10 best make-up bags

Store and transport your cosmetics in style – and mess-free – with a cleverly designed carrier

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The Independent Online

We’re of the opinion that carrying your beauty essentials should be done in style and with a little personality. For us beauty junkies, the idea of stuffing freshly cleaned brushes into a bag caked in cracked eyeshadow is a serious no-go, and luckily there’s plenty of choice out there. From artsy prints to understated chic, our pick of the best make-up bags on the market guarantees you’ll find the perfect cosmetic carryall for your needs.

1. Sewlomax Lipstick Canvas Pouch: £20, Selfridges

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One for anybody with a lipstick addiction, this practical canvas pouch is ideal for storing your beauty buys in one place. Designer Emma Lomax aims to create high-quality, handmade designs and this one fits the bill. We love the irregular yet intricate lipstick embroidery and the matching gold zip with love heart pull. It has a fuchsia-pink waterproof lining, wipe-clean exterior and is just the right size (H13 x W21cm) to store most size brushes as well as all your make-up essentials. This is ideal for those who like a little extra flair with their maquillage. 

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2. Lulu Guinness Lip Stripe Print Makeup Case: £45, Lulu Guinness

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Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Lulu Guinness. Known for her lip-emblazoned accessories, it seems fitting that she would create a make-up case and it comes as no surprise that it’s embossed with red and pink smackers. In this season’s new lip stripe print, the rectangular bag promises to add a touch of luxury to your beauty routine with bold colours and a spacious compartment that makes it practical as well as stylish. Fitted with a single black-lined compartment which promises to conceal any make-up mishaps and measuring up at H9 x 18cm, this option is ideal for everyday use and on-the-go touch ups.

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3. Georgia O’Keeffe Large Boho Makeup Bag: £35, Tate Shop 

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This is a great option for art and beauty fans alike. Inspired by artist Georgia O’Keeffe, an American modernist best known for her paintings of magnified flowers, animal skulls and New Mexico landscapes, this particular design recalls the artist's close links with the south western states of North America. The bag itself is hand-made from cowhide and we love the fact that this means each one is unique. With one central compartment, the inside is completely unlined so we’d suggest messy make-up fans approach with extra caution. It can also easily double up as a clutch bag and has a silver zip fastening and brown leather tassel chain to add detail. 

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4. Alphabet Bags Bag of Tricks Canvas Pouch: £20, Not On The High Street 

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Show your fun side with this simple, bold and cheerful design from Alphabet Bags; a brand launched by a husband and wife duo with a shared passion for typography. Emblazoned with “Bag of Tricks” in sparkly multi-coloured glitter, the screen-printed, thick canvas pouch is ideal for keeping all your handbag essentials organised. Stitched and printed in the UK, this option oozes quality from the thick canvas outer to the black cotton lining and heavy-duty gold zip. Super-versatile and measuring up at 20 x 28cm, we also think this would make a great travel bag for carrying those beach-day basics. 

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5. Thornback and Peel Mums & Roses Cosmetic Bag: £22, Thornback and Peel 

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Inspired by an eclectic mix of Victoriana and the natural world, Thornback and Peel’s designs are a celebration of British quirkiness. Best known for their covetable homeware accessories, the brand has expanded with a new toiletries collection and our favourite is this retro-looking floral design, screen-printed onto 100 per cent cotton drill with a waterproof, grey nylon lining and stylish gold hardware. At 24 x 17cm, it’s large enough to hold a wealth of cosmetics, including brushes, while also conveniently portable. 

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6. Topshop Simple Leather Make-up Bag: £16, Topshop

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If you’re more of a fan of simple styling, then this chic leather option from Topshop will tick all the boxes. An understated case, the black leather pouch looks compact but you’ll find it surprisingly roomy with enough space to house all your essentials. The simple leather exterior means it will never go out of style and is easily cleaned and is fastened with a silver-toned zip. This every day accessory will fit neatly in any of your handbags and at just £16, proves that you really needn’t splash the cash. 

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7. Orla Kiely Sunset Flora Cosmetics Bag: £20, John Lewis 

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The Irish designer is well-known for her retro prints and the launch of her new three-piece wash bag collection doesn’t disappoint. The bold design is a take on Orla’s original Sunset Flora print which was first introduced back in 2013 but this season a play on scale and colourful pops of acid yellow give it a modern update. At 13.5 x 20cm, this is a great sized pouch for holding all your beauty essentials including brushes, it is rather svelte though so not ideal for bulkier products. If you want the full set make sure to invest in the matching medium and large hanging wash bags. 

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8. Next Alphabet Makeup Bag: £8, Next  

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For a more personalised touch, opt for this Alphabet make-up bag which is available in every letter from A-Z, plus the “@” symbol, a heart and a hashtag. The sturdy cream canvas pouch with a black lining is just the right size for on-the-go glam and the gold glitter polka dots and matching gold zipper make for a fun addition to your handbag. This is a fab option for those looking for something that feels bespoke without a hefty price tag and we think it would make a great gift for any make-up enthusiast. 

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9. MAC Cosmetics Clearly MAC Trio: £30, Mac Cosmetics 

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Are you tired of rummaging through your make-up bag in search of your favourite lippy? Well Mac has got you covered with this set of three clear cosmetic cases. The small, medium and large nesting bags are made from clear, flexible plastic meaning you can see exactly what’s inside and are super-easy to wipe clean. We love the fact that the set includes a trio of assorted sizes so you can select the most appropriate depending on the occasion; At 8 x 17cm the small size fits perfectly in a clutch bag for on-the-tiles touch ups, but if you’re looking to carry brushes the large option will be your go-to. While this might not be the most visually appealing option, it’s certainly the most convenient and practical. 

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10. Anya Hindmarch Small Makeup Pouch: £150, Net-a-Porter

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If you’re looking for something a little more luxe then this portable option from Anya Hindmarch is a great choice. Inspired by the designer’s obsession with organisation this small make-up bag comes with two separate zip-fastened pouches so you can separate your beauty buys from your brushes; perfect for the neat freaks among us. Decorated with a patent leather trim, gold bow and embossed fabric lining this offering promises both convenience and indulgence in one handy carryall. 

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Verdict

With so many amazing make-up bags out there it’s tough to pick a frontrunner but for us Sewlomax’s embroidered lipstick pouch was a favourite. The design is unusual yet one real that promises to stand the test of time. We also love the fact that it’s hand-crafted and let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good lippy? Lulu Guinness comes a close quirky second while MAC Cosmetics useful clear pouches offer a convenient solution to sort make-up mayhem.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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