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How to Declutter & Streamline Your Makeup Collection

It’s a tough job to keep your makeup stash in check, especially for a beauty blogger. The blogging and YouTube beauty guru culture tells you more is better, to buy, buy, buy. It is most commonly called a makeup collection after all. This hoarding mentality is wasteful and unhealthy for your bank account. As much as I love to purchase new, fun, innovative makeup products, I also understand the importance of managing my makeup.

Clean out your makeup stash every 6 months.

Every spring and fall I go through my entire makeup collection drawer by drawer. If I haven’t touched a tube of lipstick or gloss in more than a year, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Sometimes I pardon a lipstick because I convince myself that no, I will use that shade, maybe I forgot I even owned it (not a good sign), but if it’s still sitting unused a few weeks later, I follow through and kick it to the curb. Some products, like finishing powder and blush, take me longer to use up because I don’t wear them on a daily basis, so those I give a little more forgiveness.

Sometimes it feels like indecision sits like a rock on your chest, but when that happens you just need to remind yourself that makeup shouldn’t give you anxiety! Makeup is fun!

  • I love the color but I hate the formula = TOSS. If a formula disrupts your skin’s balance or wreaks havoc on your lips, you’ll never wear it, no matter how perfect the color is.
  • I love the formula but I hate the color = TOSS. Consider purchasing a shade that’s right for you and you might have yourself a holy grail.
  • I like the color, it’s just not something I would normally wear = WAIT. You’re all about those neutral eye shadows, I get that, but you have a stunning navy that you can’t let go. Keep it out on your vanity for two weeks, and if you still don’t reach for it, say goodbye.
  • I don’t use it often, but I love it = KEEP. I love my Naked palettes to death, but I don’t use all of them all the time. Eventually, I know one palette (cough, Naked 2) will stand out as a purge candidate, but until that day comes I will hang on to all of them.

Keep track of how old your makeup is & know when to toss it.

A few products may list an expiration date, namely those with sunscreen, but most products don’t. Look for the open can symbol with a number inside. This number is the length of time a product can be used after opening. The only way this is helpful is if you keep track of when you open a product. Keep a permanent marker in your makeup drawer and label your tubes and jars with open dates.

If that’s a little too organized for you (me too), there are a few giveaways that your product has gone off:

  • It has developed a bad smell or it smells different than it did before.
  • The consistency or texture is different.
  • It looks different on your skin than it did before.
  • It tastes different (okay okay, don’t go around eating your cosmetics, I mean lipstick and gloss!)
  • The product has separated (sometimes separation is normal, like with matte liquid lipsticks)
  • It causes are reaction in your skin (acne, pink eye, flushing, etc)

Immediately return or donate makeup products you don’t like.

Most makeup stores have generous return policies, and many websites offer free return shipping, so take advantage and return makeup you don’t like right off the bat. Sephora even lets you return online purchases in-store.

There are a few nonprofits that will accept new or barely used makeup to support women in need, like Project Beauty Share  or Beauty Bus Foundation. If you can’t find a program, check with a local women’s shelter for a list of acceptable donations.

Purchase a maximum of 3 mascaras and foundations at a time.

Really though, how many mascaras do you need at once time? I personally purchase one mascara at a time (when I’m behaving myself) because I get so many mascara samples from gift with purchases and beauty boxes. But, if you insist on having options, I would say purchase one volumizing formula, one lengthening formula and one water resistant formula.

With foundation, I like to have at least two on hand: medium to full coverage for work, sheer coverage for the weekends and good skin days.I keep a third in rotation if I want to try something new. Right now my three are Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (medium to full), Urban Decay Naked Skin One & Done Hybrid Complexion Perfector (sheer) and Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation (something new). Watch my current foundation routine.

How to Declutter Your Makeup Collection

Avoid purchasing shades you already own.

I am incredibly guilty of purchasing the same lipstick shade from different brands over and over and over, so I’m a work in progress, but it is something I think about when I’m making a purchase decision. I ask myself, “Why do you like this shade?” Is it because it’s new and different from anything you already own? Or is it because you’re a sucker for a nude pink lip?  Anything in the nude-pink or pink-mauve category is my kryptonite. Sometimes you truly don’t realize what you’ve done until you get home, but that’s why return policies exist.

An amazingly helpful tool for this is the Temptalia Swatch Gallery where you can pull up images of product swatches for two different products and compare them side-by-side. While they don’t have every product in the world swatched, they do have most mainstream brands like MAC, Urban Decay, ColourPop and more.

Temptalia Swatch Gallery

Don’t buy new makeup until you’ve finished the old.

When you declutter your makeup and feel your collection is at the perfect size for you, it’s time to maintain it! The only way to keep your makeup collection from expanding is to make sure the flow into your collection matches the flow out of your collection (sounds like something I learned in high school math.. but with makeup.. cool). Collect your used up products and do a monthly check in on what you’ve finished up and what needs to be replaced (see, empties aren’t just for YouTube videos!).

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2 Comments

  • Reply Savannah

    What is the clear set of drawers you use to organize your makeup and where did you get it?!

    March 14, 2017 at 10:47 pm
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