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No more broken bronzers
We’ve all been there — getting ready for a night out on vacation only to find your favorite bronzer shattered to pieces. Soon you’re off frantically searching for the nearest Sephora. Let’s rewrite this narrative, shall we? Transporting your beloved cosmetics for glam on the go shouldn’t be intimidating. Thankfully, there are a variety of travel makeup bags designed specifically to keep your products intact and organized on your journey.
Beyond choosing a high-quality case, celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli also suggests swapping out some of your usual products with multi-use alternatives that are ideal for travel. “Think of things like tinted moisturizers with sunscreen, lip, eye, and cheek products, and perhaps a palette that offers multiple colors that you can use across your trip,” says Scibelli. Another hot travel tip from Scibelli is to minimize the number of powder items and opt for cream alternatives whenever possible. “Items like powder bronzers and blushes can easily crack during travel, so if you can switch to cream bronzers and cream blush — that can be super helpful."
We tested 26 of the most popular travel makeup bags based on durability, design, portability, and price to see which held up the best. After the eyeshadow dust settled and liquid foundation explosions were cleaned up, we found our best overall picks.
Read on for the best travel makeup bags we tested and expert advice on how to pack your makeup for your next weekend away.
Best Overall : Relavel Travel Makeup Case
The internal dividers of this case not only allowed us to customize storage but kept all of the makeup in place and intact during shake tests.
External padding cushioned the fall for this case during drop tests and not a single makeup item broke.
The zipper top opens fully to allow you to see all your products at once.
The case is waterproof and easy to clean with a cloth to remove dirt, grime, and spills.
The bulkier shape of this case would be harder to pack in a backpack or smaller carry-on bag.
We found when worn as a backpack, the straps on this case don’t feel super stable.
This Train Case from Relavel blew us away during testing. We loved how easy it was to store, organize, and access the makeup and brushes. The zipper top opens fully so you can see everything at a glance. (No more rummaging for lost eyeliner caps in the crevices of your makeup bag.) We really appreciated the individual brush holders and easy-to-clean plastic protective cover, too.
This makeup bag is an organizational dream. The individual dividers can be moved around and customized to best fit and secure all your products, like all of them. During testing, this case fit an impressive seven palettes, a whole makeup brush collection, two foundation bottles, five toiletry bottles, over 15 lipsticks, an eyelash curler, hair spray, and a travel-sized moisturizer bottle. It is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, as well. The exterior and interior fabrics on this case feel high quality and durable, and the waterproof surfaces are easy to clean, which is a must for any makeup bag.
Your makeup will be fully protected in this train case. The internal organization will keep your products securely in place, while the exterior padding will provide a safety cushion. In both our drop and shake tests, none of the makeup products broke or spilled — a big win. The only possible drawback for us is that the bulkier, square shape would fit best in your checked luggage instead of a backpack. It comes with attachable straps, making this a wearable makeup case for added portability; however, when worn as a backpack, the straps didn’t feel super stable for longer periods of time. But for an affordable price, this is a great sturdy, high-capacity, customizable makeup bag — ideal for those traveling with a lot of products.
Price at time of publish: $25.99
Size: 10.3 x 9 x 3.6 inches | Weight: 1.52 lbs | Material: Nylon, TPU | Closure: Zipper
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Beis The Cosmetics Case
The faux leather exterior not only felt luxurious but still looked brand-new after multiple drop tests.
The main storage compartment held an incredible amount of products, and not a single one broke or spilled during testing.
The included mirror comes with a stand and also survived multiple drop tests.
The wide-open main compartment didn’t offer much organization or separation of the products.
This case took up a lot of space when we tried packing it in a backpack.
Shay Mitchell's brand, Béis, is known for its beloved Weekender Bags — and its cosmetic case was also a front-runner in our tests, scoring high marks across the board. This case was super easy to open, close, and pack. We love the wide-open central compartment that makes tossing in all your hair and makeup essentials an absolute breeze. With full double-U zip closures, we found everything easily accessible. This case even includes a mirror, which is a game changer. The sleek folding mirror comes complete with a stand for touch-ups on the go.
