10 Budget-Friendly Makeup Bag Must-Haves

I work from home, but I am often traveling or spending the day zipping from segments to meetings to events in nearby New York City. Because I’m usually away from my home office for hours (or days) at a time, my purse is packed with things like a laptop, chargers, a notebook, water, a snack, etc. Not much room left for a makeup bag, but I like to have a few essentials with me so I can freshen up, or even get camera-ready for an unexpected segment in a pinch! Here are some of my budget-friendly makeup bag basics that go the distance.

I like to have a few essentials with me so I can freshen up, or even get camera-ready for an unexpected segment in a pinch! Here are some of my budget-friendly makeup bag basics that go the distance. #beautyproducts #bestmakeup #makeuptips #bestproducts

1. Face spray

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs & Rosewater ($12 for a 4oz. and 2oz.)

I love carrying this rosewater face spray with me for three reasons. 1) It refreshes and hydrates my skin 2) the scent energizes me and lifts my spirits and 3) when I’m done with a TV segment and still have other commitments, I spritz it over my heavy TV makeup and blot with a tissue. It helps lighten the coverage of the makeup while keeping my skin looking fresh. I also love Badescu’s Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea if rosewater is not your thing.

2. Eye drops

Clear Eyes Maximum Redness Relief Eye Drops ($9.83 for 3)

Redness-relieving eye drops lubricate my eyes and remove redness if my eyes are feeling dry or scratchy after a flight or a long day in the city. Just a tiny drop makes me look much more awake and lively! You don’t want to over use eye drops, but these really do the trick when you need them.

3. Face Powder/Makeup

PÜR 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup Foundation with SPF 15 ($29.50)

I know…$29.50 isn’t really budget-friendly, but because this product is so useful, it’s budget-friendly in my book. After all, it’s a foundation, face powder & sunscreen, all in one! And the SPF is extra important because I’ve developed this troublesome sensitivity to most sunscreens (they make my eyes burn). This mineral SPF works perfectly. This 4-in-1 product is also purported to function as a concealer, but for my age and skin type, I prefer to use something creamier.

4. Concealer

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Concealer ($6.05)

This concealer is great for touching up when I’m out and about. It has its own applicator sponge and the tube is firm so it can’t be squished and release product all over your bag (ever had that happen with a soft squeeze tube??). The formula is creamy without being oily, and it really stays put. 

5. Lip Gloss

Physician’s Formula PH-Matchmaker Lip Gloss ($9.89 at Walgreens.com – also available for $34.35 for 3 at Amazon)

This creamy lip gloss functions like a mood lip gloss, turning color based on your PH. On me, it’s a pretty pink. I love it because it stains my lips a bit, so even after eating or drinking, some color remains. The packaging is also fantastic – there’s a mirror on the side and the tube lights up so you can even apply it in the dark! You can even put a tiny dab on your cheeks for a natural-looking flush!

*Note: My sense is that this is discontinued because it’s not available in stores. I’m on the hunt for a new option that is more accessible, so I’ll keep you posted!   

6. Eyeliner

L’Oréal Paris Makeup Infallible Never Fail Pencil Eyeliner ($6.76)

The perfect makeup bag eye liner, this pencil has great wear, never needs sharpening, and it has a little smudger on one end if you’re aiming for a smokey look. I keep this with me if an evening event or TV segment pops up while I’m out and about.

7. Moisturizer

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($5.61 for 3/1oz.)

This lotion is a miracle. I can pat it on over makeup if my skin is feeling dry (even around my eyes!) and it’s a great cream to reduce dryness on hands, elbows, knees and heels.  If you’re cringing, trust me – it’s the ONE lotion I would use on my face and body. Here’s a link to the larger size if you already have a travel bottle!

8. Deodorant

Savvy Travelers Antiperspirant Deodorant Wipes ($10.50)

You know those days when you’re running around and realize that you forgot deodorant?  Just for those moments, I always carry one of these handy wipes with me! They cleanse and freshen, and prevent further perspiration.

9. Tissues

Pockette Premium Tissues ($15.19 for 10 packs)

You never know when you’ll need a tissue! I like these because the pack is smaller than typical travel tissues, they are 4-ply and they come in scents like Mint and Lavender. 

10. Hand Sanitizer

Nano Pure Next Generation Hand Sanitizer ($6.99 for 2)

This spray bottle of hand sanitizer is a must, especially if you’re taking public transportation. The bottle is super slim and one pump will kill 99.9% of germs on contact and apparently forms a germ barrier for 24 hours.  I like the sound of that!

Happy shopping!


In exchange for rounding up these deals for my readers, I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. 

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