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My small bathroom, however, was a challenge I was putting off. It has only a tiny amount of storage space and very little countertop surface, which means I’ve been keeping some of my essential makeup and personal care items in a small travel dopp kit that I have to stash on the toilet tank when I’m not using it (people with pedestal sinks know this pain), with the rest of my makeup shoved into a second bag in my hall closet. It was extremely tiresome digging around in that bag, and the back-and-forth to the closet got old fast.
Then a friend came to visit. She’d packed a very attractive Béis cosmetics case, and I was reminded that I didn’t actually have to live in tiny-bag frustration. I didn’t really want to pay for a Béis, so I set out to find a makeup case that would work for me: big enough to hold all my makeup in one place, with enough built-in organization that I wouldn’t have to root around to find things but not so much that I couldn’t arrange things the way I want to; soft-sided to fold away if necessary, but well-built enough to stand on its own; and compact enough that I can still leave it out when I don’t have company. (As such, it was also extremely important that that it zip closed to protect my brushes and products from germs.)
The Ocheal large makeup organizer comes in a wipeable, waterproof or water-resistant fabric; some colors are quilted. Most importantly, it’s got two detachable and reversible dividers, each with pockets on one side and elastic holders on the other, so you can totally customize how you want to organize your makeup (or not).
It’s also got an additional mesh pocket in the center and an elasticized section for makeup brushes that has a fastening protective PVC cover and a zippered pocket underneath. I was delightfully surprised to find that the bottom of the bag is actually a fold-down partition that’s covered in easy-to-clean transparent PVC in case of spills. The organizer is lightweight enough that I could throw it in a weekender bag or pack it when traveling, and it can also collapse flat if I need to store it away for a while.
Basically, this brand thought of everything. I’ve been using this bag for a few weeks now, and all my previous annoyances are gone. But although I landed on this model and size with no regrets (it’s about 9.8 inches wide and 7 inches tall and deep), I also ran across a few others that would have fit the bill nicely if my requirements weren’t so tied to my specific situation. If this large-ish bag isn’t for you, you may find one of these other options is perfect:
A Béis cosmetics case with its own mirror
I really love my friend's Béis cosmetics case, and so does she. It's got an attractive smooth PU exterior, a storage pocket for its own folding mirror, and a removable, pop-out brushes holder with a large zippered pocket on its back side. With one large main compartment, it's about 9.5 inches wide, 7 inches deep and 4 inches high. It's currently available in 11 colors that coordinate with the brand's luggage and other accessories.
Promising review: "Love love this product. Totally perfect for my cosmetics and brushes and fits everything! The thickness and quality is amazing. The mirror is a plus too." — Stephanie M.
This Ocheal bag has elasticized brush holders with a protective transparent PVC cover, a waterproof exterior, a pouch pocket and one length-wise removable divider that has both pockets and elastic bands for organization. At 9.4 inches wide, 6.5 inches deep and 4.7 inches high, it can hold a surprising amount and is lightweight and portable for home and travel. I ended up keeping the larger Ocheal bag for daily home use, but only because of my personal preference for one more divider. It stands up on its own, but folds flat for storage.
Promising review: "I didn't realize how much make-up I had until I had to take what I wanted with me on our travels. I was skeptical that this wouldn't be big enough. There's plenty of room and I could fit much more in here if I had to. The brush space is the perfect amount for the brushes that you need. The pockets hold a lot more than it looks like. the color is simple and this is sturdy. It's been thrown around while traveling and everything is fine." — Kaitlynd Ackerman
I ordered this bag to try and really liked it as a travel option, and it'd also be a great daily use model for people who don't need dividers or a huge cavernous bag (if I pare my products down one day, I'll buy it again!). It comes with a detachable inner zip pocket and in a very nice water-resistant PU leather that feels great to the touch. With a width of 9 inches and depth of 6.7, it's got a very handy height of 3.5. Not too big, and not too small — just right for makeup and skin care on the go. In addition to this cool gray-blue, it also comes in black, taupe, mint and pink.
Promising review: "I really like the removable inner pouch. The bag itself is large enough to hold my cosmetics with brushes in the slots on the lid. I really like that this allows me to remove them from my travel bag so I can take the makeup only when I want it. My travel bag was just an uncontrollable mess with the makeup in it also. The color is very nice and matches the pink of my travel bag. The material feels very nice; thick and well sewn. This is the perfect bag for me." — Diane
A soft-sided case with a flip-up removable brush organizer
Like the Béis case, this wildly affordable rectangular bag has a brush organizer that's removable. When attached, it serves as a partition with organizational pockets on the underside; you can just flip it up or down to access what you want (one user stores mascara tubes in the brush pockets). It has a textured PU exterior and waterproof PU floor and is 9.3 inches wide and 3.6 inches tall — a pretty packable size. Grab it in one of eight colors.
