Whether you’re traveling on vacation or simply need to schlep your makeup to work for a quick touch-up, organizing your items in one place can come in handy. While it may be tempting to just throw all your beauty and wellness essentials into a big plastic bag and be on your way, using the right toiletry bag can help keep things easily accessible and even prevent unwanted spills.
We consulted experts about what to look for when shopping for the right toiletry bag for you. Below, we compiled highly rated options and Select staff favorites to shop based on our experts’ guidance.
Our top picks
- Best overall: Bagsmart Toiletry Bag Travel Bag
- Best budget pick: Subang 3 Pack Makeup Bag Toiletry Bag
- Best splurge: Away The Hanging Toiletry Bag
How we picked top-rated toiletry bags
Functionality, accessibility, capacity, durability and portability are all essential factors to keep in mind when choosing a toiletry bag. And what you need in all of these categories will vary based on where you’re taking your bag, says J Guerra, a celebrity makeup artist who frequently travels between Paris, New York and London. When compiling the toiletry bags below, we considered four key features:
- Size: Consider what you need to pack and if the size of your toiletry bag can accommodate those items. If you’re only bringing along a few travel-sized products, a smaller bag will likely do.
- Washability: Choose durable bags made of easy-to-clean fabrics, like nylon or plastic, or consider one made of cotton that you can throw in the washing machine, according to Guerra. We prioritized nylon bags in our picks because they have the added benefit of being water-resistant.
- Compartments: A bag with pockets will help keep your stuff organized, so look for options that have multiple compartments, says Elizabeth Seropian, a celebrity makeup artist who travels frequently for work. Even if you are only packing cosmetic products, it can be a good idea to separate liquids from solids in case a bottle breaks or there’s spillage. In our search for highly rated toiletry bags, we prioritized selections that have at least one separate compartment.
Top-rated toiletry bags of 2023
To help simplify your search for functional and stylish toiletry bags, we used guidance from our experts to gather top-rated options across various retailers and brands. We included some Select staff favorites, too.
This toiletry bag has a 4.8-star average rating from nearly 44,000 reviews on Amazon. Made from water-resistant polyester, this hanging toiletry bag comes with four interior zip compartments to store your makeup, skin care and hair care products. It has a top handle, which makes it easy to carry when it’s zipped up. It’s available in a dozen colors, including yellow, pink and black.
Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 12.6 x 9.1 x 4.3 inches
This set comes with three different bags available in a dozen different colors and designs, including Blue Marble and Starry Sky. The bags are made from water-resistant PU leather exterior and polyester fabric interior and earned a 4.5-star average rating from nearly 1,600 reviews on Amazon. While these bags don’t contain internal pockets, you can still separate your products between the three bags to keep them neatly tucked away and organized.
Material: PU leather outer, polyester interior | Dimensions: 7.6 x 3 x 3.5 inches (small size), 7.6 x 2.7 x 5 inches (medium size), 7.8 x 6 x 3.7 inches (large size)
This bag comes recommended by Select’s associate updates editor Zoe Malin, who has traveled with this bag to more than five countries. “You can fit full-sized bottles of soap and hair care products inside, which is great if you’re going on long trips,” she says. “The interior is lined with PVC so if stuff spills, it’s easy to wipe clean.” This toiletry bag comes in eight colors and patterns, including Immersed Blooms, Peach Blossom Bouquet and Cardinal Red.
Material: Twill outer, PVC interior | Dimensions: 9.5 x 6 x 5.5 inches
Seropian recommends this toiletry bag from Away. It’s a water-resistant nylon bag that, when unzipped, can hang by a small hook on a door or wall to easily access your essentials at all times. It contains three mesh pouches, which makes it easy to separate products, and it includes a small clear pouch to help store smaller items like travel-sized face wash and moisturizer. This bag is available in black, blue and pink and can be personalized for an extra $20.
Material: Nylon | Dimensions: 9.6 x 3.6 x 6.6 inches
If you’re going on a short trip, consider this small toiletry bag, which has a two-way zip closure and is available in nylon or vegan leather. Though small, this bag has two internal pockets — one that zips and another that is an open slip. “I love this for carry-on bags. It looks small but it holds so much, and it’s long enough to fit a razor, toothbrush and makeup brushes,” says Malin. “I usually store around four to six Cadence capsules with essentials like moisturizer, medication, hair care and body soap.” For those who need a little more space, this bag is also available in a larger size.
