Minimalist Confession: I Have Only 5 Items in My Make Up Bag

Minimalist Confession: I Have Only 5 Items in My Make Up Bag
Carly Jacobs

ou know what really annoys me? Smug minimalists. Mainly because I’m one of them and I can hear myself becoming one of those assholes that brags about the fact that they only have two pairs of shoes and a single towel. At the beginning of the year Mr Smaggle and I cleaned out our teeny tiny apartment so we could rent it out while we’re away. As a result, our house looks like a hotel room. It’s madness.


I’ve spent at least half of this year living out of a suitcase and I’ve since realised I only ever use 5 items in my make-up bag. I had a box of make-up in my bathroom I hadn’t touched in a year and when I got back from my last trip, I’d had it. I threw it away. The title of this post says I have only 5 items in my make up bag but I actually only have 5 items total. This is all the make-up I own in the world.

1. Foundation

I use Dream Matte Wonder foundation. I did a sponsored post for them about 2 years ago and they sent me a bottle to try and I’ve just kept buying it. I’m on to my fourth or fifth bottle now. It’s magic stuff. It’s matte but not drying and it just gives really awesome and even coverage without being cakey. Gosh I love this stuff. I’m so stoked that I can still recommend it two years later. Good blog partner choice Carly – well done.

2. Concealer

I stole my current concealer from a gifted box of products my mate had acquired through her fashion and beauty blog. I really struggle with concealer but I quite like this one – I hate buying concealer so if concealer happens to find itself in my life, I’m very open to that. I can’t tell you what kind it is because the label had worn off, sorry. I dream to one day find the perfect concealer I can buy the way I buy my Dream Wonder but it hasn’t happened yet. One day it will.

3. Mascara

I’m not fussy about mascara. I buy whatever is on sale at the supermarket and apparently the last time I needed mascara, L’Oreal Telescopic was the lucky bugger that fell into my lap. It’s good. I’ve bought it before and I will probably buy it again if it’s on sale when I run out. I wish I cared more about mascara so I could give a good recommendation but I don’t. If you have a favourite mascara, please do let me know.

4. Blush

I had a few NARS blushes years ago which I loved but they don’t travel well and kept breaking every time I got on a plane. I bought this Benefit one a few months ago and it’s been to the US and Europe. So far so good. It’s also totally glimmer and glitter free. An essential in my world. #saynotoglitter

5. Bright pink lipstick

Lipstick is a god send and I found this shade about a year ago and I just bought my second tube. I love it. It’s a Maybelline matte lipstick in a gold square tube and I’ve recommended it to so many people. Its staying power is out of this world and it’s just the perfect fluro pink. Lipstick always makes you look more polished and lippy is the true reason why I only have 5 beauty products in the whole world. You just don’t need much if you’re wearing a bold lip.

Oh and I’ve totally given up on eye-shadow. I still have eye-liner which I bust out every time I watch a Wes Anderson film but eye-shadow just isn’t my bag. I threw away my Naked palette. I wear my smug minimalist crown proudly.

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How many beauty products do you have in your make-up bag? And what are your faves?
Be honest now!


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Are we mates on Facebook yet?


  1. Missy D 1 year ago

    You don’t have a powder to set your foundation?

    I feel I’m pretty simple with my makeup routine, but I do have more than five things:
    – Foundation
    – Powder
    – Eyeliner
    – Mascara (also don’t care about brand with mascaras)
    – Lipstick
    – BB and CC creams (both useful as concealers and when you don’t feel like a full face of makeup)
    – Eyeshadow (have a small five pack of different eyeshadows I use if I’m dressing up)
    – Eyebrow powder

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Nope! I live in Melbourne – nothing like dry air to set your foundation to your face permanently!

  2. Alix 1 year ago

    I’m with you – the less makeup the better. Had to laugh when I watched a video from fash mag the other day about tips to refresh your makeup in the car before a meeting. Their car makeup refresher kit had about 3X as much makeup as I have in total. Hilarious!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh my god they’re so funny aren’t they? Who the heel refreshes their make up during the day? I’d love to have the time but nope!

  3. Steph 1 year ago

    I think im pretty minimal in my daily makeup but i like to include bronzer and eyebrow powder/gel/pencil to your list. Also i like to have liquid eyeliner for going out and eyeshadow pallets for the same

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh actually I have a liquid eyeliner which I love!

  4. chrisatpb 1 year ago

    Carly you would be horrified to see my makeup bag. I am on my annual r&r at the gorgeous Stamford Plaza. I have brought primer, foundation cc cream brow pencil small eyeshadow palette mascara lip primer 2 lippies 2 lip gloss and highlighter. Do I at least get brownie points for using one of my lippies as my blush? Xx

    • chrisatpb 1 year ago

      Ps forgot to list concealer and 6 makeup brushes. I my defence, at pushing 60, a lot more maintenance is required than you young gorgeous things need xxx

  5. Melanie Lindner 1 year ago

    My everyday items are:
    – BB cream (I’m currently using Rimmel Radiance cream but my go-to is Garnier)
    – concealer/illuminator which gets used as needed but not necessarily every day (I think it’s L’Oreal – the label’s worn)
    – mascara (current one is Great Lash but I like Maybelline WonderSoft in brown for a soft day look)
    – brow pencil/gel – good brows make SO MUCH difference
    – Nivea tinted balm

