Make Up Bag Essentials – The 5 Products I Can’t Live Without

Friday, January 18, 2013

Today I’m taking a trawl through my Make Up bag.

I’ve been through some of my essential skin care and beauty items in the past (though I might revisit some of them soon!) but I’ve never shared the items in my make up kit that I swear by for a perfect vintage look.

This isn’t by any means all the make up I use. Eye-shadows, mascaras, lip-liners and concealers are all absent from this list as I’ve yet to find a brand I’m consistently faithful too. These are the products that I repeat purchase again, and again, and will panic buy if they discontinue! Can’t live without may be a little extreme perhaps, it’s unlikely they will write “Bourjois discontinued Blusher” on my death certificate at any point, but still, you get the idea.


L’Oreal True Match Minerals Foundation in Rose Vanilla

I’ve been using this for years. Every now and again I wander off to a cheaper brand, or an exciting new innovation. But I always come back to this. It keeps my face matte, but isn’t too drying for (most of) the winter. Seems to be kind to my occasionally sensitive skin, and it is fairly pale with a pinky undertone, as many foundations have always been too orange for me. Sadly the Rose Vanilla shade isn’t always the easiest shade to find in store as my pink toned skin isn’t that common, so I often end up buying online.


Max Factor Panstik in Fair

A proper vintage foundation, dating back to the 1940s. I don’t wear it every day, but for when I want a heavier coverage in the evenings, or occasions when my skin is playing up and there are just certain areas I want a little more coverage on this is great. I use it underneath the True Match Minerals for a heavier matte look.

It’s also a bargain at £6.99

Pan Stick


L’Oreal Superliner in Black

I’ve tried all sorts of eyeliner. For a while I was in love with the Maybelleine Gel liner, but I kept losing or ruining the brush, and I found it would dry up before I’d reached the end of the pot and become harder to use. I’ve tried liners that cost £1, liners with brushes, liners that are really felt tip pens and all number of pot shapes and sizes. I am now on my 4th pot of this stuff, and I think I’ve finally found my true eyeliner love. The handle is long, so stays stable in your hand. The fibre tip is flexible and fine enough to get a decent fine line. The colour is intense and has never once cracked or smudged noticeably, even after a 10k run or a full days wear. It’s also never yet dried out on me before I’ve finished with it.


BeneFit Brow Zing in Medium or HD Brows in Bombshell

I got the HD Brows palette in a Glossy Box a couple of years ago and was totally converted to brow powder. Sadly they don’t seem to stock it on the website any more (NOTE: I have since discovered it is available online here), so as it ran out I switched to the equally good (but slightly more expensive) Benefit Brow Zing in Medium. As it happens the Medium is a little too dark for me now I’ve gone blonde. Having spent £22 on it I shall be living with it until it runs out, which will be ages, and then I will try the light shade. I still actually have a tiny bit left of the HD brows, so I tend to alternate depending on my mood. The lighter HD brows shade works better if I’m not wearing a lot of other make up.


Bourjois Blush Pastel Joues in Rose De Jaspe

I have literally been using this blusher for most of my adult life. It’s the perfect soft pink to make you look healthy and glowing, and can do a bit of sculpting too if necessary. It also seemingly lasts forever, which seems a bad marketing move on the part of Bourjois….



Besame Classic Colour Lipstick in Red Velvet and Dusty Rose

I have tried ALL THE LIPSTICKS. So far I’ve reviewed 14 different brands, and I’ll still review any others that come my way. But this lipstick, in these 2 shades, have found a permanent home in my make up bag. I not only love how pretty it is (and it doesn’t scratch and get ruined in a handbag either) I love how long lasting the colour is. Red Velvet is a gorgeous deep, rich red, but not too dramatic for everyday wear, and dusty rose is a neutral rose shade that’s great for when red seems like hard work and very flattering on my skin.


And at the moment it all lives in here. Which is a vanity case I got last Christmas as a Crabtree and Evelyn gift set.

Vanity Case

After a year of constant use (I travel at least 2 days a week) it’s starting to come undone at the seams a little, so I’m looking out for a replacement. I’d love a little vintage vanity case. But I’m quite fussy about where I keep my make up being clean and I’ve yet to find one in my price range (next to nothing) that doesn’t come full of dust or other peoples stains. As ever, patience is a virtue and one day it’ll turn up, I have faith!

