What should I have in my makeup bag? List of makeup and their uses

Makeup bag essentials list

a picture of makeup bag open with makeup in it
What should I have in my makeup bag?

Unless you’re Mary Poppins, there’s only so much makeup you can fit in one bag.

Here’s a scenario we all know: You are travelling and packing your bags. You are trying to fit in six lipsticks, three different mascaras, ten brushes and the kitchen sink. It’s all going great until you try and get that zip done up…

So let’s figure out an answer to the magical question: What should I have in my makeup bag? 

I’ve put together a list for you of makeup bag essentials and what you should use them for.

Makeup kit list: What do you need & how do you use it?

glittery pen and note book

Here’s a list of what you should be putting in your makeup bag:

  1. Foundation
  2. Concealer
  3. Bronzer
  4. Blusher
  5. Highlighter
  6. Eyeshadow
  7. Mascara
  8. Eyeliner
  9. Eyebrow product
  10. One neutral lipstick
  11. One color lipstick
  12. A foundation brush
  13. A fluffy brush
  14. An eyeshadow brush

The “face base”

For this post, we will consider foundation, concealer, bronzer, blusher and highlighter your “base” makeup. These are the products you need to help your skin look flawless.


bottles of foundationUnless you’re one of those lucky people that we hate love that has perfect skin, you’ll want a foundation to give your skin a base that is even in tone and covers any imperfections you may wish to. There are many different types of “foundation” you can use which have different finishes. Have a look at this post here if you want some ideas on what’s right for you.

Foundation will help you to begin your makeup look with a smooth and flawless complexion.


NARS Concealer

It’s only a white lie.

Sometimes there are things that a cup (or 5) of coffee cannot fix. For this, we have concealer.

Use concealer for extra coverage on pimples or blemishes. You can apply this before or after your foundation base so long as you blend it all in well.

You can also use concealer under your eyes to cover up those dreaded eye-bags. Apply a few dots under each eye and blend it out with a brush or a damp beauty blender. Your concealer should be a shade lighter than your foundation to give you a “glowing” and healthy look and help you look less tired.


bronzer palette

Once you have applied your foundation and concealer, you’ll want to put a bit of color back into your face.

This is where bronzer comes in.

When it comes to bronzer, less really is more. It is better to build up the color than to try and go in too dark and end up with a stripy face that’s really tough to blend. If you need some suggestions on which bronzer is right for you and how to apply, check out this post. 


a number of single cream blusher

Now we need to get some color back in those cheeks.

When you apply the base color, you will likely lose the natural pink of your cheeks. Applying some blush to your face will help you to get that back. This post has all the information you need about what blusher to pick.



A highlighter will just finish off that base beautifully.

Use a highlight, in whatever form you wish, to highlight the “edges” of your face. This includes your cheekbone, bridge of your nose, brow bone and cupid’s bow. A light dusting is what you want to just give yourself a beautifully healthy glow.

Onto the eyes…

It’s so tempting to try and pack every color eyeshadow you own.

You just never know, do you? You might just need that bright pink, glittery number and you’d kick yourself if you didn’t pack it.

I know you want it but you’re going to have to get tough with yourself. The best thing you can do is get yourself a palette you can put in your makeup bag that’s a good “all-rounder”.


red eyeshadow
Ruby Red Package

You’re going to want an eyeshadow palette that has a good mixture of different colors and finishes which will mean you are prepared to take your makeup from day to night.

If you are looking for a splurge, this HUDA Beauty Rose Gold palette is beautiful and is exactly what you need. If you’re on a tighter budget, like most of us are, check out this Makeup Revolution palette which is the perfect combination of nudes, color and glitter so you’ll be able to create a look for all occasions.

Both of the above are quite large palettes in size but they will go a long way!



Get yourself your fave mascara and you’re sorted. Enough said on that one.


woman applying eyeliner

Given the size of an eyeliner, you can probably manage to just about squeeze in both a pencil and a liquid eyeliner. That way you’ll be equipped for both different looks!


image of one eyebrow of woman's eye

The best thing you can get yourself in a makeup bag is a small brow compact. These usually come with a spoolie, brush and sometimes even a little pair of tweezers. They will have some wax and different shades of color for your brows. You can get some of these that are really quite small and will fit easily into your bag while containing everything you could possibly need. Have a look at this Barry M palette for a great affordable option.

Get Lippy

It’s just so hard to pick, isn’t it?

Yes they may all be nudes, but they’re all completely different, what are you trying to say? *a snippet of a conversation we have all had with our significant others… 

So… what should you pack? My suggestion would be to pack yourself both a neutral, everyday color that you would wear for work or out shopping and then a bright color for evening wear. That way you are covered for every situation.


makeup brush collection

I have such a hard time only taking a few brushes.

When I tried to break it down into thinking what do I really, really need, these were the three I came up with:

  • Foundation Brush
  • Fluffy Brush
  • Eyeshadow Brush

You could have so many more but if we’re trying to keep it simple, these are what you want and need. You can get by without the others.

The foundation brush is of course for your foundation and can also apply your concealer, too.

The fluffy brush can apply your bronzer, blush and highlight.

A large-ish sized eyeshadow brush should be enough for what you need.

You can also use your fingers for eyeshadow. It might not be as precise but it generally does the job well enough!

Tip: you could get yourself a small travel sized eyeshadow brush set like these ones: 

To Conclude: What will you have in your makeup bag?

These are just some suggestions but I hope they will help you with packing your makeup bag for your next trip.

As long as you’ve got these essentials, you’ve got everything you need for any look you will wish to try and create!

Thanks so much for reading. If you can think of anything else we’ve missed, or have any comments or questions, please let us know in the comments below!

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