By Sheila Arkee
It happens to the best of us. One cosmetic purchase after another, and before you know it, there you are with an overwhelming amount of products, not sure exactly what to keep and what to toss. This is especially true for those of us who love makeup a little more than the average Jane, self included!
Is an organized collection an urban makeup myth? The following simple steps will help you clear your cosmetics clutter now, and make sure you’ll never feel overwhelmed again. I promise!
Edit Your Collection
As a makeup artist and enthusiast, I keep a fairly large supply of color cosmetics around, but I still look at my collection on a regular basis to see what can be tossed.
Keep in mind that like food products, makeup has a shelf life, and is meant to be used within a certain amount of time. Don’t keep items around for longer than recommended, lest you run the risk of infecting your skin with bacteria that is carried in the makeup. I know this can be a challenge, but seriously, this is in the best interest of your skin!
If the products are creamy and liquid, they generally don’t last longer than a year when after opened – they start to smell funky, develop a weird film, and can change colors. Am I guilty of using products after any of those have happened? Yes! Have I experienced the bad side of using products way after I was supposed to? Yes!
Powders and other products that do not contain water (including lip balms and concealers) can last a very long time – guidelines say you should toss them after 2 years, but I think that they can last longer, to be honest. Just make sure they’re kept in a cool, dry area, and wipe the surface with a dry tissue periodically.
Here’s a recommended guide to discarding products:
- Mascara – 3 months
- Cleansers and moisturizers – 6 months
- Cream products – 12 months
- Liquid foundation, lipstick, and lipgloss – 12 months
- Nail polish – 1 year
- Makeup sponges – 1 month
- Pencil liners (lip and eye): 3 years (make sure to sharpen them regularly)
To help keep tabs on expiration dates, put a piece of tape on the product and write down the date you first opened the container, as well as the date when the product should be discarded.
De-pot and Consolidate
Personally, I am a huge fan of using magnetic palettes for powder products. If you have a lot of random blush and eyeshadow containers lying around, consider removing them from their plastic cases and putting them in a magnetic case. YouTube has a ton of tutorials on how to de-pot … check them here.
In the future, you can also buy your shadows in palette form, and save money, too – the palette versions of colors are always priced a little less!
MAC sells palettes for this purpose, and here’s a trick – you can take out the inner insert and have the rest of the palette and fit more products inside.
Z Palettes operate on the same principle, and I love that they have the clear top – makes it so much easier to go through your makeup. Z Palettes are offered at a discount if bought in bulk, as well!
Reorganize Your Makeup
Through the years, I’ve spent a lot of time moaning and groaning about storage solutions, but I’ve recently come across a system that I’m happy with. The bulk of my makeup is in clear, plastic shoe boxes, separated by category …
… and I use a medium sized train case for the items I most commonly use, and switch out makeup as needed. Since I travel a lot, this is a good compromise. Tool boxes and tackle boxes are also great containers!
Brushes are kept in a brush roll similar to this one.
Maintain Your Collection
Becoming and staying organized is a commitment to a new way of living. Go through your makeup on a weekly basis to see what can stay and what should go.
When I was in Lamaze class almost four years ago, my instructor gave us parents-to-be a really great piece of advice – if it takes you two minutes to do something, do it! Don’t put off for the future tasks that you can do relatively quickly and get out of the way!
Other helpful tips include just saying no to samples or free gifts that you will not use, as tempting as it is to say yes. When you are reorganizing and find yourself with lots of extra, unused products, take some to homeless shelters or shelters for battered women, where the products are truly appreciated.
Just like starting a new fitness regime or way of eating, keeping your cosmetics clutter under control is a commitment, but a little effort goes a long way, and besides, what a wonderful way to begin a brand new year!