What’s In My Makeup Bag

What's In My Makeup Bag

There was a lot of interest in my Springtime Makeup Tutorial last week about the other products I use. Since that post was sponsored, I didn’t feel right linking to competitors’ brands, so I today I’m sharing the rest of the products in my makeup bag! (Or in my case, my makeup drawer. I have a bin I keep under my bathroom sink where I store all of my makeup. I really could use a better system.)

It used to be that I’d wear the same makeup every day, and I didn’t experiment much. I basically just had what I used on a regular basis, and that was it. Now that I’m putting myself out there so much on the blog (and because I’m not getting any younger, ahem…) I find myself trying new products more regularly, and I have a bigger selection of colors to use on a daily basis so I can change up my look occasionally.

I still tend to revert to using the same products almost every day, but I have a few different lipstick combinations and several different foundation options that I cycle through, depending on the look I’m going for and how made up I want to be. I’ve also recently begun using bronzer and highlighter to add dimension, and I really like the effect.

This isn’t everything I own, but it’s a big chunk of it. I’m going to list each item and explain a bit about why I like it and how I use it. Yes, I do pretty much every one of these steps every day, but that is because I like to be ready for a photo shoot at a moment’s notice. If you like a heavier makeup look, you may like this routine.

The tutorial I shared last week with the Burt’s Bees BB Cream is more like my typical daily makeup routine used to be when I didn’t necessarily need to be camera ready, but I wanted to look finished and pretty all day. Depending on your lifestyle and makeup preferences, you may choose one or the other or something in between.


Step One: Laying the Foundation

When I was younger, I could get away with a light dusting of face powder, but these days I like to use primer, foundation, concealer, setting spray, and I usually add a highlighter and bronzer. Phew!

Also of note: Some people like to do their eye shadow first so they can wipe off the fallout and then apply foundation. I do my face first and my eyes last and just use a cotton ball to wipe away any fallout. It’s up to you!

Foundation Primer: I am using a sample I got from Armani, but I need to buy a full sized one. I find my foundation goes on SO much better when I use a primer, and it lasts longer too. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer was a favorite of mine back in the day, and it still comes highly recommended, so I just ordered one. I apply with my fingertips.

Foundation: I’m currently using jane iredale PurePressed Base SPF 20, although I’m also a big fan of MAC Studio Sculpt for fuller coverage.

My Jane Iredale mineral foundation color is Warm Sienna for winter. I’m still using it, but adding bronzer for some extra color. I did recently purchase a darker base, but it’s actually too dark for right now. When I get a suntan, it should be perfect. I apply either with this brush or with a makeup sponge. Recently, I’m using the makeup sponge because I get more coverage that way. I don’t remember where I got mine (I just keep washing and re-using), but this one looks similar.

Hydration Spray: This is recommended to use with the Jane Iredale mineral foundation. It’s supposed to set the powder so it stays put. I like how it gives my skin a dewy finish, although it may be too much moisture in the summertime.

I usually wear MAC Studio Sculpt in the summer when I want full coverage, and for a casual day at the pool or hanging out at home, I use a BB Cream such as the Burt’s Bees. (I also used to like Supergoop CC Cream. I believe I wore light/medium.)

Concealer: My favorite at the moment is I.T. Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye. I believe mine is the neutral medium. I have dark circles and bags under my eyes, and they really show up in pictures, so this stuff is a life saver. It doesn’t crease like so many concealers do. You should watch the video on the Ulta site. This stuff is amazing. Warning: a little goes a LONG way.

I use a beauty blender to make sure it gets blended in completely, although I picked mine up at CVS. I’d love to try this one, though, to see if it’s truly better.

Highlighter: I just received this Rodial highlighter at the rewardStyle conference in Dallas, and I LOVE IT. I can’t believe I’ve never used a highlighter before. It really does illuminate the face and bring your attention up to the eyes. I apply it with the fan brush that came in this EcoTools set. I am sure you can find a highlighter that is less expensive. I probably wouldn’t buy this again at that price tag, but I will enjoy using it until it runs out!

