The best makeup bags really can elevate your entire vacation experience. Yes, traveling is arguably one of the most exciting and enriching things in life—but ask pretty much anyone, and they’ll agree that packing is the exact opposite.
No matter whether you pack light or heavy, plan in advance or wing it at the last minute, there are about a million other more enjoyable things to spend your time on. At least with clothing you can just toss things in a suitcase, but with beauty products there’s so much more to think about: TSA limitations, changing climates, skin care needs for in-flight and when you’re on the ground. But there is one thing that can make it all easier: a great makeup bag. The perfect one should check all the boxes: big enough to easily fit all your essentials yet small enough to stash in your luggage; durable; and cute. It sounds like a lot, but trust us, they are out there.
Just ask the 16 women below—from a celebrity esthetician to a reality TV star—each of whom has racked up hundreds of thousands frequent flier miles. Read on for the best makeup bags of all time, according to them, and get ready to kiss your plastic bags goodbye.
Maya Allen’s pick: Dagne Dover Small Hunter Water-Resistant Toiletry Bag
A self-described “notorious overpacker,” beauty editor Maya Allen need a cosmetics bag that will fit all her favorite products. “On average, my suitcase is carrying three different cosmetics bags for my hair, makeup, and skin-care must-haves,” she says. “I’ve always loved Dagne Dover toiletry bags because they’re water-resistant, which is foolproof for any product spill, and the material is super stretchy so I can fit a lot into one of them.”
Huda Kattan’s pick: Anya Hindmarch In-Flight Case
Huda Beauty founder Huda Kattan is no stranger to the inside of an airplane—she travels about two times a month between work and family trips. Kattan prefers clear pouches such as the Huda Beauty makeup bags and PVC cases, since they’re simple and reliable, and she always carries the Anya Hindmarch In-Flight case with her on the plane for her travel essentials. “It’s transparent, so it’s easy to clean when you’re traveling with so many different formulas and serums,” says Kattan. “You never know what can happen in transit, so it’s best if everything is easy to find and easy to clean.”
Kristina Rodulfo’s pick: Kusshi Vacationer Makeup Bag
Beauty content creator Kristina Rodulfo is currently on a two-month trip through Europe. For her on-the-go lifestyle, she loves Kusshi’s Vacationer Makeup Bag. “I brought three of these bags on my trip—they’re my favorite beauty bags, by far,” she says. “They come in a range of sizes, but my favorite is the biggest one, which can fit full-size products like shampoo, hairspray or dry shampoo bottles, body lotions, you name it. What I love most is how many products it fits. There are tons of pockets, zips, and even attachments to stash and organize the pouches too. It opens up wide so you don’t have to dig, has a flat bottom, and is machine-washable!”
Mary Cecchini’s pick: Eagle Creek Pack-It Quick Trip Kit
As the owner of Living Big Travel, a boutique women’s travel company, Mary Cecchini is on the road 20 weeks a year, for up to 14 days at a time. Because she travels so much for research, she has packing her makeup down to a science. Cecchini says it’s all about function when it comes to her bag, so she loves this no-frills option from Eagle Creek. “Since I’m generally getting ready on the run, and constantly packing and unpacking, I need something that won’t slow me down,” she says. “That means a makeup bag that is flexible—no rigid corners and sides; it needs to adapt to the space I have left in my bag. And I like a makeup bag that has just one large cavity so I don’t have to remember what I put in each tiny pocket. Who has time for that?!”
Shani Darden’s pick: Beis Cosmetic Case in Black
Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden loves the Cosmetic Case by Beis for both everyday and travel. “The zippered case opens all the way up, making it super easy to see exactly what you have,” she says. “It’s also big enough to store makeup and skin care, which is really helpful when I’m heading to my studio or I have a shoot.”
Marianna Hewitt’s pick: Expert Travel Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag
Since she’s one of the minds behind a product called the Jet Lag Mask, it’s no surprise that influencer and Summer Fridays cofounder Marianna Hewitt spends about half the month on the go. Luckily she has packing her beauty essentials down to a science. “I have the best toiletries bag from Amazon,” she says. “It has so many compartments, and I always keep it packed, so when I am going on my frequent trips, it’s always ready to go and I never have to worry about forgetting something.”
