How to Organize Your Makeup Bag

Last month, I had the honor of doing makeup for a video one of my dear friends was filming for her new program. As it was a spur of the moment shoot, and we were in New Mexico on a retreat and I was without my makeup kit, I told her I would do her makeup using her own makeup.

My friend was nervous to let me see her makeup bag and kept apologizing for it, telling me how messy it was and how she didn’t have that much makeup. I hear this a lot from my clients. They are embarrassed by either how messy or old their makeup is, or the fact that they don’t have a lot of makeup.

Don’t worry, dear one, I never judge a woman by the state of her makeup bag!

Luckily she had a few great basics and I was able to do a beautiful makeup look for her using a few products and brushes (and my fingers!). She looked gorgeous and felt confident for her shoot.

When you book a makeup lesson with me, part of our time together is I help you edit your makeup bag. I actually call it the Makeup Bag Makeover! I help you get rid of all the old makeup, the broken shadows, and the crazy colors that you bought at the MAC counter that you have no idea what to do with.

I help you figure out what you need to buy to create beautiful makeup looks that not only look good on you but you know how to do yourself. I also teach you how to use the products that you bought on a whim and can look great on you, but you don’t know how to use.

At the end of our lesson, you have your own fabulous, personal makeup kit and you know how to use every product in it!

You don’t have to have a lesson with me to know how to organize your own makeup bag, though. I’m going to share with you my 3 favorite tips for getting organized, and the essentials you need to do your makeup beautifully.

  1. Get rid of any makeup that is old or dirty! If your liquids or creams are dry, toss them. If the package is cracked or the powder is shadowed, throw it out. If you’ve had your mascara for a year or more, throw them out too. A good general rule for when to toss products is: liquid or cream eye products- throw out after 3-4 months. Foundation should probably be thrown out after 6-8 months. Lipsticks should be tossed after a year to 2 years. Powders last a little longer, so you can keep them up to 2-3 years. If any of your makeup has changed colors, or smells funky, definitely throw it in the trash.
  2. If you haven’t worn any products in 30 or more days, or you’ve never worn it, you should probably toss it. Makeup that is just sitting in your bag, that you keep saying you’ll wear but never do is just taking up space. If you haven’t worn it by now, you probably never will.
  3. Take care of your makeup products. Keep them clean, and make sure all bottles and compacts are tightly closed so makeup doesn’t leak out. If a favorite product is running out, toss it and replace it with a new one. You’ll feel more inspired when your makeup looks clean and ready to be used.

Now that you have a clean makeup bag, let’s fill it with the essentials.

Here are the basics that every woman needs in her makeup bag:

  • A great foundation that enhances your skin, not covers it.
  • A concealer that brightens under the eyes and covers any blemishes or dark spots.
  • A pretty blush: I love soft pinks for fair skin, peachy pinks for medium tones, and deeper berries for darker skin.
  • A sheer, translucent setting powder. If you have dry skin you can skip this.
  • 2 eye shadows- a light color and a medium tone that compliments it. I usually go for neutrals, like a champagne color and a medium brown or bronze.
  • Pencil eyeliner in dark brown or black.
  • Mascara
  • Pretty, neutral lipstick or lip gloss.
  • Eyebrow pencil or shadow in a shade that’s a little lighter than your brow color.

Once you have the essentials covered, so let’s add some fun in your makeup bag:

  • Bronzer: I love a good bronzy glow, and you can use bronzer year round! Just use a little in the winter (unless you live in the warmer states), and bronze to your heart’s content in the summer.
  • Shimmer highlighter for your cheeks. I love to highlight my skin to give it a pretty dewiness.
  • Bold lip color: Red, fuschia, orange, coral…. There are so many choices!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below what are your best tips for keeping your makeup bag organized! Or share with me what your favorite, can’t-live-without essentials.

There are so many great products out there and I can’t keep up with all of them, so I rely on my friends and clients to share new ones with me. If you found this article helpful, I’d love for you to share it with your friends!