Keep It Simple…My List of Necessities for the Minimalist Makeup Bag.
A few years back in my senior year of college I began suffering with terrible, chronic headaches. Two or three times a week I would have headaches that would start off feeling like a pain in the back of my neck and shoulders and then quickly escalate to a headache so intense that I had would struggle just to get myself home, take a few Advil and lay in my dark room and fall asleep. It would literally ruin my entire day. Sometimes it was so bad I would even get dizzy and vomit…I know, not glamorous.
Sleep was literally the only thing that helped (although Advil helped take the edge off a bit) and after a few weeks of it happening I finally just sucked it up and went to the doctor.
When I got there he asked me what was going on in my life, and I told him about my senior year of college, how I was in the process of creating my final thesis project which would determine my graduation, that I was working full time and that I was also frequently flying back and forth between NYC and Dallas because my boyfriend had recently been sent there for work.
He immediately noted two things. The first one was that I was seriously stressed out, which I guess I knew but I was in denial about it.
The second one was that my purse was huge and heavy. Basically he said that I was carrying the tension caused by my stress in my neck, and compounding the problem by carrying a huge bag on my shoulder all the time
He took my bag and put it on the scale and it weighed in at a whopping 8lbs. He was pretty sure at that point that this was all that was wrong with me, but he ran a few tests just to be sure, and he sent me on my way with the advice that I need to keep Advil or Aspirin with me at all times and take it as soon as I feel that pain in my shoulders.
He also advised that I seriously rethink how much crap was in my bag. Mostly it was my huge ass makeup bag because I was so paranoid about messing it up during my busy days at work and school.
Nowadays I am so accustomed to being more minimal about it, I cringe when I see women carrying ALL of their makeup with them. I’m just like girl, you do NOT need to lug all of that around, trust me!
I mean honestly, how often do you reapply mascara, foundation, eyebrow pencil, setting spray etc. etc.? Probably not often.
So here is my little list what I think are the minimalist makeup-bag necessities.
These first four items are the basic things that I think you should keep in your makeup bag all the time. Just basic necessities that you will almost certainly get use out of on a regular basis…
1. A hair tie. This one is pretty self explanatory, you never know when you will want to tie your hair back, it weighs practically nothing, and it takes up very little space. I like to carry around the Scünci Evolution Silicone hair ties because they do a good job of holding up my very heavy hair.
2. A nail file/emery board. I like to keep a small, disposable one of these in my makeup bag all the time because if I snag a nail on something, filing it stops it from breaking further, and keeps me from being tempted to bite off a ragged end of my nail. Again, this is small, light and compact so no biggie to carry it around.
3. Lip balm. If there’s one thing in your makeup bag you will reach for often it’s this. My all time favorite is the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter stick. I try to never leave home without it.
4. A sheer pink or nude lip gloss. It’s good to always have one of these around because you can just slap it on and make yourself feel a little more presentable, or you can put it on when you’re out somewhere and are sick of reapplying lipstick. Personally I prefer something on the neutral side, but with a hint of color, like NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss in Tea Rose.
#5 – #8
The remaining four items are only necessary for certain circumstances. It really depends mostly on your personal skin type, and also on what particular makeup look you’ve got goin’ on. I recommend switching these items in and out of your bag depending on your individual needs on any given day instead of leaving them in there just in case.
It’s a slippery slope, and if you start leaving unnecessary things in there next things in there next thing you know you’ll have a santa sack of makeup again.
#5. Your lipstick. Even the longest wearing lipsticks probably need a touchup every now and again. Just throw whichever one you are wearing in the bag and take out whatever the last one you threw in there was.
#6. Concealer. I don’t carry this with me unless I have a giant zit to keep in check. If you have oily skin however, you may need to touch up your under-eye concealer during the day. Again, only bring it if you will actually end up fixing it before you get home.
#7. Pressed powder. This only really applies to two circumstances, you have oily skin (or even just an oily T zone) or its hot as holy hell outside. I like to carry a powder foundation like MUFE Duo Mat because then I can use it to mattify, as well as conceal anything that went wonky under my eyes or on a blemish. I don’t recommend multiple touchups with a powder foundation though, because it will look really cakey. If you think you will need it more than once choose a translucent blot powder.
#8. Eyeliner. I throw an eyeliner in my bag if I wear it on my waterline or on my lower lash line. If the lower lash line is completely clean I don’t even bother because liner on the top lash line doesn’t seem to migrate as much. The only other time I might throw an eyeliner in is if I am not wearing ANY and I think I may want to make my look a little more dramatic, ya know like a day to night thing.
A few side notes:
A. If you feel like you need a mirror, try to pick an item that will provide one while serving another purpose like a powder or concealer in a compact, so you don’t have to add an item into the mix. I just use the front facing camera on my phone, since I’m obviously carrying that anyway.
B. Everyone’s different and I may have missed something that is an absolute necessity for you, but just remember think about whether you will actually use it throughout the day and then make your decision.
Learning to take only what I need in my bag has literally taken a weight off my shoulders. It has also given me a clearer picture of what type of makeup works for me and I think it has even made me more efficient at packing for trips.
Overall I think it was a good lesson. I don’t know if it will cure other people’s headaches or teach them how to be a lighter packer but if nothing else it’s just easier not to lug around so much stuff.
Hope that helps and let me know if you have any related tips!