Beauty Without Fuss

Monday 8 October 2012

Five basics every makeup bag should have

I get asked, quite regularly, what makeup products every makeup bag should contain, and I always find it a difficult question to answer (I don't really carry a makeup bag round with me, and, when I do, it mainly contains lip products ... the name of this blog didn't come around by accident, you know) but, in response to a particularly heartfelt plea from MummyBarrow, asking for the five products you need to re-stock an empty makeup bag, here's what I think you need in a basic, but well-stocked makeup bag:

1) Base
2) Blush
3) Mascara
4) Eyeshadow/Eyeliner
5) Lip Colour

Here's my product picks:

1) Base 
Every makeup bag should contain a base product, whether it's foundation, concealer, or a powder is entirely down to individual preference, but, if I was starting from scratch, I'd pick a pigmented base with some skincare properties - either a tinted moisturiser from a reputable skin-care company, or a BB cream, again from a reputable skincare company (rather than a company better known for their colour cosmetics.  So, which ones would I pick?  Well, depending on budget, I'd either pick:

Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser (£57 from Space NK)
Or Dr Jart Regenerating BB Cream (£21 from Boots)

 Both can be used as a moisturiser in their own right (confession, I never use a coloured product in place of skincare, I always use my full skincare routine then use tinted moisturisers etc, but not everyone is as obsessive about their skincare as I am, I admit), and both give great coverage.  If pushed, I prefer the Chantecaille, less mineral oil, nicer fragrance, more buildable coverage as you can apply in successive layers - but the Dr Jart has an SPF of 30,  over and above the Chantecaille's SPF of 15.  The Dr Jart is nice and soothing on the skin though, and doesn't irritate my stupidly sensitive skin. 

A good base is all-important for making the rest of your make-up (however little you spend, and however little attention you pay to it) look good, don't skimp here.

2) Blush

Only one possible choice here, for me, and that is:

New CID iGlow in Coral Crush (£24 from New CID Cosmetics)

This is possibly the most-used cosmetic item in my stash at the moment, and I adore it.  Gives a wonderful glowy lift to my cheeks (it's ostensibly a highlighting product, but I find it pigmented enough to use as a blusher), and it goes with most makeup looks.  It photographs amazingly well too.  Writing this reminds me that I need a backup.

3) Mascara

The mascara I've been wearing most often over the last few months is:

Benefit They're Real Mascara (£18.50 from Boots)

I was slightly underwhelmed with this on first release, but, over the last while, I've come to love it a great deal, and regularly reach for it over and above other fancier (and more expensive) releases.  It's a good, buildable formula that, on me, doesn't flake or smudge, and only comes off when *I* want it too.  Can't say much more than that.  It's a bit wet on first opening though, but after a week or two when it dries out a little, it's a cracking tube of mascara.

The above three products are what I would consider the absolute bare essentials, if you've evened out your skintone with a base, highlighted your cheekbones with blush, and defined your eyes with mascara, then, frankly, any other colour cosmetics are an optional extra.  That said though, here's my pick of eye and lip products to round out a new collection:

4) Eyeshadow/Eyeliner

Sometimes, you just want something quick, and versatile.  When that's the case, I reach for:

Sue Devitt Eye Intensifier Pencils (£18 from Harvey Nichols)

Soft and smudgey, these pencils are a total boon if you're a bit short on time.  You can use them as a soft liner, a base for other shades, or smudge them and create a soft smokey eye look.   They come in a variety of no-fuss, no-worry shades, so there's something to suit most people.

If I was really splashing out, to be honest, I'd also pick up a Cream Colour from Tom Ford in Platinum. A cream eyeshadow that doesn't crease, and isn't greasy, and lasts all day.  I just wish they were a permanent part of the range (and didn't cost £28, but that's a different story).

Clinique are rumoured to be bringing out an eye version of their cult Chubby Sticks, and I, personally, am waiting with baited breath for their release.

 5) Lip Colour

Blimey, where do I start?  When it comes to lipstick, it really is up to you (your budget) and your personal preferences.  For budget preferences, I've discovered I'm a bit of a fan of the Kate Moss range of lipsticks for Rimmel, the matte collection is really cute, particularly in the darker shades.  If you want something a bit less fussy, then the Clinique Chubby sticks:

Might be what you want: Retailing at around £14, they combine the best parts of lipbalm and lipstick.  There's a whole slew of imitators around, but I definitely prefer these for their superior balm properties (little known fact, Clinique's range of superbalm lip products are amongst the best balms on the market, for me at least), and their sheer range of shades.  They're releasing an "intense" version now too, which have more pigment ... I may already have a couple, and will be bringing you a full review soon ...

If you want to splash out, and still have a balmy consistency, well, then you need a Chantecaille Lip Chic.  Which is, for my money, the most divine lipstick formulation in existence.  If you really want to push the boat out, well, then, head yourself over to Tom Ford.  Or pick yourself up a Guerlain Rouge G.  You know you want to ...

 This post originated at: All rights reserved.


  1. Oooo I've been wanting to try Chantecaille's base products ever since VivannaMakeup talked about them in spring! *writes on Christmas list...*
    Love this post x

  2. I certainly enjoyed reading this post. The chubby sticks from clinique are so much like the just bitten ones from revlon. My handbag essentials are compact, eyelash curler, hydrating lip stain.:)

  3. Phew, that's about ALL I have in my make up bag, and a couple of palettes but I get what you mean about 5 so am not going to be picky.
    I agree with the mascara. They're Real is my go-to mascara more often than not these days since my eyelash extensions fell out.

  4. Interesting on the mascara choice. I have tried and tried to love that Benefit one but it just feels like it clumps and makes me look a bit ermintrude. Something about the brush I don't like too. Hmmm, maybe I should give it another go.

  5. My skin is looking much better at the moment and full foundation looks a little too much, so I'm going to have a look at Chantecille, despite being an avoider of tinted moisturisers for years.

    I find 'they're real' gives great drama to my lashes, but by mid afternoon it also gives me panda eyes. I'm loving EL Double Wear, even after hours of kayaking in the rain, its still where I want it and not on my cheeks.

    I'd forgo the eyeliner for a tinted brow gel in my top 5 items, but thats because my brows are sparse and my lids are hooded.

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to hear my plea and write this post.

    My make up bag is a mess. I am great at buying make up. I buy lots. The trouble is that I then don't use it or don't know how to use it (£160 on Bare Minerals veils, powders, rose tint etc etc).

    This is the base I need from.

    Lots of love

  7. I keep seeing this mascara in my local boots and I've seen such a love/hate opinion towards it, I don't know if I can part with £17 on mascara! Great basics :) x

  8. You left out eyebrow pencil shadow definer whatever thingy - ignore one's eyebrows at one's peril - I went white in one over night and whilst the hair on my head has darkened exponentially my eyebrows still believe I am 6 and blonde. If I don't do my eyebrows I feel as unfinished as if I forgot perfume.

  9. I certainly enjoyed reading this post. I love the versatile eyeshadow/eyeliner its brilliant. My handbag essentials would be blush, hand cream, mascara, lipstick and eyebrow pencil.

  10. I certainly enjoyed reading this post. I love the versatile eyeshadow/eyeliner its brilliant. My handbag essentials would be blush, hand cream, mascara, lipstick and eyebrow pencil.


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