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6 Key Features of the Best Travel Makeup Bags

Searching for your next perfect travel makeup bag? The best ones have key features that protect items, boost organization, and optimize space. We asked ultra-fashionable Instagram influencers for their top tips on choosing a travel makeup bag. Here are their tips, plus more ideas for the key features to look for in a travel makeup bag.

Separate Pockets for Better Organization


Keep makeup organized with the use of separate compartments, advises travel writer Christine Tran (@tourdelust on Instagram), who recently joined SmarterTravel sister site Jetsetter on a trip to Costa Rica. She keeps her luggage in check with packing cubes, and her makeup tidy with the use of a Hudson+Bleecker cosmetic travel bag, chosen because the company makes “stylish, high-quality products that allow me to keep my makeup organized.”



The best travel makeup bag is the one that best suits you. After all, everyone’s beauty regimen is unique. Travel blogger Emilia Taneva (@bubbly.moments on Instagram) recommends this customizable makeup bag, which she hails for its practicality.

This cosmetic travel bag is extremely versatile. The accompanying strap can be worn in various ways: slung over the shoulder, crossbody, or as a backpack. Solidifying its place as one of the best out there is its customizable interior compartments. The travel makeup bag’s 10 dividers help keep contents from shifting, making sure your cosmetics are intact when you get to your destination.


Peak Design

Like a lot of budget-conscious travelers out there, I avoid checking in a bag whenever possible, so an overstuffed carry-on is commonplace. I’ve been burned by this practice, however, and I’d be crushed if my cult-fave lash curler met its demise because I overpacked my suitcase.

Makeup train cases are nearly crushproof, and they’re adorable, but they’re wildly impractical if your goal is to travel light. But there’s another way to add protection, and that’s with extensive padding.

Peak Design makes a cool toiletry bag, but it’s the company’s Tech Pouch that I’ve repurposed to be my all-time favorite makeup bag organizer. Its accordion-style opening is vast, and the bag is equipped with tons of straps and pockets that keep contents in sight. The plush padding makes it nearly crushproof, and at 10 ounces, does so without adding too much weight. And its exterior nylon shell is waterproof.



Many skincare routines include cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and sunscreen steps. And that’s before a drop of foundation even touches skin. Since a lot more can go into a makeup bag organizer than just makeup, it’s important to have space for your entire skincare routine. With its removable storage cubes and straps, Sephora’s well-reviewed Pack-It-All Organizer provides ample space for cosmetics, toiletries, and tools.


Ulta Beauty

You’ll have plenty of space to play at your vanity with the help of a travel hanging valet makeup organizer bag like this one from Tartan + Twine.

The envelope-style makeup bag folds flat, conserves countertop space with the use of the built-in hook, and, when hung open, displays all content through its see-through pockets.

Compartments for Tools, Too


Consider the tools you use for your makeup application. Do you use sponges, wands, or brushes?  The ideal is a makeup bag that perfectly stores your tools and travels well, too.

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Senior Editor Patricia Magaña writes about travel. Follow her @PatiTravels.

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