Cosmetics storage, three ways.

HELLO THERE! I just got back from a trip to San Francisco (more about that in my next post!), and while I was there, I became weirdly self-conscious about how my makeup was stored. Even though I don’t do a lot of long-distance traveling, I am constantly making trips back and forth between our house in Newburgh and our apartment in Brooklyn. I guess it would make sense to buy two of everything and not have to take anything with me, but realistically that’s not going to happen — cosmetics are expensive, and I’m super-fickle about which products I like to use on a daily basis…not to mention the life-span of products once they’ve been opened. Two coffee makers? Yes. Two tubes of $32 mascara? Not so much. As a result, I wind up throwing everything in various drawers and boxes when I’m at the apartment, and living out of Ziploc freezer bags when I’m traveling or at the house. Not cute. And much as I like the idea of keeping all of my stuff in clear lucite boxes like Nubby Twiglet, I know I’m just not tidy enough to keep everything looking pristine all the time. (Also, not everything I like to use comes in pretty packaging. Alas.)

Nomess Copenhagen Balsabox

Nomess Copenhagen / Balsabox Personal
Earlier today I came across this cool neon pink and balsa wood storage box by the Danish company Nomess Copenhagen, and it immediately went on my wishlist. It’s actually made up of three boxes, two of which nest inside the largest one. The lid lifts off completely and becomes a standing mirror! Such a great design. It’s not good for traveling, but it’s simple enough to toss stuff in without having to worry about fitting everything into tiny, specialized compartments (I’ve never been able to make those fancy professional train cases work for me). I still need to measure to see if it can fit on the shelves in my bathroom, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be perfect.

Coriumi pouch

Coriumi / Geometric Pattern Pouch
I own another, smaller pouch from the Lithuanian brand Coriumi, and I keep it in my bag at all times to hold tissues, sunglasses, a comb, band-aids and all of the other stuff that would otherwise be floating around loose and getting lost/dirty. It’s really nicely made. I’d like to add this one to my collection to stash all of my makeup when I’m in transit. It’s big enough to hold everything I need without being stuffed to the gills — it’s basically the size of a big Ziploc. Aaaaaaand it doubles as a very pretty fold-over clutch! I usually transport my makeup brushes by rolling them up in a paper towel, which would be easy to nestle at the bottom of the pouch.

IKEA Pallra box

IKEA / Pallra Box + Pokal Tumbler
IKEA has been nailing it lately with their small storage boxes (let us not forget the best box) and this happy yellow round guy is no exception. I haven’t seen the Pallra box in person yet so I’m not sure if the levels are fully separate or if there’s a swivel-hinge on one side (update: no hinges!), but I like that it’s not just one big open space. It’s only $10 and the yellow covering is paper fabric, so it really lends itself to being decorated (I’m picturing potato-stamped white triangles). Round boxes aren’t great for storing brushes, but how cute would that yellow box look paired with this pale pink stoneware cup? Yup.

Speaking of makeup storage and that kind of stuff, someone asked me how I care for my brushes. Nothing to it, really! Once a week or so, I wash them in tepid water and Dr. Bronner’s mild/baby liquid castile soap. I press out most of the water with a dry washcloth, then leave them flat to dry completely overnight — near an open window if possible. I’ve had some of my brushes for more than a decade now, so it must be working out!

OK, now tell me how you store your makeup so I can feel inadequate and disorganized.

28 comments
  1. Christina W.Jun 6, 20133:05 pm

    I don’t do a ton of traveling, but I do have several pouches stocked with necessaries like bobby pins, Q-tips, tweezers, comb, tiny mirror, hand sanitizer etc. I have separate pouches for my purse, work/school bag, and overnight/travel bag. Each one has all of the above items (I own three pairs of tweezers haha) and then I just move the makeup from pouch to pouch depending on what bag I am taking. So it’s really not much to move around since the cheap stuff that I buy in bulk (cotton swabs etc) are in each one already.

    That pouch is the best thing ever, though. Think I might retire one of mine and pick up a new one from that company!

    [Reply]

    Christina W. again! /

    Just realized that the logical response to this is, “why don’t you just have one pouch and move the pouch from bag to bag?” but they are different sizes haha. Travel pouch is big enough to hold moisturizer and face wash and stuff, school/work pouch and purse pouch are pretty similar but I HAVE A POUCH ADDICTION AND I NEED MANY POUCHES, OK?

    Anna @ D16 /

    Hahaha. Believe me, I get it! I also have a pouch addiction. It’s OK. :)

  2. AllisonJun 6, 20133:19 pm

    You really know how to make a post that speaks to my soul.

