Whether you subscribe to the “no-makeup makeup” look, and use little more than concealer and some Boy Brow, or the yes-to-makeup look, and own an arsenal of products, everyone needs a way to keep their beauty regimen, well, regimented. Unlike the travel toiletry bag or Dopp kit, makeup bags stay put on your bathroom counter — making it all the more important that you have one you enjoy looking at (and one that’s able to keep your 15 different shades of red lipstick neat and organized).
To find the best makeup bags — the ones designed to hold all manner of brushes, compacts, and bottles, and stay clean in the face of spills and lost caps — we tracked down some notable makeup artists and asked them about their favorites. From a Prada pouch (recommended by Daniel Martin, who did Meghan Markle’s makeup on her wedding day) to a $10 Muji pouch that can hang from a hook in your bathroom, here are their recommendations, which cover a wide range of styles, sizes, and price points.
A transparent zip-top makeup bag is a classic for a reason: “Because it’s clear, you’ll be able to find the products you need quickly,” says Erin Parsons, who has worked with Gigi Hadid. Parsons suggests this simple one from professional makeup supply company Monda Studio — it’s especially easy to wipe down should any products leak, she says.
If you prefer an opaque bag that’s just as easy to clean, makeup artist Romy Soleimani, whose clients include Alicia Vikander and Tracee Ellis Ross, says that this one from Roberta Roller Rabbit is a good option. “It’s lined in plastic outside and inside, which is great because if anything explodes, it’s not a problem,” she says. “They’re easy to wipe down and come in different sizes.”
This makeup bag has a Dusen Dusen–like print on it and contains a neat trick: “It has a plexiglass smoked gold mirror on the bottom,” says makeup artist Fiona Stiles, “to add a bit of light while you’re digging around for your favorite lipstick.”
Sonia Kashuk makes reliably good and affordable bags in all manner of patterns and textures, and makeup artist Dana Delaney likes the bags because of their compartments that keep tools and products separate. They’re “perfect for traveling,” she says, and for keeping products organized at home, too.
“I personally love the Muji Nylon Makeup Pouches,” says Georgi Sandev. “They fit a lot and the size seems just perfect for almost everything.” Soleimani is a fan of the bags, too. “They’re slightly padded and they have form,” she says, adding, “I’ve never had leakage with them.” This case also has a zippered mesh pocket under the flap, perfect for securing smaller, easy-to-lose products.
If you prefer a makeup bag that you can hang in your bathroom (or, eventually, while traveling), take note from makeup artist and consultant Shayna Goldberg, who says that she has six of this hanging bag from Muji: “Two for personal use and four I keep in my kit.” To keep the bag organized, Goldberg says she slips in some Muji pencil cups, using them to sort eye pencils, mascara, etc. “I’m completely dependent on these bags because they can stand independently or hang and keep my products upright with most of them visible so I can find what I’m looking for without rummaging,” she says. The $10 price doesn’t hurt, either.
This train case from Amazon can be worn as a messenger bag, and features three separate layers for ultimate organization. “I absolutely love it for storing my personal cosmetic products,” says Parsons. “It has amazing organizational compartments and is extremely affordable.” It is also super lightweight and easy to transport with a strap that can be fixed to a suitcase handle.
“I carry so much stuff for a living that I do my best to carry as little as possible when I travel,” says Stiles, who swears by her Eagle Creek bags. They are durable, affordable, and come in different sizes for your varying needs. Plus, each pouch has a clip so they are perfect for those prone to losing things.
And from Sandev, a recommendation to just go with a middle school throw back: the Five Star Stand ‘n’ Store Pencil Pouch. “They are absolutely perfect for all of your cosmetic pencils, makeup brushes, mascaras, sponges, and puffs, come in a variety of colors, and are really easy on the budget.”
Or you can check out the art-supply store: “Bags that are meant for markers or artist pencils are actually great for storing your liners and your pencils,” says Soleimani. “Blick, for example, has marker and pencil cases with slots for each pencil. If you took them all out and replaced them with, say, eyeliners, lip liners, and mascaras, they’d be spread out perfectly and it would be easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.” If you really want to get organized, Soleimani says you could even get a separate case for each category of item: “You could make a book of eye products, and one of lip glosses and lip crayons,” she says.
This Maison Mayle pouch comes highly recommended by Soleimani. “I personally use and really love the Mayle bags,” she says. “They’re gorgeous, and you can dump everything out and use it as a clutch in a pinch — the superchic prints make them like the Dries Van Noten of makeup bags.” Though it may appear to be on the smaller side, Soleimani told us that it “actually holds a lot,” and has some structure, too, which “keeps things from falling all over the place.”
And if you truly are looking to splurge: “I’ve had my Prada pouch for years, and they withstand the test of time. Chic and classic,” says Daniel Martin, who did the makeup for the duchess of Sussex, née Meghan Markle, on her wedding day. The leather trim adds a refined touch, but the workhorse material here must be the Prada nylon.