Bronzer: I just started using this too. I got a sample of this MAC Bronzer in Laguna in a recent Nordstrom order, but I just ordered this one by Urban Decay. I ordered Sunkissed because I’m so fair. I apply it with the EcoTools Blending and Bronzing Brush.

Nars Blush

Blush: I LOVE Nars Orgasm. Hate the name, love the blush. It’s so pretty on. I’ve tried others, and I always go back to this. My blush brush is super old so I don’t have a link.

I have no idea if I apply these products in the proper order or not, lol.

Finishing Powder: I recently bought I.T Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores, and I LOVE IT. It totally makes your pores disappear. But it also lightens my face, so I feel like I have to go back over it with bronzer. Gah! Maybe I’m using them out of order, but they call it a finishing powder. It’s also supposed to have anti-aging benefits. All the I.T. products do, actually.

Okay! So once the foundation is set, it’s time to move on to the eyes. I do my lips last.


Eye Shadow: I once did an eye shadow tutorial, and it is embarrassingly poor quality, so I am going to refer you to Stephanie Lange’s YouTube Channel, if you want makeup tutorials. This chick is hilarious, and I could watch her videos all day long.

I love and adore the Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette. I just splurged on this recently, and now I want all the Naked Palettes. It has so much pigment, and it goes on so smoothly and rarely creases.

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette

I really should use an eye shadow primer, and in the summertime, I have to because I tend to get creases in my eyelids, but I haven’t been using it this winter very often. I have a Mary Kay one that works fine, but I would like to try a few others. I also heard a tip recently that using a little bit of finishing powder over top your eye shadow at the end will help prevent creasing. I’ve been trying that, and it does seem to help, but I won’t know for sure until the summer heat sets in.

Eye Liner: I prefer a gel to a pencil because it doesn’t smudge or get into my eyelid crease. I’ve been using the one by I.T. Cosmetics, but I ran out yesterday so I just ordered this one by Bobbi Brown to try. It is crucial that you get this eye liner right into your lash line. I always blend with this small smudge brush, and I usually add some dark eye shadow to the brush to help it blend in really well.

Eyebrow Pencil: I don’t have any that I truly love. I want to try this pomade because I feel like pencils sometimes actually pull out what few eyebrows I have left. Sometimes I use two different pencils to get a more natural look.

I used to love Your Brows But Better by I.T. Cosmetics, but it runs out so fast. Lately I’ve been using this one by Sumita Cosmetics. It was sent to me by the company to try out. I recently ordered this Brow Power by IT Cosmetics, and I hate it. It’s super sticky and doesn’t go on well at all. I also have an old traditional pencil by Sonia Kashuk that I actually like quite well. I usually use whatever I grab first, and if I’m being picky, I may combine two to get the right effect.

Mascara: I love and swear by Lancome mascara. I have worn it since high school, and over the years, I’ve tried many other brands, from drugstore favorites to high end Armani, and nothing is like Lancome. I currently use their Hypnose Drama Full Body Volume Mascara in Black. I buy them two at a time so I don’t run out. The key is to apply three coats, and let it dry in between each one. I will often go back and forth between applying mascara and eyebrow pencil, so I can allow each coat of mascara to dry in between.

Sometimes I use Benefit’s They’re Real Lengthening Mascara as my final coat — the 3rd or 4th, depending on how heavy my lashes look. It’s pretty good at separating, and it definitely gives them some extra length. The key here is patience. If you rush, your lashes will get all glompy.



Finally, lips! I used to wear the same lipstick every day, but I’ve been trying to get more adventurous over the past year or so. I always do a lip liner, lipstick, and a lipgloss. I KNOW. Crazytown. But I’m getting old, yo! I can use all the help I can get. My lips are pretty thin, so using all 3 products together really makes them fuller and helps balance out my features.

Lip Liner: The trick to long-wearing lip color is to fill in your lips with lip liner. I always line my lips first and then fill in. I have tried a few lip liners, and my current favorite brands are MAC and IT Cosmetics Your Lips But Better. I have a Bobbi Brown lip pencil that I don’t like nearly as much. Both the MAC and Bobbi Brown are traditional lip pencils, but the MAC pencil has a lot more pigment than the Bobbi Brown, and it goes on more smoothly.