    For the first time in my adult life, I have a bathroom with drawers in it (so fancy!), so I traded in my Caboodle. (I wasn’t sad to lose the Caboodle in terms of practicality, but it was literally the same one I’d had since eighth grade, so there was some nostalgia.) I have four of these white wire bins from the Container Store in the top drawer, with makeup sorted by its purpose: face, eyes, lips, tools (eyes and tools bins are the same middle size, the one for lipstick is the smallest and the one for face stuff is the biggest). There’s just a few things that don’t fit into one of the bins, but they fit neatly into the rest of the drawer. It’s made it really easy to find what I need, actually, and a year later I’m still really happy with it.

    I don’t really keep much on me for day to day — I put whatever lipstick I’m using that day into my purse, and I keep blotting papers and chapstick in my purse at all times already. For actual travel, I have a makeup bag that I bought… somewhere many years ago. It’s quilted fabric, and I like that the inside is lined with something kind of… plasticky, I guess. Means spills never ruin the cloth.

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  3. Samara @ layer jewelryJun 6, 20133:23 pm

    if only I could edit what I have to fit in this box …

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  4. WhitneyJun 6, 20133:27 pm

    I would highly recommend the zipper bag! I travel often and it is the most useful thing to be able to keep it all together while at home and on the go. I have an all white bathroom so to keep it organized I have white baskets on shelves and I keep the bag in the basket with comb/brush/all the non-essential cosmetics/hair-ties etc… It’s a great way to keep everything organized.
    I also have a small jewelery box that is similar to the round Pallra box that is great for traveling with jewelry.

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  5. AliciaJun 6, 20133:31 pm

    Love your Ikea box recos. Thanks!

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  6. Thomas - studio8940Jun 6, 20133:51 pm

    I have the ikea box and it is great and of good quality. Tye different levels are indeed fully separate. Get one!

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  7. KellyJun 6, 20133:56 pm

    Currently everything I use daily is on a round, white ceramic tray from ikea on my black mcobb dresser, with makeup brushes and cotton squares in cleaned out Diptyque candle glasses (because…I’m a nerd for Into the Gloss, where practically everyone they interview does that). The rest is in the top drawer of my dresser in a small acrylic container. Oh and in my day bag, I use a Marimekko pouch I just got from their collaboration with Aesop. But I have also stumbled into that (pretty much perfect) Nomess Copenhagen box during one particularly furious night of googling and it is definitely also on my wishlist. It seems kind of perfect!

    Please tell me you checked out that Nars Boys Don’t Cry blush…I feel like you NEED to own it. I mean the name (!), the color (!) and the overspray pattern (!) also…NARS. :)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I haven’t seen it yet!!! Wahhhhhhhh!! I looked at Sephora but I couldn’t find it!

    Kelly /

    Here: http://www.sephora.com/pierre-hardy-blush-palette-P379436

    Definitely bigger than a normal Nars blush and super-pigmented. I keep visiting it at Sephora, but haven’t picked it up yet. Will have to soon, since I think it’s limited edition.

    Anna @ D16 /

    Thanks!! I bet it’s displayed separately from their regular blushes — I’ll look again tomorrow. :)

    Kelly /

    Also, I just ordered the balsabox. I am weak.

    Anna @ D16 /

    JEALOUS!!!! I’m forcing myself to wait until I’ve measured first. (If it doesn’t fit nicely on my shelves, I’ll just build new shelves. Hah.)

  8. Sarah MargueriteJun 6, 20133:56 pm

    I have Pallra box and I love it. The pieces fully separate (no hinges). One thing – the box cover is actually fabric, not paper. But definitely still decorate-able!

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Oooh, even better!

  9. NinaJun 6, 20134:06 pm

    Have you looked at Muji? While at home, I am storing my make up stuff in some of the Muji bowls, boxes, and containers out of their office line. They also have things that come with lids. While traveling, I am using a pouch I bought on Etsy.

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    Anna @ D16 /

    Oh, I have loads of stuff from Muji, believe me. ;)

  10. ZooeyJun 6, 20138:45 pm

    I’m a Muji addict so all my makeup is stored in a clear, acrylic “chest” of drawers. Brushes go into recycled Bonne Maman jam jars. I use very little makeup, and many times I end up buying them because of packaging! My Muji drawers help limit my buys; for e.g. if I get tempted to buy a Shu Uemura eyeshadow (I’m starting to see the acrylic theme…) purely because I like looking at it, I ask myself if it can fit in the drawers. If I can’t store ‘em, I can’t buy ‘em ;)

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  11. LizJun 7, 20136:06 am

    I won’t share my chaotic approach…let’s just say it needs refining …or a complete rethink.
    BUT the balsa box is on my wish list already. I’d like to see one in person (or atleast something from the range) before buying but I might just give in to the lust.
    (I think I first saw it on Fab. I can’t remember when I last opened one of their excessively frequent marketing emails so it must have been a while ago. Maybe it will get a rerun?)