We really liked the removable compartment for storing brushes and the additional zip pocket for added storage. The bottom of the case has two smaller sleeve pockets but doesn’t offer any other organization. While it doesn’t have many compartments, this case can really pack in the products. During testing, we were able to fit an incredible amount of items: five makeup brushes, four makeup palettes, one bottle of foundation, one eyelash curler, one mascara, one lipstick, nine small toiletry bottles, one hairspray, two powder compacts — and we could’ve fit more!
The luxurious feel of the faux leather elevates this makeup case. We also love that it is available in nine different colors to match your style and mood. Overall, it felt sturdy, durable, and was easy to clean during testing. During our drop and shake tests, nothing broke or spilled, which really impressed us, considering the main cavity didn’t have any additional compartments to keep products in place. This Béis makeup case offers ample storage, so its bigger size fits best in suitcases or luggage. It can fit in a backpack but will take up a lot of space. While more expensive than some of the cases we tested, it’s worth it for the chic aesthetic and high performance.
Price at time of publish: $68
Size: 9.5 x 4 x 7 inches | Weight: 1.38 pounds | Material: PU leather, PVC, lining: poly with water-resistant finish | Closure: Double u-zip
Best Budget: Narwey Large Travel Makeup Bag
Its capacity impressed us while still being easy to pack in a backpack or smaller carry-on.
The full zipper closure opened up easily and allowed us to see all the contents easily.
It is available in 14 different colors.
This bag doesn’t come with any external or internal padding, though it still kept our makeup secure.
There were no separate compartments to keep products organized.
For a super inexpensive price, this Narwey Travel Makeup Bag will get your makeup to and from your destination safely and with ease. Need we say more? Probably not, but humor us: This bag had a full zipper closure that was easy to open and provided full access to everything. The exterior fabric is water-resistant and easy to clean — and is available in 14 different colors.
The main compartment was 3.5 inches deep, which is generous compared to some other bags we tested. Separate brush pouches with a PVC protective cover and an additional smaller zipper pouch offer some organization. There isn’t any designated organization to the main compartment, but we still found it held quite a bit. We were able to fit two full sets of face and eye brushes (19 brushes in total), two face palettes, a color-correcting palette, three eyeliners, four lipsticks, a mascara, and a lash curler. The capacity for the case was phenomenal, while still being compact enough to put into a day pack.
This bag didn’t have much padding, however, it did keep our makeup intact during our shake and drop tests, which is impressive for the price. If you’re on a tighter budget, this bag is sure to give you the most for your money.
Price at time of publish: $9.99 (orig. $10.99)
Size: 9 x 6.7 x 3.5 inches | Weight: 7.8 ounces | Material: Not listed | Closure: Full double zip
Best Organization Features: Dagne Dover Mila Toiletry Organizer
The compartment dividers kept our products organized and secure throughout testing without breaks or spills.
You can remove the compartment dividers for added space, if needed.
The upright design makes it easy to pack and can fit into smaller luggage and backpacks.
Its narrower upright design couldn’t accommodate as many products as other bags we tested.
Dagne Dover bags are loved for being high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, and eco-conscious. Their Mila Toiletry Organizer continues in that legacy and delivered an impressive organization throughout our testing process. Available in six colors, we loved the upright design that proved much more spacious than it appeared. The full zipper top opening made packing, viewing, and accessing the products super easy.
There’s something super satisfying about everything having its place: That’s what we love most about this bag. The separate compartments made organizing simple and kept the products secure in place for our shake and drop tests. No broken or spilled products here. Even better, the compartment dividers are removable for easy cleaning and maximum storage. The padded exterior not only gives a hint of that trendy athleisure aesthetic but also offers added protection in transit.
During testing, we fit four makeup brushes, two makeup palettes, one bottle of foundation, one eyelash curler, one mascara, three lipsticks, four small toiletry bottles, and one hairspray in this bag. This was impressive, considering the size. We did note that it didn’t hold quite as much as other larger bags we tested. (The brand does offer a larger size for $20 more). An organized travel makeup case made from recycled plastic bottles that will fit in any size carry-on or suitcase? Count us in.
