephora (sorry, not really familiar with UK geography), it’s a great place because they carry so many products, or you can order some online (and if you join the Beauty insiders you can get free samples of products and free gifts depending on the points you’ve earned). They also have their own line of products, some of which are good.
The Sephora products I liked:
Pro-Lesson Palette: It’s easy to use, it’s broken into step by step instructions with pictures. I use the Smokey Eye, and I often end up using the products inside to do other kinds of eyes too
Sephora Lipstick: My mother liked it when I brought her a vibrant red lipstick back from France (Sephora hadn’t made it’s way to NY at that time). However, I think it’s changed over the years, she tried to match it recently and didn’t quite like the second stick as much as the first.
Colorful Palette: This was in a graduation gift I got after HS. My brother’s then-Fi decided that I should have some nice make-up (I didn’t wear any at that time) so I could experiment and learn to use make-up. It’s very easy to use, the pigment is good (which I can’t say for all Sephora eyeshadow) and it’s easier to use the pairings than deciding what’s supposed to go with what on your own
Ultra Vinyl Lip Pencil: vibrant shimmery colors that go on easily, I use them when I’m travelling as a substitute for my Dior lipsticks or when I need to keep a shimmery lipcolor in my bag for clubbing later
I’m assuming you probably want to go for a more natural look, some of the other products I use more often (I usually go for a more natural look) are:
Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights- it’s a all over shimmery face powder, you can use it as bronzer, blush, it’s so easy and versatile to use and I love how it looks. I usually use it as bronzer/blush, and sweep a little along my jawline, nose, and forehead where the sun would “kiss” my face.
Laura Geller double eye appeal pencil – there are better under eye concealer and highlighters out there. But this one comes in a convenient double ended pencil. It’s very easy to use, and easy to transport. Use the concealer end under your eyes, and dot the highlighter side on the inner corner of your eyes, the outer corner of your lower lash line, and under the arch of your brows (it opens your eyes up and gives it a fresh look)
For a nude lip, it’s definitely worth investing in a Chanel lipstick. I fell in love with the ads, and now I use Rouge Coco Shine 42, 46, and 53. There’s also a new shade out, the Rouge Allure Velvet La Distinguee “the perfect peach-pink matte shade for spring”.