How to Make an Emergency Makeup Bag

When you leave your house in the morning, your makeup probably looks perfect. Over the course of a day, though, your foundation may fade, your eyeliner can smear, and your lip color will wear off. Having an emergency makeup bag means you can touch up your makeup on the go -- or take your look from day to night. The key to making an emergency makeup bag is choosing the right bag and focusing on essential items so you don't overfill it.

Part 1Choosing a Bag

  1. 1Make sure that the size is right. When you choose a makeup bag, it’s important to choose one that’s large enough to hold all of your items. However, you don’t want it to be too big or it may not fit in your purse, backpack, or other bag. Look for a makeup bag that’s just large enough to hold all of your essentials.[1]
    • It’s also a good idea to consider the color of your makeup bag carefully. If you have a large purse or bag, a makeup bag can easily get lost inside. Choose one in a color that will stand out against the inside of your bag so you can find it in a hurry when you need it. A bright color such as red, yellow, or magenta is a good option.
  2. 2Opt for a bag with washable lining. No matter how careful you are with your makeup, chances are that some of it is going to spill, leak, or stain the inside of the bag. Look for a bag with a washable lining, so you can easily clean it if gets dirty.[2]
    • A vinyl lining is usually the easiest to clean. You can even wipe it down with a makeup wipe if you’re in a hurry.
  3. 3Look for a bag with multiple compartments. In a full makeup bag, it’s easy to lose track of items. Opting for a bag that has multiple compartments allows you to separate your makeup products so you can find what you’re looking for more quickly. For example, you might keep lip products in one pocket and eye products in another.[3]
    • If you can’t find a bag with compartments, consider using bags within bags. Find a couple of smaller bags that will fit inside your larger makeup bag so you can separate your items.

Part 2Picking Your Face and Lip Products

  1. 1Add a concealer. A bottle of foundation would take up too much space in an emergency makeup bag, but you should carry a concealer. It’s perfect for touchups throughout the day if your foundation starts to fade or for cleaning up any makeup smudges under the eyes.[4]
    • If you’re going out after a long day at school or work, applying some concealer under your eyes can help you look fresher and more awake for an evening out.
  2. 2Throw in a powder. Throughout the day, it’s normal for your skin to get a little oily. Having powder in your emergency bag allows you to touch up your makeup so you don’t look too shiny. Add a pressed or loose powder, especially if you have oily skin.[5]
    • Loose powder tends to be more lightweight than pressed, but they can be messy to use on the go. Pressed powder compacts usually have a mirror inside too, which means you don’t have to toss a separate mirror into your makeup bag.
    • A translucent powder is usually the best option for an emergency makeup bag because it doesn’t add much coverage so you don’t have to worry about looking cakey. However, if you’re concerned about your foundation fading throughout the day, you may prefer a colored powder that provides some coverage instead.
    • If you don’t want to touch up with powder because you have dry skin or you’re concerned about looking cakey, you can substitute blotting papers or sheets. They remove excess oil and shine without disturbing your makeup or adding any more product to your face.
    • Depending on your makeup routine, you may also want to include a blush and/or bronzer in your emergency makeup bag. For example, if you often go out after school or work, you may want to freshen up your blush in case it’s faded. Bronzer can also add color to your face, and double as an eyeshadow when you need one.
  3. 3Mix in a neutral lipstick and a clear lip balm. There’s no need to carry a bunch of lipsticks and glosses in your emergency bag. Include one neutral colored lipstick that will go with other makeup in a variety of colors, and a clear lip balm for moisturizing your lips and adding shine when needed.[6]
    • A neutral lip color is a shade that doesn’t lean warm or cool, so it works with most other shades. You might opt for a nude lipstick, but you can find neutral pinks too. The best bet is to choose a lipstick that’s similar in color to your natural lip color but slightly darker.
    • If you want to have multiple lip color options, mix in a few lip pencils, which won’t take up as much space as lipsticks. You can layer the pencils with the lipstick or each other to create the color that you want.

Part 3Selecting Eye Products

  1. 1Include a mascara. If you go out after school or work on a regular basis, having a mascara in your emergency makeup bag comes in handy. Adding another coat can help freshen up mascara that’s flaked off or make your lashes look thicker for a night out.[7]
    • Travel or sample size mascaras are a good option for an emergency makeup bag because they don’t take up much space.
  2. 2Toss in a smoky eyeshadow duo or quad. For transitioning a daytime eye makeup look to a evening out look, add an eyeshadow duo or quad with dark, dramatic shades. That will allow you to create a smoky eye that’s more appropriate for an evening out.[8]
    • Look for shadow duos or quads that contain shades like black, gray, silver, navy, bronze, or chocolate brown. They work well for smoky eye looks.
  3. 3Add a black liner. Eyeliner is another makeup item that tends to fade as the day goes on, and you may want to touch up. A black eyeliner is the best option for your emergency makeup bag because it will coordinate with virtually any eye makeup look.[9]
    • If you don’t wear black liner because it’s too harsh, substitute a dark brown or charcoal liner instead.

Part 4Rounding Out Your Makeup Bag

  1. 1Throw in a set of travel-size makeup brushes. While many makeup items come with applicators, they’re often not ideal for a precise makeup application. Consider adding a travel-size set of makeup brushes to your bag. They’re smaller so they won’t take up as much space as full-size brushes.[10]
    • You don’t necessarily need an entire set of brushes. You can just throw in a couple that serve multiple purposes. For example, you might include just one eye brush and one large fluffy face brush that you can use for powder, blush, and bronzer.
  2. 2Add some makeup wipes and cotton swabs. If your makeup runs or smears during the day, you may need to clean it up. Include a small package of makeup removing wipes and cotton swabs that will allow you to easily get rid of any smudges or smears. You can also remove all of your makeup if necessary.[11]
  3. 3Throw in some hair ties and bobby pins. In addition to makeup, it’s a good idea to have some hair ties or bobby pins in your emergency bag. You can fix your hair if it gets messy or pin it into an updo for an evening out if necessary.[12]
    • You may also want to include a hairbrush or comb in your makeup bag.
    • You may want to throw in a travel-size bottle of dry shampoo too. If you hair starts to look greasy during the day, spray some of the shampoo into your roots to soak up the excess oil.