15 Basic Makeup Essentials That Belong in Every Makeup Bag

Stock your makeup kit with these must-have items.

Whether you stick to a natural makeup look every day or want to go glam for an event, stash these essentials in your makeup bag for easy getting-ready and no-fuss touch-ups. From brushes to blush and everything in between, consider these beauty tools and products the ultimate, everyday makeup checklist.

Lipstick is one makeup essential for a makeup bag or makeup kit
  • Concealer

    Concealer is one of those basic makeup essentials to keep on you at all times (just in case). Choose a creamy formula that can hide under-eye circles and uninvited blemishes.

  • Foundation

    Foundation is, well, the foundation of any makeup routine—basic or elaborate—but you don't need to slather it all over your face. Just apply in places where you see uneven skin tone or discoloration. If you don't need as much coverage as a liquid foundation provides or prefer something a little lighter, consider a tinted moisturizer instead.

  • Blush

    When it comes to choosing a go-to blush, look for a warm tone that adds a splash of color to the apples of your cheeks (and a little life to your whole complexion).

  • Translucent Setting Powder

    A quick, light dusting of translucent powder at the end sets makeup and controls shine. You'll particularly love having a shine-busting setting powder on hand if you tend to have an oily T-zone or tend to sweat easily. It's also a godsend when covering up blemishes or discoloration you'd rather not share with the world: Apply foundation to the problem spot, set with powder, apply a dab of concealer, then set with powder again.

  • Mascara

    There's no better way to wake up and define those eyes than by enhancing your lashes—and a good mascara is all you need. Stick with basic black mascara (or dark brown if you have light hair and lashes). It's up to you whether or not you use waterproof mascara. Just make sure you protect those lashes by removing mascara with care.

  • Neutral Eye Shadow

    A neutral beige or taupe eye shadow is an instant brightener when swiped across the upper lid.

  • Defining Eye Shadow

    For a slightly more defined shadow, choose a medium neutral shade like warm brown or charcoal gray. Brush the shadow in the crease of the eye, just under the brow bone, to add depth.

  • Eye Liner

    You can use your darker shade of eye shadow as a liner along the lashes—or use a dark brown or black pencil to create a thin line that defines and enhances your eyes.

  • Lipstick

    How about some color? Lipstick (or tint, gloss, or stain if you want a less saturated look) is the perfect antidote to the midweek blahs. You'll be stunned by what a swipe of color can do for your lips, face, and mood. Not feeling bold and bright at the moment? Opt for a natural pink or nude lipstick instead.

  • Fluffy Powder Brush

    Keep one big, rounded makeup brush to dust on your setting powder once you've finished your makeup.

  • Blush Brush

    This brush is a bit smaller than your big powder brush and is the right size for dabbing the cheeks with color and blending along the cheekbones.

  • Eye Shadow Brush

    A basic beginner's makeup kit should include an all-over eye shadow brush that gets your entire lid covered in one swipe.

  • Crease Brush

    This smaller, rounded eye shadow brush will get into the crease when you add a darker shade for definition.

  • Eye Liner Brush

    A small, flat, angled brush can be used to line the eyes or add a bit of brow powder to lackluster eyebrows.

  • Tweezers

    Keep a pair of tweezers in your makeup bag to clean up any stray hairs around your brows that show up in between brow appointments.

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