Full disclosure: I have a stash of pink Glossier pouches that double as makeup bags.
While it suits me and looks freaking adorable when I travel, the bags don’t hold up to a ton of repeated use — the zippers break, the plastic rips across the seams. I’m a major Glossier stan and so the pile is constantly replenishing itself, but still. It’s time for a more permanent solution.
Whether you carry makeup in your purse for touch-ups, travel often, or just have separation anxiety when it comes to products like I do, you need a solid makeup bag (or, like, five). If you already have a few lying around and you’re simply not reaching for them, you’re probably ready for an upgrade.
As with all important purchases, you want to think long and hard about you really need. Will your makeup bag be used for daily staples or is this more of a carry-on luggage type of thing? Once you figure it out, read on for the Internet’s top five makeup bag picks.
Updated 7/12/19 by Jada Wong: Updated copy, formatting, prices, and links.
The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set doesn’t bill itself specifically as a makeup storage solution, but it’s easy to see how it might be useful for that purpose.
This kit comes with four different sized pouches — a Pack-It Cube, Half Cube, Quarter Tube, and Slim Tube Cube — so there’s a size for your every need. Each pouch is are made of durable polyester material with mesh panels on top so you can easily see what’s inside when you’re on the go.
They fit with Eagle Creek’s entire packing cube system, which comes recommended by The Wirecutter and The Strategist.
“Absolutely LOVE these Eagle Creek Pack It Cubes,” writes one Amazon shopper. “I have several sets & use them for everyday things as well as for travel. They make packing & unpacking for trips so much easier & less stressful.”
Pros: Set includes multiple size pouches, works for travel and everyday use, has mesh inserts, can be used with other Eagle Creek packing cubes
Cons: Not the cutest design
For an everyday makeup bag that fits in your work tote, you can’t beat Cuyana’s Leather Travel Case Set. It comes with two differently sized pouches, which I think is ideal. This way, you have a makeup bag for a weekend out of town and a separate makeup bag for all the daily necessities.
The cases are made in San Francisco using Argentinian leather that will last forever. They’re stylish, with a cute half-moon shape and a zipper that goes around the sides, plus the option to monogram the leather for a personal touch. The set comes in a bunch of pretty colors and in both pebbled leather and metallic leather finishes.
We’ve praised the quality of Cuyana leather goods here at Insider Picks, and the Leather Travel Case Set specifically has been featured on Allure and Into The Gloss.
Pros: Two sizes, attractive design, quality leather material, comes in a bunch of colors, monogram option
You don’t need to invest a lot of money to get yourself a solid makeup bag.
Sonia Kashuk makes incredible makeup carrying cases, brushes, and other tools, all available at Target at affordable prices. The Weekender Makeup Bag is a particularly good option, especially for travel.
It’s decently sized but not so huge that it’s bulky, with two mesh compartments and a middle pocket that zippers shut and has two handles for easy toting. I do wish it had some individual holders for brushes, which can be easily crushed during travel if not properly secured, but you could devote an entire compartment for that purpose if you’re worried about damage.
InStyle featured this as one of its top makeup bag recommendations for travel, noting “The width of the case is rather thin, so don’t try to pack too many bulky bottles.”
But if you’re worried about the size, one Target reviewer who gave it 5 stars wrote, “This bag has so much room to hold all of your essentials. This is for the makeup lover, not the minimalist.” It was also recommended by Allure editor Jessica Chia in an interview with Man Repeller.
Pros: Affordable, multiple compartments for organization, can be wiped clean
Cons: May not hold too many full-sized toiletries, no brush holders
Nothing could be worse for a makeup lover than finding their precious cosmetics submerged in powder-ruining liquid. You don’t have to worry about that with the Chiceco Large Makeup Bag, which has a waterproof nylon exterior and a smaller zip closure pocket inside for items that need extra protection.
At $20.99, it’s basically the same price as the Sonia Kashuk Weekender featured above, but smaller. That means it’s better suited for carrying fewer makeup items rather than packing for a long trip. But for bringing a few lipsticks and some powder along to touch up before after-work drinks? Going away for two days? This size is perfect.
The bag stands upright thanks to a wide bottom, so you can rest it on a counter while doing your makeup. Plus, the design is really cute, so you won’t be embarrassed reaching into your purse to grab lip balm in public.
Chiceco’s Large Makeup Bag was featured on BuzzFeed and has a stellar 4.7-star rating on Amazon, based on more than 300 reviews.
“I am in love with this bag! I was looking for a new larger makeup bag for some upcoming trips and I wanted to be able to keep my palettes and all my dry makeup together. This bag more than does the trick,” says one shopper.
Pros: Waterproof, easy to clean, large, has interior pockets, stands upright
Cons: Smaller size
Though the brand is better known for leather goods, Dagne Dover actually makes an incredibly cute and practical neoprene pouch called the Hunter Toiletry Bag. It sort of matches the brand’s Landon Carryall, but would look fantastic with just about any purse or piece of luggage.
The neoprene fabric, which comes in a variety of colors from “Dark Moss” to “Poppy,” won’t get scratched up by keys or loose change in the bottom of your bag the way leather might, making this a durable choice. Inside the bag, there’s a smaller pouch and a side pocket. It comes in two sizes — large and small — to accommodate different amounts of makeup.
Oars + Alps CEO Mia Duchnowski told The Strategist that she likes this bag for makeup because the interior “can easily be cleaned with a makeup-wipe.” Though the brand recommends hand-washing, the material is supposed to be “quick to dry.”
Pros: Durable neoprene, easy to clean and dries quickly, comes in two sizes
Cons: Not machine washable
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