The Best Makeup Train Case: Our Favorites
Maybe you’re tired of scrounging around the bottom of your purse for your lip tint or concealer, or you’re fed up with struggling to zip up your makeup bag. Or, maybe, you’re considering a career as a makeup artist or cosmetologist, and you need all your products with you on the job. Regardless of the reason, you may be thinking:
How the heck do I get all this makeup organized, and how do I get it to where I need to go?
In this post, we’ll discuss our picks for the best makeup train case for professional makeup artists, and for amateur makeup enthusiasts who simply love makeup and want to bring it wherever they go. Makeup trains are among our favorite makeup accessories, and we’re delighted to get to talk about them, so we’ll provide a quick intro about what they are, discuss some of the features you may want to ponder if you’re selecting one, and offer some organizational tips that may help you use them. Hopefully by the end of the post, you’ll have a very clear idea of why they can be useful, and which models might be a good fit for you.
Makeup Train Case Buying Features
We’ll start at the beginning…
What is a Makeup Train Case?
Whether you’re a pro or just someone who has a full collection, a makeup train case offers portability and organization for your cosmetics. It’s bigger than a standard carrying case and can go almost anywhere you do.
Many makeup trains have folding storage compartments, wheels to roll on, and tons of space to hold a range of products. A handheld makeup pouch may work for going out or traveling for a day or two, but a makeup train case is ideal for long-term makeup application on the go.
And, by the way—when we say “makeup case” or “makeup train,” that’s the same thing as a “makeup train case.” It all refers to same system of transporting your makeup.
Types of Makeup Cases
Although all makeup trains hold more products than your typical makeup bag, there are different types for various uses. Some train cases have wheels for portability and look a lot like regular luggage. Other makeup trains are smaller boxes that fold open for easy access.
There are both soft-sided and hard cases, and some makeup trains use a combination of styles to form a full-service makeup station in a bag. You can choose a small bag for versatility or take your entire cosmetics collection on the road.
Makeup Case Features
With all the options, it’s hard to decide what type of case to choose. Here’s a rundown of typical makeup train case features and why you may want them.
A range of dimensions. Makeup train cases range from lunchbox to suitcase size. Smaller cases are best for personal use or when you only want to take along a handful of cosmetics. They’re a good option for amateur makeup enthusiasts, students and cosmetology trainees, and anyone who likes to do some touch-ups during the day. Larger cases can hold an entire collection of foundation, concealer, powders, lipstick, eyeshadows, mascaras, airbrushing tools, and more. These are great options for professionals, and anyone who works as any type of beauty instructor— because they’re on the job for long stretches of time, and their clients/classes usually require a range of products, a larger train case can be a great asset.
Available add-ons. For smaller items, some makeup train cases feature individual bags for further organization. Zip-in removable cases let you select specific products to use without rummaging around in the bottom of a bag or box. These can be a great option if you have a large case and need to bring it to a job site or class, but will then need to set it down and walk around to different locations on the job site to apply makeup for clients.
Adjustable trays. Adjustable dividers in some models let you customize the layout of your trays. In a case with multiple tiers, customization helps keep items organized and contained. Some trays rotate, while others pop up and out. This is one of those features that makeup artists love, and other consider “meh.” Whatever works for you!
Shoulder straps. Cases smaller than a suitcase usually have a carrying handle, but some models have a shoulder strap as well. Shoulder straps let you free up your hands to carry other items, and many have locking mechanisms to safeguard your makeup from spillage.
Wheels. Not all makeup train cases have wheels, but most larger ones do. Think of a suitcase on wheels, and that’s what a wheeled makeup bag looks like.
The Best Soft Makeup Train Cases
OK! Onto our reviews. We’ll start with makeup cases that are great for everyone from casual makeup lovers to veteran MUAs: soft cases.
