Here Are My Makeup Bag Essentials! What Are Yours?

Published in: Chanel, Clinique, Lips, Palladio, Too Faced

makeup bag essentials

I’m sort of a makeup bag hoarder.


The easiest way to get me to buy something is to offer a free makeup bag. Then I’m sold (Clinique, I’m looking at you). 

My excuse is that they always come in handy, whether for travel, organization, gift-giving… In fact, I always keep a makeup bag in my desk at work and another one in my gym bag. But I also like to have one that I just leave on my vanity, because it takes the guesswork out of doing my makeup in the morning, and I’ll also throw things in there that I’ve been meaning to try, so that I don’t forget about them.

I’ll also bring another makeup bag with me if I’m going somewhere after work, and I know I’ll want to freshen up my makeup.

See? So many makeup bags!

Here are what I currently consider my makeup bag essentials:

makeup bag products

Face products

face products in my makeup bag

I’m not really one for powdering my nose on the go, so I have these Palladio Rice Paper Sheets instead.  They soak up excess oil and don’t disturb the rest of my makeup.  They’re very affordable, too (available at Ulta for $3.99).

If my base has worn off, or if I just want to add some coverage, I’ve been loving this Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick. I use the shade called Gargantuan Golden. This one pictured is actually a free one that I got at Sephora, but I purchased the full size about a month ago (at Sephora for $24). I love how easy it is to blend on the skin with just my fingers, so it’s perfect for on-the-go.  It’s build-able up to medium coverage and has a satin finish, so it looks very natural. If you’ve found other stick foundations to be too heavy or too creamy, look into this because it has a less slick feel than others that I’ve tried.

For added glow on the go, I absolutely LOVE Butterfly Beach by ColourPop Cosmetics. It’s a cool-toned champagne highlighter that instantly wakes up my face. I think it’s very flattering and so easy to just apply with my fingers, so this is one of my all-time favorite highlighters.

face products in my makeup bag

Lip products

lip products in my makeup bag

I think lip products definitely pack the most punch in terms of changing up your look. You can turn a basic makeup look into a showstopper just by adding a bold lipstick, so that’s probably why I have so many here!

But, to be fair, the YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush products are actually hybrid blush and lip color products, and I really love them. I have more swatches and a full review here, but I like these because the colors are really flattering, and the product is comfortable on both my cheeks and lips.  

Lots of times, these kinds of products work well on either lips or cheeks, so I really appreciate that these do what they say and really work. The colors that I have are No. 10 Nude Insolent (a rosy brown), No. 2 Rose Frivole (a yellow-based pink) and No. 5 Rouge Effronte (a bright true red), and all of them are really wearable.  

I’d probably only pack one of these in my makeup bag, but I love these because they’re great multitaskers. On the cheeks, they dry to a matte finish, and on the lips you get the feeling of a lip stain, because they dry down completely and have a thin texture; however, the color is very opaque, and you can also layer them to get a more vibrant pop of color if you want. They’re available at Nordstrom for $40 each and come in 12 colors.

makeup bag essentials - lip products

I also have two liquid lipsticks here because they’re my favorite way to get a bold lipstick look. I love how long they last and how opaque they are. Shown here are Palladio Velvet Matte Cream Lip Color in Damask and ColourPop Cosmetics Ultra Matte Lip in Avenue, one of my favorite red lipsticks.  Both of these are bold lipsticks, and when I want a quick way to change my makeup from day to night, I reach for something like this (here’s a tutorial on my Day to Night Makeup Routine). 🙂  

Both of these lipsticks are really affordable, too.  You can find the Palladio Velvet Matte Cream Lip Colors at Ulta for $7 each and the ColourPop Cosmetics Ultra Matte Lips at ColourPop for $6.

I also like to include a couple of nude/neutral lipstick options, and this Kevyn Aucoin lipgloss in Neottiana is my favorite nude lip gloss. It’s hard to find an opaque nude gloss that’s still glossy (and not sticky), and this one’s everything.  It’s available at Neiman Marcus for $30.  

Last, there’s the Palladio Butter Me Up Sheer Color Balm in Luscious.  It’s a super moisturizing sheer red and adds just has a hint of color to my lips. It’s not sticky or too glossy, either, so it’s great to just pop on anytime. It’s available at Sally Beauty for $8.

