When it comes to the best makeup bags, size matters. After all, any good beauty lover has more makeup products than they can count and keeping them organized is always the goal. While large makeup bags are a godsend, there’s actually an array of options for different needs and products.
The different types of makeup bags
- Makeup bags for your purse: Small and compact, these are perfect to take on the go. They can comfortably hold makeup brushes, lip gloss, an eyelash curler and other everyday essentials.
- Makeup bags for travel: Often referred to as a toiletry bag, these are bigger in size and hold more than just makeup. They can store moisturizer, body spray, sunscreen, shampoo and conditioner and other skin care products.
- Makeup bags for professionals: These offer the most storage and can house all of the above, and then some. There’s plenty of room for duplicates of foundation, concealer, nail polish and even hair styling tools.
To help us figure out what sizes and styles of makeup bags are worth investing in, we tapped the expertise of three celebrity makeup artists.
When deciding what type of makeup bag to purchase, it all comes down to personal preference. “If you’re like me, and not a bag lady, I only need one for my purse and one for travel,” notes Kim Baker. And Lisa Aharon always goes for a bag with tiny compartments. “It’s nice to be able to tuck your tweezers and other delicate little things into a side zipper or pouch,” she says.
If you’re trying to store your entire makeup collection in one spot, you might want to try a professional case that’s bigger and sturdier. In that scenario, Aharon notes you’ll need a durable bag that can protect products. And, “it should have enough space for your basic products plus your tools,” says Molly R. Stern.
No matter which style of makeup bag you choose, you want something that’s “simple to clean and makes it easy to see the contents,” tells Stern, adding that easy-to-wash finishes like nylon are ideal. “Fabrics that can be tossed in the wash or safely sprayed with rubbing alcohol are key,” notes Aharon. You can also opt for Baker’s favorite versions made of clear PVC, which are not only quick to wipe down but also enable you to see what’s inside for easy access to products.
For shopping made easy, we compiled the 20 best makeup bags, according to our experts and customer reviews. Consider these options for yourself or gift one to the beauty lover on your list for all the makeup gifts they will receive this year.
Jillian Dempsey Makeup Bag
When a celeb makeup artist recommends a makeup bag designed by another celeb makeup artist, we take note. “Jillian Dempsey makes a fabulous one with two pockets, so you can separate your smaller items from your bigger products,” Stern says. It’s made of black nylon, so it never stains, and has a nice stable base to keep it upright on any surface.
Calpak Clear Cosmetics Case
Best Clear Makeup Bag
Calpak’s clear cosmetic case is a favorite among the pros. “It comes in nice colors and makes an awesome travel makeup bag as well,” explains Baker. The jumbo carryall has two zippered compartments, a mesh interior pocket for smaller items and dual carrying handles. Bonus: “It’s super easy to spot what you need and keep clean and wipe down,” notes Aharon.
Relavel Travel Makeup Case
Best Makeup Bag for Travel
For those that don’t skimp on packing, this popular Amazon find is a great option. Its most genius feature is the adjustable compartments that you can move around as needed to fit your specific products. It’s lightweight and waterproof, complete with a durable nylon lining you can wipe clean. With over 18,000 reviews and an affordable $20 price tag, this purchase is a no-brainer.
Bloomingdale’s Little Brown Cosmetics Case
A good makeup bag does not have to be intricate or expensive. “An oldie but goodie is the legendary Little Brown Cosmetics bag by Bloomingdale’s. It’s not clear, but it’s a good one and it’s only $16,” Baker says. Modeled after the retailer’s iconic Little Brown shopping bags you get in store, it’s the perfect souvenir.
Make Up For Ever Professional Makeup Bag
Best Professional Makeup Bag
You don’t have to be a professional makeup artist to appreciate a bag made with the pros in mind. This briefcase-like carryall from Make Up For Ever can tote an entire range of products thanks to six separate zip-up compartments that are fully removable. Multiple reviewers refer to the bag as “enormous” and easily able to hold their entire collection of makeup (and then some).
Rothy’s The Vanity Set
Best Eco-Friendly Makeup Bags
“Rothys are washable and come in great sizes,” Stern shares. The Vanity Set comes with two bags: a large and a small. The bigger version is a perfect everyday makeup bag, while the more compact option is great to toss in your purse. The duo is an investment at just under $200, but they’re thoughtfully crafted with a blend of ocean-bound marine plastic and Rothy’s signature thread.
Cuyana Leather Travel Case Set
Best Leather Makeup Bag
A leather toiletry case will never go out of style, especially when it’s well made. This set from Cuyana comes in tons of colors and is handcrafted in Argentina from responsibly-sourced leather. The larger case is good for travel and the smaller one perfectly holds makeup, jewelry and other compact items. The curved design zips from end to end so you can open it with ease and take inventory of what’s inside. Did we mention you can also get it monogrammed, too?