Price at time of publish: $50 (small), $70 (large)
Size: 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches | Weight: 6 ounces | Material: REPREVE® recycled polyester exterior and interior | Closure: Zip
Best Hanging : Beis The Hanging Cosmetic Case
This makeup case was able to fit more products than our standard packing list during testing.
The sturdy structure and shape kept all the makeup secure during the shake and drop tests — no breaks or spills.
It includes a removable clear zipper tote for smaller toiletries for carry-on luggage.
The bulky shape takes up a lot of room in a backpack or suitcase. It’s not as malleable as others we tested.
The clear zipper pouch found in the main compartment doesn’t stay in place when the bag is hung vertically.
It's not fun to do your hair and makeup in a tiny bathroom with no counter space for your stuff. The Béis Hanging Cosmetic case is our top pick to solve this common travel challenge. We loved how easy this case was to open and pack. It unfolds and lays fully flat, which made packing a cinch during testing. It’s great to be able to see everything all at once for minimal scrounging when getting ready. The hook allows you to hang it vertically for easy storage and access when traveling.
This makeup case is for those unwilling to pare down their routine. No judgments here. You’ll have room for it all. We were so impressed with how much we could fit in this bag. We packed four makeup brushes, six makeup palettes, one bottle of foundation, one eyelash curler, one mascara, five lipsticks, seven toiletry bottles, one hairspray, and four eyeliners. (Overpackers rejoice!)
The construction of this case felt sturdy and durable during testing. The nylon fabric feels super easy to keep clean. During our shake and drop tests, all of the products remained intact and secure. This hanging case is on the bulkier side and would take up a lot of room in a carry-on backpack or tote. It’s probably best for larger suitcases. We appreciate the middle compartment came with a clear zipper tote you can remove and use as a TSA-friendly toiletry case for a smaller carry-on. The only drawback is the clear zipper pouch can fall out when the back is stored vertically, so it’s best to store it elsewhere when hanging.
Price at time of publish: $68
Size: 9.75 x 7.25 x 6.5 inches | Weight: 1.14 pounds | Material: Nylon twill, vegan buffalo leather, polyester lining, pouch-clear TPU | Closure: Double u-zip
Best Hanging, Less Expensive: Boacay Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag
The plastic compartment pockets made all the products visible.
It was easy to clean.
When hanging vertically, all the compartments stay securely closed.
This bag kept all the products intact during shake and drop tests.
The quality of the exterior fabric didn’t feel as luxurious as some of the other bags we tested.
The bulkier silhouette fits best in a larger, checked suitcase than a small carry-on or backpack.
This hanging toiletry bag from Boacay offers the convenience of vertical storage for an affordable price. The fold-out design made packing and viewing the products very easy. This bag includes four separate zipper compartments (which is more than many other cases we tested) that stay securely closed when hanging, and it is available in several different colors. We liked how the clear plastic compartments let us see all the products easily and would be easy to keep clean in case of any spills.
We packed a lot into this hanging case. We were able to fit four makeup brushes, three makeup palettes, one bottle of foundation, one eyelash curler, one mascara, two lipsticks, four toiletry bottles, and two hairspray cans. We honestly could’ve fit more which bodes well for those who travel on longer trips and need larger-sized products. We tested the medium size, however, this product also comes in a larger size for $5 more for those who need even more space. The structure of this bag provided protection throughout our multiple shake and drop tests. No products broke or spilled. Some of the products moved around a bit, but the fold-up design helped keep most things in place. We also appreciate the elastic loops in the middle two compartments that can help secure some items.
This hanging case is best for larger suitcases or checked bags but can still fit neatly into a backpack (though it’ll take up quite a bit of space). While this isn’t the highest quality material we tested in a makeup case, at this price, you can’t go wrong.