Eye products

eye products in my makeup bag

I’m not one for doing major eye makeup on the go, but these are some of my favorites. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara is my favorite mascara, hands down. It adds so much volume and doesn’t clump at all.

I also love the jet black color and the brush, because it captures every lash. I don’t typically add mascara if I’m already wearing it, but on days when I leave the house with bare lashes (it happens more than I’d like), I’m so happy to have a little sample size on hand. The full-size mascara is available at Sephora for $23, and the travel size is $12.


Oh, and this Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow  is amazing. This shade here, Caroube, is a shimmery bronze, not too cool nor warm, and it looks great on many skin tones.  

My mom is several shades lighter than me, and it’s so pretty on her. Here’s a full review and swatches of Caroube, along with two other shades, if you’d like more details.

And here are swatches of everything I mentioned:


L to R: Palladio Sheer Color Balm in Luscious; Kevyn Aucoin Lipgloss in Neottiana; ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Avenue; Palladio Velvet Matte in Damask; Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow in Caroube; YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush in No. 2; YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush in No. 10; YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush in No. 5; ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Butterfly Beach; Clinique Chubby In The Nude Foundation Stick in Gargantuan Golden

About the swatches, these are on my inner arm, which is by far the lightest place on my body, so I promise this Clinique foundation matches my face, despite how it looks!

How about you? What are your current makeup bag essentials? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Adia Goss

Adia is a lawyer by day and a beauty blogger by night. She believes that makeup should be fun and simple, but she also likes multi-step skincare routines (she’s complicated!). Adia loves the sight of a brand new highlighter, and she’s constantly looking for the perfect concealer. Follow her beauty adventures at Adia Adores (formerly beautyluxelife) and on Instagram.


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  1. This is a fun post. These things are so personal, ya know. I think no two lists will be the same when it comes to this topic! 🙂

    Some of my essentials are black gel eyeliner (currently Bobbi Brown Caviar Ink), translucent mattifying powder (the NYX HD Finishing Powder is a big favorite of mine) and tinted lip balm (loving my new Wet ‘n Wild Juicy Lip Balms)
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Missoni Eau de Parfum

    • Adia says:

      I totally agree! We all have our secret weapons 😉 Thanks for sharing. I should check out the Wet n Wild lip balms next time I’m in the drugstore!

  2. Kim says:

    Looks like you have all the basics covered! I was always a sucker for Clinique makeup bags and GWPs, too. And, similarly, I always keep one filled with Sephora samples so I don’t forget to try them. You’re the second person recently who said BTS mascara was their favorite. I didn’t love it but I’m more of a Faux Cils gal. Have you tried Too Cool For School’s Dinoplatz? I picked it up on Karen’s rec and really like it (with the wand dialed down to its shortest). I love the way it washes off with no mess. It also does a good job of volumizing, of course. 🙂

  3. Nivedita says:

    Even I love carrying my makeup in those pouches. In India, Maybelline frequently gives out those and they always have something exciting. Like you, I don’t keep powdering my nose as well. I would use blotting papers in stead.

    I keep switching my lipsticks even though a nude and a red lip liner would be my staple.

    You are such a pretty doll!
    Nivedita recently posted … Clinique All About Shadows Kit

  4. Lisa says:

    Nice picks! You’ve convinced me to investigate Palladio the next time I’m at Ulta.

  5. Ruchita says:

    I love getting free makeup bags too! I always find a use for them. I have never tried the Clinique foundation sticks, but they look like they would be great for travel. I always keep blotting paper on hand in multiple locations. They are the best for touch ups!

  6. I haven’t tried the foundation one, but I am a big fan of Clinique Chubby Sticks for everything else. Great for traveling as well.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil – You can never know it all

  7. Kwmechelle says:

    I love having multiple makeup bags as well. A girl can never have too many. I’m intrigued by those YSL cheek & lip products. I’ve never tried them because I didn’t believe that one product could work for both. Glad to know I need to try these 🙂

  8. Hilary Adair says:

    Do you think the chubby stick foundation would be good for dry skin? I usually use BB cream but am traveling and would love a stick instead (gotta limit the liquids for the plane!)

