In the Bag: Makeup Bag Edition

Recently I’ve gotten a few requests to share what I keep in my gym bag.   Everyone is always curious as to what other women carry with them in their purses, makeup bags, gym bags or carry-on suitcases, so this request got me thinking.   “In the Bag” will be a new series that I’ll feature occasionally on my blog, sharing the essentials I absolutely have to have in each of my particular bags.   I’ll kick this off with the Makeup Edition of “In the Bag,” (don’t worry, the Gym Bag Edition is coming soon!).

I love makeup.  I don’t feel like I have to wear it, but it always helps me feel a bit more pulled together.  As a freshman at West Point, girls were not allowed to wear makeup or earrings until after spring break…needless to say it was torture for me!  (That plus the freshman 20 I gained, but that’s another story.)  I normally go for a natural look, because anything more than that would be a little distracting in an Army camouflage uniform.  The days I get to dress up and wear normal girly clothes are always exciting for me though, because I can let my hair down, play up my makeup, and wear cute clothes!  Sephora is like an adult candy store to me, and while I’ve made quite a few purchases that really just did not work out and turned out disastrous, I feel like I’ve found some of the best products that work well and look great.  That being said, here are the essentials that I keep in my makeup bag! 

  • Primer.  Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer works well and helps keep me from getting too oily.
  • Concealer.  Covergirl concealer (in Medium) is budget friendly and works well year-round.
  • Foundation.  I’m not a huge fan of liquid foundation because it makes me feel like I have a mask on (plus I’m super oily so I prefer powers).  I use Nars Powder Foundation in Santa Fe and it works like a dream but still lets my face breathe.
  • Bronzer.  I use Nars Laguna Bronzer and I apply under my cheek bones, down my nose, and on my forehead, temples and neck.
  • Blush.  I switch my blush up frequently, and often combine different ones.  Nars Orgasm blush is a peachy tan color that I apply widely.  Sometimes I’ll top it with Nars Amour blush (nice and pink) right on the apples of my cheeks.  I also really love Too Faced Blush in Candy Glow.
  • Eye shadow.  Again, Nars is my favorite.  Fathom is lovely and a little bit purple, Night Star is natural but sparkly, and Bellissima has two lovely colors that help add a little drama.
  • Eyeliner.  Brown is my normal go-to color, and I always use Stila Eyeliner in Lionfish.  It applies neatly (and easily) and looks natural.  I line the inside of my bottom eyelid, and do a little cat eye on my top eyelid.  I have brown eyes, so I also like to use purple liner from time to time to make them pop.  Almay’s purple eyeliner is perfect and cheap.
  • Eyelash curler.  Takes about 20 seconds before applying mascara, and it makes a huge difference!  I’ve found that a cheap Revlon or Covergirl one works just as well, if not better, than more expensive versions.
  • Mascara.  My #1 essential is mascara.  I’ve been wearing Badgal Mascara by Benefit for years and years now, and I just love it!  It doesn’t clump and with 2 or 3 coats my short eyelashes look nice and full.  For waterproof mascara I use Covergirl Lashblast Mascara.
  • Lip Color.  Nars lip pencils and lipsticks are the best.  Some of my favorite lip pencils are Never Say Never (bright pink but in a classy and preppy way), New Lover (great for everyday use), Hopi (a nice nude color) and Baroque (a deep red for when I’m feeling glamorous) and my favorite lipsticks are Mayflower (pinky nude) and Cruising (nude).  I normally apply a little Burt’s Bees lip balm before applying any color to make sure my lips are moisturized.
  • Perfume.  I like to keep perfume handy even though I have an entire tray where I keep all my spray bottles.  I keep Kate Spade Live Colorfully rollerball perfume in my makeup bag so I have it when I have to get ready on the go.
Do you use any of these items too?  Or do you have any suggestions of items I should try?  I’m always in the market for new makeup, so please share!

Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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Leave a comment

  1. March 31, 2014 / 6:17 pm

    LOVE NARS! I have the Orgasm blush and a bronzer in a duo compact. Their lip pencils are so good too. You know you have a Sephora problem when they give you VIB status, right? 🙂 I never really wore makeup regularly until I left the Army, but now it's a part of my daily routine.

    I was using a mineral powder foundation until a few months ago, but I have combo skin and get some dry skin around my nose and between my eyes. The Sephora gals hooked me up with Tarte cosmetics, and I use their primer, foundation, and concealer. The coverage is amazing, and I feel like I finally have the flawless finish that I want, without looking like I wear much makeup at all. 🙂

  2. Virginia Aid
    April 1, 2014 / 1:11 am

    Yay! I'm so happy. Love, love!

  3. April 2, 2014 / 10:18 am

    I love this post! It's so colorful and happy and I'm having a less colorful day. I don't get to dress up that often because I stand out like a sore thumb in my classes, but I love when I'm able to be really girly and wear pretty make up. It's special. Wonderful post 🙂

    xo, Ashleigh @ Fashion in Flight

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