Material: Vegan leather or nylon | Dimensions: 7.5 x 3 x 3.4 inches
For those who need to pack many different items and want lots of compartments to keep them separated, this water-resistant polyester bag has eight mesh pockets and four zippered pockets. The side pockets contain built-in organizers that can hold makeup brushes, toothbrushes or travel-sized bottles. It offers a top carry handle and a built-in hook to hang it from a towel rack or wall hook. This bag has a 4.6-star average rating from over 14,600 reviews on Amazon. It’s available in two sizes — medium and large — and comes in 18 colors and patterns, including purple, black and teal.
Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 6.7 x 23.6 x 9.8 inches (medium size), 9.4 x 26.8 x 10 inches (large size)
This toiletry case comes at an affordable price and offers multiple pockets for organization, according to Seropian. The outside is constructed from water-resistant faux leather and the inside is lined with PVC, which you can simply wipe down with a wet cloth to clean it, according to the brand. The bag has four partitions inside the main opening, allowing you to keep products separated. It also has four pockets along the inside of the lid and a zippered pocket to keep items like tweezers or an eyeshadow palette. It comes in a variety of colors, including blue, pink and gray.
Material: Faux leather outer, PVC interior lining | Dimensions: 9.8 x 8.3 x 3.9 inches
There is technically no difference between a dopp kit and a toiletry bag (though the former is usually marketed toward men, according to our experts). This one is small enough to fit in a carry-on, is made from a water-resistant nylon material and has multiple pockets to separate your products. “I never owned a toiletry bag until I got this one for the holidays. It’s perfect to pack inside a carry-on and checked luggage — I’ve taken it on two-day local trips and 10-day international vacations,” says Select reporter Harry Rabinowitz. “I like that it has two big pouches with lots of little pockets and nets to organize my stuff inside. The whole thing looks grown-up and minimal.”
Material: Cordura (a type of nylon) | Dimensions: 9 x 5 x 3.75 inches
This buffalo leather dopp kit can easily hold a variety of grooming products like beard oil, face wash and sunscreen. The interior compartment includes a water-resistant lining and allows you to fit full-sized products like body wash and shaving cream, as well as an electric razor and hair pomade. This bag also comes with two exterior pockets and a leather handle. It is available in six colors and earned a 4.8-star average rating from more than 11,100 reviews on Amazon.
Material: Buffalo leather | Dimensions: 9.3 x 5 x 4.3 inches
How to shop for a toiletry bag
We consulted experts about what features to consider when shopping for a toiletry bag. They recommend keeping in mind the type and size of your bag, materials and separate compartments.
Type of bag
Toiletry bags, makeup bags, dopp kits — there are many names for vessels that hold your wellness products. But there’s not much of a difference between them, according to the experts we spoke to. Dopp kits are usually marketed toward men, while toiletry and makeup bags may be marketed more to women. But in the end, they all have the same function: to simply hold your essentials.
That said, there are different shapes, sizes and bag types to consider. For example, Seropian says she likes bags that hang from a wall hook or door handle because they free up counter space and let you easily access any products you need. If you don’t go the hanging route, look for a bag that has a wide opening or transparent pockets so you can find what you need without too much rummaging around, says Guerra.
Spills happen. And since you’ll be stuffing your toiletry bag with all types of products, like liquids, powders and more, you want to make sure your bag is easy to clean in case something breaks or leaks. “You can easily wipe down nylon bags, while cloth bags are machine-washable for a deeper clean,” says Seropian. Another benefit to nylon is that it’s water-resistant. Toiletry bags are often placed near the sink, so they may sit in puddles or endure splashes of water — a water-resistant material is ideal, says Tara Cappel, founder and CEO of For the Love of Travel, which hosts travel experiences for young professionals. Other materials that are water-resistant and commonly used in toiletry bags are polyester and plastic.
Think about how many different products you plan to pack and shop for a bag with enough compartments to hold them all in one place, says Guerra. For example, if you’re just bringing along makeup, you can likely get away with a bag that equips a single compartment. If you’ll be bringing makeup, skin care, hair care and hygiene items, you may want something with four separate spots for each product category to help keep you organized.
If you are traveling with your toiletry bag in your carry-on, look for something that makes it easy to breeze through security. “A bag with one section for liquids that I can quickly take out and another for everything else is ideal,” says Cappel, who also recommends a separate section for your toothbrush to keep it clean.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- J Guerra is a celebrity makeup artist who frequently travels between Paris, New York and London.
- Elizabeth Seropian is a celebrity makeup artist who travels frequently for work
- Tara Cappel is the founder and CEO of For the Love of Travel, which hosts travel experiences for young professionals
Why trust Select?
Bethany Heitman is a contributor at NBC Select and a journalist who regularly covers topics like beauty, home and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed three experts to gather their guidance on what to look for in a toiletry bag.