    • Adia says:

      Hi Hilary, I think they may work for you. I’ve swatched the MUFE stick foundations and they feel much more heavy / creamy than the Clinique foundation stick. That being said, I have combination skin and my cheeks can get dry and didn’t have a problem with the Clinique stick on my dry areas. I think they’re pretty forgiving because they give lighter coverage. Hope this helps!
      Adia recently posted … Best Of: Anastasia Beverly Hills

  9. kellly says:

    I’m not sort-of a makeup hoarder. I AM a makeup hoarder! I don’t even want to think how many colors I have! But I get hooked on certain ones and use them all the time and then switch to something else!
    Currently my essentials are: Onomie concealer, that cute Ulta Clinique-looking flower blush (a good color for me), Ulta frosted eyeshadow primer, a natural-colored but shiny eye shadow, some white shimmer powder in the inner corners of my eyes and mascara. Some nude-color lipstick like NYX Lip Lingerie. That’s it. Done.

  10. Rachel R. says:

    I don’t carry a lot of makeup with me. I have oily skin, so I have to have blotting papers and pressed powder (currently e.l.f. Perfect Finish HD Powder). Lip balm, and my lip color and eyeliner du jour. I also keep a black eyeliner pencil in my makeup bag at all times. I always keep a mini mascara in my makeup bag, as sometimes I forget it if I’m in a hurry. A Travelo or rollerball fragrance. Extra hair elastics. A mini makeup brush set. A lipstick brush.

    • Adia says:

      Sounds like you have everything covered! What brand makeup brush set do you like? I’m always looking for a good travel brush set but haven’t seen anything that looks right. Would love to hear your thoughts!
      Adia recently posted … Best Of: Anastasia Beverly Hills

      • Rachel R, says:

        The one I keep in my purse is a little double ended set from bhCosmetics, but I don’t think they make it any more. I also have the Mini Essentials Make Up Brush Set in with them, which I got from Ulta. For actual travel, I just pack a brush role with a selection of brushes. Mostly e.l.f. Studio (black handle) brushes. They work great, but are easy and inexpensive to replace if I leave one behind.

  11. Ami says:

    Makeup bags are SO useful. Purses tend to come so over pocketed and divided that changing it up can be a complicated task OR big black holes of NOTHING in which everything becomes tangled up in the purse equivalent of a big ball of yarn.

    I have one bag for charging cables and similar, one for womanly needs (panty liner, a pad or two) and one for tiny misc (2 bandaids, 2 safety pins, 2 hair ties, 6 bobby pins, 1 tiny eyeglasses screw driver) which leaves SO MUCH more room in my purse AND makes finding some of those tiny essentials MUCH easier and that’s before I even get to makeup!

  12. Erin says:

    Essentials… NARS TM, Voluminous Mascara, Fresh Lip Treatment in Berry, Bite and UD lippies, and Stila Kitten.
    Erin recently posted … Granite Coast Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay

  13. Marcella Yakalis says:

    I absolutely live to see what are in people’s makeup bags/entire bags. I’m so glad you did this post! Right now mine consists of a lot of different lip products, a sephora brow pen, a mini glass nail file, trial sizes of acne medication, and a sample size of Make Up Forever mascara from sephora.I need to re-organize mine soon!

    • Adia says:

      Nosy girls unite LOL! Since you mentioned the glass nail file, do you think they’re worth the upgrade? I’m cheap about the weirdest things so I never buy them even though people say they’re better for your nails.
      Adia recently posted … Best Of: Anastasia Beverly Hills

      • Marcella Yakalis says:

        I’m so nosy, lol. I particularly love to see what’s in people’s kitchen cabinets. and yes! They are totally affordable. You have a Sally’s near you, right? I’m assuming since you have the Palladio items. Sally’s sells glass files for pretty cheap. I know a lot of other stores are now as well. Definitely worth it! It feels much better to use that on my nails than other files.

  14. Michaela says:

    Lol, Adia, I guess you can’t have too many make-up bags. I’m just like you…I’m also prime to buy if there’s a free make-up bag involved! So far this is what I have: 2 MAC lipsticks (one neutral and one bold), a lipgloss, a mini spf moisturizer, a chapstick, toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss. Can’t be looking good in makeup if I have bad breath. Ha ha!

  15. Chris25 says:

    I love having extra makeup bags around as well, even if I end up not using them right away. They can be great for putting together little gifts for friends. 🙂
    Chris25 recently posted … Amrita Singh Jewelry Haul II

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