Price at time of publish: $19.99
Size: 11.42 x 3.78 x 7.48 inches | Weight:12.3 ounces | Material: Exterior fabric not listed, PVC inner pockets | Closure: Full zip
Best Compact: lululemon Go Getter Pouch
This bag fits easily in a backpack and smaller carry-on.
The pliable exterior made it easier to pack this bag full of products and squeeze it into a fuller backpack or suitcase.
The bag is water-repellent and easy to wipe clean.
We found ourselves rummaging a bit to find certain items at the bottom of the bag.
The exterior is rather thin and less protective than the other bags we tested, and some product caps fell off during testing (though nothing broke or spilled).
If you’re looking for a sleek and portable makeup case that you can throw in any bag, the Lululemon Go Getter Pouch is the one for you. Don’t let the compact silhouette fool you, we were able to fit quite a bit into this case. In the small front compartment, we fit four small/medium-sized brushes with room for more. We packed two palettes in the mesh pouch and five brushes, one more palette, two lipsticks, one foundation bottle, and three micellar travel bottles in the main pouch.
The outer water-repellent material made from recycled polyester looks stylish and, better yet, is also easy to clean. It feels thinner than other bags we tested — no extra padding here. After shaking and throwing the bag a few times during testing, a few caps came off some products, but thankfully no spills or breaks. The top of some lipsticks were a tad smushed. The design of this pouch is simple and straightforward without much internal organization. While the bag was able to fit many products, the lack of organized compartments made it difficult at times to find a specific product needed.
The compact size of this big is a major highlight as it easily fits in a backpack, carry-on luggage, and a checked bag. We especially like the flexible fabric exterior, which makes squeezing it into an already full bag much easier. The price point is affordable for a well-known brand and makes it a great choice for those prioritizing portability in a makeup case.
Price at time of publish: $38
Size: 8.7 x 3.3 x 6.3 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: Recycled polyester | Closure: Zip
Best Leather : Leatherology Small Train Case
The square shape and deep main compartment fit so much makeup during testing.
We found the internal organization impressive in this case (so many pockets!).
The water-resistant lining is easy to clean.
It is available in 12 colors and can also be personalized.
When empty, we found this case didn’t feel as sturdy when packed full of products.
This bag is more expensive than the others we tested.
Looking for luxury and durability? Leatherology’s chic, classic train case will transport your makeup safely and in style. This bag’s full-grain leather exterior feels and looks like a dream. We appreciate the water-resistant lining that will be easy to keep clean. The full-zip-around closure allowed for easy packing, access, and viewing of all the products. We loved how many pockets there are in this makeup case. It made organizing while packing super simple. The main compartment was deep enough to pack some bottles standing up. We packed four makeup brushes, three makeup palettes, one bottle of foundation, one eyelash curler, one mascara, three lipsticks, seven small toiletry bottles, and one hairspray.
Despite initially feeling less sturdy when empty, this bag felt very secure once packed with products. The thin padding between the exterior and interior layers also adds additional protection. It fared well in all our shake and drop tests. No makeup or toiletries were broken or spilled, and the leather still looked great. The price is higher than some of the other bags we tested, but the genuine leather exterior, easy-to-clean interior, and loads of pockets make it well worth the cost. In addition, this makeup bag comes in so many beautiful colors, and it can also be personalized.
Price at time of publish: $125
Size: 7.5 x 5 x 5.2 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: Full grain leather exterior, water-resistant synthetic interior | Closure: Zip-around
Best Makeup Case Set : Cuyana Leather Travel Case Set
The wide opening of the larger case made for easy packing and increased accessibility.
The genuine leather proved easy to clean during testing.
This is available in 14 colors and can also be personalized.
The softer leather exterior didn’t add as much padding as the other bags we tested.
Some eyeshadow did spill during our shake and drop tests.
We love a two-for-one: This Travel Case Set from Cuyana is ideal for those wanting additional storage and the option of different sizes. The materials on these sleek, elegant leather cases felt durable and high quality throughout our tests. We found the larger bag had a wider opening for convenient packing and easy access. We learned the width of the opening can be a bit deceiving. We had to remove some products we initially packed in order to fully close the bag. In the larger bag alone we were still able to pack four makeup brushes, two makeup palettes, one bottle of foundation, one eyelash curler, one mascara, one lipstick, four toiletry bottles, and one hairspray and definitely had room for several more products. The second smaller case would be great for brushes, jewelry, or essential toiletries for your carry-on.
