I Emptied My Makeup Bag for a Makeup Artist and This Is the Tough Love She Gave Me

Apparently it's time to downsize and detox.

(Image credit: Archive)

To be perfectly blunt, I am a beauty addict. But the evidence isn't so much on my face as it is inside the cumbersome makeup bag I lug around with me at all times.

I may be an editor, but I just can't help myself. I want all the pretty things at my fingertips: 7 lipstick tubes that span the light-to-dark spectrum; every kind of eyeliner, from gel pot to felt-tip pen; 4 different lip balms because flavors; and so on and so forth.

Every time the colossal hodgepodge of products spills out of my bag, the infinite possibilities set my heart aflutter. But I'm well aware I have a problem because 1) I always grab the same few products and 2) as a self-proclaimed nomad, I am annoyingly burdened by the extra weight and lose things constantly.

So when I learned that Book Your Look, a curated service for finding NYC hair and makeup artists, was expanding into education territory by offering makeup bag lessons, I decided it was time to face my hoarding head-on.

When I met with BYL founder Laramie Glen, I asked her to give it to me straight. Within seconds of opening my medium-sized makeup pouch, she deemed it "a Mary Poppins bag" because it contained everything but a vanity table. As she went through my stash, product-by-product (which, yes, feels a little bit like getting naked in front of someone whose job is to critique naked bodies) I was able to find solace in the fact that the habits I was most guilty of are problems that many women have.

At the end of our session, Glen laid out everything I should actually be keeping in my bag, and broke down the rules that I, along with every woman who wants to streamline her routine, MUST follow to downsize and detox.


(Image credit: Archive)

1. Lighten your load. "You don't need an extra compact mirror if your blush or palette has a mirror in it. Let your products do double duty."

2. Carry brushes. "You absolutely need brushes. It's super unsanitary to use your fingers to apply makeup to your face. Mini-brushes don't take up space and can save you from a bacteria-induced breakout or two."

3. Keep supplies simple. "Always have with you: a mascara wand, tweezers, hand cream, and a couple q-tips."

4. Toss the lipsticks. "You don't need to lug 4 or 5 lipsticks with you. Just bring 1 tinted lip balm, 1 lipstick in a go-to color, and if you want to have have additional colors, bring a few lip pencils or crayons."

5. Give your skin a break. "Toss the primer, foundation, concealer, and the powder in favor of one product: a concealer pen. Use the primer in the AM to keep your makeup lasting and stick to touch-ups once you're already out."

6. Make sure nothing is expired. "Smell it–seriously! If powder looks discolored, cream has bubbles, or mascara smells straight up musky–throw it straight into the garbage."

7. Use bags within your bag. "For easy organization, get small, zippered bags. Keep supplies, lip products, eye products, and so on in different bags."

8. Look to the 3-in-1s. "Instead of having 3 separate products, find a palette with colors that are right for you. You can't go wrong with a palette that includes a blush, a contour, and a highlighter."

For those who want to toss and start fresh, Glen also spilled on the only 5 products you really need in your bag.

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(Image credit: Archive)

1. The Mini Brush Set: Bobbi Brown Mini Brush Set, $75; barneys.com.

2. The Concealer Pen: Charlotte Tilbury 2 Fair Conceal & Treat Stick, $35; charlottetilbury.com.

3. The Eyeshadow Stick: Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyeliner, $19; macys.com.

4. The Lip Crayon: Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon, $24; jcrew.com.

5. The 3-in-1 Palette: iT Cosmetics CC Radiance Palette, $38; itcosmetics.com.

You should also check out:

6 Beauty Products That Should Live at Your Desk

Why "Apothecary Beauty" Is the Next Big Thing

I Stole This Concealer Secret from a Makeup Artist and I'm Never Going Back

Wearing These Customized-for-Your-Eye-Color Lipsticks Will Make You Look 10 Times Chicer

Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.