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10 best makeup bags to keep your beauty stash organised

Makeup collection taking over your dressing table or your bathroom shelf? Fed up with loose lippies and lidless eyeliners wreaking havoc inside your handbag? Looking for a present for a makeup junkie? Then read on for our pick of the best makeup bags to keep your beauty stash organised.

By Kelly Rose Bradford | Last updated Mar 4, 2022

Makeup bag with brushes

Makeup bags. They're one of those things most of us need but rarely have the perfect example of. They’re often either too big for our handbags or too small to accommodate all our bottles and brushes. And if they do fit the bill size-wise, they’re not robust enough for travel or too impractical to endure everyday spills and product stains.

That’s exactly why we've done the legwork to find the perfect cosmetic case for almost every occasion. If you’re still using that zipped pouch that came free with a magazine in 2010, it’s time for an upgrade...

Here are the best makeup bags to buy in 2022.

1. Best overall makeup bag: Narwey Waterproof Drawstring Organiser Bag

Narwey makeup bag

Price: £5.95 | Buy now from Amazon

This is a bargain buy for such a roomy bag and it has lots of excellent reviews for its huge size and practical design – you basically chuck everything in and pull it all together with a drawstring. It has a zipper pocket inside too for small or delicate items.

It’s wipeable and washable in the event of spills, and it’s strong too. Available in lots of fun prints and pretty florals, it's a practical bargain buy for everyday use.

Key specs

  • Material: Vinyl and polyester 
  • Size: Folded: 25 x 23cm; Unfolded: 50 x 50 x 17cm

2. Best budget makeup bag: Marks & Spencer Clear Alphabet Bag

Price: £5 | Buy now from Marks & Spencer

Good old M&S has come up trumps with these bargain initial makeup bags. They’re zip topped, wipe-cleanable and hold a fairly decent amount of stuff thanks to their rectangular shape.

Beautifully made, these bags come in three striking colours and and your chosen initial is sewn on the front. A stylish option at a very affordable price, they’d make a great personalised present filled with beauty bits.

Key specs

  • Material: 100% pvc (exclusive of trimmings)

3. Best makeup bag with compartments: Zoeva Makeup Tote

Zoeva makeup bag

Price: £42 | Buy now from Beauty Bay

“I have this Zoeva tote bag. I don't have a dressing table and previously had makeup stashed throughout the house.” - CateGory8

If you’re after a stylish but organised solution for your cosmetics, then this is the bag for you. With its myriad compartments and dedicated brush organiser, it's no surprise that this is a popular choice amongst makeup artists and beauty gurus.

Faux leather and easy to keep clean with a quick wipe, it will withstand constant use and travel. Some buyers say it’s smaller than they were expecting, but others extol the fact it can fit all their palettes and GHDs in alongside their makeup, while remaining easy to carry around or pack inside another bag.

Key specs

  • Material: Faux leather/synthetic 
  • Size: 34 x 23 x 13 cm

4. Best patterned makeup bag: Orla Keily Large Cosmetic Bag

Orla Keily makeup bag

Price: £21 | Buy now from Amazon

“I’m generally a bit lukewarm on Orla Keily, and this is on the spendy side, but her makeup bags are brilliant. Lots of compartments. Highly recommended.” - Zinnia

You'll either love or loathe this iconic Orla Kiely print, but there's no denying this mega cheerful makeup bag will brighten any dressing table or bathroom ledge. It's made from vegan-friendly fabrics, consisting of a cotton canvas outer and a practical polyester inner lining. Its size makes it perfect for taking on trips.

Key specs

  • Material: Vegan-friendly cotton canvas 
  • Size: ‎7 x 21 x 15cm

5. Best leather makeup bag: Smythson Panama Cosmetic Case

Smythson makeup bag

Price: £210 | Buy now from Smythson

“I love my Smythson one in their iconic blue leather. Plain, simple and classy. They do wash bags too.” - BubblesBuddy

This is an investment buy. If you’re looking for a makeup bag that's going to last for years, and make a statement on your dressing table or when pulled out of your handbag, then this is it. It’s dome-shaped so it’s perfect for bottles and brushes, and it’s made from grosgrain leather with an oil-resistant lining.

It’s a head-turner of a bag which would also make a lovely gift. Available in a gorgeous range of classic colours from navy through to delicate wisteria pink. Pricey but perfect!

Key specs

  • Material: Leather
  • Size: 18 x 10 x 7cm

6. Best canvas makeup bag: Amazon Pack of 18 Canvas Bags

Amazon makeup bags

Price: £13.99 | Buy now from Amazon

OK, so these are not the most eye-catching of bags on the market, and they’re not going to win any prizes for being pretty, but for the quantity and price you can't go wrong, especially if you do a lot of cosmetic rotation and need to put bits and bobs in different bags or places. We're thinking powder compact, lip balm and hand-cream in the glove compartment, makeup basics in the gym bag, a pared-down edit of your everyday items to stash in your desk drawer at work, that sort of scenario.