At first, the soft leather exterior of these cases didn’t feel as sturdy as the other ones we tested, but they still kept the products secure in our tests. A little bit of eyeshadow was the only makeup to spill during multiple drops and shake tests but was easily cleaned up. Getting two genuine leather makeup cases for this price is a great deal. We also like the option to choose which size feels most appropriate for different types of travel. And who can say no to 14 color options and a color-coordinated personalized set? Not us.
Price at time of publish: $168
Size: Large: 7 x 12 x 3.5 inches, small: 5 x 8 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Material: 100% sustainable, Argentinian leather | Closure: Zip
Best Investment : Cuyana Travel Beauty Case
The removable leather pouch added extra storage and protection for smaller, more fragile items.
The exterior Italian leather of this case felt very sturdy and protected our makeup during testing.
The case opens up fully to allow for easy packing and easy access to items.
The pockets and elastic loops for makeup brushes kept products organized.
We noticed a few minor scuffs on the exterior of the bag after our drop tests.
The Cuyana Travel Beauty Case is the epitome of fashion and function together in one beautiful bag. Yes, this price tag is steep, but the quality of materials and thoughtful design won us over. The Italian leather exterior elevates the classic design of this case. The rectangular case opens up fully (like a clamshell) and was super easy to pack.
The internal organization is both super functional and beautiful, thanks to the matching leather interior. We appreciated the designated elastic loops for makeup brushes along with the leather flap to secure the brushes in place. The bonus removable leather zipper pouch adds another level of organization. An additional pocket at the bottom of the main compartment secures even more products. We were able to fit eight makeup brushes, two makeup palettes, one bottle of foundation, one eyelash curler, one mascara, four lipsticks, four toiletry bottles, and one hairspray.
This bag isn’t just pretty, it’s sturdy too. The leather exterior and interior protected our makeup well during our shake and drop tests. Only a few items shook loose, but nothing broke or spilled. We noticed a few minor scuffs after dropping and throwing the bag a few times, but they were easily wiped away with our fingers. While the high price is certainly an investment, this travel case will be a beautiful piece to add to your travel collection for years to come.
Price at time of publish: $298
Size: 6.2 x 10.2 x 3.1 inches | Weight: 1.6 pounds | Material: Italian pebbled leather | Closure: Metal zip, internal metal button clasps
Other Travel Makeup Bags We Tried
Away The Cosmetics Bag: We love the sleek and low-profile design of this cosmetics bag, and the soft-molded cube shape fit nicely into a backpack and varied sizes of suitcases during testing. While we were able to pack a substantial amount of makeup in this case, the caps came off several products during our shake and drop tests, leading us to fear some inevitable spills during travel. We also found the $75 price tag a bit steep compared to similar bags we tested.
Calpak Terra Hanging Toiletry Bag: We loved the durability of this bag’s material, not to mention its cute aesthetic. The compact size is super portable, and its ability to hang vertically makes it an all-around space-saver. While this hanging toiletry bag held ample products, several makeup items fell out during our shake and drop tests, which forebodes potential broken and spilled makeup. At $56, it was more expensive than similar and more secure bags we tested.
Mark & Graham Concourse Cosmetics Case: Again, we love a two-for-one, and this cosmetics case set from Mark & Graham offers a classic and chic aesthetic for $119. We love the option to remove the smaller zipper pouch and use it on its own. While the larger case is so easy to open and pack, we wish there were a few more organizational features to separate and secure our items. Unfortunately, after a few shake and drop tests, several caps came off some bottles, and one compact even broke.