    I also have extras for ‘dressing up’ events or days where I need an extra lift and feel like a play:
    – liquid liner (black and a greenish-gold that brings out the colour in my eyes)
    – cream blush (a Napoleon pink one that came free with a magazine and works well with my complexion)
    – foundation (currently a cream compact that I grabbed last minute when I needed something for my sister’s wedding, which was over 12 months ago so probably time to throw that out!)
    – Nude by Nature mineral powder, which I brush across my nose on shiny days or full face to set make up for a night out
    – Crystal Clear gloss, which I almost never use because my hair always sticks to gloss but it’s nice over my matt lip crayons
    – Nude-pink lip crayon
    – Red lip crayon (I also wear this for day, especially if I’m feeling flat and want a bit of colour to lift my face and mood)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      It seems like lots of people have a ‘day’ and ‘night’ bag for their make up. I have a few night items but it’s pretty much just my liquid eyeliner.

  6. lumay 1 year ago

    I’m fairly streamlined as well. Here’s what I currently carry in my makeup bag everyday
    SPF – currently MyChelle Coconut SPF 28
    foundation/concealer – W3LL PEOPLE Narcissist Foundation Stick
    mascara – currently Josie Mara Black Oil Argan Mascara
    eyeshadow/primer – bareMinerals 5 in 1 BB Cream Shadow
    lipstick – Winky Lux Crush and Ilia Wild Child (neither of which I love; i’m on the hunt for the perfect red for me)

    What I need/want:
    blush – I just tossed my ELF blush, it’s either a Lily Lolo pressed blush or a W3LL PEOPLE Universalist stick
    liquid liner – I am anxiously awaiting the launch of W3LL PEOPLE’s liquid eyeliner
    eye shadow – Like you, I don’t wear it, but I always think that I need one or two interesting shades

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh yes! I didn’t count sunscreen – I’m a 50 plus gal!

  7. Amanda @ Gourmanda 1 year ago

    Foundation. Lip balm. Full stop.

    If I want a ‘full face’, I also own one red lipstick and mascara.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      ‘Full face’ usually means lipstick for me too! 🙂

  8. “I threw away my Naked palette” . . . clutch the pearls!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      I didn’t actually throw it away – I gave it to my bestie! I did throw my other one away though because it was really gross.

  9. LaQueta A 1 year ago

    Love this. I’m with you on minimalism, particularly with makeup. I recently had my eyelashes permed and dyed so I wouldn’t need to put on mascara. So that leaves me with an awesome concealer I found that can also double as a foundation when you don’t need a lot of coverage. (RMS Beauty) I have a foundation on hand for days I need something more. Otherwise I also use RMS Beauty’s cream blush and an eyebrow pencil. That’s it! On a SUPER special occasion I will break out some eyeliner. But that is RARE. And I pretty much hate eyeshadow. At least on me. Some people wear it beautifully though! 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh that sounds like something I’d like! I really want my eyebrows to be permanently died. I hate making body maintenance be a thing.

  10. Em 1 year ago

    I have soooo many but daily face is pretty simple.

    Garnier Miracle Cream which is like a tinted moisturiser. I don’t like a full face of makeup on the regular so this one is basically just moisturiser that turns to the colour of your skin on application. A fabulous gifted product a few years back that I just keep buying!

    Mascara is whatever is on sale, haha. Right now I’m using an Estée Lauder one that was a free gift with a Cosmopolitan mag! Bahaha.

    For brows I used Benefit’s Gimme Brow which is a fiber filler. It’s so easy. Or Maybelline’s dupe which is also good.

    For cheeks I use Lush’s Charisma skin tint, it’s warm and dewy and lucious.

    For lips it’s whatever colour I’m feeling but I normally gravitate towards Maybelline or Revlon.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh I had that stuff I loved but I couldn’t get the shade I needed at my local supermarket.

  11. Kelly Isaacs 1 year ago

    Oh I wish I could be a minimalist – I would too enjoy being smug about it. But when it comes to make up, I have at least 5 products per category at least. Enjoy your smugness … I am totally jealous!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      I’m getting better and better at it. I’m like – don’t need this! Don’t need that! All over it.

  12. Mary J 1 year ago

    Ha, my usual make up bag is the size of a change purse – eyeliner, brow brush tint stuff, mascara, lipstick. I think there is also an eyeshadow, very pale, and a concealer (I think). I do my makeup in the car on the school run. In my room I have a lot more bumff in another makeup bag and a drawer. Sometimes it gets some use! Got too lazy to bother with bb cream or anything else on a daily basis. I do like the transformation that comes with my minimal approach though, and get totally amazed when I do put on the Full Face.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      I have quite strong features so I always look a bit drag queen like if I go over board – must be careful!

  13. amandasettle 1 year ago

    The older I get the more I realise how much better I look without make-up just wish I’d realised it when I was a teenager trying to hide my beautiful skin!
    Daily I pit on Korres SPF50 sunscreen face cream yoghurt and Forever Aloe Lips with jojoba. For nights out I’ve got maybelline lash sensation mascara in black and a very old bright pink shiny lipgloss a gift from a girlfriend when I was travelling a while ago and forgot mine the name has rubbed off now… We really don’t need all those chemicals on our faces!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh lord yes the labels always rub off and I have no idea where they’re from!

  14. loupammac 1 year ago

    My makeup is as follows: one bottle of Bobbi Brown foundation (a splurge that actually matches my skin) and matching concealer, Bodyshop BB cream which I wear on days I don’t want full coverage, face powder, one mascara, one lipstick, and a NYX eye shadow stick in a gold-neutral colour. I have one small eyeshadow look from Maybelline if I’m feeling very fancy. Job done!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh I didn’t even think about Bodyshop stuff! I’ll definitely have a look at it.

  15. missellie13rdi 1 year ago

    Sadly none of the brands you have mentioned are cruelty free 🙁

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      L’oreal used to be cruelty free but apparently didn’t update their registration so that might be why they are no longer on the list? I’m a staunch supporter of the environment, marriage equality and blood and organ donation so it’s good to be reminded of other important things to remember.

  16. Autumn 1 year ago

    I’m pretty minimal, light foundation, blush (definitely not glittery) mascara and lip balm. Eyeshadow occasionally and eyeliner very infrequently.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Yeah exactly – I was so into eye shadow but now I’m like ‘nup’!

  17. Jamie 1 year ago

    I’ve been paring down my makeup recently, but I definitely still have more than 5 things. 🙂 Everyday I use a BB or CC cream (right now it’s a Smashbox one), concealer (Garnier eye-roller ball thing), blush (a plummy one with a highlighter mixed in), and mascara (I switch between a burgundy Clinique one and a black Lancôme one). If I’m feeling pale or like I need more definition, I might add some eyebrow pencil or eyeliner, and I have a few lipsticks and glosses in various shades. My BFF always gets me a Sephora gift card for my birthday, so I usually treat myself to one or two little things, but I get things I like so I’ll use them up. Makeup is fun during the week (or when I’m going to an event or party), but I also relish my weekends or nights in when I don’t wear a stitch of it! 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      What a great BFF that’s a perfect birthday present. I’m very barefaced most of the time. Just some foundation, blush and mascara and I’m good to go.

  18. Hannah 1 year ago

    Not to be too smug, but my make-up regimen is comprised of applying ChapStick throughout the day and a few quick swipes with a mascara wand if I’m feeling especially tired-looking. If I’m getting dressed up to go to a wedding or some such event, I might pull out my Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation, some eye shadow and a colored lip gloss, but that’s really about it. I really just like my face to feel clean and can’t be bothered to take the time for make-up. Haha! Not too feminine of me, I suppose, but that’s the way it is!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      That is super smug! Love it. I’m pretty sure my mother’s make-up regime is the same.

  19. Vehs 1 year ago

    I was traveling a lot for work earlier this year and had packed light for ‘corporate face’. I realised a few months ago I had been wearing the same stuff since then as I didn’t incorporate my travel make up with my regular stash – so I’ve kept doing it. NYX jumbo eye stick in french fries (?!) and a dusty rose lip and dupe NARS orgasm blush. I don’t know why I still have drawers and drawers full of eye shadow?!
    It makes getting ready in the morning a breeze

  20. Kamina 1 year ago

    I don’t wear makeup during the day. Unless I am planning an instagram photo with a close up of my face (srsly, I plan for that). This is what’s in my makeup bag for a big night out:

    – BB cream (I don’t do foundation)
    – Blusher – I still use the same one that I bought for stage makeup when I was an eisteddfod kid…in 1992. I am not exaggerating. I have been using the same blusher for 24 YEARS WHAT BOTTOMLESS DEVIL PRODUCT IS THIS
    – Eyeliner…occasionally
    – Eyeshadow – I have a pallet of like 30 colours that I bought about eight years ago and it’s still going strong
    – Mascara, although I don’t know why I bother because my eyelashes are long anyway, so long that I inevitably end up accidentally painting under my eyebrow with the mascara brush EVERY TIME
    – Lipstick. Red.

    To be super honest and correct, I own two shades of lipstick and occasionally I will wear either one during the day with no other makeup. But most days I just re-apply Hurraw Black Cherry tinted lip balm about fifty times.

    The amazing part about this is that my face looks like a pretty good face and other girls apparently think I am one of those girls who has my shit together, style-wise, so I think the whole makeup thing is a bit of a scam and we should instead focus on distracting people from our faces with other surprising style elements like big shiny hair and double, triple and quadruple denim (which I do a LOT).

    P.S. I heart your blog and I’m happy I found it. I enjoy so little of what is written on the internet. I like yours a lot.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 year ago

      Oh my goodness what a lovely compliment! You are so lovely! xx

  21. grungehippy 1 year ago

    considering I never wear make up unless I am going out, an inordinate amount! Love benefit products though. My 10 y.o daughter is better at make up than me and does my face now if I am going out. Sephora is her happy place. Me? Could care less.


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