Soft makeup train cases usually range from very small to medium-sized, and they’re a great option for travelers, enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to transport a reasonable amount of makeup—but not their entire collection. Here are each of the models we consider the best makeup train case, soft-case edition:
Makeup Train Case by Relavel: Excellent for Travel
Exterior Dimensions: 10 inches x 9 inches x 3.5 inches (26cm x 23cm x 9cm)
This is one of the smaller makeup train cases we review, so it can be a great option if you’ve got a small-to-medium sized kit: the Makeup Train Case by Relavel. One of our favorite aspects of this model is that you can arrange the interior space however you like. There are dividers inside the bag that you can remove and adjust, so if need to pack larger items, you simply re-arrange the dividers inside that case to make room, and if you need to carry a ton of smaller items, you can arrange the case to have many smaller compartments. It’s waterproof, it has a two-direction zipper, and the top flap has pouches that can a decent number of brushes (up to 11 or 12 or more, depending on the size of your brushes.). It would be nice if it had a strap, but that’s not the worst thing—it has a soft, cushy handle, and it can fit inside most regular-sized suitcases (although you’ll obviously want to measure this case and your suitcase, just to be sure). That option—being able to put it in a suitcase—can make it a great option for travel.
There’s another makeup case we know of that’s very similar, and it’s the ROWNYEON Portable Travel Makeup Bag. At 9.8 inches x 8.3 inches x 4 inches (25cm x 21cm x 10cm), it’s just a little bit smaller, but it’s got a lot of the same strengths: it’s petite (good for packing), has adjustable compartments (so you can arrange it to suit your needs), and it’s waterproof (should you get stuck in the rain during one of your adventures). Also a good pick, in our estimation.
MLMSY Makeup Train Case: Our Pick for Larger Soft Case
Exterior Dimensions: 16.5 inches x 12 inches x 5.5 inches (42cm x 31cm x 14cm)
The majority of soft cases we found are on the smaller side, and that’s why our next pick stands out: the MLMSY Makeup Train Case. It’s got a LOT of things we like:
Lots of internal space, with adjustable storage compartments, so you can tailor it to your cosmetic needs;
Six pouches on the inside of the flap, to store makeup brushes (more than a dozen, easily) and whatever larger bottles you might want to transport, as well as a zippered section behind the pouches, where you can place any documents or notes you might want to bring to class or your next makeup job;
A shoulder strap! It’s kind of a mystery why any soft-case makeup train wouldn’t have a strap; and this last feature is pretty clever:
A tight strap on the back of the case so you can attach it to the pull-out handle of your wheelie suitcase. That’s pretty smart. It may be too big to put into your suitcase, but if your wheeled suitcase has a pull-out handle, you may be able to attach it there. That’s a great design idea.
We think this is a great model, and if you’re looking for a soft case but you have a decent-sized makeup collection, it may be a good choice. Last we checked, MLMSY manufacturers it in black and pink, so you may have some color options, which is always nice.
Best Hard Makeup Train Cases
Hard makeup train cases are a step up in terms of ruggedness and functionality. They have a hard shell for extra protection, and many have shelves that can be pulled out of the case itself for easy access or display purposes. There are plenty of makeup enthusiasts who use them, but because they’re a little more versatile and spacious, they’re the go-to option for a lot of professional makeup artists. Here are the hard case trains we like:
The SHANY Essential Pro Makeup Train Case: Top All-Around Hard Case
Exterior Dimensions: 14 inches x 10.5 inches x 9 inches (35cm x 26cm x 22cm)
The SHANY Essential Pro Makeup Train Case is one handsome model: it’s sleek, streamlined, and that black model looks like it’s ready for business. It never hurts to look professional, and we think this one is a beauty (that said, if you want other color/pattern options, SHANY manufacturers it in leopard print, plaid, a couple of other options).
The real measure of a train case is performance, though, and we give the SHANY high marks: it’s got roomy compartments and can fit larger items like flat irons and hair dryers (depending on the size of your irons and dryers, of course!); when open, it expands into a two-tiered display with four shelves (two on either side) and has base storage, for easy access to all of your cosmetics; and… it has an optional strap! That’s a nice little add-on—not all hard cases come with straps, so that’s a plus. Even if you’re not going to use the strap, though, it’s got a strong handle so you can move it around.
Like a lot of hard cases, it features a locking system, and that’s another plus. It’s not impenetrable—most locks on makeup trains aren’t—but it does add a bit of security. We’re big fans.