Fanm Djanm’s pick: Buy Again Clear Makeup Bag
Paola Mathe photographer and founder of Fanm Djanm head wraps prefers a pared-back approach for her bimonthly work trips. “I just use clear pouches, and I make sure to bring my favorite foundation, concealer, powder and Fenty Match Stix Trio for versatility,” she says. “I also always have one nude and one red lipstick.”
Morgan Stewart’s pick: Louis Vuitton Cosmetic Pouch GM
As the host of E!’s Nightly Pop, Morgan Stewart opts for a makeup bag that is both chic and ergonomic. “I love this makeup bag so much that I actually have it in two sizes,” she says. “The reason it’s such a hit for me is because you can sneakily fit so much in it. It’s also timeless and incredibly durable and very easy to clean!”
Joanna Vargas’s pick: Cuyana Travel Case Set
As the esthetician behind the complexions of Naomi Watts, Eva Mendes, and Julianne Moore (just to name a few), Joanna Vargas travels from her home in NYC to L.A. once a month. As her skin-care line has expanded internationally, she travels around the world as well. She depends on her Cuyana travel pouches for all her beauty needs. She loves anything personalized, so the monogram is a plus: “It’s leather and very elegant looking, so it’s fun to see in the bathroom of my hotel.”
Kim Perell’s pick: Tumi Madina Cosmetics Bag
In addition to exploring more than 70 countries for fun, CEO, angel investor, and author Kim Perell spends about 80% of her time traveling for work. She’s a proud light packer, and relies on her Tumi Madina bag to keep all her makeup nice and organized.
Aishwarya S Iyer’s pick: Topfinder Zip Mesh Makeup Bag
Aishwarya S Iyer, cofounder of Brightland Olive Oil, is probably the only person who loves a 5 am flight, which she takes about once a month between Los Angeles and New York. Her favorite makeup bag is the pouches that come with every Kinfield order, but this one from Amazon checks all the same boxes: “It’s the perfect size, lightweight, and easy to toss in any suitcase.”
Ariana Yaptangco’s pick: The Convertible Travel Bag
Senior beauty editor Ariana Yaptangco travels every one to two months to learn about the latest and greatest beauty launches. To help her stay organized, she puts her essentials in the Convertible Travel Bag from IHKWIP. “I’m a very meticulous packer,” she says. “For a while I would stuff my makeup and toiletries in separate bags, but there are so many compartments in this spacious bag to help keep things separated and make my packing process easier. Bonus points for the clear lining and jewelry storage pockets on both sides.”
Fariha Roisin’s pick: Baggu Dopp Kit
Writer Fariha Roisin travels at least once a month, and while she was on her book tour for How to Cure a Ghost, she was gone for two and a half weeks at a time. To bring her makeup along, Roisin loves the Baggu cases for their delightful prints.
Christine Chiu’s pick: Louis Vuitton Vanity PM
Bling Empire star Christine Chiu’s pick is equal parts fabulous and convenient. “I call it a Caboodle, but make it fashion,” she says. “I take my Louis Vuitton Vanity PM with me literally everywhere because it’s chic as a stand-alone accessories piece but also packs well into larger totes and in luggage for travel. It may appear small but can surprisingly fit enough cosmetics for a pro makeup artist.”
Annie Ford Danielson’s pick: Isa & Belle Amazing Makeup Bag & Cosmetic Travel Organizer
“Once I had kids, I made it a rule that I’m never gone for more than five nights in a row, even if that means flying home for two days and back out—it’s important to me that I touch down,” says Annie Ford Danielson, Benefit Cosmetics chief beauty ambassador, who travels about every two weeks for work. Since she’s in and out so much, she keeps all her makeup packed in her Isa & Belle case, even when she’s at home. “I’m pretty high maintenance when it comes to my makeup, so I don’t bother unpacking and repacking it all the time,” she says. “It keeps my things super clean and organized.”
Allison McNamara’s pick: Clare V. Toiletry Case
“I usually travel at least once or twice a month,” says Allison McNamara, who’s on the road for her brand, Mara Beauty “For work I try to keep it as concise as possible so I’m not away from the office too long, but when we travel for pleasure, we aim for 7 to 10 days so we can really get into vacay mode.” For both work and play, she swears by this chic case from Clare V. and says, “It holds the perfect amount of makeup and fragrance for me.”
Originally published in Glamour.com