If you’ve got a whole lot of makeup, organizing it all can be a big project. A much easier version of that project is organizing the small makeup bag you take with you when you leave the house.
Here are some tips on what to put in a makeup kit and how to organize your cosmetics.
1. Assess Your Routine
Choosing products is a very individual thing. When thinking about what to take with you, remember that unless you’re putting on a full face of makeup at mid-day, you don’t need everything from foundation to loose powder to eyelash curlers in your purse.
For touch-ups throughout the day, you probably only need some kind of powder, whatever you normally wear on your lips, and at least some of your usual eye makeup. You might also want concealer or brow tamer – it all depends on your skin and your particular needs.
Packing a makeup bag is a good opportunity to assess your routine and potentially streamline it. Do you really need two lipsticks, a liner, and a lip brush to get the look you want? If so, you might need a bigger bag. But maybe you’re stuck with a complicated technique you learned in high school, and all you really need is some gloss.
Also think about non-makeup “extras” that might belong in your makeup bag, like eye drops or a little bag of tissues.
2. Pick the Right Bag
There are a few factors that go into picking the right makeup case.
Material. It should probably be durable and easily wiped clean. You can, of course, choose to use a pretty cloth bag for makeup, you just have to be a little more careful screwing caps back on if you don’t want it ruined.
Pockets. An outside pocket is great if you want to slip a small item into your bag easily, but it can also allow things to slip out. Lots of sections and zippers are good if you carry a lot of makeup you might want to separate it into categories - day and night, for example – though they can make accessing your makeup confusing.
For most people, a simple no-frills pouch will probably be most convenient.
Shape. I like square or rectangular bags because you don’t end up wasting space as can happen with oddly shaped or rounded bags. A bag that is fairly flat and stiff can help prevent your makeup getting jumbled up in a corner. Though if you have a bunch of larger items, a cube-shaped bag might hold them better.
3. Fit it All In
Make sure all of your makeup fits comfortably in your makeup bag. Sounds obvious, but I spent years muttering to myself as I shoved my powder and lip gloss into a bag that was just a bit too small. That is one daily annoyance you can eliminate from your life so easily. When selecting a makeup bag, find one long enough to fit your pencils at full, just-bought length, wide enough for any bulky compacts, and tall enough for everything to fit without obstructing the zipper.
4. Look for Miniatures
Many common beauty products come in little purse-friendly sizes. Look for nail files, brushes, and perfumes that come in travel versions. Even if you’re using regular sized products, some designs are smaller than others. For example, if you use a single eyeshadow shade, don’t cart around the compact with two or three colors.
5. Double Up
I have a tiny combination eyebrow and eyelash brush that folds up. It takes up almost no space and performs two functions. If you use two shades of eye shadows, combine them in one compact rather than carrying two. If you wear lipstick and blush, there might be a product that does both.
6. Keep it Clean
Don’t let your makeup case get grungy. Clean it, and the makeup itself, every so often. This is a quick, simple way to make yourself feel better about your possessions. (You could also buy all new clothes, but that takes a lot more time and money than wiping down a little vinyl bag.) Also, make sure to regularly replace disposable sponges and applicators. In addition to being unsanitary, a dirty powder puff is just sad to look at.