Creating a Timeless Makeup Bag
Like a lot of other women I have a secret that I’m hiding from my husband.
It’s the desire to have the perfect dressing table, classic and beautiful, feminine to the extreme, taking centerpiece in our bedroom, arresting the eye and the hearts of all who enter.
It’s never going to happen.
My husband has already got accustomed to way too many cushions on the bed, the sofas, the ledge- and a whole lot more pink than he was probably expecting! I have to give him a break.
Not everyone can create that perfect timeless dressing table of dreams, but most women can settle for the perfect timeless makeup bag- and let’s be honest, that can be pretty amazing too.
There’s something wonderful about opening up a pretty makeup pouch or lifting the cover on a lovely velvet lined makeup case, and seeing all your little pots and tubes, carefully laid out- knowing you can create a look that will help you sail through any kind of day, right there in front of you.
Full of product of course. Shiny, without those grubby little foundation smudgy marks. Pristine, perfect, and definitely never smashed on the floor.
I’ve been thinking about what the perfect makeup bag would contain for awhile now and this is the result of all that musing. I’m not claiming that I’ve got this perfect bag just sitting by my carry on, waiting to be whipped up and taken to exotic locations, but I can dream.
So what would the perfect timeless makeup bag hold within it?
A Perfectly Matched Buildable Full Coverage Foundation:
The first thing you would need is a full coverage, but a buildable full coverage, foundation. A good buildable full coverage foundation will allow you to sheer it out pretty easily, but still be there for those events and days when you really do need to be full glam, whatever that means to you. The right foundation for a timeless collection would be neither too matte nor too dewy, balanced out by the primer you chose, and always ready to work with whatever phase of skin you’re working with. This is the part to invest in so go all out and pick yourself up a bottle of Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Foundation or a lovely repackaged Dior Forever Skin foundation.
A Light 5 Minute Face Base: A BB, CC, or Tinted Moisturizer:
I love something light that you can literally rub into your skin with your hands, halter skelter, and still end up with a lovely, glowing complexion that totally looks like you’ve just had a week’s sleep and about 10 liters of water infused into your skin. How we wake up every day right? Foundation can be a chore to get right and not really something you want to have clogging up your pores every single day- but I know I for one am not going anywhere totally bare skinned! A good timeless makeup bag will always have at least one lighter coverage option- a BB, CC cream, or a tinted moisturizer, whatever works better for you. It’s definitely a drug store friendly part of the makeup bag but if you really want to get it right opt for the iconic IT Cosmetics CC cream, easy, peasy, done.
A Brightening Concealer:
I really think that the best part of my makeup bag, the real face saver, the one thing I can’t do without, is a really wonderful brightening concealer. Concealer genuinely can make all the difference, and if you pick right, it can transform your face alone, with minimal effort and time. A brightening concealer works well for everyone, no matter how slightly or how bad your eye bags and little spots may or may not be. Even a girl with perfect skin can benefit from the highlighting effects of some carefully applied brightening concealer. Go cult favorite and get yourself a stick of NARS Creamy Concealer or the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer. And then wield away!
A Heavy Duty Concealer:
Whilst I really can’t sing the praises of a brightening concealer enough, some days you just really need… more! More concealing power, more coverage, just more! A good potted heavy duty, pasty thick concealer isn’t something you want to be lashing on under your delicate eyes, but it’s definitely handy for spot concealment, especially when you’re a woman with temperamental skin! Aren’t we all? Keep this handy little trick in your bag at all times, and save yourself the worry with a great little pot of miracles, the NARS Matte Concealer.
A Perfect Natural Blush:
This is for obvious reason going to look different for everyone, but a good ‘my natural post gym flush’ blush is an absolute necessity in every perfectly stocked makeup bag. It doesn’t matter if you’re part of the blush team or think you would never be caught wearing a little pop of pink on your cheeks- blush livens the complexion, makes you look fresh and awake, and honestly, even if you don’t think of yourself as a blush person, you really never know when you’ll need it. Go for a powder or a cream depending on your skin type and make sure it’s a color you really see yourself wearing comfortably. There are endless good blushers out there but for me it’s got to be Clarins or Benefit!
