What you keep in your makeup bag is a personal thing—it can be anything from foundation to makeup-removing wipes to family heirlooms. (I keep bobby pins in a pillbox from my grandmother.) We’re sharing what we have in ours in hopes that one day you’ll receive the same lovely benefits from the products we can’t live without.
Keep scrolling for 20 editor-approved products we’ll never take out of our makeup bags.
I take traveling as an opportunity to try out new products, but the one thing that always comes with me is Tatcha's sunscreen. My skin is oily, but this sunscreen never leaves it looking shiny by midday. In fact, the silky formula feels more like a mattifying primer and leaves a velvet finish behind—the perfect base for my tinted moisturizer or foundation.
Deven has long raved about this unassuming brow pencil, and a few months ago I finally tried it out for myself. Let's just say I've seen the light. As a fairly browless person, it's hard for me to find a product that fills in my brows but doesn't take me to Sharpie-brow status. I've tried every brow product under the sun, and this pencil is the best. It's just the right amount of waxy and makes filling in sparse areas a breeze. I am now fully emotionally reliant on this product, which probably isn't healthy, but at least my brows have benefited from this discovery.
I prefer creams over powders (mainly because of the laziness factor—applying with fingers is just so much easier), but the one exception to the rule is this sculpting palette from Charlotte Tilbury. The highlighter is the best I've ever tried and instantly wakes up my face with one sweep above my cheekbones. It gives you that luminous, light-reflecting, Kardashian-worthy highlight without being over-the-top. The darker shade is perfect for contouring newbies—I take a flat brush and sweep it below my cheekbones. So easy. Trust.
I have to thank my fellow beauty editor friends at Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar for introducing me to this under-the-radar mascara. Most people might associate Rodial with high-end skincare, but its mascara is a secret gem. The soft, fat (but not too fat) brush coats each lash with inky black and makes my thin, sparse lashes look full and thick in just a few swipes.
I have a million highlighters, but if I'm ever editing down my makeup bag, this one always makes the cut. Without fail, whenever I wear it, I get compliments on my skin. Oftentimes, it's all I'll wear with a little mascara and brow pencil.
The tube says foundation, but it's unlike any foundation I've ever used before. The squeeze tube makes it super easy to apply—it's more like a tinted moisturizer, really. The coverage is just a touch above light but also buildable. I feel like it gives my skin this airbrushed finish—it still looks like my skin but like someone took the blur tool over the imperfections. It's replaced all other foundations in my makeup bag.
I don't wear eyeliner often, but when I do, it's this one. I have yet to find another "waterproof" pencil that stays in place like this one does. I don't even bother trying anything else in my waterline. Sabbath is the perfect navy blue—dark enough without being black (which I think looks too harsh on my light features), not too blue, and matte.
I've been a matte makeup girl for as long as I can remember—but recently I've been really obsessed with this subtle, shimmering highlighter. On days when I don't wear lipstick, I love to lightly brush on this candlelit powder along my Cupid's bow and below my lower lip for a plumping effect sans lip product. Truth be told, it's a trick I picked up from a Kendall Jenner–inspired makeup tutorial by famed makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. Plus, who doesn't look good under candlelight?
I've never met a foundation like this one. It feels practically weightless but covers anything and everything. Redness? Gone. Breakouts? Nonexistent. Believe me when I tell you this product is a miracle and a cult favorite in the making. My advice? Buy it and never let go. I know I won't.
My brows are my "thing," so I keep this travel-size gel in my bag no matter what. Even on days when I don't wear makeup (often), I always swipe on a clear gel so my brows look put together. It can make all the difference.
I'm aware that I talk too much about this stuff, but it's seriously my favorite makeup item—another one that gives me anxiety when I'm running low. It just always gives my skin the perfect touch of radiance.
I always have some kind of face mist in my bag—it's the easiest way to give my sensitive, dry skin an instant boost of hydration. (It also keeps my makeup from ever looking cakey.) I literally have a dozen that I rotate through (SK-II's Mid-Day Essence, $80, is also great, as is S.W. Basics' Rosewater Spray, $16), but this gorgeous bottle from my luxe natural skincare guru, May Lindstrom, is my very favorite at the moment. I'm down to inhale the intoxicating scent of jasmine all year, but it feels especially right for spring.
It sounds like such a random staple item—especially for someone like me who does NOT venture out with a "done" face every single day—but this lip liner is as essential to me as concealer or lip balm. It's the only nude lip liner I've found that exactly matches my natural lip color, and since my top lip is just a tad on the thin side, I swipe on one seamless-looking line—it makes such a difference to me. Plus, it goes on so smooth and stays put all day. When they stopped selling it at Sephora, I nearly had an anxiety attack because I thought it was being discontinued. Now I purchase multiples online at Ulta just to make sure I never run out. I am that addicted. (DON'T DISCONTINUE THIS UNICORN OF A LIP PENCIL, TOO FACED—PLEASE AND THANK YOU.)
I can't imagine not applying my foundation with this. Anytime I try to stray and use a brush or my fingers, it's just not the same. I also love that I can use it to lessen the pigment of my blush if it's looking a little too heavy.
I love using this day and night but recently have also found that it makes my foundation look lighter and dewier when I blend it in with it. Just a drop or two will do.
I feel like an eye pencil sharpener is always something I forget to pack when throwing together some products for a trip, so then when my pencil runs low, I always regret not bringing it. It's a must-have in my everyday makeup bag.
The OG of nude palettes. I've been wearing some iteration of a shimmery taupe on my eyelids since middle school (I know), and I love how I can play up my lids by blending in different colors and sculpting the brow bone area. I always run out of the color Sidecar first.
If I open my makeup bag and am somehow missing this product, I invariably release a shrill, horror movie–esque gasp. Out of all the fancy lip balms in the world, I always come back to this simple, hydrating product. I find a tube of this in every jacket pocket and drawer in my house.
Such a versatile tinted brow gel. I use this alone for naturally filled-in feathered brows or in combination with a pencil when I want a bolder look. They're also super teeny—perfect for throwing in your purse or everyday makeup bag.
This pigmented bronzer/highlight duo is my go-to for bringing bronzy, shimmery goodness and dimension to my face. It's also got a nice big mirror, which is useful on the go.
Looking for more editor-approved products? Here are 15 drugstore products Byrdie editors think you should buy.