It’s In the Bag: Cosmetic Bag Fundamentals

I am a self proclaimed product hoarder, I’ll admit it. I’ve got tons of the same type of products in a bunch of different colors, styles, packaging – it’s almost sad. One day, I set out to get rid of some of my stuff but hit a wall. I didn’t want to throw out anything I might need. It took me a bit to figure out what was a must have, but once I started, I found that it’s easy and OK to downsize your products every now and then to keep from a bulging bag. However, there is no reason you can’t have a makeup bag that contains everything you need, as long as you figure out what’s essential. By making sure you have these items, in whatever colors you like or work for your skin tone, you won’t go wrong.

A Basis for Success –

First, make sure to pack a good moisturizer in your cosmetic bag, preferably one that contains an SPF. Keep an eye out for oil-free moisturizers also called noncomedogenic. These lotions in particular won’t clog your pores compared to ones that are heavier or leave the skin feeling greasy. Apply at night for beaming skin when you wake up. Once you get up in the morning and wash your face, apply a thin layer on your face and neck while your skin is still slightly moist. Allow your face to dry completely and you will have a clean, even canvas for you to apply your makeup to look flawless wherever you are.

Next, you should have a decent set of brushes in your bag. These will keep your hands, which carry oil, bacteria and dirt, off of your face before they can cause breakouts. There are several types of brushes on the market. When looking for a quality set, check to see if the bristles move in the same direction. When you pull on them, they should remain rigid. Every makeup bag should have a minimum of five brushes.  First, a powder brush. It should be a large brush with soft bristles. You should also have a blush brush, one that has a rounded tip and tapered on the sides. Next, a soft bristled eye shadow brush and firm bristled lip brush are excellent additions to to the bag as well. Having a few options to pick from is a good idea. Finally, a lash and brow groomer will allow you to tidy up your brows to tie the whole look together.

Under eye circles, scars, dark spots and other blemishes wind up on the face. To easily make them fade or get rid of them all together, having a concealer that works for you is important. They come in cream, liquid and stick form, in a variety of shades. Typically, you want to have a concealer a half to a full shade lighter than your skin tone for minimizing dark circles under the eyes. If you are looking to hide puffiness, a darker concealer will aid you. If your aim is to do color-correction, there are concealers available for you as well. A green concealer will hide red spots, namely acne or scars. Bruises can be hidden by a yellow concealer. Be sure to blend in your concealer after application with a sponge.

makeupbag2-thevagrindaTaking a peek into Sonia Kashuk’s makeup bag, we see she’s got it stocked with essentials!

Next, The Eyes Have it –

Eye shadows are just as unique as the people who wear them. If you are looking for a dramatic look for the night or a doll-like refined look for the day, finding an eye shadow to suit your needs has never been easier. If finding colors that work together is a problem, you can often find palettes that can help you create multiple looks all in one. These tend to save space so you can fit a few in your cosmetic bag. For longer wear with your shadow, try a primer before you begin to apply.

When you’re ready to define your eyes, grab an eyeliner from your bag. Wheter it’s liquid, gel or powder you can add a bit of glamour to your look. Liquids give more drama to your look, as long as you keep it smudge free. Try getting excess liner off of the applicator before applying and then only apply to the top lash line. Gels are like liquids, but may require a few applications before you are happy with the coverage. Powders are great for your bottom lash line as they tend not to bleed into the eyes. Always start with a thin line when working with your liner, you can always retrace it for more drama.

Full, lengthy eyelashes are something that cannot be ignored. With the multitude of mascaras on the market now, you can find one to lengthen, separate or thicken your lashes. Even just by using a mascara in a different way can yield different results. Even just an extra coat of mascara or two can take your eyes from everyday to bold. Additionally, colored mascaras make lighter colored lashes stand out. I also suggest packing an eyelash curler in your makeup bag. There are mascaras that promote curling in lashes, but a few seconds with the curler will start your lashes out with some serious oomph!

Finishing Touches –

To give yourself a rosy cheek, a blush matched to your skin tone should find itself in your bag as well. Powders apply easier but the cream blushes are a better alternative to those with dry skin. When applying, follow your cheekbone lines, do not apply in the center of your cheeks. To give yourself a bit of a glow, consider following a blush with a bronzer, applied to your cheeks, forehead, either side of your nose and chin.

A face wouldn’t be complete without a pair of lips and neither would your made up face. Lipstick is more opaque and more in your face while a gloss can give lips a plumper appearance with a subtle shimmer. With the abundance of colors and textures, it’s really up to the wearer what they feel like wearing. Just make sure to match your lipstick to your skin tone. Browns, darker reds and burgundy colors look great on dark skin, while beiges, soft pinks, brownish pinks, and lighter reds look wonderful on fairer skin types.

To pull the look and your makeup bag together, a translucent powder will help you achieve a flawless, yet natural look. Controlling shine and oils, it also can make mistakes less obvious and will blend the face together. Also coming in a many different shades, you can find translucent powder in either loose form or pressed. For convenience, pressed powder is the best option as it won’t leak out and often comes with its own applicator.

Squeezing everything to make yourself up might seem impossible but it’s not. Identify the products you need, find the ones that work for you and check to see if they offer smaller versions. Often times you can find travel sizes of your favorite products that are way easier to carry around and keep you beautiful on the go.

This article was originally published by myself in June ’12 on


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