Your Lips But Better

The one by IT Cosmetics is the kind that you twist up so you don’t need a pencil sharpener. It’s not just a lip liner. It’s also a stain, so it truly lasts. You can even wear it without lipstick on top if you want. Plus it’s a hydrating primer, so it doesn’t dry out your lips. It is really a 3-in-1 product, although I do usually add lipstick on top. I have it in the Buff Nude. Because it’s neutral, it doesn’t really affect the color of the lipstick you put on over top of it. I really love this product!

I have the MAC lip pencil in Spice. I like this for when I want a bit more color, but it’s still pretty natural, depending on what color I layer on top.

Lipstick: I have quite a few that I like. Where to begin . . . so for a nude lip, which I do most often, I love the MAC limited edition lip set I purchased during the last Anniversary Sale last fall. It came with lip liner, lipstick, and a lipgloss — which is what started me on using this combination daily. Of course, none are available anymore.

I recently bought the NARS Rosecliff that I like over the Spice lip liner for a bit more color. I also bought (at her recommendation) the Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Gloss in Undressed, but I find myself reverting to my MAC Lipglass in Viva Glam for more of a pinkish tone.

Nars Lipstick in Rosecliff

For more color in the pink hues, I like my Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Pink Mauve. I usually tone it down with the MAC Lipglass in Viva Glam.

And for a natural pink lipstick that goes on fairly sheer and moist, I like Armani’s Rouge Ecstasy in Daybreak. This is the only lip color I wear without a gloss on top. In fact, I’ve been keeping it in my purse lately because it’s a nice one to layer on when my makeup starts to wear off during the day. That said, it is pricey, and I probably wouldn’t buy it again. It was an impulse purchase — long story. When you can get MAC lip color for $17, there is no need to pay $34. In fact, that even puts the NARS Rosecliff ($28) in perspective. Yikes. I need to pay more attention to prices.

PHEW! I think that’s about it!


I’m no expert on makeup, but I’ve been watching more YouTube videos lately, trying to learn. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them in the comments.


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55 thoughts on “What’s In My Makeup Bag

  1. Jo-Lynne,

    That’s so funny that we like some of the same makeup; I love MAC foundation (I use the satin finish one, which is now discontinued, Studio Sculpt was too drying for me), and MAC powder blush and I also use the Laura Mercier concealer and the Sonia Kashuk eye lash curler. My go-to-mascara however is L’oreal Voluminous.

    1. I’ve tried the L’oreal Voluminous and it’s pretty good. But I always go back to my Lancome. 🙂 Interesting that you find that MAC foundation drying. I have SUCH dry skin, I don’t need anything drying!! I find that it goes on MUCH better over the Sonia Kashuk primer.

  2. I’m curious about your Laura Mercier concealer. I LOVE her tinted moisturizer and currently use Mally’s concealer. I’d like to switch-I have to order Mally’s and I’d like to just run to Macy’s or Sephora when I’m out. Just hoping Laura’s concealer is as great as her moisturizer.
    I have 3 young kids and a crazy job-I need all the concealing I can get! ;0)

  3. I’m loving the understated elegance of your makeup collection! Jealous. I’m still working out of a makeup tower. I’ll need to check out this bag at Target. Thinking it would be good for spring and summer travel with my twins so I can bring enough to make me happy but not a separate suitcase or anything. 🙂 Thanks for showing it “in action” – I like that the organization is there but not with too many itty-bitty compartments.

  4. Thanks for this blog post Jo-Lynne. I have been looking for a new foundation and concealer to try. My skin is dry also and finding a good coverage foundation that doesn’t dry out my skin further is a challenge. I also know that I can count on the products you use to be all that you say they are. The bag is cute too!

  5. I had to come back and read about your mascara. I’m having a heck of a time finding one I really, really like. Also? I bought one a Sonia Kashuk bag to take to Blissdom that will hold everything.

      1. I leave tomorrow and I haven’t even packed it yet. But I THINK I’m going to love it. 🙂 Plus with three other roommates it will help me stay organized better in the room than my usual Ziploc travel method. That was my main goal.

