Posted on Saturday, at • 296 views
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I'm taking a trip next month, and have been looking for a decent cosmetics / toiletry case for a while. Sure I can pack everything in ziploc baggies, or shove things here and there in the suitcase (which is kind of what I've been doing for the past few years) but after a while that just gets annoying. Did I pack X, you wonder upon arrival at your destination. Well, I can't find it wedged between my shoes, it's not under some shirts, maybe it's in one of the side pockets. No...okay, maybe in one of the pockets in front? No... You get the picture. It's exasperating. Sadly, so many makeup bags out there are either too small, all made of plastic, too expensive, or too cutesy for my preferences. I managed to find this at Ulta - which is triply fortunate, since 1) I rarely ever go to Ulta; 2) they had this mislabeled and it isn't listed on their site at all; and c) they are apparently closing out this line (which is a good thing, since they don't know what to call it.)
This bag will hold all my stuff - including my brand new brush roll from Sigma - and give me a convenient place to keep it all when I'm on my trip. I don't have to have everything spread out on the counter, which makes me feel just a tiny bit less freaked about leaving it in the room. I will also get to avoid those "did-I-pack-X" or "I-hope-Y-doesn't-explode-all-over-my-clothing" travel dilemnas. The whole unit is 9 inches wide by 12 inches long by about 4 inches deep (when not filled.)
The front/outside of the bag is the compartment for bottles and soforth. Three of the bottles are held in place by elastic bands...and I'm hoping that I can pull the bottles out and replace them with my preferred, pull-top, bigger-circumference, color-coded bottles. (Yes, I have a system for packing my stuff. Clear = shampoo, blue = conditioner, purple = mouthwash, pink = whatever else I decided to decant and bring along. It's not perfect, but it works.) Three of the containers - two more bottles and the soap container - are in mesh compartments. I don't have as much latitude in swapping those out; so I may have to just use those as-is. There's an elastic strap below all the bottles - possibly for holding a hairbrush or toothbrush or who-knows-what.
Inside the bag are two compartments: one, that backs up onto the bottle-storage, is plastic-fronted (though the back is the fabric, so it's not like the compartment would keep anything from leaking...so why the plastic front? Eh, who knows.) It's fairly shallow, maybe about half an inch in depth. I guess I could keep my mineral jars in there - if the minerals spill, they won't leak all over everything else. The other compartment is closer to an inch in depth, and has a mesh front. Again...more for storage and securing things than preventing spillage. I've already experimented, and when these two compartments are filled, I can still put my brush roll in between them and zip the overall bag closed. So there's a bonus.
At Ulta, I paid $22 for this. I saw similar-but-not-quite-the-same bags at Target (same manufacturer), no bottles included and no outer compartment for same, as well as being less deep. It was a three-piece kit, two of whose pieces were just too twee for me to ever have used. I essentially would have gone from multiple ziploc baggies to those three bags...so I decided against. I saw the same line at my local drug store (a Pacific-Northwest chain), but didn't see this particular piece - only the smaller makeup and cosmetic bags. The Ulta receipt calls this "Celebrity Basics Croc Bag." Now that I look at it, there is definitely a faux-croc stitching-weave on the bag...but that didn't even register when I picked it up. On the other hand, when I found the cached listing for the Allegro Basics Fitted Weekender at Sears, the bag looked exactly like what I bought...but the sides were plain. So either the tagging folks at Ulta made an error (why do I find it easy to believe this? Ulta has just never, ever impressed me much) and this should have been closer to $15 than $22...or this was some special limited edition "faux-croc look" version of the product that came out and was discontinued.
I kind of wish this bag would hang more easily and completely open, like other "weekender" toiletry bags. Then again, those bags are usually twice the price and hold less...so it's a trade-off. Some people would prefer the multi-bag approach, and would want a bag for the bottles-and-stuff that was completely separate from the main bag - so that if you didn't need it, you could dispense with it altogether; or so that you could take it out and thus hold more other stuff in the bag. I view this as a nice sanity-check: if I'm trying to pack so much makeup for a week-long trip that I'm blowing out the sides of this bag, which is larger than my high school freshman world-history textbook...I'm trying to bring along too much.
Overall, this is a pretty good bag at a very nice price. I just wish it were still more widely available...I really don't love reviewing things that are no longer available, it feels a little disingenuous. Still, if you head to your local Ulta, or look carefully at any retailer that carries Allegro makeup bags, you might just find this.
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