Real talk: A woman’s makeup bag says a lot about her. Is it tiny and compact? She’s probably a minimalist. Big and crazy-organized? She wants options but knows what she likes. Is it stuffed to the brim, overflowing with palettes? She really wants options. But finding the best makeup bag — whether it’s a travel case, a big clear one or something more chic — is a job for the experts.
“Working with different clients—or even when working with the same one — you always have to be prepared,” says makeup artist Erika La’Pearl, who works with clients like Cardi B and Ashanti. “No look is ever the same, and organization and flexibility is key. Having the right makeup bag makes it easier to find things, lessens the stress and sets up the day.”
La’Pearl says she keeps a minimum of two dozen products like primer, concealer, foundation, various palettes, as well as brushes and sponges, in her kit at all times. But even if you’re not a professional, your makeup bag might rival La’Pearl’s — and for that, it’s important to stay organized.
“I’m a bag lady and a beauty junkie, so it’s safe to say, I know some good makeup bags,” says Meeka Hossain, a beauty influencer who often travels for work. “I’m one of those people who stuffs their makeup bags into their tote bag and has multiple makeup bags for everything. One for travel, one for skin care, one for makeup, one for hair care and sometimes even one for miscellaneous items.”
Ahead, find the 19 makeup bags experts swear by — and exactly where to buy them.
According to Kristen Fortier, makeup artist and product innovation lead for Crunchi Cosmetics, the best makeup bag will vary from person to person. “Look for one that provides plenty of room for your makeup and skin care products, is easy to travel with and is durable,” she says, noting that it should also be easy to clean. “I also recommend searching for a great quality bag that will last and help protect all of your products, brushes and accessories.”
“When it comes to organization, I like makeup cases that have sections to help keep my makeup and essentials separated and easier to find especially when you are working,” says La’Pearl. “Additionally, it even helps protect my makeup from being mixed.”
“I tend to buy makeup bags that have built-in organization for easy access and a way to keep my bags neat and clean,” says makeup artist Latrice Johnson, who works with celebrities like Regina King and Sherri Shepherd. “This bag has adjustable compartments and slots to store your brushes, making it great for travel or everyday use.”
“My go-to makeup bag is Crunchi’s Jetsetter bag,” Fortier says, which is “made with high-quality, lavish Saffiano faux leather and is great for storing both cosmetics and skin care products. It’s also designed with custom inner sleeves to perfectly store primers and foundation bottles and also has multiple functional compartments, as well as a zippered inside pocket.”
“For almost 20 years I’ve used the same Louis Vuitton Cosmetic Pouch,” says editorial makeup artist Ashleigh Ciucci, who works with brands like Adidas and Coach, as well as titles like WWD and Tidal. For anyone calculating cost-per-use at home, that comes out to nearly eight cents a day. “There’s enough length and width in the base of the pouch for pencils and brushes, and enough depth to the dome to carry compacts or other must-haves. Its dome shape keeps the bag compact and makes it easy to slip into even smaller purses/bags.”
A favorite of editors and influencers alike, this no-frills bag has two zippered compartments — one for bigger products and one for brushes and tools — plus another spot for miscellaneous items.
This two-part case comes in three sizes, and reviewers rave that the medium is perfect for everyday use. It’s also monogrammable, if that’s your thing.
A clear makeup bag is perfect for the person that’s always in a rush — or doesn’t want to lose track of anything they own.
This two-compartment makeup bag features clear windows so you can see all of your products at a glance. It also comes with a handy cosmetic mirror so you can do touch-ups anywhere you take it.
This mini travel case has dozens of 5-star reviews for the way it easily tucks away entire skin care and hair care routines.
This translucent makeup bag gives you easy access to all your products — and more than 200 5-star reviews prove it’ll hold up over time.
Even if you’re not always on the go, a travel makeup bag usually offers tons of compartments to keep things running smoothly.
“This is the best travel makeup bag I’ve ever used,” says Hossain, who travels often for work. “I love that it’s a hard shell with a removable shoulder strap that can be put over your carry-on bag for easy traveling.”
One of the best makeup organizers experts love, this insulated makeup bag fits the essentials while keeping them protected from changing temperatures, therefore extending the lifespan and integrity of your skin care and makeup.
Bagsmart makes several great toiletry and makeup bags for travel, including this option that features four compartments with clear pockets, elastic straps to secure products upright and a hanging hook for easy access.
“My favorite travel makeup bag is the Make Up For Ever Professional Bag,” says Johnson. “It’s my go-to even when packing for clients. It keeps all your makeup clean and organized, and it’s absolutely perfect for travel because it has several compartments to store brushes, skin care and accessories.”
“The Day Trip bag is the perfect size to also hold all your makeup brushes for easy on-the-go travel,” says Fortier.
Staying organized is half the battle. If you’re set on your bag but need a better system, these could help.
“When I travel I want the most lightweight bags for my makeup,” says Ciucci. “I have the Sunee Plastic Zipper Pouches in a million sizes (OK, seven sizes) that allow me to keep things separate and organized. They’re waterproof to help prevent leaks but also easy to clean in the event of a spill.”
If you have trouble keeping everything organized, makeup artist Arielle Antoinette, who works with celebs like Spice and Jayda Shaunette, loves Zuca. She recommends staying organized by grouping your products — liners with liners, base makeup with base makeup — and storing them in smaller containers.