How To Organize Your Makeup Bag | (10 Tips To Save You Insane Amounts Of Time)

Want to know how to efficiently organize your makeup bag?  Well, after reading this step-by-step guide you will be able to find any product or tool within seconds after you get organized.

If you are like me, you have oodles and oodles of lipstick, mascara, brushes, eyeshadows, concealers, powders, lip gloss, moisturizers, and other more obscure products that you only use every once in a while.  Before I became a professional makeup artist, I had my makeup supplies spread out all over my bathroom counter and just randomly thrown into a small cloth bag.  Experience has taught me the best way to organize makeup to get me out of the door quickly in the mornings

Follow these 10 steps to organize your own makeup bag:

STEP 1: Take Inventory Of What You Have

makeup, sephora, eyelinerOne of the very first things you need to do is to take an inventory.  You can easily do this a number of different ways, but I like to keep it simple.  So, every couple of months I will dump everything out of my makeup bag onto the kitchen table.  Just make sure to lay some newspaper or towels down first to protect your table.

Laying all of my stuff out like this helps me to quickly see what I have or don’t have.  It also helps me to identify which items I need to throw out or replace.

STEP 2:   Throw Out Any Expired Or Almost Empty Products

This may seem like common sense to most of you, but you would be surprised to learn that the majority of my clients have expired, damaged, or empty containers in their travel vanity case.  Did you know that all makeup products have a shelf life?  After that time has passed, that foundation that you are applying will not adhere as well to your skin or can become damaging to your skin.

I have a couple of tips that can easily help you decide to throw away any products:

  1. First, if the container is almost empty, throw it out. That last dab of product will have more bacteria in it than when it was new.
  2. If something is leaking or a bottle is broken, throw it out. Trust me; it is not fun to clean up spilled nail polish that has leaked out into your makeup bag.
  3. Smell it! If it smells musky or mildewed you DEFINITELY should throw it away.  This is a common sign that the product is bad.  This article by Cosmopolitan offers some great information on how long each product will last.  But, if you will look for the Period After Opening (PAO) symbol on each product, you will know when to throw away used items.  [PAO symbols display a number and a letter “m”.  So, if you see 6m, you will know to stop using that after 6 months of opening.]

STEP 3:   Replace Daily Necessities

brushes in a cupThis is one of the simplest steps.  If you have thrown it away because it was empty or expired, simply buy a replacement.  This is especially true for products that you use every day.  If you don’t do this very soon or immediately after throwing out the old, you will go into panic mode the next time you need to use it.

STEP 4:   Clean It Up!

Since you already have all of your tools and products laid out on the table, this is a good time to make sure all of it is clean and sanitary.  Especially those used brushes, sponges, and applicators!  Some brush cleanser, soap, water, and paper towels will be perfect for cleaning everything.

STEP 5:   Choose The Right Makeup Train Case That Fits Your Individual Needs

makeup case, makeup bagThis step can be very time consuming, but is very important.  I wrote an article that covers my review of the best makeup train cases.  But, you will need to consider a few things before purchasing your next makeup case.

If you know that you will never have enough products to fill a large case or you are not a makeup artist, like me, then you will need a smaller case.  I personally have a large case and a smaller case for overnight stays.  The most important things to keep in mind when deciding on the size and shape of your next case are:

  • Make sure the case has customizable dividers.
  • Make use of small ziplock baggies to store small items like fake eyelashes or nail tips.
  • Decide on slide out trays or stackable trays.
  • Choose between a hard case or a durable Oxford Fabric case.

STEP 6:   Think About Your Daily Routine

If you are like me in the mornings, I’m all about getting out of the door quickly and looking my best.  The first thing I do after showering is to plug up my curling iron to let it heat up.  Then, I start applying my moisturizer, foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick/lip-gloss.  Your routine may be different.

But, if you think about your daily routine when getting ready you will be much more prepared at knowing how to organize your makeup bag.

STEP 7:   Sort By Type and Color

When I’m sorting, I like to sort by type and color.  For instance, I place all of my “skin care” products in one pouch or tray in mylipstick colors makeup bag.  This would include all moisturizers, foundations, powders, primers, and concealers.

Next, I may make a section all about lips.  To include lipsticks and lip glosses.

Finally, I think about dividing these up by colors.  I have lots and lots of different colors of lipstick, eyeshadow, and fingernail polish.  Since I have a very large case, I will sort these by placing all of the shades or red and pink in one section.  Then, I put all of the shades of brown in another section.   This really helps my eye recognize which area I need to look at when working with different skin tones.

STEP 8:   Store In Your Bag By Reverse Order

makeup womanOne of the best tips that I ever heard was when I was working in London on a tight schedule.  My friend Lindsey and I were sharing a hotel room and she noticed how stressed I was every morning trying to find each individual product.

That is when she told me that she organizes all of her products in reverse order.  For example, place your curling iron and hair dryer in the bottom of your bag.  Then, right above that, put in your moisturizer.  Next, is my foundation and powders.  Finally, continue organizing your case like this until the last item you will use is on the top.

When you are completely done getting yourself ready, you just place the last item in the top of the case and close up shop.  Now, you don’t have to keep all of your products out on the sink throughout your entire process.

STEP 9:   Make A Section For Emergencies

makeup colorI always, always, always, keep a little section at the top for emergencies!  If I need to put on more lipstick after lunch or touch up my foundation then I have it at an arm’s reach.  There aren’t many items in my emergency kit, just the essentials.

STEP 10: Put Everything Back In Its Place

Lastly, make sure to put everything back in its own designated spot.  Bad habits are hard to break, but once you become accustomed to putting everything back as soon as you are finished with it, you will have much less stress.

You will also save insane amounts of time getting out of the door in the mornings!

Do you have any of your own tips and tricks that would help to keep makeup organized?  If so, comment below and let me know.