What are the essentials in YOUR make up bag?


17 Responses
  • Kate Collison
    January 18, 2013

    Gemma – I also got the same HD brow kit in a Glossy Box – I have literally touched the tip of one brush into one colour once – do you want it? I won’t use it given my wee Geisha girl eye brows.

    • Gemma
      January 18, 2013

      Oooh, yes! I love it! thanks!

  • Perdita
    January 18, 2013

    Rimmel hide-the-blemish and good old Maybelline mascara are my must haves. First bought them in the 90s and never looked back. Oh, and Max Factor creme puff powder which I sometimes use instead of foundation.

    • Gemma
      January 19, 2013

      ah, rimmel hide the blemish! I used to use that, I find most concealers too heavy and cakey though these days. Dunno why! I also use creme puff occasionally.

  • Porcelina
    January 18, 2013

    Always interesting to see inside others’ make up bags!!

    I can’t live without:
    Dior sourcils poudre brow pencil
    Max Factor translucent creme puff powder
    Mascara in general! Currently using Besame mascara for day (very natural looking), and Boots No7 Exceptional Definition or Benefit Badgal Lash for more oomph

  • LandGirl1980
    January 18, 2013

    Fab post – I love having a rummage in other peoples make-up bags 🙂 Mine are :Rimmel 25 hour foundation in Ivory; Stila powder (of which I cannot recall the shade – I got a box of three from the £1, but shall be purchasing once they have run out), Barry M red lip liner (lasts for AGES) MAC Russian Red lippy. Everything else I am fickle purchaser. *oooh! its new AND improved! LET. ME. AT. IT*

    • LandGirl1980
      January 18, 2013

      *…from the £1 SHOP* sigh

      • Gemma
        January 18, 2013

        I knew what you meant :o) Will have to try that lip liner!

  • SlayerKat
    January 18, 2013

    My fave foundation is from Dermalogica the only foundation i have ever used that doesnt cause me acne

  • Ann Courtney
    January 18, 2013

    Mascara – I can’t be without it but over the years I have tried dozens of “waterproof” ones and many fall far short of the mark. I’ll keep searching! Gale Hayman lip liner moves from handbag to handbag too.

  • Charlotte
    January 18, 2013

    Ooh thanks, very helpful – I’ve been trying to decide which eyeliner to try after my current one runs out!

    xx Charlotte

  • Joanna Hehn
    January 19, 2013

    I share your love of Bourjour blusher and and now have a Besame lipstick, partly based on your reviews. As I am trying to find a decent replacement eyeliner I will give your favourite a go. Thanks for your reviews and isn’t it time for a new lipstick one!

  • Andrea Peace
    January 19, 2013

    I have just found a great new vanity case for my makeup in the Boots sale (website sold out – in store only) got it for half price The Betty and Walter products smell gorgeous and the designs are fantastic

  • Andrea Peace
    January 20, 2013

    Finally bought a Besame lipstick yesterday after reading this – fingers crossed I like it as much as the rest of the world!

  • Mim McDonald (@crinolinerobot)
    January 20, 2013

    Rimmel Soft Kohl eye pencil. I have been using the black version for over 20 years. I bought a gel liner this weekend as I’d heard they were really good and wanted to try one, but I also got a new pencil in case I wanted to carry on with that instead!

    Boots No 7 pressed powder in Translucent and Benefit Erase Paste concealer are the other two things I wear every day. I’m also fanatically loyal to a couple of moisturising products.

  • Matilda
    January 26, 2013

    I love getting to know what other people have in their make-up bags!

    The number one item I can’t live without is Lily Lolo mineral foundation. My skin is far from perfect but I get lots of compliments about my skin since I began using it two years ago and one pot lasts me over six months. Close second for make-up I can’t live without is Mac matte lipstick in Ruby Woo and Viva Glam I. I used Dr Hauschka liquid eyeliner for years and loved it but now I’m on a budget I use Rimmel glam eyes. I do need a good eyebrow shadow – currently using the cheapest brown eyeshadow I could find, works ok.

    • Margaret
      January 28, 2013

      This has been incredibly helpful, because I’ve been looking for some new make-up to try out and experiment with for a while now. I think I’ll definitely see if I can find that L’oréal True Match Minerals foundation anywhere around here, because I’ve been meaning to buy a decent foundation for a very long time now, but never knew which one was any good.