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  12. LisaJun 7, 20138:49 am

    I live in two different places too, and I’d like to send a photo of my makeup storage. Believe me, inadequate and disorganized is not what you would feel in comparison.
    My jewellery I store in small plastic toolboxes with tiny compartments, like the ones people keep fishing tackles in.
    The boxes just go on a shelf in my wardrobe, or in a drawer. That works well for travelling, and is organized.
    When I lived in one place, the makeup was the same.
    Now- not so much. I throw the things I think I’ll be using in a makeup bag and a zip lock bag for travelling. Then I never end up actually organizing it when I arrive, but it’s all thrown on a shelf in my wardrobe. On top of whatever beauty and hair products that were already there. So every time I’m going to use something I have to excavate. So it goes: “Ok, tweezers, tweezers, where are they- oh hang on, that’s a pretty nail polish there, in the layer from the last-summer-era. I’d forgotten about THAT. What was I looking for again? The nail file? Ok, nail file, nail file, where is it? Oh hang on…”

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  13. a.k.Jun 7, 201310:19 am

    I travel a lot for work, and my miracle storage solution is a double zipper pouch from Chic-A:
    http://www.chic-a.com/portfolio/double-zipper-pouch/

    I found one at my local yarn store, of all places, but it’s perfect for makeup. One side holds dry things – eyeshadow palette, blush, concealer, and all the brushes, and the other side holds liquid foundation, mascara, perfume, etc. It’s big enough that it also fits a toothbrush case and my contact lenses too.

    (not affiliated with the product, but honestly it’s been a godsend for me.)

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  14. MaggieJun 7, 201311:53 am

    I just keep my mainstay makeup in a zippered pouch from the Poketo from Target collection of a few years ago and carry it around with me all the time! Is that crazy? I work long hours and often find myself touching up in the bathroom before heading from work straight to dinner or out or whatever. It’s big enough to fit a few brushes, powder, blush, mascara etc. I do have a giant purse and often another tote bag for my lunch and work shoes with me so it works. And then I swap out other things as necessary.

    I keep other stuff (like “crazy” eyeshadow I wouldn’t wear everyday) in a combo of plastic trays, glasses and bowls in a cabinet.

    For more extensive traveling, (which I do a fair amount of) I have to admit I have an ugly travel case with multiple zippered levels (kind of like this but smaller: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/73884?productId=879660&subrnd=0&qs=3016887_pmd_google_pla). It’s hideous, but it works well, is machine washable and I love that you can hang it from a doorknob so I’m not taking up all the counter space in some tiny hotel bathroom. Obviously I don’t think you’d want something like that as a fixture in your bathroom but I feel like an attractive version, if it exists, could be useful for moving between homes!

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  15. Jade Sheldon-BurnsedJun 7, 20131:16 pm

    I am not as organized with my makeup as I would like. I have a little table I keep everything on… but it usually quickly goes to shambles throughout using it during the week. My husband and I are moving at the end of the month and it is something I’m hoping to change in our new place.

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  16. AnnaJun 7, 20131:38 pm

    So I may be in the minority here, but I rarely wear makeup, and so I don’t have a lot of it. Which makes storing it easy – everything fits into a travel-size makeup bag. But I must say, that first box in your post is gorgeous!

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  17. AmandaJun 7, 20136:58 pm

    Am not terribly organized with my makeup either–it lives in the medicine cabinet over my bathroom sink and when traveling it gets tossed in a black metallic mesh back that lives in my purse or laptop bag. I love the pouch you picked out in this post. Hearing you speak of your makeup brushes in both this post and your daily beauty routine post a few weeks ago makes me consider trying out brushes–I’m that weirdo who still applies all makeup with fingertips (BB cream, concealer, eyeshadow and all).

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  18. AshleyJun 12, 201312:19 pm

    Loving the the pouch! Its so chic and fun! I have all my makeup on a desk I turned into a vanity and in an Alexa drawer set from IKEA. It has six drawers and fits a lot. I have to sit down this week and organize everything since the move. But it should be fun rediscovering makeup finds!

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  19. Bellashoot BellasJun 28, 201310:35 pm

    The Nomess one is soo cute! I don’t know what it is about cosmetics storage, but I seem to love it all :-)

    [Reply]

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