WellInsulated Insulated Beauty Case
Best insulated Makeup Bag
If you’re looking for a bag you can throw a bunch of products in, try this deep, insulated case. “It’s easy to clean, weather-resistant and even doubles as a lunch bag,” Aharon says. It’s durable to keep your essentials protected and comes in two lovely metallic shades: rose gold and silver.
Glossier The Beauty Bag
Best Makeup Bag With Compartments
Glossier’s much-anticipated beauty bag does not disappoint. The light pink tote is adorned with cherry red branding and contains two separate zip compartments. It’s tall enough to house full-sized products standing up, but narrow enough to easily pack. It has a removable red interior pouch you can toss in your purse. And, it’s made of coated cotton so it won’t stain.
Dagne Dover Hunter Water-Resistant Toiletry Bag
This Dagne Dover bag is made from a trademarked neoprene blend that’s proven to weather all kinds of wear and tear. The sleek onyx bag has the perfect amount of interior mesh pockets to stash your small essentials. For $40, it’s a chic and affordable option you won’t regret.
Sonia Kashuk Square Clutch Makeup Bag
Best Affordable Clear Case
No fuss, see-through makeup bags are the name of the game, and the cheaper the better. “I still love my Sonia Kashuk clear makeup bags that are affordable and come in a variety of sizes available at Target,” Baker tells us. This square-shaped bag has a top zipper that will keep your goods secure, whether you’re at home or packing for a weekend getaway.
Sigma Brush Case
Best Makeup Brush Case
If you’re a makeup brush snob, chances are you’ve got a few of them on hand. Keep them clean and organized on the go with this stacked brush case by Sigma. It features a total of 29 brush pockets and a zipper closure so they won’t ever fall out. And, it’s even small enough to stash in your purse or carry-on.
Kusshi Travel Makeup & Cosmetic Bag
Organize your everyday favorites with this zip-up bag that comes in an array of two-tone color palettes. “It has little pockets to protect and organize delicate items and stands upright even though the bag is soft,” explains Aharon. It’s easy to throw in your tote bag and take with you on the go. “I love how wide it opens,” Stern adds.
Caboodles Twilight Disco Costmetic Organizer
Few products get us excited the way an old-school Caboodles kit does. The colorful ’80s-era designs are just as good as they were back in the day, with this specific model featuring an average five-star rating on Amazon. Open the latch and it expands to display an auto-open tray, flip lid, mirror and large bottom storage unit.
Anrui Clear Toiletry Bag
Best Affordable Clear Set
“For ladies who love to budget shop, the Anrui travel bag is great as a makeup and travel bag,” Baker says. In fact, a set of three will only cost you $10 on Amazon. These pouches are clear so you can easily see everything you pack and make it easy to separate your products out by category, like hair skin and body. Plus, they’re TSA-approved.
Béis The Cosmetics Case
Sometimes, you just want a simple catchall that you can grab and take on the go. Enter this chic cosmetics case from Shay Mitchell’s line, Béis. It comes in nude or black and zips all the way around, complete with a top handle. It even includes a removable sleeve for makeup brushes and a large size mirror (a detail sorely missing from many other options on the market).
BTB Los Angeles Heart Teddy Cosmetics Case
If you’re prioritizing a bag that’s just plain cute, snag this teddy case. The super-soft bag comes in three shades (petal pink, cream or black) and is finished with a pearly white heart and gold zipper. It’s a good makeup bag size, so you can toss in your daily staples without an issue.
Away The Hanging Toiletry Bag
Best Hanging Makeup Bag
This hanging travel bag is easy to travel with and highly rated by Aharon. “It’s easy to organize, pop onto the back of a door and is lightweight and water-resistant,” she says. Open it up and you’ll see three mesh pouches where you can store various-sized products. There’s also a removable plastic pouch, great for containing liquids. Our advice: Snag the bag in its limited-edition geometric pattern before it goes.
Sephora Collection Large Train case
Best Train Case
This large Sephora collection train case will help you keep your carefully curated collection in one place. It has five adjustable compartments strategically designed to hold everything from makeup brushes to nail products. The bottom tray holds palettes and lip products, the top lid and side panels have space for brushes and eyeliners and the center console can hold your bulkier items like foundation and setting sprays.
Trish McEvoy Small Power of Makeup Makeup Planner
You’ve only got so much space in your purse, so you’ve got to pack smart and only take the essentials. Usually, that includes portable items such as lipstick, lip liner and concealer. This compact makeup planner has all the little tube-shaped pockets you could want. It’s even got a magnetic mirror and can be custom-filled with any combination of Trish McEvory’s eye and face colors (so you don’t have to bring an entire clunky palette with you).