How to Create the Perfect Capsule Makeup Bag

Discover the only 5 products you need

create-capsule-makeup-bag-banner2photo: Charlotte Tilbury

Words by Sarah Jane Lanagan
February 7th, 2017

We know that when it comes to fashion, a crisp white shirt and tailored coat never go out of style. Similarly, a good pair of jeans can make or break a look. Good staples are the cornerstone of style, which is why brands like COS, Finery and DKNY are so popular. They’ve mastered the basics.

But can the lessons of capsule dressing be applied to our make-up bags? The answer is yes, definitely. The trick is to keep it simple. Create an edit that suits your lifestyle and you won’t go far wrong.

Not sure where to start? Here’s our pick of the best core products.


Much like a good set of lingerie, primer acts as an under layer to your make-up, creating a smooth canvas for foundation to be applied over. There are a variety of formulas available to suit different skin types and concerns on the market from radiance enhancing to mattifying.

If you’re looking for an all rounder that will hydrate, plump and prep skin for the day ahead, our favourite is the cult classic Laura Mercier Foundation Primer (£30). To keep combination or oily skin in check, and improve the wear time of your foundation Make Up Forever Step 1 Skin Equalizer (€33) is a must-have.


We all want fresh, beautiful looking skin. But unless you’re blessed with a naturally luminous complexion, foundation is the next best thing. Heavy, chalky foundations are a thing of the past as newer formulas are being developed all the time. 2017 is set to be the year that cushion foundations become more mainstream in Europe having become a staple in the K-Beauty world. One of the first to arrive on our shores is the lightweight Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Cushion (€39) compact that boasts an impressive SPF50.

Every year, beauty is becoming more science driven and new technologies mean foundation is now more in sync with our skin than ever. One of the latest “smart” formulas to hit the market is Shiseido Synchro Skin Glow Luminizing Foundation ($45), which uses Advanced Sensing Technology to keep water and oil levels balanced in skin so that it glows with health.

create-capsule-makeup-bagphoto: Lancome

Face Palette

A good face palette can be hard to find but it is one of the most useful, time saving, travel friendly products you could wish for. Carefully curated shades that work in harmony together such as the ones in Charlotte Tilbury Limited Edition Instant Look In A Palette (€69) take the hassle out of knowing what will or won’t work, which makes creating your perfect make-up look, child’s play.


Nothing opens up, defines or accentuates eyes and their natural colour quite like mascara. There are endless types on the market now from curling to volumizing, thickening to lengthening and more besides.

For some, budget mascara is the way to go with Rimmel Lash Accelerator Endless (€10.49) being hugely popular thanks to its ability to lengthen, separate and define lashes in one quick sweep. For anyone looking to boost volume, Clarins Supra Volume Mascara (€26) is hard to beat as it contains added nutrients that help to nourish and strengthen lashes for a fuller, more dramatic effect.


Is there anything more chic than a beautiful red lipstick? Find the right one for you, and it will brighten both your eyes and complexion.

It’s impossible to talk red lipstick without mentioning Ruby Woo from MAC (€20). This vibrant, matte red lipstick suits every skin tone from the palest, cool toned porcelain to warm olive to rich ebony. It is a staple in make-up artists’ kits and backstage at runway shows and remains one of MAC’s best selling lip shades of all time.

For those who prefer a more hydrating, satin finish to their lipstick look no further than “Vintage” from the Colour Intense Cream Lipstick collection (£30) by cult UK brand Delilah Cosmetics. The shade is one of the richest, most beautiful reds we’ve ever come across, but perhaps most importantly it feels as good to wear as it looks on.

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