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Make-up Bag Essentials.

Updated on March 5, 2013

What really needs to be in your make-up bag?

Everyday we are bombarded with a plethora of beauty products and any number of so called 'must have' hair and beauty products every day.

Pick up any magazine, be it aimed at women or men and there will inevitably be advertisements for products that will claim to improve the way you look, smell, feel. Even including tried and tested articles, with reader reviews and ratings.

Similarly the mediums of radio and television will have there own ideas and advice on what you should be wearing or using.

But do we really need more then one of any of these cosmetics? No, you could argue that we don't need half of the stuff we buy and cosmetics are a luxury and not a need at all. However the more important question is of course why would I want more then one mascara, foundation, lipstick etc anyway?

What items are considered as a make-up bag staples and how do I choose these items selectively as not to end up needing a make-up bag the size of a suitcase? Here are my suggestions below, I hope you find them useful


Unless you are one of the very few fortunate people that are blessed with a flawless complexion, a good foundation will make a huge difference to the appearance of the skin. A good base of foundation can cover a multitude of sins, evening out uneven skin tone, covering blemishes, hiding dark circles under the eyes and covering scars, lines or wrinkles.

Types of foundations include;

  • Cream to powder.
  • Illuminating.
  • Mattifying.
  • Invisable coverage.
  • Whipped.
  • Light cream.
  • Mineral powder.
  • Pressed powder.
  • Loose powder.
  • Liquid mousse.
  • Gel-powder.
  • Creamy balms.
  • Oil free.
  • Translucent.
  • Moisturising.


If eyes are the windows of the soul, then mascara are the curtains. Long, thick, dark lashes are the look most women and more often now men, want to achieve. Black is the most popular colour of mascara purchased, but there are many more brilliant choices on the market such as;

  • Dark Brown (a good stable every day alternative)

As well as

  • Electric Blue.
  • Sage Green.
  • Violet Purple.
  • Hot Red.
  • Pretty Pink.
  • Shocking Silver and
  • Gorgeous Gold.

Lipstick and/or lip gloss.

A lip colour on its own is nice, but we do expect a lot more from our lip care products nowadays. We want them to make our lips appear fuller and we want them to protect and moisturise too. We are spoilt for choice in the shade and appearance of lip ranges, matt, gloss, glitter, long lasting, plumping, smoothing and metallic are all available on the market for us to try.

I personally prefer a pale pink shiny or sparkly gloss, or a pale purple metallic long lasting lip stick. Some of the best colours that are available include;

  • Rose.
  • Water Melon.
  • Plum.
  • Deep Red.
  • Mauve.
  • Peach.
  • Coral.
  • Heather.
  • Amethyst.
  • Shimmered.
  • Glittered.
  • Nude.
  • Champagne.
  • Cappuccino.
  • Carnation.
  • Peach.
  • Brick Red.
  • Wine.
  • Lilac.
  • Orchid.
  • Cherry.
  • Mocha.
  • Fuchsia.
  • Valentine.
  • Chocolate.
  • Berry.

Make-up remover.

Sleeping with your make-up on blocks up the pores, leads to spots and gives your skin an unhealthy appearance. No body wants panda eyes in the morning. Plus you don't know when a make-up application miss hap may happen, and the cosmetic remover maybe required.

If you can choose a remover that has cleansing, toning and moisturising properties as this will free up space in you bag by eliminating the need to fit in separate items. Also it helps to be aware of you skin type and to cater for it, if your skin is easily irritated pick a sensitive option of skin care product, or a balancing solution if you have oily or combination type skin.

Nail varnish.

Pretty nails are nice but as mentioned before, we want more from our beauty products. We want are nail varnishes to be tough, long lasting, non peeling, chip resistant and quick drying. Luckily the market does cater for all of these different nail needs. The price of nail varnish fluctuates greatly and can cost anything from £1 to £50, I'm not kidding.

Best nail varnish colours available at the moment include;

  • Cosmic blue.
  • Midnight Purple.
  • Gothic Black.
  • Angel White.
  • Deepest Red.
  • Burgundy.
  • Turquoise temptress.
  • Coral pink.
  • Sunshine yellow.
  • Orange extrovert.
  • Glittery.
  • Sheer.
  • Pastel pink.
  • Lilac dream.
  • Romantic.
  • Valentine.
  • Peach.
  • Sunset pink.
  • Amethyst.
  • Plum.
  • Mauve.
  • Rose.
  • Ballerina pink.
  • Strawberry.
  • Mosaic effects in black and white.
  • Denim.
  • Graphite.
  • Heather.
  • Aubergine.
  • Spearmint.
  • Flirty pink.

Nail varnish remover.

A good effective nail varnish remover does not have to be expensive and you can buy them in relatively large qualities for very little money. I have noticed that they are usually a pink or purple liquid. Do be careful with this product though as it is mildly corrosive, do keep well away from your eyes. It is handy to keep it with you in your make up bag, in case of any spillages.

Eye shadow.

Another product that helps accentuate the eyes, that although is not necessarily an essential everyday wear cosmetic product, it could be argued that it is an essential evening or party ware product.

