Makeup Bag Must-Haves: The Basics

Makeup Bag Must Haves- The Basics

Whether you are pruning your makeup collection or building from the basics up, having and maintaining a go-to makeup bag simplifies life and helps insure those few moments of self-care and pampering. Caring for your skin and applying makeup is not something to impress others; it is something meant to be a precious few moments to appreciate your beauty, and care for it, then enhance it. Here are a few tried and true products that will be great residents of your basic toiletry kit.

Skin Care

Before you think about putting a drop of makeup onto your skin, make sure your canvas is well cared for. Cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Always. This is the least glamorous of all of your makeup bag essentials, but the ones that make the biggest difference in the final outcome of your look. Whether you are applying makeup or not, this simple habit is key to caring for the best face you put forward.

Lip Care

Do not skimp on the lip care. Keeping soft lips, while finding products that will not irritate (or wildly color) our children’s faces when we kiss their cheeks, can be a challenge. So, we suggest being sure you have a go-to gloss with healthy ingredients and a non-sticky feel. This gloss by Kevyn Aucoin is pampering and nourishing at the same time. The light, non-sticky gloss is sure to be your go-to! Want more of a balm? Try the Jack Black balm and apply before applying any other cosmetics to give it time to moisturize.


No matter how safe your cosmetics products, you will want to create a barrier between your skin and the products you apply. So, find a primer that acts double duty and works for your skin’s specific needs! We have lots of favorites, but really find the Smashbox Pore Minimizing Primer suits most.

Pro Tip: Although, most primers are invisible, there are lots of visible results from use:

  • Elongating the wear of your makeup
  • Adding moisture
  • Filling pores
  • Illuminating
  • Color correction


Sometimes a little concealer is enough to cover a spot, brighten your undereyes, and highlight. Pick a great product that can act in all of these capacities. Some products tout great spot-covering, but are too thick for your delicate eye area. It is best to work in the opposite direction, and find one great for your eye area and use it for the other functions. There is nothing like the affordability and finish of the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer!


Get a nice, clean canvas with foundation. Your perfect foundation will be completely contingent upon a few factors:

  • Skin Type – Is your skin oily, dry or combination? Determining this will give you better odds of finding a great formula that will stand up to all the demands of your day.
  • Coverage needs – Do you need more or less coverage? Would you like to cover discoloration or acne scarring? If, so you will need a fuller coverage like this long-wearing highly pigmented foundation like COVER FX Natural Finish Oil Free Foundation. Would you prefer a thinner formula with more natural coverage? The Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation by Kevyn Aucoin is great for more coverage for retouching color.
  • Skin Health Benefits – There are a variety of products out there, but now there is an emerging genre of foundation s with added skin health benefits. So, if you prefer a little extra care, try a BB or CC cream. A little bit goes a long way with this great CC Cream by It Cosmetics, not to mention the added skin health benefits.


While powder is discretionary, the benefits of powdering – especially in the t-zone, makes having this product key for the basic needs of your makeup bag. Powdering extends the life of your makeup and serves as a great mid-day makeup refresher. A quick dusting of just a very small amount of product goes a long way. Since makeup is personal, you will want to be sure that the powder you are using is both functional and great for your skin type.

  • Pressed powders, like the L’Oreal True Match Powder often give more coverage and are easier to carry around in a bag, but can be more cakey than a loose powder due to their binding agents. Pressed powders can also be better for those with very dry skin and do not cling to dry patches as much as a loose powder might.
  • Loose powders, likewise, are a mess and hard to travel with, but have wonderful finish options. Laura Mercier Loose Setting Powder for instance,  gives a great finish for photos and is talc-free so you will not have to worry about “ghost face” when flash is used. Weigh all of those out and determine the best powder for you.


We love blush, because of is product flexibility. You can use a dusting of blush to build dimension back into the face or to brighten your face. Also, earthy shades double as a crease definer, so you can skip the fuss of eye shadow on basic makeup days! Try some of the following based on skin tone:


You choose! Blackest of black or chocolaty brown (better for blondes) just a mascara goes a long way toward brightening and opening up the whole eye area. Just a few swipes on top and bottom lashes and you are done. Mascara is so personal, and a great match depends on what you want from the ultimate outcome. Regardless of mascara you use, try to update your mascara look by using this great mascara primer!

While there are plenty of options, and certainly lots of preferences to build your basics, this cosmetic kit should be easy to throw into a suitcase or diaper bag!

Makeup is not the only way to feel confident in your own skin. Read more about looking and feeling great in 7 Simple Ways to Look and Feel Your Best!

Photo credit: Ashley Sisk Photography, The Art of Making a Baby 

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Tovah traveled the globe before settling in North Carolina with her hockey-loving teenage son, Kung Fu-practicing 'tween daughter, and Thomas-the-Train-toting toddler. Along with being a loving mother and daughter, Tovah works as an executive assistant. You can find her passionately working with and teaching young women and their mothers on a variety of topics pertaining to character, beauty, and charm. You can also follow Tovah at the Curtsygirls Facebook Page,  Twitter, or Instagram.

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