The contents of a woman’s handbag have often been hailed as a sort of personality test: she carries the bare minimum, she’s a no-nonsense organised kind of person. She crams everything in but the kitchen sink, she must be scatty. This one has all the tech, she must be hyper social. I think most of us would naturally fall somewhere in the middle rather than be a caricature of extremes. My collection of handbags is forever growing, with each bag very much varying in size, so the number of items I carry around with me on a day to day basis will vary. But when it comes to beauty products, at the very least you’ll find the following six must haves in my handbag.
Who would’ve thought that scrunchies would make a comeback? I was ten when the scrunchie hype of the nineties reached its peak and I’d amassed quite a collection: from velvet to gingham and tie dye, I had one for every occasion. Of course I haven’t kept a single one of them because by the time the trend was over I was sick of the sight of them. And that Sex and the City moment is forever etched in my memory, when Carrie crucifies her boyfriend for making the female New York City protagonist in his book wear a scrunchie. The horror. Well like most fashion trends, the scrunchie is back and I’m once again getting in board with this understated sleek version from Only Curls. I may not have curly hair but I like to avoid breakages and tangles, and this 100% silk option protects my hair from both. They come in a pack of two so I keep one on my bedside table, to tie my hair back first thing in the morning before washing my face, and the other in my handbag. Pack of 2 RRP £10.00
There are two beauty rituals I slightly obsess over: grooming my eyebrows and keeping my nails in shape. If I’m out and about and happen to tear my nail without immediate access to scissors or a file, I can’t help but chew off the ragged edges until there’s not much left. Yes a nail file could do the job, but I find scissors more versatile. These stainless surgical steel scissors from Rubis – a Swiss company who made their name crafting precision tools for the watch industry and whose beauty utensils are used by the likes of Bobbi Brown – provide a sharp, precise cut. The blades slice through my nails effortlessly, never once snagging cuticles or nails. With their brushed matt finish and incredibly sleek design I know I’ll be keeping these for a long time. And they come in a handy little clear pouch so your scissors don’t dig a hole into your handbag lining. RRP £23.50
Along the same vein as the nail scissors, and because – as mentioned – I’ve got a thing for keeping my nails in check, I also have started carrying a nail clipper in my handbag. I rarely use them for cutting nails as I don’t find the shape it gives as pleasing as with scissors, but to tidy up stray cuticles these sharp, precise clippers are ideal. And they fit perfectly with the scissors in that clear pouch so they don’t end up lost in the depths of my handbag. RRP £28.50
I remember a Stylist article sparking strong debate a few years ago, centred around whether or not it was acceptable to do your makeup on your commute to work. I’m very much on the side of ‘as long as you’re not cutting your nails onto your neighbour’s lap why not’. And after having my son, when the main priority in the morning is to get both of us out of the house cleaned, clothed and fed (him not me, I scoff a cereal bar at my desk), makeup time goes out of the window. And whilst I still aim to at least do my foundation base at home, all the colour touches I consider perfectly acceptable to complete on the tube. As long as you have a steady hand a little mascara coating on the Northern line can finish off a makeup look. This mascara doesn’t look very promising when I whip out the wand as it’s caked in clumpy formula, but surprisingly it glides onto lashes like a dream and makes mine look longer, thicker, lifted, more defined and an intensely deep black shade. I received this handy travel-size Marc Jacobs mascara in last year’s incredible Elle advent calendar but when I search for the Velvet Noir mascara online I can’t find this exact product, only the Velvet Noir Major Volume version so not sure if this is still available. 5g RRP £12.00
One of my new year beauty resolutions is to experiment more with fragrance, adapting my choice of perfume to the occasion by carrying a purse spray in my handbag to layer onto my morning spritz. Good idea in theory, if I actually remembered to spritz fragrance on before heading out the door. There may be no layering going on, but at least with The Merchant of Venice’s collection of purse sprays I discovered as a ‘fragrance expert’ guest on QVC I can experiment with scents I wouldn’t typically go for, from Byzantium Saffron, my personal favourite with its warm amber notes, to the sensual vanilla notes of Andalucian Soul currently stashed in my handbag.
No handbag beauty essential list would be complete without some form of lip care. From caring lipbalm (my desert island beauty product) to sheer gloss and hyper pigmented lipstick (L’Oreal Color Riche Satin Lipstick is a case in point), I’ve always got at least one lip product tucked away in my handbag. Caudalie’s French Kiss tinted balm offers a hint of colour without the stickiness of a gloss for a very natural look. 7.5g RRP £10.00
What are your handbag beauty staples? Please leave a comment below to let me know.
Features gifted product.