My Minimalist Makeup Bag

I have pretty serious voyeuristic tendencies, and I’ll shamelessly sift through my friends’ makeup bags and dresser drawers to see what they use regularly.

Here’s what I have in my makeup bag – I have a lot more makeup than this, but it’s the things I use on most days and it’s also all I brought with me for a 6-week visit to Australia.


For makeup-free days I have Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF50+ Tinted Aquafluid, R250 (the name is either changing to BB Cream, or it’s called BB Cream in other countries).

Foundation-wise I’ve become a big fan of Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF15, R510. It has a gorgeous dewy finish that has never looked flat, and has really impressed me – I didn’t expect the combo-skin formulation to work on my dry skin.

When I need concealer I use Maybelline Instant Age Eraser Concealer, R180 (SO happy to see it’s available in SA, I’ve been muling it in for years). It blends like a dream, but you may have to set with powder on hot days/if you’re prone to creasing.

A few of my makeup bag essentials: Pretty by Flormar Eyebrow Mascara, MAC Eye Pencil in Coffee, Clinique Even Better Foundation, Maybelline The Rocket Volum’ Express Mascara, Maybelline Instant Age Eraser Concealer, Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow in On and On Bronze, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil in Zero, Becca Shimmering Highlighter in Moonstone.


For blush I use Maybelline Face Studio Blush in Rose Madison, Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso or Collection Soft Glow Blush in Trouble. Sadly it seems like the Maybelline shade has been discontinued, and neither of the latter two are available in SA. Moving right along then.

While we’re on the topic of products no longer available in SA: I keep a travel sized Becca highlighter in Moonstone in my makeup bag. It’s a gorgeous golden champagne colour, and the glow is phenomenal.


I’ve been using Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyestudio in On and On Bronze/Bad to the Bronze (depending on which country you buy it from) for years. It has a brilliant texture and it’s an amazing pewter/gold shade, and I’ve made it my job to buy it in every country I go to where its available.

With that I sometimes use a deep bronzy, rust-coloured shade. You can get them anywhere, the one I have at the moment is No 285 Tahitian Pearl from the Sephora colour range.

My all-time favourite mascaras are from Maybelline. I’ve tried so many over the years but I always default back to my old faithful. At the moment I’m using The Rocket Volum’ Express which isn’t my favourite-favourite from the range – I prefer the good old Volum’ Express in the yellow tubes.

I bought 6 variants when they were half price on Dis-Chem’s Black Friday sale, which means I stocked up for the next year and a half for under R500. Massive score. They’re R140 at full price, which is still a great value for how amazing they are.

not another poppie everyday makeup

For eyeliner I either use MAC eye pencil in Coffee, R295 (very dark cool brown) or Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil in Zero, R270 (it’s black). I find these are least likely to smudge (Urban Decay wins), and because I mostly can’t be bothered with setting powder I’m fussy with liners.

I always need a brow gel to keep my very unruly eye verandas under control, but I’m not too fussy or brand loyal with this. I recently bought an eyebrow mascara from Pretty by Flormar, a brand I’ve never heard of before (a whopping R80 from Foschini here). The shade is great, and the tiny wand makes it very easy to work with – I’ll buy it again.


I’m not adding lip products here as lipstick is never in my makeup bag – it’s always in my handbag and more often than not I wear lip balm or a lip oil.

Do you have any non-negotiable staples? Please tell us!




  1. Jan 14, 2020 / 2:24 PM

    There is a legit Milani site now, and they sell Luminoso!!!! I recently finished mine and need to repurchase!

    I actually finished my On & On Bronze and haven’t been able to replace it, but I do have a By Terry Ombre Blackstar from Metropolitan Cosmetics in the shade Bronze Moon and it’s almost a dupe (just a pricier one, but I like the fact it’s in a big pencil rather than a pot).

    My absolute staples are a good foundation (I’ve recently been loving the Esse one as it’s a skincare foundation and contains pre and probiotics, plus adds a gorgeous glow that I don’t even mind on my combo skin) and a bronzer (the Catrice Sun Lover Glow one is amazing). I only use these 2 most days, and even use a little bronzer in the crease and lower lash line of my eyes to kind of add some dimension. I do have lash extensions which makes life easier lol!

    • Chantelle Bester
      Jan 15, 2020 / 4:44 AM

      Good to know about the Milani site, thanks! Just bought a good stash of On and On bronze as well as a couple of new Maybelline shades – v excited to wear them. And that esse foundation sounds great.

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