A Natural Looking Bronzer:
Does anyone remember makeup before the age of the bronzer? It’s so easy to go over the top with bronzer, but boy are it’s sculpting capabilities enviable! With a light hand you can whip away puffy morning face and welcome in a chiseled just back from holiday sheen, but it’s also really easy to go overboard, especially if you don’t have particularly deep toned skin to begin with. When opting for the right bronzer for your timeless arsenal it’s probably best to go for a powder version because it’s way less likely you’re going to mess up or look like you painted your face on that morning. Opt for a lightweight powder, use sparingly, and go for a tone that actually looks subtle and natural on your skin tone, not orange or overly bronze. A sure fire winner is Benefit’s Hula or Hula Light, or Too Faced’s Chocolate or Milk Chocolate Bronzers.
A Subtle Neutral Highlighter:
Who doesn’t want to be literally dipped in highlight and beaming for all to see? That doesn’t mean you should do it though! The right highlighter can literally transform your face in about three dabs and a tiny, tiny bit of product. But the wrong highlighter can do a number on your carefully applied beautiful face of makeup. First, make sure you’ve got the tone of the highlighter right- there really isn’t a one fits all. You can go golden, pink, neutral, silver- you need to dab them on and observe them under different lights, to see what loos like natural glowing skin catching the light just right, and what looks… shiny golden powder streaked right below your brow bone. The latter is a no. Whatever your needs, the Huda Beauty highlighting palettes, Pink, Gold, and Bronze Sands will definitely have something for you. Or opt for the sell out stars by Becca.
A Do It All Mini Eye Palette or Eyeshadow Quad:
A lovely big massive new release eyeshadow palette is so very tempting, and the back of my wardrobe can attest to the fact that I’ve succumb to that temptation one too many times. But all you really need is a work horse do it all mini palette (five to seven shades because honestly, is it even good for you to apply more than seven eye shadows in any one look?), or a perfect, fit in your pocket, eyeshadow quad. Maybelline is a great affordable option for this, Charlotte Tilbury’s quads are a great treat yourself option. Go for a neutral in the brown/bronze family, or the cool tone grey/blue family, or be a bit more adventurous and go for something with pink or warm undertones.
A Wash of Color Perfectly Me Cream Shadow Pot:
For those days when you’ve just not got the patience to faff around with brushes and primers and blend, blend, blend, make sure your timeless bag has the one perfect shadow pot, cream, easy to apply, and works well with your fingers. This little multitasker is literally a makeup bag miracle and will make sure you always look that little bit more put together even on the worst of days, even on the sick days. MAC are a great option as are the lovely little brown topped pots at Charlotte Tilbury. Go for an absolute neutral, one that sits well against your skin tone, and is neither too light nor too dark.
The Three Must Have Liners:
I know eye liner isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it sure can be intimidating, but it’s an absolute must to have the three eye liners every girl may need at some point in your makeup arsenal. First up is a subtle, natural, and most importantly smudegable eye liner, pencil or crayon. The second is a proper fine line graphic liner, for that bold cat eye or glam night out. And the final is a pop of color liner in a shade that excites you, brings your eyes out, and that you know you can wear without feeling like a throwback ad for the 80s.
A Volumizing Mascara:
Mascara is one of the best and worst parts of a timeless makeup bag. The right mascara can change your life. The wrong mascara can ruin your day. Runny eyes are no fun, neither are clumps of dried up mascara falling into your eyes on the hour! But a good volumizing mascara, a mascara that stays on your lashes like it’s meant to, can open your eyes up, mask your Netflix binge of the night before, and save you a ton of money, time, and allergic reactions from eyelash extensions and the battle to secure those falsies in place. Technique plays a big role in how well your mascara will work throughout the day, but you can never go wrong with a Maybelline favorite or a L’Oreal best seller- drug store all the way, every time.
A Lengthening Mascara:
To go along with your stellar thick, thick lashes, you can layer it up and really go all out with a great lengthening mascara. Ditto the drug store. And you need both- honestly.