They'd be super useful for storing spare tights and pants in too, and they could also be personalised or jazzed up with fabric paint or embroidery if you're feeling crafty.

Key specs

  • Material: Canvas
  • Size: 21 x 12 cm

7. Best travel makeup bag: Flat Lay Company Fold Out Flat Cosmetics Bag

Flat Lay Company makeup bag

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

Flat lay style bags are popular with makeup junkies and they really come into their own for travel, when you want to spread out everything in front of you when getting ready, but still have it all stored neatly in one place.

This bag opens out completely flat with a lipped edge, which is great to stop errant mascaras and lip glosses rolling away under hotel beds or train seats. There are elastic holders to keep everything secure, as well as a zipped compartment for smaller bits like hair grips or contact lenses. You can fasten it together either by the drawstring cords so it's a softer, more mouldable shape to stuff in your suitcase or by using the Velcro strip, to give it a structured shape in your handbag or on your dressing table.

It comes in a variety of colours and prints, and it’s machine washable at 30 degrees (but not waterproof).

Key specs 

  • Material: Synthetic 
  • Size: 52 x 18 x 16cm

8. Best clear makeup bag: Funnasting 3-in-1 Clear Waterproof Bags

Clear makeup bags

Price: £10 | Buy now from Amazon

Clear makeup bags are a godsend when you are getting ready in a hurry, or touching up your makeup on the go, and this pack consists of three differently sized bags - perfect for holidays, the gym, or just slinging into your tote when out for the day. Great for when you’ve got the kids in tow too (for wipes and sun cream and the like).

Made from hard-wearing PVC with with a zipper top (and handles on the biggest bag), they are also waterproof so the set is handy for swimming or camping.

Key specs

  • Material: PVC with nylon trims 
  • Size: Small 18 cm x 4 cm x 14 cm; medium: 24 cm x 5 cm x 20 cm; large: 30 cm x 10 cm x 22 cm

9. Best designer makeup bag: Anya Hindmarch Make-Up Pouch with Personalisation

Anya Hindmarch makeup bag

Price: £225 | Buy now from Anya Hindmarch

Yes, it's very expensive, but this recycled nylon makeup bag from Anya Hindmarch is consistently praised for its good looks and clever internal organisation. It comes in eight different shades, from practical black through to neon yellow and hot pink, and has leather trims and gold hardware to give it real designer panache. Its embossed lining also makes it as pretty on the inside.

It has separate zipped compartments; one with elastic holders for brushes and beauty tools, and a small zipped area in the lining which would be fab for jewellery. Admittedly, you are not going to get a holiday's worth of products in this pouch but for daily use and weekends away it would be perfect. Yes it's expensive, but it is also gorgeous and would make a lovely gift – it comes with free monogramming too.

Key specs

  • Material: Recycled nylon
  • Size: 7 x 20.5 x 13.5cm 

10. Best compact makeup bag: Space NK Travel Bag

Space NK travel bag

Price: £24 | Buy now from Space NK

If you're looking for a small cosmetics case for your handbag or to use when on the go, then this clear top bag from Space NK does the job perfectly. It's see-through with a zip fastening around the middle and faux leather trims – so it looks stylish rather than just 'practical', and it holds a surprising amount given its dimensions.

Easy to keep clean (it can be wiped down), it’s perfect for quick touch ups as you don’t have to rummage around to find exactly what you need. 

Key specs 

  • Material: PVC with faux leather trims 
  • Size: 18 x 15 x 4.5cm

How to choose the best makeup bag

Depending on how often you wear makeup, and what your day-to-day routine is, you will probably find you'll need more than one makeup bag to keep everything organised and easy to find. Think about the size of your usual handbag if you're looking for a cosmetics case to take to work each day or your luggage dimensions if you want a makeup bag for travel. If you go to the gym would a waterproof bag be more practical? Think about how much makeup you carry with you each day too – do you do an entire routine on the train, or just touch up your base and lippie between meetings?

What's the best material for a makeup bag?

Practicality should always be the key if your bag is going to be getting bashed about within another bag or flung in and out of suitcases. Be that hard-wearing, pricey leather or a more bargain-buy, wipe clean fabric. Durability and having the option to machine wash or sponge off those lipsticks smears and rogue beads of foundation is important.

How often should you clean or replace your makeup bag?

It's quite likely scientists would tell us all kinds of nasties lie in the murky depths of our makeup bags, what with threadbare cotton buds and scrunched up tissues nestling beside our brushes and sponges, so keeping it clean and fresh with a weekly clean out, and a whiz over with an anti-bac wipe or a quick spin in the washing machine should keep everything germ-free and pleasant to use. Definitely think about replacing it if the lining is torn and the bag can no longer be sanitised.

What's the best makeup bag to buy?

We plumped for the Narwey Waterproof Drawstring Organiser Bag based on its size, price, positive reviews across different platforms, and its wide variety of colourways and designs. 

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which make up bags discerning Mumsnet users had bought. We compiled a list of the bags they recommended for being stylish, spacious and practical

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which make up bags had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customer reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the best make up bags we thought would make the best buys.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.