Toiletry Bag vs Cosmetic Bag: What’s the Difference?

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips, Travel Tips

Toiletry bags and cosmetic bags might seem like the same thing to the untrained eye. However, there is a difference between the two, and, once you know what that is, you won’t ever confuse them again. So, what’s the verdict on the toiletry bag vs cosmetic bag debacle?

Hi beautiful! Just to let you know, we earn a modest commission off of purchases made through Amazon affiliate links on this page. Don't worry, it's of no extra cost to you. We love the products we recommend in this post, and we hope you do, too!

The differences are pretty subtle though, so nobody can blame you for not knowing the difference.

What Are These Bags For? 

Both toiletry bags and cosmetic bags are useful for organizing and for traveling.

You can easily take your favorite beauty and makeup products with you wherever you go without much fuss. If you’re the kind of person who likes to have their things neatly organized, you will love these bags.

If you’re fond of just flinging your belongings in a bag and digging for your stuff later, you’ll still love them.

Basically, if you want to carry your cosmetics or toiletries in something other than a plastic bag, these bags are ideal.

Why Are They Important And Necessary? 

Cosmetic and toiletry bags are important for keeping your products organized and packed neatly. This will prevent breakage and damage. Using these kinds of bags means you won’t end up breaking expensive products that will then have to be replaced.

Makeup and skincare products often come at a hefty price and are pretty fragile. To prevent the breakage of your products, be sure to store them well.

Cosmetic and toiletry bags are your best bet for keeping your stuff stored safely.

What Is A Toiletry Bag? 

A toiletry bag is what the name suggests. It is a travel kit used to carry bathroom products, such as haircare and skincare products. You use these bags when traveling or for general storage.

You can place these bags in your closet or drawer to keep things from getting messy. You can also use them if you’re looking to organize your bathroom. As you know, bathrooms can get pretty crowded, especially if there’s been a sale lately.

Ellis James Designs Large Travel Toiletry Bag for Women with Hanging Hook, Black, Big Wash Bags - Hair Dryer Case - Multi-use Toiletries Kit Cosmetics Makeup XL Bathroom Organizer Suitcase Luggage

What Do You Put Inside? 

A toiletry bag contains the basic essential toilet or bathroom products such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, a razor and maybe deodorant and shampoo. You might even pack sanitary wipes and a mini-sanitizer in a toiletry bag.

For an extensive checklist of what goes in a toiletry bag, check out our essentials packing list.

What Is It For? 

Mostly, toiletry bags are for storing the products you need when cleaning yourself and taking care of your skin. You will find items such as moisturizers, sunscreen and dental floss in a toiletry bag.

You will find that the Hanging Toiletry Organizer from our range is especially good for organizing toiletries. It has a nifty hook design, meaning you can hang it wherever you want. Also, this bag is multi-functional and has pockets. It also comes with a functioning detachable pouch.

What Is A Cosmetic Bag? 

Again, the name describes exactly what this bag is for. It is made specifically to store cosmetic products or makeup.

Did you know that you can find different kinds of cosmetic bags? A makeup train case is a good example of a cosmetic bag. These were made for storing makeup while traveling by train. It is usually square or rectangular in shape, with partitions and compartments inside to organize your toiletries and cosmetics.

Travel Makeup Bag By Ellis James Designs - Elegant, Large Compartment Makeup Bags for Women - Safely Store Make up, Toiletries, Cosmetics And Travel In Style - Ideal Luxurious Gift For Women - Black

What Do You Put Inside? 

Inside a cosmetic bag, you would store any makeup products like foundation, lipstick, eyeshadow and more.

This Tall Cosmetic Bag is especially good for packing makeup neatly.

What Is It For? 

In general, a cosmetic bag is only for the organized storage of all your cosmetics. However, you can easily use it to store other things as well, such as body lotion and skincare products.

What Are The Major Differences Between The Two? 

The major difference between cosmetic bags and toiletry bags are the stuff you store in them.

Toiletry bags are for toiletries and cosmetic bags are for cosmetics.

Cosmetic bags are great for keeping your makeup safe and well-stored, such as with this Large Cosmetic Organizer.

Are They Interchangeable? 

You should be able to interchange the two types of bags with no serious issues. You might find that the way they are partitioned may differ. This could make storage easier or trickier, depending on your needs. In general, the bags are very similar in design and can function very well for both purposes.

You should keep in mind a few things when packing your cosmetic and toiletry bag. With all the rules that have been put in place by the TSA, many questions have arisen. This is especially true about feminine products.

How do you travel with makeup? How do you pack makeup so it doesn’t break or leak all over your bag? Do we know how to pack makeup for air travel properly?

You should make sure you know all the answers to these questions, so do your homework!

Which Do We Prefer? 

We actually like both kinds of bags, and think it’s good to own one of both. They suit the purposes they were made for perfectly, so there’s no need to choose between them.

You can invest in both types of bags and enjoy their individual benefits!

And the Winner is…

Both cosmetic and toiletry bags are awesome in their own ways. You can benefit from using both, or just one of them. In the end, it depends on what your personal needs are. We find that having one of each is best, as you can always find a need for both of them.

You will find them especially useful if you’re planning a vacation. Packing for a vacation can be stressful, especially on top of everything else you need to keep in mind when taking a trip.

Depending on the length of your stay, the nature of the journey, and the kind of vacation you’re taking, you’ll need to pack accordingly.

Even if it’s just an overnight stay at a relative’s, you will need the best packing tips to ensure you’re all set and ready to go. In the end though, it’s up to you what kind of bag you prefer.

How about you? When it comes to the toiletry bag vs cosmetic bag debate, which do you prefer?

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?


  1. The term can be confusing but I do know the difference. I carry both a toiletry and a cosmetic bag with I travel.

  2. My favourite toiletry bag is from Thirty One Bags, and it’s a hanging bag. I am an avid camper, but campground bathrooms can get incredibly dirty. They do, however, have a hanging rack to hang your clothes. For that reason, I’m always shopping for bags that can easily hang like that. I do, however, have a smaller cosmetic bag that’s nice if I just need to toss my makeup in an overnight bag.

  3. People interchange them because they have similar uses, but they are different! Thanks for stopping by, Nada, and we’re glad to be of help!

Comments are closed.