+ Look for Less

10th Commandment: June 14

Elected Official

Anya Hindmarch Makeup Bag (Shopbop, $135)

I have no idea why someone would pay three-figures for a simple makeup bag.  If the premise of 10th Commandment wasn’t three items in three price points, I would have just skipped it.

Hill Staffer

Kate Spade Fingers Makeup Bag (Nordstrom, $60)

Unpaid Intern

Ditsy Dot Makeup Bag (Forever 21, $6)

Clearly, I’m in the market for a new makeup bag. I’d like a medium-sized bag in the $20-$40 range.  So far, this striped case is the closest.  But they all seem to be too big or too small.  I feel like the Goldilocks of makeup bags.

If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments. But please don’t say Vera Bradley or her slightly less gauche cousin Petunia Pickle Bottom.  (That’s not a joke, it’s a real thing.)



  1. sarah b. says:

    ok this is going to sound cheap but i promise it's coming from a good place. all of my makeup bags have been the ones you get from dept. store makeup counters after you buy a few things (or a new perfume in some cases). and they have all lasted a LONG time and been a good size. estee lauder in particular. i know you mention sephora a lot so i'm not sure if you even shop at dept. stores for makeup at all…just saying this has worked for me 🙂

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  2. EF says:

    Henri Bendel – they're simple, roomy and easy to keep clean.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  3. Shannon says:

    I'm with Sarah B. I'm not sure if I've ever paid for a makeup bag, I usually just get one with the Clinique free gift.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  4. Mags says:

    I agree with Sarah B. and Shannon. I have one from Ester Lauder that has legitimately lasted me over two years.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  5. CH says:

    Ditto always using the free “bonus time” makeup bags from Clinique. I'd rather spend my money on a clutch than a makeup receptacle 🙂

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  6. Lindsay says:

    Henri Bendel has amazing ones!

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  7. b says:

    I am obsessed with lay-n-go. So brilliant and i can see everything at the same time. https://layngo.com/products.php#cosmo

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  8. Govvie says:

    I saw some cute ones at the Brooks Brothers outlet recently that I tried to justify buying.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  9. r says:

    I like Etsy for things like makeup bags– they're generally cheap, a little bit different and there's huge variety. Two years ago I bought a medium sized bag (just long enough to comfortably fit brushes) that are washable. Still holding up great.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  10. Anon says:

    The Sonia Kashuk ones at Target – good quality, nice patterns and a wide range of sizes

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  11. Katie says:

    Target! I have one with two removable zippered compartments plus tons of room for brushes. I spent ~$10 on it 3 years ago and it is holding up really well.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  12. Shannon says:

    This reminds me – I've been looking for a new makeup organizer (mine doesn't hold enough stuff). Anybody have any recommendations? I have very limited counter space in the bathroom.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  13. MM says:

    I second the etsy suggestion – they're often less expensive, and if you want a certain size that you can't find, many sellers will do custom orders, so you could order the exact size you want, in the exact fabric you want.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  14. KiKi says:

    I've picked up some at Sephora that I love. Various sizes, prints, easy to keep clean and within your price range.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  15. Meredith says:

    I love the Sonia Kashuk ones from Target. My particular favorite is the double zip fold over. The inside is see through, so you can look at what you have, and there are two sides, so you never have to go digging through to get the right thing.

    I usually put face stuff (foundation/concealer/powder/blush) on one side and eyes/lips on the other side. The best things since sliced bread I tell you!


    June 15, 2012/Reply
  16. t says:

    I've been searching for a make up bag as well since my Longchamp one is starting be a bit small for me. I just went to Express and spotted (no pun intended) this https://bit.ly/L0VnBe.

    Still small enough to toss into my bag but large enough to hold the 2-3 extra items I've been tucking into my tote pockets.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  17. CB says:

    Stephanie Johnson (https://stephaniejohnson.com/) They are durable, easy to clean and last a while.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  18. K. Hill says:

    So I DID pay three figures for a make up bag and it has lasted me for YEARS! I bought a small coach bag that fits into my purse and have been using it for years. The great thing about it is that 1. it's fashionable and 2. I can have it cleaned. I take it to them to have it cleaned a couple of times a year and it gets rid of all the makeup gunk. I LOVE IT!

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  19. L says:

    Hear me out before you roll your eyes and ignore the rest of my post.

    I hate Vera Bradley as much as you do, but they make, hands-down, the best makeup bag on the market. In the privacy of your own bathroom, no one has to know. (You did buy faux-Uggs last winter.)

    This is the case that I'm talking about:

    – Washable in the washing machine. Most makeup cases can only be wiped down, and the plastic traps moisture and mildews after a while. Ew. No so with this one.
    – Multiple compartments. I use the zippered top compartment for brushes and tools. The brushes are protected from damage, and my products are protected from the excess powder on the brushes. I use the loops around the sides to strap down fragile products, and I pin a few bobby pins and safety pins to one.
    – Opens completely and is flat (rather than tall), so I can find everything without digging.

    – Hideous VB prints. I found a relatively subtle one on eBay.

    Trust me, I'd spend my money elsewhere if this really wasn't the best, but it is. The “dump it in”-style single-compartment bags are so inferior, and I cringe when I see expensive makeup brushes getting damaged from swimming around with compacts.

    If you're really, really, really can't bring yourself to let VB be your dirty little bathroom secret, I've seen bags with small compartments at Bobbi Brown and Sephora. but they tend to be much more expensive.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  20. JA says:

    I love my Trina makeup bags! I originally got my first set from Nordstrom's a couple of years ago and have since then updated a couple of pieces. They are just as cute and durable as Kate Spade, but not as expensive.
    Good luck!

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  21. Nicole says:

    Try Stephanie Johnson bags. Most adorable, but not obnoxious prints. All have vinyl linings and they come in several different shapes and styles, depending on how much room/organization you need. I've had mine for 3 years and it still looks great.


    June 15, 2012/Reply
  22. giggling gourmand says:

    Not your usual style I know, but I've had my LV makeup bag for 5 years now and it's as good as new.

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  23. A says:

    When you post 3 things, could you let us know what the general theme of the post is? For some reason, I always read the titles of your posts and I'm like “yes, we are going to talk about skin care” or “sweet, she's going to attack uggs again – my favorite!” but when you do the 10th commandment, i always go in blind! help a sister out! plus, it sometimes i just need it laid out in front of me, like “girly makeup bags.” just a thought 🙂

    June 15, 2012/Reply
  24. Diana says:

    I just bought a set of three bags from DKNY for my makeup. (It's newspaper print, which is perfect for me since I am a writer by trade, but I also saw some solid color choices.) I switch out and use all the bags for my makeup: the smallest fits in my purse for quick touch-ups, the medium is great for weekend trips, and the large one contains every last cosmetic item I own. Really thick and durable, strong zippers. I found the set at TJ Maxx ($15), but I'm sure you can find some online.

    June 16, 2012/Reply
  25. YGirl says:

    I found my makeup bag at Target, in the Sonia Kashuk line. I had been looking high and low. I found it to be pretty (very important!) and well thought out. It is some clear pouches that attach to the inside of a large pocket. Mind you, I bought the gigantic size!
    This one in a different print. https://www.target.com/p/sonia-kashuk-abstract-print-cosmetic-bag-weekender/-/A-13555506

    June 16, 2012/Reply
  26. Cindy says:

    I travel weekly and I find most makeup bags too bulky for a suitcase. While they are not very chic, I found using pencil cases a lot simpler to use. They are fairly flat so I don't have to dig in a bag for a brush or lipstick and I can easily throw them in my purse without having it take too much space.

    June 16, 2012/Reply