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How Much Would It Cost To Replace Your Make-up Essentials?

Author: Lauren Coleman

I hadn’t really thought about how much it would cost to replace my make-up bag until I heard my name over the tannoy in the baggage reclaim hall at JFK airport. A very friendly member of the Virgin team seemed to delight in telling me my luggage hadn’t made it from Heathrow. As I stood facing the carousel waiting to collect James’ bag I mentally started totting up the amount I was going to have to fork out to give me a half decent face, and don’t even get me started on the wardrobe.

We had been travelling since 11.30am that morning, the time was now midnight in the UK and 7pm local time. All I had in my hand luggage was a powder, a concealer and a lip crayon and we had dinner reservations in two hours.
Virgin were going to pay for the replacements and at least we were in the city that never sleeps so it would be easy to get hold of all the necessary items. However I wanted to murder someone. Very irrational I know but I was tired, hungry and wanted to look somewhat well turned out when I sat down for dinner on our first night in New York.
My very lovely husband murmured to his now seething wife. “I’m so sorry, I wish it was my bag. It would be so much easier”. And bingo just like that my fairy godmother granted the wish and out came my suitcase. Turns out it was actually James’ bag that hadn’t made it to NYC.

In those very long five minutes between finding out about the potential loss and being reunited with my suitcase. I had deduced the below were my absolute make-up essentials and must be replaced immediately. Then there was also underwear, clothes and other toiletries but this is a beauty post so we won’t dwell on those necessities.


As much as I’d love to go fresh-faced, my skin is full of imperfections. The acne may have gone but the scars and blemishes remain so I need a full coverage foundation. For my base I love Yves Saint Laurent Fusion Ink (£31.50) on my combination skin as the thin formulation makes it very easy to blend over dry patches. It also has strong staying power and stays put for most of the day.

Eye Liner

I can do without eyeshadow but eyeliner is my absolute must for defining my peepers. I used to use a gel eyeliner with brush but Charlotte introduced me to the Shu Uemura Calligraphy Pen (£25 – with cartridge) last year and it’s the best thing since sliced bread. The thin nib offers ultimate precision for lining and flicking plus it’s still in place when I come to remove my make-up at night. You just have to remember as it’s refillable you need the cartridge too!


After the eyeliner my absolute must-have has to be mascara. I am a huge fan of L’Oreal’s Telescopic Mascara (around £9) as the ultra thin brush makes it easy to coat all the lashes. I have smallish eyes so in the past I’ve struggled with a larger brush. I find this formulation lengthens my lashes and doesn’t clump. Winner.


Now as I had a concealer in my hand luggage, a blusher takes its place as my number four essential. As I’m pale I need a bit of help to get a healthy glow. Bobbi Brown’s Blush in Coral Sugar (£19.50) is ideal for me. Despite its seemingly luminous appearance it’s actually fairly subtle though a little does go a mighty long way. The matte finish feels light on the skin and lasts the majority of the day.


If I had to whittle this list down to one absolute essential I think it would have to be a lippie. I’m quite natural with the rest of my look so amp it up a bit with a bolder lip. I am currently coveting Guerlain’s Rouge Automatic in 120. (Around £26). A corally-red with the slightest hint of shimmer. As a semi-opaque formulation it helps get the red lip effect without being too drying. The creamy formulation seems to last around four or five hours before it needs reapplying. My mum has more of an olive skin tone than mine and she wears the same shade too.

Virgin would have been reimbursing me for just over a hundred quid which seems crazy for five little products but I can imagine a lot of you aren’t far off. What are your absolute can’t-live-without products? How much would it cost to replace them? Any other luggage stories you’d like to share?

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
This post may include affiliate links.

15 thoughts on “How Much Would It Cost To Replace Your Make-up Essentials?

  1. I can only imagine how you felt when you thought your case was missing. My husband and I went to the States in November and due to several connections were almost certain our luggage wouldn’t make it to Key West with us. As such we each packed enough clothes for 2 days in our hand luggage as well as mini toiletries. We also cross-packed in our main luggage so that if one of our bags made it we still both had enough clothes to last us several days. In the end it was fine as we both got our bags (even with missed connections due to flight delays). But cross packing is something we always do, just in case! As for make-up, I always go bare faced on the flight as I find that on long haul flight the air condition in the plane dries out my skin and make me feel a bit icky by the time we land. I pack foundation, mascara, a neutral gloss and a brow pencil in my hand luggage. We sometimes travel to more remote locations, so makeup in my hand luggage has become a habit. Would hate to get somewhere and find that I didn’t have anything with me and couldn’t replace any of it!

