My Top 10 Makeup Bag Essentials

As a makeup artist I get a lot of questions about what I use and the ever popular, “What do I really need in my makeup bag”. I have to say that my favorites tend to switch-hit from time to time (season changes, skin changes, etc.), but there are my top-ten makeup bag essentials  that I am never without.

1. A good moisturizer. Everyone’s skin is different and therefore I can’t tell you (without a proper skin analysis) what the best product for you may be. But I can tell you that without a doubt, my favorite moisturizer (year round) is First Aid Beauty’s  Ultra Repair Cream. ultra repair creamI have oily, breakout prone, sensitive skin that tends to get dehydrated. This moisturizer works for all of those problems. Those of us with oily skin will tend to shy away from anything remotely close to a “cream.” But fear not! This moisturizer is made for all skin types and melts into your skin and doesn’t leave a film or residue. It’s truly the best I’ve ever used. As I have mentioned before, I suffer from psoriasis and this product does not cause a flare up. I love it and I am NEVER without it!

2. BB Cream with SPF. I love a good BB cream. It’s simple, doesn’t require a ton of blending and helps me get out the door quickly (because I like to sleep as late as I possibly can!) I am currently using clinique bb creamClinque’s BB Cream with an SPF of 30. I love having an SPF of 30 in my makeup bag and the fact that it’s built into the BB Cream means it’s not an extra step. Score! I also like the lightweight feel of this product especially during the summer. I get asked if I use SPF year round. The answer is yes. Not only am I fair skinned, but I have seen first-hand the effects of not using sunscreen on my clients. I will always wear at least a 30 on a daily basis and it’s pretty easy to find in makeup products these days.

3. Powder/Blush/Bronzer. Not everyone needs or likes these products, but I do use them nearly every day. I have a palette that contains all three products and I absolutely love it! cc+The CC+ Radiance Palette by it Cosmetics gives you a color correcting powder (that sets my BB cream), a matte-coral blush (a universal shade that will work on every skin tone), and a matte bronzer. My skin has an amazing glow thanks to this amazing little trio.

4. Brow Kit. I worked for Benefit Cosmetics for a little while as a freelance makeup artist and through their tutelage  I learned all about brows. The eyebrows are the frame of the face – this is true. Giving your brows a little shape with powder or a pencil can instantly give you eyelift. If I have time for nothing else, I will at the very least “put on my brows”. I love Anastasia Beverly Hills’ brow products. They have powders, pencils, gels; and all of them work amazing well. I also like Bobby Brown’s Brow Shaper and Hair Touchup gel. Benefit Cosmetics also makes a great brow duo called Brow Zings. Go to your local Sephora (or if there isn’t one by you, try Ulta!) and ask an artist to help you find the best brow kit for you. I haven’t been to a Sephora yet that didn’t have awesome makeup artists on staff that are extremely helpful. They won’t bite…just ask them!!

5. Eye shadow primer. Just stop what you’re doing and go out and purchase primer potionUrban Decay’s Original Eye Shadow Primer Potion. I have not found a better primer on the market for everyday wear. I have oily skin and that extends to my eyelids. If I don’t put on this primer, half way through the morning my shadow is in creases. A shadow primer locks the pigments to your lids and sets up a barrier so that oils won’t come in a crease (read: ruin) your pretty shadow. I even use this on the brides that I work with. It’s the best!

6. A set of good-quality makeup brushes. An artist is only as good as their tools and a quality set of makeup brushes goes a long way (as long as you take care of them.) You don’t need a bundle of brushes for everyday makeup. All of the tools below are by Real Techniques. I love them because I LOVE PixieWoo!! I’ll tell you what I use everyday without fail…

BlenderBlending sponge. This blender is awesome! It has several surfaces that can be used on all the different points of the face and the pointed end is for concealing. These ladies have thought of everything!

powder-brush-full-02Powder brush. Larger and fluffier than a blush brush, the powder brush gives you optimal, all-over dusting of setting powders (or color correcting powder).

browBrow brush. A hard-angle brow brush will give you the best application of powder to your brows.

blushBlush brush. It’s smaller than a powder brush and provides the best vehicle for adding dimension to that part of your face.

Shadow Brush(es). I say brushes, because I tend to use up to three a day. shadowYou need one brush that washes color from your lash line to brow bone (it can also be your blender brush). You’ll also need a crease brush which defines the crease of your lid (the area where your lid comes together). And finally a detailing brush to add a darker color near your lash line for definition.

linerLiner brush. For me, the best way to apply liner is with a liner brush. Even if I have a pencil, I wipe the brush over the end of the pencil and apply the liner that way. You just have more control that way and you can get the liner closer the lash line.

7. Palette of neutral shadows. Think everyday neutrals that you can quickly and easily apply. Two-four colors in your palette should suffice. Make sure you’ve got arevlon good range of colors to work with; from very light (highlight) to dark (lash line or liner). Several cosmetic companies have many options: Bobbie Brown (you can make your own!), Urban Decay (Naked Basics), bareMinerals, Too Faced, Japonesque, Revlon, Cover Girl, Maybelline….the list goes on and on.

hello lashes8. Mascara. We all have our favorite brand, color, brush, formula, so I won’t go into too much detail for this one. I am currently using it Cosmetics’ Hello Lashes. Not only does it instantly increase volume and length, it contains a serum that will make your lashes thicker and longer over time. Hello, indeed!!

9. Eye liner. You could have every shade ever made in all the colors of the rainbow. But what do you really need? Two, maybe three, shades tops. Brown, black and either navy, plumb or gray. That’s it! With those colors you can create a multitude of looks and take your makeup from day to night in an instant. Again, choose your brand and price point – there are so many options out there!

10. Lipstick/Gloss/Balm. Really it’s up to you and your preferences, but here are some tips…

top tomatoIf you like lipstick… find your best everyday shade and own it! (I like to rock red lips – Top Tomato by Revlon is my shade). Go to a store like Sephora or Ulta and get someone to help you try on different shades so you go home with you want and aren’t stuck with a color that you hate.

If you’re more of a gloss gal…Slick it on and shine! There are lots of gloss formulas out there, so just like with lipstick, go and try them out! You’ll never know what you like if you don’t test different formulas, brands and shades.

chapstickSo, you like a natural pout? Go for a balm and stay moisturized. So many brands, too little time! From Carmex to Philosophy, the options are endless! Find your favorite and keep it stocked! If I’m not rocking red lips, it’s Candy Cane ChapStick for me 🙂

And there you have it, readers! My Top-Ten! Leave a comment and let me know if you have product specific questions. I would be happy to correspond with you to help you put together your best makeup bag.

Until next time,
The Blushing Baker 😉

**Photos used are from the following sites:,,,,


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