Vera Bradley Recycled Makeup Organizer Set: Ah, the iconic Vera Bradley prints. This set brings up some nostalgia for us, and we love how durable and easy to clean the material is (and that it’s made from recycled plastic). For $44, this set is a great value. It was able to hold and protect ample amounts of makeup products during our tests. No makeup broke or spilled; however, there isn’t much internal organization for either bag, and it left us struggling to find certain products buried at the bottom.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Travel Makeup Bag
When shopping for makeup cases, functionality is your friend. You want a bag that can easily store, organize, and protect your products while traveling. Consider how much makeup and toiletries you usually travel with and what type of products. If you’ve got lots of brushes and smaller size items, you’ll want a bag with plenty of internal organizational options like the Relavel Travel Makeup Train Case, which has customizable dividers. Choose a bag that’ll easily fit everything, but be wary of a bag that’s too big because extra space will let your products get jostled around in transit.
Look for any special features that are a good fit for your usual travel experience. Perhaps a hanging bag, such as the Béis The Hanging Cosmetic Case, will work best for small hotel bathrooms or tiny guest areas. Or maybe a removable pouch is something you’d prefer to keep essentials within reach in your carry-on. Consider other design elements like material and hardware finishes that can elevate your makeup case from another utilitarian piece of luggage to a chic design piece.
We tested makeup cases that ranged in price from $11.99 to $298. You can find a quality makeup case at any price, including the budget-friendly Narwey Travel Makeup Bag, depending on the materials and features that are most important to you.
How We Tested
In our PEOPLE Tested Lab, 26 buzz-worthy makeup cases were tried, inspected, and evaluated for ease of use, quality, capacity, design, and portability. Each bag was packed with the same standard packing list, and additional products were added if possible.
Our standard packing list included the following:
4 makeup brushes
2 makeup palettes
1 bottle of foundation
1 eyelash curler
2 toiletry bottles (pre-filled with micellar water and sunscreen)
2 toiletry bottles (pre-filled with lotion)
1 hairspray bottle
After each bag was fully packed, our testers vigorously shook and dropped each case multiple times. The condition of the makeup afterward was observed and documented. To test portability, each makeup case was then packed into three different size bags: a backpack, a carry-on suitcase, and checked luggage. Combining considerations for the quality of materials and special organizational features, each case was given an overall score on a scale from one to five. The makeup cases with the highest averages were selected for this article as our top picks.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you pack makeup for travel?
“For starters, I like to minimize the general bulk of my products so that I'm not overpacking,” shares Neil Scibelli. “And, of course, keeping the sizes to 3.4 ounces and under, if I'm not checking a bag.” He also recommends using a padded cosmetics case that offers an additional layer of protection.
Pro travel tip: “Use your other items in your suitcase as armor for your makeup bag, and position it in the center or with softer items around it for protection," he says.
What is the difference between a travel makeup bag and a toiletry bag?
“A typical toiletry bag is pretty simple, consisting of a one-pocket zip pouch,” explains Scibelli. “Travel makeup cases have become so much more intricate now with multiple pockets and travel features like having detachable pockets, being water resistant, and added padding for safety.” Makeup cases will often have specific features to hold makeup brushes and easy-to-clean fabric in case of spills.
Will makeup break in my suitcase?
Never say never, but mindfully packing your makeup can avoid breakage in your suitcase. Scibelli recommends packing your makeup palettes tightly around other objects to avoid too much moving around. “If you're not going with a padded case, you can even wrap your favorite makeup palettes in a washcloth or sweatshirt. If you have a few makeup palettes that can risk cracking, you can also try stacking them together with a rubber band to avoid them from moving too much.”
Why Trust PEOPLE?
L.A Hubilla is a freelance commerce writer for PEOPLE and Brides.com. She specializes in lifestyle, fashion, and beauty content. Hubilla also frequently tests products for various digital outlets including Byrdie, InStyle, and Travel + Leisure, among others.
For this article, she surveyed the data compiled by the PEOPLE Tested team and compared them with professional insights from celebrity makeup artist Neil Scibelli. Using Scibelli’s advice paired with tester observations, she selected the top-performing makeup cases for this roundup.
What Is People Tested?
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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Read the original article on People.