  6. Jo-Lynne, how are you liking the Rodan and Fields skin care? I’ve been using it for a year now and I love it!

  7. Thanks for the good read! This might be a question for another post – but just wondering – with all of the layers (primer, etc.) – what do you put underneath in regards to serums, moisturizer, facial sunscreen, etc.?

  8. Makeup is such a fun and relatively inexpensive way to make us happy, don’t you think?!!
    But it really is amazing how it makes such a difference. My husband always says I don’t need it (he’s such a liar), but I feel more put together and stylish with it on!
    One of the things I’ve learned over the years is how everyone is so different—-environment, complexion, etc!!
    Although I can’t believe you don’t use eye shadow primer all the time—I started using it early in my career because really that’s all patients could see —my eyes (since my lower face was covered with a mask) and I feel like my eye shadow creases after just 10 minutes without it (talk about addiction, huh?)
    It’s nice to hear what other people use to get ideas for future—I like going to the makeup counter, but I tend to feel pushed into purchases.
    Have you tried Choix also? (
    Thanks for the insight—I can’t wait to try some of these products! jodie

  9. This was super helpful! I’m going to go back and read it with a fine tooth comb when I get a chance. I’ve been waiting for my blush to run out so I can try NARS O*****. (I hate that name too! LOL.) It has quite the cult following. I see it recommended everywhere in beauty magazines–not that I read those too often, but when I do….I totally get you on the being photo ready at a moments notice! I realized how washed out I look in photos without color and definition. You look like a natural beauty in your photos….I had no idea all that was going on. 😉 Great job!!

    Have you noticed that the dewy look hides fine lines better than matte? That is my most recent discovery. This morning I tried my dewey sunblock on one side and the CC cream from ItCosemetics on the other-which I had bought because it was advertised to NOT settle into fine lines and had thousands of high reviews. Must have been by 20 year olds!! I definitely noticed the dewey side looked much better!! So I dabbed some dewey where my fine lines were on the other side. LOL!

  10. Consider purchasing a “real” beauty blender–it truly is better than the knock-offs. I used several different cheaper ones for years before impulse splurging on the real thing. Was so surprised that it could possibly be better (it is a just silly sponge, right?!) but it is wonderful! Just my two cents! 🙂

        1. Cool! Best of Beauty by Allure 2015–Need to get one of those!! Thanks. Sorry, I’m so clueless about makeup!!

  11. JoLynne, I’ve never commented before but since you mention you haven’t found an eye brow pencil that you love yet I wanted to share this info with you. I’ve struggled with this as well and just found this one which works great to fill in but looks very natural, not like a lot of pencils. You can use more for a more dramatic defined look or lightly for a more natural look. I have about the same color hair as you and I use Chocolate b/c I like the tone better than the dark brown. Anastasia has several pencil’s but this is the one with the triangular tip. I also sometimes use a brow gel over it to set it. I like this one better than anything I have found in my years of searching. Would love to know what you think. Blessings, Karen 🙂

  12. I’m a big fan of It Cosmetics. I love their CC cream, and bye bye pores pressed powder. I just recently purchased a large It palette from QVC that has a bronzer, blush, and highlighter. It also came with one of their fabulous brushes. I do however, use a Mac concealer, and sometimes Mac’s studio fix foundation. I also use Urban Decay eyeshadow.
    No matter what makeup we all use, the key to a flawless look is making sure we prep our skin first with a good moisturizer and primer. “Blending” is key, too. Good brushes are a must!!

  13. Since you’re seeking a great brow product, I’ll suggest Glossier’s Boy Brow. It really does it all! It’s got a little color, it holds everything in place, and it thickens and fills in the gaps. I really love it. So much so that I have a backup which is something I *never* do with makeup because I enjoy trying new things. Also, I find that brow powders work quite well and are easier to use than pencils. My favorite at the moment is the one from Tarte.

    I have tried so so many concealers. The creasing under my eyes is the bane of my makeup life. I have fallen in love with the Stretch Concealer, also from Glossier. It does still settle a bit into fine lines (I haven’t found one that doesn’t, including the IT Cosmetics and Laura Mercier ones you mentioned). But it has such a wonderful skin-like finish that covers yet doesn’t look like makeup. I really love it.

