Make the Most of Your Makeup Bag

  • Choose the compact car over the SUV of makeup bags: Finding things quickly in cosmetic pouches with lots of bells and whistles—like a vibrant pattern, silk lining or enough room for a family of four and your entire makeup wardrobe—can be a challenge. Makeup artist Kristofer Buckle, who has carried his kit all over the world from Moscow to Los Angeles, suggests looking for something that's smaller than you think you need (to ensure everything inside stays snug and won't break from bouncing around), that's transparent (to locate the concealer that got lost in the shuffle) and that can be cleaned with soap and water (because spills happen). Try this cost-effective and TSA-approved Modella cosmetic case, $6 ( for stores).

  • Don't just dump: Compartmentalize your collection by separating makeup into different categories (eyeshadow, lip color, blush, etc.) and keep each grouping in a separate clear Ziploc bag. If something breaks or leaks in transit, the problem is contained, says Buckle. Stack heavier bags (like those filled with foundation or lipstick) at the bottom, and keep brushes, soft tubes and delicate powders closer to the top.

  • Ensure powders arrive in one piece: To prevent your eyeshadow quad or bronzer from shattering, stick it in a plastic bag with a few makeup sponges for padding, says Buckle. And even if you don't use it, save the puff that comes with your pressed powder; keeping it inside the compact helps absorb some of the shock of your suitcase being tossed into the bottom of a plane or onto a baggage carousel, he adds.

  • Baby your brushes: Cramming your tools into your bag can leave you with bent bristles or broken handles. Buckle likes to pack his brushes separately in a zippered pencil case that anchors each brush in an individual elastic band (like this version from To keep the case clean, pinch the tops of any brushes used to apply cream products (like concealer or gel eyeliner) with a tissue before putting them away.

  • Bundle your bag: If you're stashing your cosmetic case in your carry-on, sandwich it between socks and other washable items. Checking your suitcase? Look for a small, hard makeup case (like the Sephora Mini Metro Train Case, $55) that adds an additional layer of protection.

    Next: Find the sweet spot for your purse

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