Eye-shadows have moved on a lot since the blue powder of the eighties and although they can still be brought in powder form they are also available in, gels, creams, liquids and glosses.

Some of the best colour eye shadows on the market at the moment include;

  • Blue steel.
  • Graphite.
  • Pink grey mix.
  • Chocolate.
  • Bronze.
  • Dirty snow.
  • Violet.
  • Plum.
  • Aubergine.
  • Lilac.
  • Electric blue.
  • Emerald green.
  • Rose.
  • Cooper.
  • Walnut.
  • Diamond.
  • Sea green.
  • Blue wave.
  • Dove gray.
  • Moonstone.
  • Purple glamour.
  • Retro blue.
  • Fresh jade.
  • Sand.
  • Teal.
  • Onyx.
  • Gothic black.
  • Espresso.
  • Chocolate melt.
  • Dusty ice.
  • Touch metal grey.
  • Denim.
  • Mocha.
  • Sage.
  • Mustard.
  • Metallic lilac.


A great way to create a Rosy looking fresh face is to illuminate the cheeks with blusher. A product that was traditionally available as just a powder has been developed into gels, liquids, face pearls and creams to give a subtler illuminating look.

The best colours available at the moment for blusher include;

  • Rose.
  • Scarlet.
  • Plum.
  • coral.
  • Pearly.
  • Peach.
  • Nutmeg.
  • Honey.
  • Nude awakening.
  • Golden glow.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Caramel.
  • Earthen.
  • Russet.
  • Shimmer queen.
  • Cheeky.
  • Ballerina pink.
  • Angel.
  • Valentine.
  • Orchid.
  • Fuchsia shock.
  • Go Glow.


When buying or using eyeliner, the best one in my opinion is still kohl. Although their are many different eyeliners made from other materials and ingredients, you still can't beat Cleopatra's method. If you are wearing heavy lash make-up or dominant false eyelashes you don't want to then use black eyeliner as it will cover your eyes too much and make them look smaller, opt for a white liner instead, as this will give the appearance of wider, larger eyes.

If you are looking to experiment with different eye line colours you could try some of these;

  • Dark brown.
  • Brown black.
  • Midnight blue.
  • Royal blue.
  • Violet.
  • Graphite grey.
  • Lead black.
  • Diamond.
  • Sugar plum.
  • Grey ice sparkle.
  • Emerald green.
  • Dark jade green.
  • Metallic silver.
  • Bronze gold.
  • Steel smoke.
  • Dark espresso.
  • Brightest white.
  • Teal.
  • Purple star.
  • Cosmic turquoise.
  • Powder blue.
  • Dove grey.

Top liner.

Top liner has become an ever increasingly popular beauty product, a favourite of the late Amy Winehouse, it has been flying off of the shelves like nobodies business. The cat eye look is always a catwalk showcase and again it's all about the eyes.

Top liner can be applied by brush or pencil, and can be applied thinly and subtly, or thickly and dramatically, depending on the occasion.


The basis of all good make-up application comes from well looked after skin, regular moisturisation will greatly improve the condition and appearance of your skin. It will also make your cosmetics easier to apply. I use sudocrem and have done for years, but there are many other very effective products on the market, you just have to discover for your self the one that works best for you.

Make-up sponges.

Using the right tools for any job can make the difference between, something amazing and a disaster. The same applies for the application of make-up, investing in some natural fibre sponges, will help you deal with a multitude of looks, especially as new techniques are bought into vogue.

I use thick triangle wedge ones, I find they are brilliant all rounders and can apply to many cosmetic products. To clean make up sponges either put the through the wash in your washing machine, on a low temperature, yes really. Or you can shampoo and condition them like you do your hair, yes really I'm not joking, it works wonders.

Make-up brushes.

Some items may well come with their own specialized brushes already, but be warned this isn't always the case. However you do not need a whole artillery of them, just 4.

  • One for your eyes, preferably a stubby rounded brush.
  • One for you lips, a thin precision brush.
  • One for your face, an extra large brush.
  • One for your cheeks, ideally an angled brush.

These can also be washed with shampoo and conditioner, and blow dried on a low temperature, I kid you not.


It's well worth investing in a good solid pair or tweezers, get the right ones early on and you will never have to buy another pair again, if you don't lose them and look after them, they will last you a life time. I bought mine from the body shop over 10 years ago and they work as well today as they did when I first brought them, they did cost me nearly £5 at the time, which I did think was a bit steep, however they were a very worth while purchase and is a beauty purchase I have not regretted.

Ideally your tweezers should be sharp, slanted and ridged. Made out of metal, not plastic and be easy to grip. If you can find a pair that has all of these functions, take my advice and buy them, eyebrow plucking will never be the same again, it will make it quicker, less painful and you will gain more improved precision.


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    • wrenfrost56 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from U.K.

      Thank-you again daydreamer13, I very much enjoy reading your work also. :)

    • wrenfrost56 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from U.K.

      Thank-you for taking the time to comment martinnathalie9. :)

    • daydreamer13 profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent, informative hub. Well done!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think I am one to buy loads of make up, I have three draws full! Maybe I should take it to essentials and become more creative. Nice Hub!


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