The Perfect Lipstick Trio: A Nude, A Red, A Mid-Pink:
Like the must have trio or liners, there’s a must have trio of lipsticks every timeless makeup bag needs tucked away, waiting for the right occasion- or just the right day when you need a little change to perk you up. Lipstick is absolutely transformative to the face and by all means go out there and purchase wild colors you never thought you would wear or ten ‘nude’ shades that really all look the same when you apply them (if you can tell the difference that’s all that counts right?). But when you strip it back to the necessities what you’ll need is: your perfect nude (easier said than done!), a red that’s undertone complements your own skin’s undertone (blue tinted for cool skinned girls and orange tinted for warm skinned girls), and a mid-pink, or mid-brown, depending on what suits you best. You cannot ever be left without knowing what to wear with these three in your arsenal. And remember, lipstick can be layered!
A Your Lips But Better Lip Liner + A Red Lip Liner:
You definitely don’t need to fuss with lip liner every single day, but if you’ve got a special night coming along or an all day makeup face is required (friend’s weddings?), a lip liner can be a game changer. It can be super frustrating navigating the world of lip liners- do you need one for every shade of lipstick you like to wear? Absolutely not! All you’ll need to not get caught out at any point, is a your lips but better line that literally blends into your own lip shade (but with a bit more oomph), and a red to work with your signature go to red. That’s all. Not an easy to task to get right but once you do, you can sleep easy.
A Great Lip Balm, Lip Mask and Lip Scrub:
This is self explanatory but great lip prep means great looking lipstick. A good lip mask you can put on at night or in the morning, a great little lip scrub that can smooth our lips before application, and a selection of yummy perhaps tinted lip balms, will become your favorite bits of the bag. By far.
An Eyelash Primer:
This one’s a little extreme I know. But the difference an eye lash primer makes can be extraordinary. If you have the time, or you really want to treat yourself to a nice long makeup application session, nothing feels as decadent as a great quality eyelash primer, and prepping your lashes for the perfect mascara application. Drug store options include the great L’Oreal Paradise Lash Primer and a fancy option can be found with Dior’s iconic white Lash Primer.
A Do It All Face Primer:
Can I just say one word? Smashbox. Buy yourself a Smashbox Primer and just slap it all over your face! Smashbox’s primers work for everyone, and they work all day. Go for the Photofinish if you aren’t sure which to opt for for your particular skin needs, and be grateful at the end of the day when all your makeup is still on your face.
A Setting Spray:
I can’t believe I ever wore makeup in a time before I added a solid setting spray to my makeup arsenal. Every bag needs a nice bottle of setting spray, liberally applied. Urban Decay’s setting spray are cult favorites for a reason so grab yourself a bottle and top up regularly.
The Perfect Fake Lashes:
Fake lashes are definitely not for everyone and whilst I wish I was the kind of girl who wore them every day I’ve resigned myself to the fact that that’s just never going to happen. However, when I really want to feel special- it’s those lashes that make all the difference. You don’t need a dozen pairs because you arne’t likely to get through them if you’re not a falsies regular. So opt for a simple drugstore pair, and keep one stashed at the back of your bag for when you’re feeling daring, want to feel extra pretty… or just have a lot of time and patience on your hands!
An Eyelash Curler:
A pretty eyelash curler (rose gold anyone?) can be a lovely little tool in your case. Even if you’re not curling your lashes on the regular and even though it can be painful at times, no kit is really complete without this little much needed tool. The difference it can make when you do use it is pretty scary!
Whilst a pair of good heavy duty eye masks aren’t makeup per say, it’s a lovely little way to treat and prep your skin before a big makeup session. Pop them on, brush your teeth, and prepare yourself to have perfectly smoothed under eye skin that holds on to that concealer with a vice like grip. Bag yourself a few Soap and Glory eye masks and you may not even need that concealer in the first place!
A Set of Brushes and a Beauty Blender:
And finally every makeup bag needs a well invested in set of brushes and a real true proper Beauty Blender. Even if you like to apply your makeup the good old fashioned way, with well warmed up fingers- it can really feel like a treat to take out those brushes and really work the makeup in the way it was made to worked in. Zoeva sets are as pretty as they are functional, and you can get them in a shade to complement your dresser decor, or your own personal aesthetic. What’s not to love?
And there you have it: the timeless makeup bag building blocks.
What would you add to your timeless makeup bag?