    1. It was the first time we hadn’t done the splitting bag thing Amma as usually I’m very good at packing half and half.
      You have a great plan to prepare for the worst. I need to take a leaf out of your book!

  2. I once left my whole cosmetics bag at home and just to replace the basics with cheaper versions cost me around £80! So expensive. I’ve heard loads of horror stories about missing bags, so I always squash 2 days worth of clothes, makeup & mini bottles full of toiletries, as well as a pair of shoes in a carry-on, just in case. Although it sounds a bit neurotic, I’d rather that than have my travels ruined!

  3. You are luckier than you think that it was your husbands bag Lauren, my bag didn’t arrive at JFK and the allowance Virgin atlantic give you for buying essentials is $50! Definitely not enough to replace make up and a change of outfit! Thankfully my bag was delivered to the hotel the next morning but not after one dinner out in the same clothes I had set off in that morning 🙁

    1. $50?! That’s ridiculous! They told James it he could spend a ‘reasonable amount’. We didn’t want to spend a huge amount just in case he wasn’t reimbursed. In the end the bag didn’t arrive until 11pm the next night. It really put a dampner on the second night!

  4. I usually go fresh faced several days a week at home (give or take a dab or concealer) but on holiday I want to look my best as there are so many photo opportunities and you never know whether you might end up somewhere swanky! I’m lucky I have always had good skin so I can get away with cheap high street brands of make up and I just invest in a good tinted moisturiser and a couple of other key bits, but my make up bag would still cost around £85 to replace – and that is without the brushes!

    I have naturally curly hair and it can be a nightmare to tame! So for me I could cope with less make up but I could not lose my hair straighteners or hair products. I think I would die on the spot if someone told me they were gone! Just thought of it has sent me into a small panic about my upcoming holiday.

    1. On our first holiday, a romantic trip to Paris, I forgot my straighteners. There is a photo of me having a drink in Montmartre with the wildest of hair. I was mortified.

  5. The thought of that is so stressful! I hate it when I have to replace my eyeliner and blusher at the same time let alone the whole lot. When I went to Dublin, my friend and I thought we would do 4 days on hand luggage. We had everything packed, it went through the machine, and they hauled my friends suitcase to the side. Turns out her Mac foundation and Bobbi brown eye liner were in glass bottles, so they wouldn’t let them through. They took the pair of them! She survived on cheap rimmel stuff until she did duty free on the way home, so that the same thing didn’t happen again! But that ended up being about £60 overall spent on make-up which needn’t have happened!

  6. My bag didn’t follow me to Prague for a work thing (it missed the connection in Amsterdam which looking back is no surprise as I had to run like the wind to make it myself!) and as we had landed at midnight and our location was very remote, I had the prospect of giving a presentation the next day without my face on. The only other girl travelling with me had no more than Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream (good, but not THAT good) and a pot of Vaseline. When I asked her hopefully if she had some make up for me to borrow, she replied with “no sorry, what you see is what you get!” as I was blinded by her effortless beauty and naturally dark eyelashes. I don’t think I’ve ever hated anyone more!

  7. My sister recently had to replace a hefty proportion of her make-up bag when she left it accidentally at work and someone who shall remain nameless half-inched all of the Tom Ford products she owned out of it. Yep just the Tom Ford goodies and nothing else. She was gutted and considerably out of pocket when she’d finished replacing everything. As for me I dread to think how much it would cost to replace all the bits and pieces I use on my face – it’s not so much the number of products per se but I have a tendency to fall (unluckily?!) in love with products that aren’t cheap.

  8. Where can I get the makeup brush in the picture? I desperately need some new ones and that looks like a good one. Sometimes I feel it would get better results if I threw it on my face!

      1. Thanks Lauren, just visited and purchased along with foundation brush and eye shadow brush. Excited about them arriving and trying them!

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