No matter how hard I try to select the absolute essentials, I still find myself furiously jamming closed the zip on my makeup bag. I can definitely be classed as some kind of beauty junkie, every available drawer, box and basket is overflowing with skin, hair, body and makeup products! I’m a self-confessed hoarder of all things beauty but it’s just not practical when you need something portable. So I’ve decided it’s time to learn to clear the clutter and downsize make my makeup bag, here’s how it works…
First of all invest in a reasonable sized makeup bag, the bigger the bag the more you will cram in so give yourself a limit. Go for one with a zip (a sturdy zip in my case) to make sure there’s no chance of products escaping and messing up your handbag. If, like me, your makeup bag magically transforms into some kind of Mary Poppins’s bag where you root around but can’t find what you’re looking for, then go for a clear one to make it easier to spot what you want. Also, these are waterproof and perfect to clean out after any product leakage. Marks & Spencer offer a real bargain with a 3 piece clear cosmetics bag set for £7.50. The larger bags are great for home storage and the smaller bag is perfectly portable for travelling.
Using a tinted moisturiser is a great space saving way of combining two products; I find mine is enough to keep my skin hydrated whilst providing just the right amount of coverage. I use Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Bisque (£33), the tube is nice and slim so it’s easy to pop into your makeup bag. For night time moisture I usually squeeze a bit of mine into a travel pot which keeps me going for up to a week. My favourite moisturiser of the moment is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 (£17), the lightweight fluid spreads very easily and I find a little bit goes a long way.
Whether it’s blush or bronze you like, or in my case both, Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick (£30.50) is my favourite compact all-rounder. Choose from 5 colour combinations and blend as you wish, you can bronze, blush and highlight all in one. I even use the paler neutral colours as eye shadow, so that cuts down 4 products into one!
Mini travel sized brushes and double ended tools are a great way of saving space in your makeup bag. When I’m travelling I always take my double ended eye shadow brush as I can use the contour end to create a more dramatic eye makeup for a night out. Eyeliner’s with smudge tips are also a favourite of mine and lastly my eyebrow pencil with spiral brush to comb through and blend to finish.
Sometimes I like to curl my eyelashes as I find it frames my eyes better, but curlers are bulky to carry and it’s definitely something I can leave out of my makeup bag providing I have a mascara that does just as good a job, if not better. There are plenty of mascaras out there claiming to curl, define and hold your lashes. In all honesty, it’s about trying them out to find the right one for you. I have long but fine eyelashes that start dark and go blonde at the end, so my personal favourite is Benefit BADgal lash mascara (£16.50). The full and bushy brush has the same effect on my lashes making sure it grabs each and every lash coating it in a rich black colour to give perfect definition.
If you’re a girl who likes to keep it simple then just the one eye shadow is easy to pop into your makeup bag, however if you prefer a variety of shades to suit every occasion then a palette is the way forward. There’s an abundant array of expertly selected colour concoctions available from Chanel to Chantecaille but I always find there’s one colour I just never use, what a waste! That’s why I love MAC Pro Palettes £6.50 – £11.50, they are ultra slim and slide easily into your makeup bag and you can mix and match any colours you like. MAC has one of the most extensive selections of eye shadows I know and I have no idea how many colours are in my makeup kit! I just customise my palette by popping in and out the colours I know I will need depending on the occasion. Frontcover also now offer a changeble eyeshadow palette called To Go (£5) in which you buy the individual eyeshadows (£4 each).
Finally, there is always room in my makeup bag for this cult beauty essential… it protects, soothes, repairs, moisturises, conditions and glosses and I can’t go anywhere without it. Every beauty queen’s must have is Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant (£22.50). Created in 1930 by the lady herself and still going strong, it’s a multiple award winning product and with good reason, it never fails to deliver no matter what my beauty blunder. I love it for its versatility and it’s always my first point of call to remedy dry skin, repair chapped lips and soothe sunburn. You can mix it with bronzer, blusher or eye shadow powder, or apply it straight to cheek and brow bones for highlight and shimmer. You can also add a touch to your lips for a nourishing and glossy finish.