How to Choose a Makeup Bag

A multi-functional makeup bag is essential for keeping your cosmetics well organized and protected inside your purse. A well-made cosmetic bag should be easy to clean and keep your items from breaking inside your bag. Choosing the right bag depends on whether you're using the bag for everyday or travel, though. That's because the size and durability can make a big difference in its performance. When you find the ideal makeup bag, you'll discover that it's much easier to locate your items, so you can put on your makeup without wasting any time.

Part 1Figuring Out What Type of Bag You Need

  1. 1Determine whether the bag is for daily use or travel. If you’re going to throw the bag in your purse to take with you on the go, a smaller bag with a single compartment is usually the best bet. However, if you’re looking for a travel makeup bag to hold your entire makeup routine, you’ll need a larger bag with multiple compartments.[1]
    • If you’re a professional makeup artist, you can find even larger makeup bags that can hold your entire kit to take with you on jobs.
  2. 2Figure out what size works best for your routine. Even among daily and travel makeup bags, there’s some variation in size. The best option depends on your routine. For example, if you only want to bring along some powder, lip balm, and lipstick with you for touch-ups throughout the day, you don’t need much space. However, if you also want to bring along eyeshadow, liner, and mascara to turn your daytime makeup into an evening look, you’ll need a larger bag.[2]
    • When it comes to travel makeup bags, think about how long your trips usually are. If you usually take weekend trips, you don’t need a very large makeup bag. However, if you often take trips that are a week longer or more, you may need to bring more makeup with you, so you’ll need extra room.
  3. 3Decide how sturdy your bag needs to be. A daily makeup bag typically doesn’t have to be all that durable, so a soft-sided style works well. For a travel bag, though, it’s a good idea to choose a bag with a hard exterior. This can keep containers from breaking inside it if they get jostled around on a plane or in a car or train.[3]
    • Makeup bags with hard exteriors are usually called train cases.
    • You can find larger bags with hard exteriors that are similar to luggage or roll-aboard style suitcases for professional makeup artists.

Part 2Choosing the Right Materials and Design

  1. 1Consider a waterproof bag. There's always a chance that the bottles and containers inside your bag may break. To keep any liquids from damaging the bag or leaking out, choose a waterproof bag made from nylon, vinyl, polyester, or another waterproof fabric.[4]
  2. 2Look for a bag with dividers. In a travel makeup bag, it’s especially important to have bags with multiple compartments or pockets for organizing your makeup. This allows you to separate your face products from your other makeup products, so it's easier to do your makeup in a hurry.[5]
    • Because you’re usually not carrying too much makeup in a daily makeup bag, dividers aren’t always necessary. However, you may want a couple of compartments to separate items like tissues or cotton swabs from your makeup.
  3. 3Select a bag with an easy to clean lining. Whether from powder, cream, or liquid products, some mess is inevitable with makeup items. Make sure that you choose a bag that has a liner that you can easily wipe clean with soap and water. Look for one with a vinyl lining -- they’re usually the easiest to clean.[6]

Part 3Organizing Your Makeup Bag

  1. 1Use plastic bags within your bag. To further organize your makeup bag, you can keep items separated by placing some products in small plastic, sealable bags. The plastic bags can also prevent items from spilling inside the bag, so they’re ideal for fragile items, particularly liquid and cream products.[7]
    • You can also use smaller, zippered makeup bags inside of larger bags to separate your makeup products. For example, you might have one bag for lip products and another for eye products.
  2. 2Pack multipurpose items. It's not a good idea to jam any makeup bag so full of products that it's nearly bursting. To limit the number of products in your bag, look for items that provide multiple products. For example, you might include a palette that contains a trio of blush, contour, and highlighter shades instead of three separate compacts.[8]
    • You can also include products that serve multiple purposes, such as a lip and cheek cream that can be used as lipstick or blush.
    • An eyeshadow palette that contains the right matte shades can work not only as shadows but as brow powders and eyeliners too.
  3. 3Buy mini brushes for your bag. You’re always better off using brushes to apply your makeup over your fingers, even when traveling. But instead of trying to stuff full-size brushes into your makeup bag, opt for a set of mini or travel size brushes. They have shorter handles, so they take up less space in your bag.[9]