Too many times in my life I’ve been caught without my glow-up tools.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realized I needed to be ready to roll at all times but it was definitely sometime between the mystical point of being not a girl and not yet a woman, just as Britney Spears warned us as she stood on a cliff side in her low-rise jeans. (The early-to-mid-2000s was a crazy time.)
From that moment on, I have emergency makeup bags on my person at all times, each containing a varying degree of products from skin care to quick tools so I can be ready for whatever life throws at me. Today, I am a (terrifyingly) an adult human woman and I have one bag at work, one at my boyfriend’s house and one that I keep in my purse.
On this Makeup Monday, I’m going to spill the latter, which I affectionately refer to as my “ride-or-die.” Remember, this isn’t my full collection or what I necessarily use every day but it’s what I always keep with me in case of emergency.
Tip: You’ll find a lot of what I carry are trial or miniature versions of prestige favorites. I’ve accumulated these over the years through subscription boxes, buying travel gift sets or adding on samples and trial-sized items with orders. Sephora offers samples in store and up to three samples with every online order. Plus, they always offer some sort of gift with purchase online, too. You typically have to spend at least $25 or more to get this gift but, at Sephora, that’s not hard to do. Make sure to check under “Beauty Offers” on their website or app before you check out.
Never scoff at a “free gift.” This trusty sequined bag came from Victoria’s Secret many years ago. Once filled with sickly sweet-scented body lotions and sprays (what I like to think was my beauty training wheels), today is filled with my most essential essentials. I’ve had a lot of makeup bags but they always end up destroyed. As each zipper breaks or seam comes undone on these other bags, I always come back to this baby.
I carry enough that I can freshen up or do a whole face. Since my skin is dry, I like to keep a baby moisturizer and trial-size mist in my bag to touch up dry patches and plump up my skin before I start. Right now, I’m using mini versions of Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel and Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist. You can’t go wrong with a tinted moisturizer as it provides coverage but it’s light enough to apply it over existing makeup to freshen it up. Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska (Light 2) is one of my favorites. Plus, it’s in a slim bottle and that comes in handy when you’re doing your makeup in the car, the bathroom at work or at a restaurant waiting for your friends (this is real). For concealer, I love my trusty trial-size It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer in Medium because it’s creamy and easily blendable. I’ve been a fan of Benefit’s Box o’ Powder blushes for a while. They’re compact but include a mirror and brush. Rockateur, a rosy gold color, is perfect for any occasion. For a little highlight, I love Colourpop Super Shock Cheek in Stole the Show. (This also can double as an eyeshadow.) A signature scent completes any look. My absolute favorite right now? The barely-there, lived-in Glossier You. I hoard samples (You can select them with any Glossier order) so I always have one with me.
Your eyes are so important. I plan to do a whole blog post on this but, if you’re going somewhere you will be in photos, doing your eyes will change your whole look. My eye tools are the ones I use every single day. I never go anywhere without an eyelash curler (Shiseido Eyelash Curler), mascara (Glossier Lash Slick and Lancôme Monsieur Big) or eyeliner (Stila Stay-All-Day Waterproof Eyeliner). Just like my mom, I have long but straight lashes and like to curl them for a little lift. You might have heard that you should never curl your lashes with mascara already on them but as long as it’s dry (or been on for a few hours), it’s perfectly OK to curl them for a boost. I’ve already professed my undying love of Lash Slick here and also detailed how I carry another mascara for some oomph, if need be. If you’re already wearing mascara, I would be very careful with applying more over it. If you’re wearing Lash Slick from the jump, you won’t have that problem. It’s the biggest joke on Instagram but I can attest that drawing a black line across your eye makes you feel 100 times better. Use a black, liquid liner to create a sharp line across your top lid (wing optional but I always love a cat-eye) and define your eyes. As far as color, you know I think Glossier Lidstar is a no-brainer for quick, easy eye looks. Shown here are Slip and Fawn. For manicured, filled in brows, pomade Glossier Boy Brow in Brown until I die. People love a smoky eye but I think a strong brow will always take your look from day to night.
This is where things get varied. I keep all different kinds of lip products with all different finishes. First things first: lip care. I always have Glossier Original Balm Dot Com to keep my lips soft and moisturized. This also works great to diffuse a darker or more-pigmented lip color for a sexy stain. For times I don’t want to use my fingers to apply, the OG, cherry-flavored Chap Stick, is a must. As for color, my go-to creamy, perfect nude is Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Backtalk. It goes with smoky, dramatic looks or a subdued face with just blush and mascara. For a stained rosy red, I love Glossier Generation G in Crush as you can layer it to make a deep red. For more subtle color (plus some lip care), Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment in Dream is a moisturizing and sheer perfect pink and Glossier Cherry Balm Dot Com leaves my lips a pretty sheer red.
My bag might be more stocked than yours (or less!) but that’s just want I like to carry to feel prepared. I hope this inspires you to curate your own little emergency kit. If you have one, DM me or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to see what you carry!