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8 basic makeup essentials to keep in your makeup bag

8 basic makeup essentials to keep in your makeup bag
Posted at 9:50 AM, Oct 10, 2022

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If you need to touch up your makeup while on the go, whether you’re in-between meetings during the day or in-between cocktails while on vacation, you’ll want to carry a makeup bag of just the essentials with you.

To help you figure out what to pack in your makeup bag, we’ve come up with a list of eight makeup essentials, from the best face wipes to the best eye shadow stick, that will keep your makeup fresh-looking without taking up too much space in your bag or purse.

1. A Foundation Stick Or A Tinted Moisturizer With SPF

Foundation has a tendency to slide off during the day, so keeping a travel-friendly foundation stick on you for touchups is a must. Using a foundation stick helps cut down on the time you need to spend blending. Plus, it can multitask as a concealer too, if you choose a medium- to full-coverage option like the Maybelline Fit Me Shine-Free + Balance foundation stick. Not a fan of heavy foundation or have dry skin? A tinted moisturizer with SPF, like this NARS Pure Radiance one with SPF 30, is a great alternative to foundation to keep in a makeup bag.

2. Makeup-Removing Face Wipes

Face wipes offer an easy way of freshening up after working out, while you’re traveling or otherwise don’t have time to fully wash your face with soap and water. The best face wipes help nourish and moisturize your face while you are on the go. You can also take oil-control blotting paper, like this one from Shiseido, with you to stay shine-free throughout the day.


3. A Compact Setting Spray

The key to keeping your makeup in place for long periods of time, even in humid or hot weather, is a great setting spray. This NYX Professional Makeup setting spray in a matte finish promises to extend your makeup for up to 16 hours. At just 2.03 ounces, it’s the perfect, portable size for a makeup bag.

4. A Blush Or Bronzer

To maintain your glow throughout the day, a mini-sized blush, or a blush and bronzer duo like this one from NARS, is a great addition to any makeup bag. Don’t forget a travel-friendly retractable blush brush if your compact doesn’t already come with one.


5. Eyeliner

Eyeliner is one of those makeup essentials that doesn’t take up much space in your bag but makes a huge impact on your makeup look, enhancing your eye color and even making your eyes look brighter. Whether you prefer liquid or pencil eyeliner is a personal choice, but if you use pencil eyeliner, don’t forget to pack a sharpener in your makeup bag for touchups, too. (This e.l.f. one is less than $3.)

6. An Eye Shadow Cream Or Stick

Instead of opting for an eye shadow palette, an eyeshadow cream or stick in a neutral color is the better way to go. Not only can you quickly and easily blend a cream eye shadow with your fingertips, forgoing the need for carrying another travel brush with you, but you can also find options that offer all-day wear and/or a waterproof finish, like the Julep Eyeshadow 101 Crème to Powder stick.

7. An Eyelash Comb

Since mascara has a tendency to clump when you re-apply it, some experts recommend avoiding repeated mascara applications. Instead, pack an eyelash comb in your makeup bag. Use it to keep your eyelashes separated and give them a lengthening boost throughout the day.

8. Lipstick Or Lip Balm

Whatever your favorite form of lip color is, whether a lipstick, gloss or tinted balm, you’ll want to keep your favorite shade in your makeup bag for touchups (try this natural glossy lipstick from Burt’s Bees).

For best results, stash a lip brush in your bag, too, so you can re-apply only where you need it to better blend the old and new lipstick layers. Alternatively, you could keep a pre-moistened makeup wipe, like this On-The-Go Oopsies waterproof makeup remover, in your bag; it’ll remove old lipstick altogether and let you start fresh.


With a small makeup bag of these essentials and a little effort, your makeup will look on point from A.M. to P.M.

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