The 4 most useful things to have in your make-up bag

The Holy Grail of cotton buds and the best multi-purpose balm – Frankie Graddon on the things every beauty stash needs.

The other day, I was surveying my beauty stash. I looked at the new mascaras, the reformulated foundations, the not-yet-launched lipsticks and then I looked at my pot of cotton buds – the single most-used item in my entire arsenal. And I realised that, while the other stuff is great, it’s often the less-than-exciting things that are the unsung heroes of your make-up bag. Never mind that new, stay-on-for-24-hours lip pencil, what good is it if you don’t have a really great sharpener? Or that NASA-formulated brow gel, if you don’t have a pair of brilliant tweezers? So, with that in mind, here are the four most useful products to have in your haul.


The cotton buds to end all cotton buds, I was put on to these last year by a make-up artist. Unlike your average cotton buds, these don’t have fluffy tips, so you won’t get cotton fibres stuck in your eyelashes, and the slim, tapered ends mean you can easily get rid of mascara/eyeliner/lipstick smudges. What’s more, the sticks are made of paper, so no plastic. Buy a pot for £2.95, then use the refill packets (£2.50) when you run out.

Thin cotton buds, £3.50


Every make-up bag needs a decent sharpener and the best I’ve come across is from NYX. This has one small hole and one big hole, meaning you can sharpen skinny sticks and jumbo pencils to a fine point without breakage.

Professional make-up pencil sharpener, £4.50



The only tweezers worth considering are Tweezerman. Lightweight and with a fine point, these are the best thing for eyebrows, chin hairs or whatever else you want to tweeze. They get even the smallest and finest of hairs. I’d suggest keeping a pair of the mini size in your handbag (I always notice overgrown eyebrows in the office loos).

Mini slant tweezers, £13



If disaster were to strike, the one beauty product you’d want with you is a multi-purpose balm. Chapped lips, cracked elbows, sore cuticles – this sorts it all. Beloved by the Hollywood A-list (and me), Egyptian Magic Cream is the best of its type. Use it to soften dry skin, soothe bites and rashes, smooth down flyaway hair and disguise dry ends. You can even dab it along your cheekbones and on eyelids for a bit of sheen. It comes in a massive pot, so leave it on the bathroom shelf and scoop a little into a travel pot to stick in your handbag.

All purpose skin cream, £29

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *