Simple Make-up Bag

green minimal makeup, natural beauty, skincare, better life cosmetic bag
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I've never been much of a makeup-user. Kind of loses my credibility when I'm talking makeup, huh? Well, it's true. On the flipside, maybe I gain a little credibility to the world of minimalist makeup.

I probably won't share much else on makeup, so here it goes... my take on minimalist makeup, what's in my makeup bag, and tips for healthy (and minimalist) makeup wearing.

Why to Reduce Makeup

I don't see anything inherently wrong with wearing makeup, and I wear more now than I used to. However, evaluating my years of hit-and-miss use, I've realized there are a few reasons I continue to aim for less makeup.


Without going into my long history with acne, I'll just sum up that makeup usually makes it worse. It's partly the products and partly the brushes; they join together to cause unnecessary breakouts. My daily routine includes products that don't make me breakout, and I'm sure to remove all the makeup at the end of the day often with a baby wipe and/or a gently oil cleanser. I also have a spray with 50/50 witch hazel and water and drops of tea tree, frankincense, and lavender essential oils that I use to spray on my face morning and night and sometimes even on my pillow before bed.


We all probably started wearing makeup with a little eye shadow and some lip gloss. Before long we'd start spending an hour primping in front of the mirror tweezing little hairs that the naked eye wouldn't see, covering every blemish with a couple coats of makeup, and enhancing our natural features with All The Makeup. And then we feel embarrassed when someone sees us for the first time without all of it, because, well, we look quite a bit different.

Want in on a secret?

You're beautiful without all of that. Even if you don't change your makeup habits, that just needs to be said.


It doesn't matter how much companies advertise "natural" and "organic," it's generally not entirely true. Unless you're ready to use strawberries for lip color and raspberries for blush, "all natural" is a myth. True, we can choose healthier products. But there's no way around it: Makeup isn't generally natural. So less is more.

My Simple Makeup Bag

I don't have a Better Life Bag (the gorgeous bag photographed above), but here's what fills my simple cosmetic bag (updated 6/2016 to include more than shown in photo)...

Makeup for Everyday

For everyday I use to use minimal if any makeup. Then my age started showing on my face and especially around my eyes, so I upped my routine with the "5-minute face" (a la What Not to Wear). I feel more pulled together and professional with these daily basics.

lips | Burt's Bees Beeswax + neutral lipstick
face | Physician's Formula Tinted Moisturizer with SPF + blush
eyes | lash curler + concealer + smudge cream + mascara

Makeup for Special Occasions

A couple "spotlight" events got me searching YouTube for ideas to easily up my makeup game. When I've got a special occasion or a reason to wear a little more makeup, I use the above daily routine/products and add the following.

lips | brown liner + C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine
face | bronzer + homemade mineral veil
eyes | trio eye shadow + eye liner + eyebrow pencil

Tips for Healthy + Minimal Makeup-Wearing

Choose a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy lifestyle helps our appearances more than we care to admit. Plus, the results are lasting. Drink lots of water, get your beauty rest, de-stress, eat fruits and veggies. (Green smoothie, anyone?) Our faces and bodies are trying to tell us something if we'd just stop covering it up long enough to listen.

Ask the doctor.

Okay, so few of us would actually ask our doctors about makeup (unless we're talking to a dermatologist), and few doctors would probably know exactly how to respond. Instead, browse Dr. Oz' The Price of Beauty for information on the health effects of makeup. (My assumptions about mineral powder are right: it's not necessarily better to breathe in those unhealthy minerals everyday.)

Check products on the database.

Skin Deep is a cosmetics database where you can find hazard/toxicity ratings for many products. Start with looking up your current favorites (be ready for high hazard ratings), then search brands you might want to try. Be sure to check specific products and colors. Just because some products of a brand have a low rating, doesn't mean they all do.

Branch out.

Just about all of the accessible brands (the ones on TV, in magazines, or lining the drug store makeup isles) have moderate to high toxicity ratings. I've come to love the low-hazard products in Physician's Formula (not all are low-hazard), and Bare Minerals has some great low-hazard products. For ideas of non-mainstream cosmetics, see the healthy products featured on this >> Pure Makeup blog.

Use less.

The definition of less will differ for each person. I stay home with my kids and could get away with no makeup if I want. Most days I do at least the tinted moisturizer with SPF, which is as much about protecting my face as it is to improve its appearance. Think about how much you think you need, then try using a little less. Maybe concealer for trouble spots but not all over? An easy smudge pot for eyes rather than multi-layered eye shadow? Or go without on a day you're staying in? Leave All The Makeup for special occasions, and use less on a daily basis.


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