Cosmetics Bags: New and Improved

A proper cosmetics bag is one of those things that you never think much about until you need it – like Band-Aids, or a nail file. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend trip to Baltimore, a month-long journey through South America, or just need to keep a few of the basics in your desk drawer at the office, a cosmetics bag is essential to keeping your beauty products organized, clean, and in one piece. We all know an old Ziplock bag just doesn’t cut it anymore – especially if you’re toting around your $24 Chanel lipstick and $110 Crème de la Mer.

To find a cosmetics case that is right for you consider your needs. If your travel consists of visiting the family for a few days during the holidays, there is no need to invest in a stainless steel train case. There is also no need to cart along 47 beauty products, so par it down to your daily essentials – a half-dozen items should fit nicely into a small-to-medium bag. For the frequent flyers out there, not only do you need ample room to bring along more than just the bare essentials, you also need something durable to endure constant packing and shifting of travel. Long trips, particularly those that require repeated suitcase re-packing, like a tour through Europe, require a case that can stand up to incessant travel; no cheap zippers or flimsy fabric allowed!

Tarte recently released a trio of cosmetics bags so lovely that it seems a sin to relegate them to your carry-on luggage. The Make-up Brush Rollbag, created to store and protect your makeup brushes, is made of super soft suede. The bag, which has ample space for all your brushes as well as a few makeup essentials, is available in a rich plum color. Looking for something to appease your inner girly-girl? The ruffled Go Dutch Clutch ($22) is available in a Plum, Lilac or Pink Leatherette, and each has a coordinating rhinestone brooch and matching wrist strap. It’s a perfect size for a compact, lipstick, and wallet for a night on the town and could certainly fit enough makeup for a weekend away if used strictly as a cosmetics case. If you opt for the clutch in pink, a portion of the proceeds goes to breast cancer research via the Young Survival Coalition – you’ll have a super-cute cosmetics bag and will have donated money to a worthy cause. What’s better than that? You can purchase Tarte products, or find a local retailer, at

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Benefit has cosmetics bags just as charming and retro as its makeup. Each soft clutch bag tells a story of a fictional bad girl and is available in a variety of sizes: “A Misfit Like Me” ($24) is a long, narrow bag, great for transporting liners and brushes; “Go Ahead, Girls” is a small trapezoid-shaped bag, large enough to accommodate some basic items for storing at your office; “Girl’s Good Name” ($26) is a larger version of the same shape, and would accommodate a wider array of makeup, making it great for longer trips; and “Fickle One” ($28) is a large oval case (with a handle!) made to hold a bevy of products – big enough to keep all your makeup products as well as some eye creams and moisturizers! You can buy Benefit products online at, as well as many department stores – check website for exact locations.

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Cris Notti has created an entire line of colorful bags and cases, sized from a tiny brush roll to large tote bags. The Roll-Out Cosmetics Case ($75) in a Pucci-like silk print seems durable and very compact, considering how much you can fit into it, and it rolls out to present you with four individual pockets – this would be an ideal candidate for longer trips where you’d need to pack a variety of makeup and skincare items. The Toiletry Case ($68) is exceptionally large on the inside, with an inner pocket. None of the prints are subtle, so if you bemoan the lack of color and flair in your usual cosmetics bags, this line is for you! All the cases are deceptive in how much they can hold – you can pack makeup for a good long while, even in one of the smaller bags. I particularly liked the many faux-snakeskin bags, available in a variety of colors and sizes. Visit to purchase bags.

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Lulu Guiness presents a line of perky, cartoony bags for all of your cosmetic needs – everything from totes to mirrored vanities to small bags. The Cylinder ($40) is, well, a cylinder shape made of laminated canvas, and great for toting around liners and brushes and lip glosses. The satiny Zip Top ($85) is ideal for your office drawer, and is large enough to hold all of the basics. The Oval Vanity is quite large and would be more than sufficient for a very long trip – the fabric is nylon, so you can even squish that one last little but-I-gotta-have-it item in there. Lulu Guinness has a ton of different styles and fabrics, so be sure to visit them online at [url=][/url], or look up a local retail outlet.

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I adore Japonesque, with its sleek, minimalist lines and massive catalog of products. For the hyper-organized fashionista, the train cases are nothing short of heaven-sent: heavy-duty and stacked with tiers of drawers and compartments (prices range from $52-370). Even the wee Lip Bag ($9) is a testament to Japonesque’s dedication to function and fashion – the tiny Lip Bag has two separate compartments and a wide mirror inside a shiny black outer shell. Japonesque is all about being durable, and would be highly recommended for a lengthy trip or even as a permanent home for your makeup. You can purchase Japonesque products online at, or at a variety of high-end department stores – check for a full list. Whether you’re already ridiculously organized like me, or you need to be, you’ll find something at Japonesque to assist with instilling some order into your life.

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As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to upgrade your Ziplock baggies and cracked plastic 1970s-era cosmetics pouches. Come on, ladies! Make 2006 the year you finally get it all organized!

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