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Makeup organiser bags - how to choose the right one

Professional makeup organiser bag used by MUAs

Let’s be honest, most makeup organiser bags are small. For the payday beauty hauler, they are never going to store everything in your collection. Even expensive trunks and trollies have their limitations.

But cosmetic bags and cases do have an important role to play in your beauty routine and that is why choosing the right makeup bag for you is essential.

Inexpensive, compared to portable vanity units and plastic dressing table organisers, they offer the following benefits:

  • Keep brushes dust-free and in a hygienic environment

  • Ensure every-day makeup products, like mascara and setting powder, are easy to find

  • They are portable, so good for travel as well as home use

  • Make product selection effortless

  • Safely store expensive products

  • Limit damage caused by leaky products or spills

  • Are usually very easy to keep hygienically clean

  • Store all your favourite products in one place

I’ve gone through dozens of bags, looking for one that truly meets my needs. Along the way, I’ve found some that are brilliant space-wise but not so good for portability. I’ve also come across a few that seem to deliver everything - only to discover they don’t close properly when certain pockets or brush holders are used. You’d think manufacturers would take the time to thoroughly test a product’s suitability before unleashing it on a hungry market. Apparently, not.

Wonky space dividers, poor zips and hardshell cases that weigh a ton before a single item has been placed inside are common problems. Other issues include space dividers with limited functionality - meaning they can’t create enough space for larger items without most or all the dividers being removed - and flimsy handles. It’s no wonder makeup lovers get through so many bags before they find their ideal one. It’s like having to kiss a trillion frogs before finding a prince!

Makeup organiser bags with built-in LED mirrors are currently trending. However, the best-selling options are expensive and heavy. A cheaper alternative is to buy an organiser case with a zipped compartment that is big enough to hold a decent size light-up mirror. These mirrors, even ones with flip-out stands, have come right down in price this year. They are lightweight too, so they won’t drag you down when you are on the go. You can pick up a decent touchscreen one for under £10 on Amazon.

Makeup bags - before you buy tips

makeup organiser case filled with products

There is no point splashing out on a makeup bag just because you like its design or fabric. It may tick some boxes but will it be practical?

Is there enough room in it for all your brushes? Will it accommodate the products you use on a daily basis? Is it light enough to take anywhere? Will your products be secure in transit?

Take a look at all the items you want to store.

Now go back and have a second, longer look at the makeup organiser bag that has caught your eye. What are its dimensions? It is crucial to check the length, width and depth. Now compare that to something of a similar size in your home. Is it going to be sufficient for your needs?

My go-to measurement gauge is a 30cm x 30cm picture frame. It’s not massive. I know that, for my every-day collection, I need something that is at least 40cm across and deep enough to store a 50ml pot. I also need multiple brush holders with a flip-back cover, plus additional storage pockets. A product of this size is always categorised as ‘extra large’ - even though it is no bigger than a briefcase. That is worth remembering as bags described as ‘large’ are often on the small side. They should be considered ‘medium’ when you are shopping.

Think you have found ‘the one’? Now read its reviews. If it doesn’t have any, don’t risk it. Either wait or move on to another one. Look out for ‘red flag’ comments like ‘zip broke on first use’, ‘strap wasn’t included’, ‘poorly made’, etc. If more than a few people have made the same complaint about a product, avoid it.

What I look for in reviews is plenty of good feedback, like ‘loads of room’, ‘stored all my makeup’, ‘well made’, etc.

The least practical makeup organiser bags are drawstring and pencil case-style ones. They are too small, even for occasional makeup users, and don’t keep products separate. Usually made from fabric, thay are also harder to keep hygienically clean - unless you are prepared to pop them in the wash on a regular basis.

Another impractical option includes the hardshell makeup box. Often made from metal with lift-up compartments, they don’t store as much as you would imagine. They are also very heavy. I know, I’ve got one!

So far this year, I’ve purchased four makeup organiser bags - and I actually like all of them. Two of them were purchased as gifts and filled. I know, I’m a generous soul!

It is worth pointing out that, if you are an eyeshadow collector like me, there are currently NO makeup bags that will comfortably accommodate lots of palettes. The only eyeshadows I keep in mine are slim six to eight pan ones. The rest are stored on cube shelving (I now have 90-odd!).

The makeup organiser bags I recommend

recommended makeup organiser bags

These are my top makeup bag picks, listed by size.

Small makeup organiser bag

21.5cm across, this bag is deep. It actually holds quite a lot. It has brush storage in the lid, but does not have a cover for them. The bag is big enough to hold an LED mirror measuring 17.5cm x 13cm. It boasts good quality, strong, wipe-clean material and a sturdy handle. The zip is also of good quality.

Price at the time of publishing: £5.99 and below.

Available from Amazon and TEMU. It is a Prime item on Amazon, so available for next day delivery.

Brand name: Focenat.

small makeup organiser bag

Medium makeup organiser bag

25.4cm across, this hardshell case from Joligrace is functional and stylish. It comes with removable dividers and the brush compartment has a cover. This bag is ideal for storing foundations, mascaras, makeup pencils, powders and more. It’s a nice size for travel and is well-made. There is a zipped compartment next to the brush holders and it is big enough to store an LED mirror measuring 17.5cm x 13cm.

Price at the time of publishing: £11.99 (on offer). Amazon Prime item.

Brand name: Joligrace.

medium makeup organiser bag
Medium makeup organiser bag, shown open at the top of this section on the right-hand side.

Large makeup organiser bag

This bag is described as ‘extra large’. Its dimensions are 40cm in width, 29cm in length and 12cm in depth. It has two layers of brush holders, with a cover, and a zipped lid compartment that could store a good-sized LED mirror. It is manufactured with a canvas outer fabric and a wipe-clean surface inside. It is sold with a shoulder strap and also has a second main zipped compartment, which is suitable for slim items only.

This is the bag I use on a daily basis. It has the look and feel of a professional makeup bag, which is why I Iove it. It is not something that I would take on holiday, because of its size. However, I use it every single day. It currently stores all my brushes, foundations, setting powders, mascaras, blushers, highlighters, lip liners, eyeliners, and more!

Note: This bag has handy adjustable lid straps.

Price at the time of publishing: £22.49. Available from Amazon and it is a Prime item.

Brand: Unbranded.

Large makeup organiser bag

Look after your makeup

If you invest in makeup, look after it. Don’t lose that £20 mascara down the back of a radiator or leave a powdered product in direct sunlight. Keep everything neat and tidy as well as secure in a makeup organiser bag.

If you look after your products, they will look after you!

Want to know how long makeup products last? Read our guide, which lists the use-by times of every product here.

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