Promising review: "This bag is perfect for my cosmetics and traveling. I love the different compartments and that I'm able to store brushes, mascara, etc separately in their own pocket. Lots of storage without the bulk or a hefty price!" — M Doebrich
A big bag with so much bonus organization that everything will have its own place
If the idea of every single tube having its own slot thrills your mega-organized heart, check out this large bag with a bonus pocket in front that unzips to reveal a lipstick storage area with even more pockets for compacts, palettes and wipes (each pocket is lined with PVC for easy cleanup). That's in addition to the big main compartment with two adjustable pocketed and elasticized dividers and a top brush compartment with a PVC protective cover. This bag is 10.5 inches wide and 7.5 inches deep and tall, so it'll fit a ton of makeup, and it comes in three colors.
Promising review: "Got a little worried when it arrived flat. But it perked right up once I took it out of the clear plastic. Purchased it as part of a bridal gift for my friend. It looks exactly like the photo. Really surprised at how much fits in it. This honeymoon emergency pack will definitely be loved for years to come." — Cyn
A quilted train case with mirror from Tartan + Twine
This two-layered train case from organizer brand Tartan + Twine at Ulta has a top layer with six brush compartments and a mirror; the bottom is one large main compartment with a matching inner polka dot liner that's light enough to help you spot your products. The tassel pulls give it a little extra swag and a top handle means it's easy to grab on the go. At 10.5 inches wide, 7 inches deep and 4.75 high, it's roomy enough to use at home and packable enough to use, well, on a train.
A buyer-beloved dopp-style organizer in three sizes
If you love a dopp-style organizer or have a narrow spot for storing your toiletries, this clever bag from Bagsmart works great for both makeup or grooming items. With a waterproof pocket for keeping damp and wet items separate, it's also got a zip-open lay-flat panel with elastics for securing brushes, razors, toothbrushes and more. The double-zip design keeps the main section open and items easily accessible, and the waterproof exterior prevents splashes from ruining your stuff. It's available in basic, standard (shown) and large sizes, and Amazon reviewers love them: The bag has a 4.7-star rating from more than 14,000 reviews.
Promising review: "My dear mother got me some premier label leather toiletry bag, whose sole features include both just large capacity and one (1) zipper pouch. Sorry mom, but a new bag is in town. This bag contains multiple compartments which make it a dream for organizing your things. Q-tips, nail clippers, trimmers, tweezers, and clipper shaver heads all have a home here. The main compartment is spacious and great for your main "everyday" items, like deodorant/toothbrush/toothpaste/etc. The double zippered opening for it lets it act like a handle, and while it doesn't feel like it you really can use it as such to move it around as you see fit (like to move it around when it's time to pack for your trip or you're just moving it to the side because you're staying for a while). The wet compartment is a nice feature too. No longer do I have to obsessively dry out loofahs for transportation (I still pat them dry, but I'm resting assured that it's still fine in the wet compartment). It's also large enough to accomodate a full bottle of body wash." — Nick
An oblong bag for people who also have to use the unspeakable place as a shelf
Look, I'm not proud of the fact that I have so little surface space in my bathroom that I set things on the toilet tank; I'm just resigned to it. This organizer has the exact right shape for that, so if you find yourself in the same situation, well, I won't tell. The velcro partition can be moved around, and there's a handy zippered pocket under the three-sectioned brush organizer in the lid. It's just under 11 inches wide and 6 inches deep with a height of 4.8, and in addition to black, it also comes in pink and beige. (One reviewer notes it's also a great organizer for hobby items!)
Promising review: "I bought the large size in black and it's perfect as my everyday makeup bag, fits everything I use on the daily and still has some room to add more." — JJ
Once again, this is the makeup organizer I settled on for daily use. It's 7 inches deep and tall and just under 10 inches wide — big enough that my things don't fill it. But I really, truly love the fact that my foundation can stand upright, and I don't have to dig around in it for minutes on end trying to find what I want. Because of its capacity, pockets and elastics, everything remains easily visible. I love that the PVC brush protector also keeps the rest of my products from being dirtied by my brushes, and I can switch the dividers around so the central section is bigger or smaller as needed. It's so easy to clean, easy to move around and just plain magically practical. Others agree, to the tune of a 4.7-star rating on Amazon.
Promising review: “I think this isthe best most convenient makeup bag I’ve ever owned! It’s perfect just for what I needed. Holds all my makeup and it keeps it very organized, it allows me to set it up just about anywhere. I can do my make up in my bed, the car !!, the kitchen table lol without having to dig through, and it helps keep everything in place when I’m doing my makeup around my toddler ! Can easily put away when I’m done, good for the price- perfect makeup bag for on the go." — Jackie Alvarado