(By the way, if the SHANY doesn’t do it for you, you may want to check out the Lenubo Makeup Train Case. It’s very similar, and has a lot of the same strengths as the SHANY. We think they’re both good picks.)
SONGMICS Portable Case: Best Makeup Train Case for Personal Use
Exterior Dimensions: 9.5 inches x 7.5 inches x 6.75 inches (24cm x 19cm x 17cm)
There are a lot of reasons we think the SONGMICS Portable Case may be a good option: it’s got a sturdier aluminum shell to protect your products, it’s pretty light (about five pounds), and it’s got a decent amount of space for products. It’s manufactured in black and pink, so you’ve got some choices when it comes to presentation.
There are a few negatives: it doesn’t have a strap, it doesn’t have a locking mechanism, and it’s a bit on the small side—but that actually makes it a good option if you want a hard case and you’re going to travel.
But here’s why the SONGMICS stands out, and why we included it: it’s 1) got a 6.25 inch x 3.2 inch mirror, so you can apply makeup to your own face—most makeup train cases don’t include that—and 2) it has a shelving system that expands in one direction instead of two, so you can sit/stand in front of it and see all the products in front of you while you do your own makeup. That sounds like a really small detail, but it’s actually really clever: most makeup train cases are designed so that you can retrieve your makeup items to work on someone else; this one looks like it’s made so that you can retrieve makeup items and work on your own face. You can, obviously, still use this model and work on other people, but this one may also be a better choice if you’re heading out to a job or any occasional where you’ll be traveling and need to apply your own cosmetics (a modelling job, a dance competition, or even bringing to the bathroom in a student dorm). It’s a unique item, and we give it two thumbs up.
Makeup Train Towers: For When You’ve Got a LOT of Gear
These are those of you who have a lot of makeup: professional makeup artists, cosmetologists/nail techs on the job or at school, or salespeople who need a lot of products on-hand at all times. Or, makeup enthusiasts who truly, truly have a lot of gear. These are very large, usually have wheels (thank goodness), and have a lot of internal space for a lot of different cosmetics and tools.
There are two we like, and we’ll start with the really big one:
Koval Inc. 4-Wheel Rolling 2-in-1 Makeup Train: Our Pick for “Professional Grade” System
Exterior Dimensions: 29 inches x 14 inches x 9.5 inches (105cm x 35cm x 24cm)
The Koval 4-Wheel Makeup Train is a large makeup train case: at over two-and-a-half feet tall, over a foot wide, and just under a foot deep, this is a great option if you’ve got a LOT of products, and want to wheel them from place to place. Here’s what we like:
It’s got multiple pieces. There’s a top compartment and a bottom compartment, and both compartments have many internal spaces to store tools and supplies. Most makeup trains only offer one unit; having a second internal space really opens up your storage options—especially if there are products or tools you want to store apart from each other;
It’s got adjustable trays. This feature—especially for a larger makeup train case—is a true plus. It’ll allow you to truly personalize a large storage/transportation unit, and that makes it a great option for professionals in a range of different fields. Smaller cases are good for makeup only, because they can only fit small cosmetics; this has some serious space in, so if you need to carry equipment, you may be able to do so;
It’s got wheels. Wheels are great. A makeup train of this size without wheels would be a disaster, and these seem to roll very smoothly. This model has four wheels, so you don’t have to tip it to move it, which is a really nice design feature. It’s also got a shoulder strap, in case you want to lug it around;
It’s got a security system. It’s got a lock, so if you need to set it down someplace and step away—maybe you’re at an exhibition or a class—you can secure it and come back to it;
It can work for salespeople of any stripe. We obviously talk about makeup a lot, but if you’re a salesperson attending conventions or making presentations and have smaller items you need to show off, it can be a great option; and finally…
It looks like you mean business. It’s not manufactured in multiple color options, but black is—well, black’s always in style! It looks sleek and professional.
We think this is a fantastic option, and we don’t mean to imply that this should be used only by professionals—it’s a great pick for professionals in the beauty industry, but because of its size, internal space, and portability, we think it’s a great option for any one seriously interested in makeup. Highly recommended.