    My favorite bronzers are the illuminating versions from Bobbi Brown. They look like odd colors when compared to other bronzers but I swear they just transform your face and make it bronzy and glowy.

  14. What brand is the sunkissed bronzer? I was about to purchase the Nars Laguna one and was curious. I’ve always used Nars Deep Throat blush but recently tried Orgasm. I love how it wakes up my fair skin. Thanks!

  15. I always love reading what makeup other women are using (although if you saw my makeup drawer, you’d say I need an intervention!!) I have very skimpy brows and have tried a lot of brands. I am currently LOVING one from Maybelline (link below). It has a gel-type pencil in one end and powder in the other. I draw in with the pencil, then fill w/ powder and then soften with a spoolie brush. It works great! Loved your post!

  16. The Nars Pro Prime eyeshadow base will literally change your life. One swipe on each eyelid and my shadow stays on ALL DAY. It’s clear too so it doesn’t add any unwanted color to your lids. It is by far the best one I have tried!

  17. Thanks for the great info! I know you specified this is more for full-coverage and so you’re photo-ready, but — ust wondering – -how long does this take every day?

    1. It takes 10-15 minutes. It’s not terrible. My hair takes 10 at the most b/c it’s so thin, so all together, 30 min to get ready. If I do lighter makeup, it still takes 10 minutes, so an extra 5 isn’t a big deal. 🙂 And I don’t think it’s a TON of makeup for everyday, but it may be more than many are used to wearing — especially those who stay at home.

      1. Wow – i wish I could look as put together as you do in 20 – 30 minutes. My hair is thin too, but that makes it take all the longer to get it the way I like it. I agree, it’s not a TON of makeup (sorry if I made it sound that way 🙂 ), just maybe more than what some people are used to (like me, since I work from home, and it’s all that I can do to drag myself out of bed in the morning — LOL).

  18. Right now, my makeup bag is completely empty. I have no idea how long the stuff was in there, so I decided I better pitch it all and start all over. Thanks for a peek in your bag, as it is helping me to decide what I need to fill my bag back up. True confession: I hate wearing makeup. I know, the horror!

  19. Hi, Jo-Lynne!
    I noticed you mentioned that you were looking for an eyelid primer. I have tried a TON… and so many of them have disappointed me. My favorite one by far is the one by Bare Escentuals. I just get the original shade because I have dark eyelids and want to lighten them up a bit before applying shadow, but they also have pearlized ones and other shades. Hope this helps! 🙂

  20. What a fun post. I love makeup, and I, too, have been looking for that perfect eyebrow pencil. My brows are blonde, so I can only speak for the dark blonde shade, but I really am liking Maybelline’s Define-a-brow. It’s 6.99 and has a tiny point and a comb on one end. I sometimes follow this up with some clear mascara/brow gel that I buy from Essence for like $3.00. Not that I’m opposed to more expensive products, but why go there if you don’t have to. Anyway, this might be a good thing for you to try. 🙂

  21. I just started using Mac’s eyelid primer and it works FANTASTIC!! My daughter is getting married in about 3 weeks and so the women doing our makeup that day did a test run on me and that’s what she uses. My eye makeup stayed PUT all day and looked great!! I bought it and now I use it – it goes on smooth and takes a very small amount on the lids to be effective! LOVE IT!!

  22. I noticed on SnapChat the other day you were going to try out the bronzer – just wondered how you liked it…?

    1. I like it a lot! It goes on easily. It isn’t very dark, so I’m wondering if I should have gotten the darker shade after all. This shade might be better for wintertime when you just want a bit of a glow.

      1. Good to know. I was thinking about giving it a try at some point, maybe I will try the darker one if I do. Thanks for the info!

  23. Had a great time reading your post about makeup. My favorite product I have recently tried is the Mally brow cream.
    It comes with a two ended angle brush. the little pot contains two shades so you can blend for the right shade.. Stays on really well also. Thanks for all you do.

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