If you’ve ever wanted to know what’s really inside the makeup bags of the most stylish women in the industry, you’re in luck. We’ve created a new beauty column, Show Me the (Makeup) Money, to uncover what beauty products our fashion friends genuinely keep in their daily rotation—and what their stash actually costs. I’ll be delving inside their bags on your behalf and totting up every item in there, from the most expensive to the cheapest. Not only will you be left with an incredible shopping list but a realistic price tag to boot. Is there someone whose makeup bag you’re dying to see inside? Slide into my Instagram DMs with your requests, and I'll see what I can do.
First up, I thought it was only fair that I put myself in the firing line—you know, lead by example and all that—so I emptied out my bag of daily beauty essentials for the rest of the Who What Wear office to scrutinise. Before we dive in, major disclaimer: What you're seeing here is the bare minimum when it comes to the products that make their way onto my face on a daily basis. Let's call it my minimalist makeup bag edit. Give me a weekend away, or even a night out, and its contents have the potential to double. (Hey, I am a beauty editor after all.) But, for now, let's dive into my everyday edit of makeup products. The total cost? A cool £206.
My Makeup Bag
Shop My Essentials
After a brief stint with BareMinerals powder foundation in my teenage years, I was recently reacquainted with it—and this brush—at an event with the brand back in January. Both products have been firmly in my makeup bag ever since. Not only does this brush seamlessly buff foundation into my skin to conceal blemishes and uneven skin tone, but it's great for blending out the edge of colour products like blusher and bronzer when you've been a bit heavy-handed.
I have something of a lip balm addition. I never leave the house without at least three in my handbag and am always on the hunt for the most nourishing formulas out there. I love this one from Bobbi Brown as it delivers moisture alongside a hint of rosy colour—great for days when I can't be bothered with lipstick.
After suffering with some pretty bad breakouts earlier this year, I was pleased to discover that this BareMinerals foundation is non-comedogenic—meaning it won't clog your pores and further aggravate any blemishes. It's now my go-to daily foundation thanks to its fast application (essential on work days) and the way that you can wear it light and sheer or build it up into a full-coverage finish.
For me, when it comes to daily beauty essentials, multitasking formulas are really where it's at. Not only do they save space in your bag but they usually require less thinking to apply. This concentrated mineral pigment can be used on cheeks and lips, as the name suggests, although I've also been known to wear it on my eyes. A little bit goes a really long way—just tap it on with your fingertips and blend out the edges.
For me, mascara isn't a product that makes its way onto my lashes every day. On an evening out, sure. But for a normal day in the office, I'm quite partial to a smudge of cream eye shadow paired with bare lashes. However, if I am going to reach for a mascara, then it's this one from Smashbox that I tend to go for. It lengthens and fans out even my short, curly lashes and stays put even if you are a face-toucher like I am.
The easiest approach to eye shadow that I've ever tried. Just dab this glistening colour onto your eyelids with the doe foot applicator and pat the edges in with your fingertips. While it won't give you a dramatic eye shadow look, it provides a shimmering wash of pigment that makes me look more put-together than I actually feel. It makes a great primer for other eye products too, thanks to its long-wear formula.
This is genuinely the best concealer I've ever used for covering blemishes, and I wouldn't be without a tube in my makeup bag. Unlike other high-coverage products that I've tried in the past, this one glides onto skin and doesn't look cakey by the end of the day—my makeup pet peeve. If I'm really feeling lazy, I'll dab it all over and blend it in with a makeup sponge as a makeshift foundation too.
I've said it before and I'll say it again—the Benefit brow gel is the best out there. I've tried them all, but this is the one that I always come back to. It's not too wet, so you don't risk overdoing your brows when you're in a rush, and the brush is perfectly sized to grab all of your hairs and coat them with product. My brows are the one thing that I like to feel "done" before I leave the house and, with this product, the whole process takes about 30 seconds.
A red lipstick is an essential in my makeup bag because of its versatility. Applied from the bullet for a bold pout, nothing makes me feel more ready for a day of meetings or a big night out. Pressed onto lips using fingertips for a blotted stain and I instantly feel more me. If I could only have one red lipstick for the rest of my life, it would be this one. An absolute steal at under £7, it hails from Birchbox's very own makeup brand—LOC. I've yet to find anyone that it doesn't suit and who doesn't love it.
Highlighter might not be considered a daily essential to everyone but, for me, it's the one product that makes the biggest difference to my face when I'm feeling (and looking) tired. The Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors are incredibly finely milled and super pigmented, so you need the smallest amount to brighten your entire face. I apply this to cheekbones and eyelids when I need to disguise the after-effects of a late-night Netflix binge.
For beautiful makeup bags, Elizabeth Scarlett does an incredible selection of affordable options that still feel luxurious. This one is big enough to store all of my makeup and toiletries for a weekend away and it makes me feel happy whenever I look at it.