The Yaheetech 2-Wheel Train Case
Exterior Dimensions: 29.5 inches x 14 inches x 9.4 inches (74cm x 35cm x 23 cm)
Our last model is another beauty: the Yaheetech 2-Wheel Train Case. It’s just as tall and wide as the last model we reviewed, and it, too has a number of great options going for it: it’s got plenty of space (including four slide-out trays and eight dividers that you can adjust, in order to pack smaller items), a pull-handle so you can wheel it around (and it has, as the name suggests, two wheels, so you may have to tip it a bit to move it—not a huge deal, but something to know), and locks so that you can secure it safely.
We think it’s another great option, and our favorite feature is that it’s manufactured (at present!) in three color options: black (very professional), pink (very pleasant and bright), and chrome (which we love). That chrome is a nice option—most makeup train cases are manufactured in black and maybe one other color, so it’s nice to see a silver option.
And… that’s it! Those are our picks for best makeup train case. Makeup train cases rank among our favorite non-makeup makeup items, and so we hope this has helped inform you in some way.
If you’d like to learn more, keep reading! We’ve got some helpful tips on why a train may make sense for you, how to use it, and how to organize it.
When Does a Makeup Train Case Make Sense?
Anyone from a budding makeup artist to a professional stylist can use a makeup train, and there are a couple of situations where a makeup train may make a lot of sense. We’ll start with…
Personal Use for Your Own Collection
If you’ve 1) got a large or rapidly-growing makeup collection, and/or 2) do any travelling with your makeup, a train case can be a good investment. Cases are a great way to keep your cosmetics organized and accessible, and very often, they’re a lot better than some of the “makeshift” organizational methods most of us have tried (if you’ve ever tried organize your collections into various Tupperware containers, and had only limited success, we feel your pain). A train case is specifically designed to hold cosmetic products, and that can make a big difference—especially as your collection gets larger and larger.
On-Site Storage at Home
If your home bathroom has insufficient storage space for your makeup, or if you share an area with others, a makeup case can make it easier to get all of your makeup to the spot where you’ll be applying it. Simply close and move your makeup train case anywhere and everything is instantly tidy, no additional closet space or countertop needed. This is especially true for college students in a dorm who share a bathroom with others and need to lug their makeup in front of the mirror, or for people who share an apartment with numerous roommates (who may or may not be very, very messy). Being able to move all your cosmetics all at once can be a huge time-saver, and save you a lot of frustration.
Aspiring Makeup Artists
Each state has specific training requirements that makeup artists need to meet, but many aspiring makeup artists start developing their skills a loooooong time before they commit to formal training (and if you’re interested in a career as a makeup artist, or a beauty professional of any kind, we cannot overstate the important of practice!). And that’s another reason why makeup trains can be useful: having a wide range of organized products available means you’ll be ready when it comes to impromptu practice sessions with friends, or gatherings you’ve organized. If you host parties or attend events to apply makeup for friends or family, a makeup train is an easy way to get everything to your destination, and to use it when you arrive.
In states where MUAs need a cosmetology or esthetician license to work in salons or as freelancers, formal education is a legal requirement. That means lugging a ton of makeup and supplies to and from class and internship locations, and making sure your products are organized and accessible when you’re in class.
If someone you know and love is attending or planning to attend a cosmetology school or makeup school, a makeup train case can make a great gift (just check with the school first—some schools require students to buy makeup trains and other equipment from the school itself). And, even you may not know anyone who's going to be a student, but you might even have a friend who’s passionate about makeup but wouldn’t splurge on her own travel case but who will appreciate the gift.
Professional Makeup Artists
If you’re already a professional, you probably already understand the importance of a visually appealing makeup supply. Arriving on the job with an old backpack full of products does nothing for your reputation, even if your cosmetics are high quality and your skills are impeccable.
Presentation counts when you’re a professional MUA, so starting off right with a makeup case that helps with appearances can’t hurt.
