Buying Guide for Travel Makeup Bags
Why buy a travel makeup bag?
Travel makeup bags are ideal for keeping your makeup essentials organized and safe when you slip them into your purse or suitcase. Even if you don’t wear makeup, a travel makeup bag can be useful for keeping essential toiletries like toothbrushes, deodorant, face wash, and even a shaver organized when you’re on the road or out and about.
What should you look for in a travel makeup bag?
- Size: With your travel makeup bag’s size, you’ll want to consider two factors—how many items you plan on storing and where you plan on keeping your bag. If you have a lot of makeup or toiletries, you’ll want to steer clear of compact travel makeup bags as those won’t make sense for you. Similarly, consider how you’re traveling or where you plan on storing this bag. If this is an everyday bag that you’ll keep in your purse or backpack, you might be better off with a slim design that won’t occupy too much space.
- Storage: Travel makeup bags can range from simple affairs with one interior space to models that offer multiple interior compartments for better organization. The option you pick is going to depend on your needs and how organized you like to be. If you’re the type who likes to keep your brushes, makeup, and toiletries separate, opting for a bag with multiple or adjustable storage compartments is a good idea. Conversely, if makeup simply means a tube of lip gloss and mascara, you might be better served with a streamlined single-compartment travel makeup bag.
- Design: Travel makeup bags, much like other fashion accessories, come in a wide array of styles. You can opt for a more practical option which might amount to nothing more than a transparent PVC case. Alternatively, there are more stylish options that can double as totes, clutches, or even crossbody bags that you could potentially wear around town.
- Ease of Use: Ease of use might seem like an odd feature to focus on for a makeup kit, but it’s important. For serious makeup users, you know that being able to easily access individual items or being able to keep dirty brushes separate from your cosmetics is important. Similarly, secure pockets and customizability can make a travel makeup bag more functional.
- Waterproof: Especially if you’re traveling or checking a bag that encounters rough handling, you want to be able to protect other items in proximity to your makeup bag. Also, consider how easily you can keep your bag clean. With makeup, spills can and will happen. Whether it’s powder, liquid, or even fallout smudges from a dirty brush, check to see how easily you can either wipe down the interior of your bag or machine wash it.
- Durability: Even if money is no object, you don’t want to have to replace your travel makeup bag every few months. Look for features like durable zippers and closures or reinforced seams.
Should you keep your makeup brushes in the same bag?
It’s best to store your makeup brushes separately from your makeup. First, this ensures that the bristles aren’t damaged or misshapen by being pressed against jars, palettes, or other containers. Next, if your brushes are a little dirty, they won’t rub makeup on your other containers before you can clean them.
Our Picks for the Best Travel Makeup Bags
BAGSMART Hanging Makeup Bag
A travel-friendly solution that won't occupy precious vanity space in your hotel bathroom and can pull double duty as toiletry storage.
Pros: The Bagsmart Toiletry Travel Bag offers almost endless storage, making it a one-and-done solution for the beauty maven on the go. While this can technically also be considered a toiletry bag, you’ll like that this water-resistant makeup bag comes with three roomy compartments featuring plenty of dividers and zippers. The hanging hook ensures you can maximize counter space by hanging it on a towel hook. And the clear plastic allows you to easily locate exactly what you need. Choose from five available covers and a medium or large size.
Cons: While this pick offers plenty of storage for long getaways, a common concern is that you have to unroll the entire bag to get to one compartment. Although that might not be a deal-breaker for some, consider that this could get annoying over time. Likewise, some people may find that while there are plenty of compartments, there’s not much flexibility if you have oversized bottles. Similarly, if you fill this tote bag all the way, you might struggle to zip it up when you fold it.
Bottom Line: Three roomy zippered compartments and a hanging hook make this a space-saving solution for the beauty lover on the go. With five colors, two size options, and exterior pockets, there’s a lot to love. Better still, you can combine toiletries and makeup to minimize the total number of bags you’re bringing on a trip. Just know that the fixed sides can be a problem for people who find themselves always packing “one more thing.”
Narwey Large Makeup Bag Travel Organizer
With eight vibrant colors and your choice of a large or small size, you can easily store essentials for an overnight or weekend trip.
Pros: Not everyone wants a bulky makeup travel bag. With that in mind, you’ll love the Narwey Large Makeup Bag Travel Organizer, which features roomy yet compact storage. It offers five specialized interior pockets to hold smaller cosmetics and beauty tools along with a larger pocket to store sheet masks and other essentials. The double zip design makes it easy to access while still being small enough to fit in a carry-on bag. This pick is water-resistant and washable.
