Back to School Makeup Bag

Make sure to visit Jennifer’s blog: Hometown Heroine!

Hi, it’s Jennifer from Hometown Heroine, and ’tis the season for going back to school. It doesn’t matter if it’s high school, college, grad school, or the start of a new job. When it comes to makeup ideas we are all ‘still in school,’ as in constantly learning! And as busy ladies, we all have one universal truth: who has the time or space for makeup?


college girls, jet-setters, and all-around busy women: meet your new makeup routine. Everything I’m going to mention barely takes up half this bag

The other day, I purchased this new Ted Baker Cosmetic bag. It is pretty small and it fits a lot of product. I started wishing I had it when I was living in the dorms (a San Francisco sized closet). Then I got inspired. For all you college girls, jet-setters, and all-around busy women: meet your new makeup routine. Everything I’m going to mention barely takes up half this bag; and it’s perfect for busy schedules and small living spaces.

Ted Baker London ‘Large Bow’ Cosmetic Case. $50.00

Back to School Concealer


When it comes to foundations, this little tube is my go to. I call it my work foundation because it has crazy staying power. To share how amazing this product is, I handle a lot of white clothing at work and I can touch the fabric to my face and no makeup comes off. Can you say that for most liquid foundations? No. It’s buildable, lasts like superglue and wont break the bank. I apply it using a Beauty Blender, but it would work just fine with a foundation brush as well.

Covergirl Ready Set Gorgeous Foundation $8.99


I’m not kidding when I say I have honestly gone through upwards of ten Maybeline Fit Me concealers. They cover up redness and blemishes like a champ and again, aren’t very expensive. The formula is really close to the Nars concealer everyone raves about. The only difference is this one blends into your other makeup much easier. I apply it with my Real Techniques Expert Face Brush.

Maybeline Fit Me Concealer $6.99

If you’re like me, you may harbor dark circles under your eyes; whether they are there naturally or popped up through exhaustion. I was getting really tired of all the thick under eye concealers on the market and ran into the Garnier roller ball. Not only is the metal ball cooling on your eyes, but also the watery makeup covers everything without feeling heavy. Plus, overtime it diminishes the look of dark circles.  All I do is roll it and then blend it out with my fingers.

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller $12.99


If you have oily skin or just like setting your makeup with translucent powder, I recommend this one by NYX. Again, its inexpensive and works just as well as any other translucent powder on the market. I apply mine using my Real Techniques Powder brush.

NYX Studio Finishing Powder Translucent Finish $9.99

Back to School Bronzer


I chose this blush by MAC because of its versatility. It’s a dusty rose shade that will look amazing on all skin tones. Plus it has light gold shimmer that will add a beautiful glow to your skin. Because it isn’t a perfect pink, this blush will also give your skin a more bronzed finish that looks natural and healthy. Although the formula is a pressed powder, the product itself is velvety and super easy to apply. Simply swirl your favorite blush brush and apply it to your cheeks, then lightly swipe it on you chin and nose.

MAC Cosmetics  Sheertone Shimmer Blush in ‘Springsheen’ $22


If you want to add a dewy glow to your makeup, instead of finding a powder to do the trick grab a bottle of Sun Beam. I’ll admit, the formula is weird (it reminds me of nail polish, just without the scent). But, it will give you an amazing bronzed glow. All you have to do is dab it on wherever you want a little shine and blend in using your fingertips.

Benefit Cosmetics Sun Beam $26


  1. To set my makeup so it lasts all day, I always reach for my Urban Decay Chill setting spray. All I have to do is spray it onto my fresh makeup and it will keep everything in tacked, hydrated and cool all day.

Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray $30

Back to School Eyeshadow


I always like to prime my eyes before applying shadow. I’m a huge fan of the Urban Decay Primer in Eden. It has a matte nude color to it that makes the shadows you apply over top pop and stay put all day. Just put a tiny drop onto the tip of your finger and blend it over your eyelids.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in ‘Eden’ $20


When it comes to shadows, nothing is more practical than a good palette. The problem is, most pallets are either packed with mattes or shimmers. Meet the Smashbox Full Exposure pallet. It contains 14 amazingly buildable and blendable shadows for every look you can imagine. I really like that it has an equal amount of mattes and shimmers, plus the earthy colors will look great on everyone.  As a bonus, the set comes with a sheet that helps you find your eye shape then gives you three ways to use the shadows to play up your gorgeous eyes.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette $49


I think every girl needs two eyeliners in her collection, one for everyday and one for nights. During the day I always line my upper lash line with gold eyeliner. Then at night, I have a black one I rotate in. Here’s the thing, I don’t personally care for liquid liners, and I find the application both time consuming and messy. Instead I opt for pencils. Urban Decay makes my favorites, the color lasts forever and they go on smooth.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in ‘Scorch’ and ‘Black Velvet’ $20/each


Like with eyeliners, I think every girl needs two mascaras: One that will lengthen and one that will add volume. My go to mascaras are in constant circulation in my routine because not only do they look amazing on their own, together they look like false lashes. Benefits They’re real will add gorgeous length to your lashes where as Bare Minerals Lash Domination will make them explode with volume. If you want to mix them like me, apply one coat of Lash Domination then follow it with a coat of They’re Real.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Mascara $23

Bare Minerals Lash Domination Mascara $18

Back to School Beauty


  1. There are so many lip balms out on the market. Different ones really work for different people. I honestly don’t think there is one balm out there that everyone can use. When I want a quick burst of hydration I reach straight for my clear Vaseline Lip Therapy. If I want something to give my lips a natural pink tint, I go straight for my Rose Bud Perfume Co. Salve. Both are wonderfully hydrating and for my lips, I don’t think there is anything better.

Vaseline Lip Therapy $1.79

Rose Bud Perfume Co. Rose Bud Salve $6


My go to nude lipstick is Pure Zen by MAC. It’s the perfect peachy nude and the formula is super creamy and long lasting. It’s a great shade to wear on its own or under your favorite gloss.

MAC Cosmetics Cremesheen Lipstick in ‘Pure Zen’ $16


If you want a pretty pink that can take you from day to night, Pudgy Peony by Clinique is the way to go. The formula is buildable and hydrating. The Chubby Sticks are super easy to apply and you get a lot of product for the price. Pudgy Peony is a pretty raspberry shade that will look great on all skin tones.

Clinique Chubby Stick in ‘Pudgy Peony’ $17


Every woman needs two things, a little black dress and the perfect red lipstick. I had never been a fan of red lips on myself until I found my perfect match. I like lightweight lip products and I always felt most red formulas were excessively heavy. When I found the Revlon lipstick in Rich Girl Red, I knew I found my red lip. Its super buildable and it has orange tones in it that make it perfect for 2014.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in ‘Rich Girl Red’ $7.99

Whether you’re headed back to school, just starting out your makeup collection, or you need products you can use in a hurry and look fabulous; I hope these will work as well for you as they do for me. You don’t need a drawer full of random products to look beautiful, but a cosmetic bag full couldn’t hurt. I pulled my Holy Grail makeup products out for you to create a routine you can make your own. Let me know in the comments if you have used any of these in the past or if your going to try one now. For more posts and tips like these, head over to my blog Hometown Heroine and get to know me a little better.

xx, Jennifer

Author: Jennifer Lieskovan

Jennifer Lieskovan is the editor of Hometown Heroine, a San Francisco-based beauty and style blog. Jennifer writes about her life and the things she loves. Come with her on her journey.