And, one last tip before we move on—we talk about a lot about makeup artists, but you might also way to consider a makeup train case if you use makeup in a career like theater production or film. A fully stocked makeup kit can mean the difference between a production delay and a timely photo shoot, so being prepared never hurts.
People Who Have No Interest in Makeup Whatsoever
We’re laser-focused on makeup, so that’s what we talk about, but if you need compartment storage for any range of activities, makeup train cases can be a really great option. Here’s one example: if you do arts and crafts in a school but don’t have a room to work in and go class-to-class, larger trains could store all your supplies. If you 1) need a lot of small items for any given activity, and 2) need to cart those items around, a makeup train case can be very helpful!
Usage and Maintenance Tips
Just like storing your makeup in a cabinet, using a makeup train case will require some organization and recordkeeping abilities. Keeping your makeup items fresh and easily accessible can be the difference between a tidy makeup case and one that’s a rolling disaster. Here are a couple of tips to make makeup train maintenance a little easier.
Get Everything Set Up When You First Get Your Train
Let’s be honest: many of us are kind of messy. And the kits we learned makeup on are kind of messy. A kit—especially one that’s on the larger side—can become disorganized, and disorganized in a big way, and when you’re stocking your new makeup train, you’ve got a golden opportunity to “start fresh” and organize things. So, if you can, avoid dumping your entire makeup collection into your train case and zipping it up. Get things right from the start. Even if you’re a hobby makeup artist, a messy makeup kit won’t inspire you to try new looks, especially if you can’t find the product you need.
Organizational abilities are a great personal trait to have, but they’re also important in a professional sense. If you’re a makeup artist and you arrive at a job site and you look disorganized, that makes you look disorganized, and you want to look like a pro: calm, cool, and collected. Keeping an organized makeup train case shows clients that you’re serious about your profession, and it shows that you understand the important of presentation —which is a pretty important part of makeup artistry!
How to Organize a Makeup Train Case
For those of you who, like us, are “organizationally challenged,” here are some tips to keep in mind:
Split up the goods. If your makeup train case comes with removable organizers or smaller bags, split up your collection so that each focus on a specific need. One bag may contain essentials that you use daily, while another holds special occasion products that you want to preserve. Consider organizing your makeup by type or use to keep things tidy and accessible.
Have a system. For example, you could organize your makeup by brand if you use each one for a different purpose. Organizing by area is another strategy, keeping mascaras, brow pencils, and eyeshadows in one compartment while lipstick, lipliner, and tints go in another. Take a look at how you approach different makeup tasks, and use that knowledge to arrange your system.
Rotation is key. Consider devising a method of rotation for your makeup. Separating items into expiration date categories can ensure that nothing spoils before you can use it, and this is especially important for eye makeups like mascara, liquid eyeliner, and gel liner, which expire quickly and need to be switched out every three months or so (for real—eye makeups become bacteria traps when they expire, and using expired mascara can result in eye infections, so pay attention to those expiration dates!). Another option is to group items by style or project, depending on who you work with and where so that you use the same products each time.
Cleaning a Makeup Train Case
Apart from cleaning up melted products or leaking bottles, there are other tricks to keeping your makeup train case clean.
Clean up regularly. Especially if you often travel with your case, routinely check for spills and leakage. Keep cleanup supplies in your case, stocking items like paper towels, stain removers, and a cleaner to remove sticky goo.
Check dates. As we mentioned, checking dates is important, but you can also get a sense of a products viability by its look and smell. Very often there are physical signs of bacteria or contamination and checking regularly can help you avoid using spoiled makeup by accident.
Maintain temperature. Another consideration that relates to makeup spoilage is temperature consistency. If you travel often with your makeup case, it might sit in the sun or in extreme cold, and change in temperature can not only mess with the solid-liquid state of makeup, but it can also cause it to go bad before its expiration date. Fortunately, there are heat-resistant makeup cases that help avoid major temperature changes should you need that feature.
Enjoy the Adventure!
If you’re interested in makeup trains, it usually means you’re passionate about makeup and you’re venturing out into the world and want to take it with you—and that’s a wonderful thing! Wherever your makeup takes you, we wish you all the best!