Cons: A common concern for this travel makeup bag is that it lacks structure. If you’re worried about makeup getting jostled, then the soft-sided bag might be an issue. Also, note that the largest bag has dimensions of 9 by 6.7 by 3.9 inches. Depending on your makeup collection, this might be insufficient.
Bottom Line: For moderate makeup fans who don’t regularly apply a full face when they’re traveling, this is a solid travel makeup bag option that’s available in two sizes and eight colors. The compact size means you can slip it into a purse or a carry-on with no issues. And the double zipper makes accessing items convenient. But if you prefer to bring a larger collection of makeup or toiletries, you might want to keep looking.
Loomiloo Cosmetic Bag
A roomy waterproof canvas bag in more than 40 different prints to show your personality.
Pros: If you view your accessories as a way to share your personality, you’ll love the Loomiloo Cosmetic Bag. This small yet roomy tote can fit makeup brushes, cosmetics, and toiletries. It features a zip closure and an exterior loop if you want to attach it to an interior hook in a purse or luggage. It measures 8.65 by 5.35 by 7.08 inches and comes with fun 3D-printed designs placed on the waterproof polyester exterior. Choose from 42 different designs.
Cons: While the exterior loop is a nice touch, the smaller size of this bag means that the interior space may not be enough for larger travel makeup collections. And the lack of interior compartments might be off-putting for many people as well.
Bottom Line: If you have a small or beginning set of makeup must-haves when you hit the road, this is a solid choice. The biggest draw is the 42 prints to choose from, allowing you to pick a design that complements your personality. The smaller size may not appeal to serious beauty fans with larger cosmetic collections.
MKPCW Double Layer Travel Cosmetic Case
A bag with a roomy main section and a separate zippered top section for brushes or other toiletries.
Pros: Makeup enthusiasts can have a hard time planning which products to take on the road. The MKPCW Double Layer Travel Cosmetic Case allows you to sidestep regrets with two roomy compartments. The main zippered compartment has a deep interior that can accommodate palettes, powder jars, and more. Plus, the interior lid features dedicated slots for storing makeup brushes. The upper see-through compartment can be used to store additional makeup or toiletries. The entire travel makeup bag measures 8.86 by 6.5 by 5.9 inches and comes with a durable strap.
Cons: Depending on how you’re traveling, this bag might be a bit too structured to work in a carry-on. This might especially be a problem for makeup mavens who refuse to check their makeup collection when flying. And some people may dislike that the entire kit isn’t see-through as only the upper compartment is transparent.
Bottom Line: For people with serious travel makeup collections, this roomy bag is a wise choice, as you can easily keep brushes, cosmetics, and toiletries organized. The clear upper compartment is a nice touch for easily finding essentials. However, depending on how you’re traveling, the more structured design might not always be compatible with fitting comfortably in a carry-on bag or purse for flights.
Lacattura Travel Makeup Bag
A travel makeup bag that easily transitions to an everyday bag.
Pros: Not everyone likes the look of a traditional travel makeup bag, which can often look too simple. The Lacattura Travel Makeup Bag reinvents the wheel with a Gucci bumblebee-inspired trim and a faux leather finish that takes your travel makeup kit from utilitarian to designer-inspired. This kit features an adjustable compartment interior design and roomy pockets in the lid to store brushes. Better still, the lid features an additional zippered clear flap to prevent dirty brushes from rubbing makeup on your cosmetics. You’ll also get a removable leather crossbody strap, a sturdy handle, and your choice of eight colors.
Cons: The highly structured design with adjustable dividers means that you won’t be able to compress the case if you need to squeeze it into an already full hardshell suitcase. And while adjustable dividers can be a nice touch, they sometimes shift out of place. Coupled with the soft base and top, this can cause smaller items to slide under the dividers.
Bottom Line: If you want everything in your orbit to be stylish, you can’t go wrong with this fashion-forward update of the usually utilitarian travel makeup bag. The chic, slightly understated finish makes this a product you won’t mind being seen with, while the roomy adjustable compartments allow you to customize the bag.
Whether you’re seeking a storage solution for when you head to the office or fly the friendly skies, a good travel makeup bag is essential for staying organized and keeping must-have items nearby. Whether you like an understated design or something that can double as a cool crossbody, these travel makeup bags can help elevate your beauty routine.