How to Downsize Your Beauty Collection


If you have a love of beauty products then downsizing your makeup collection may seem like a hard task. Even those who want to live a more simple lifestyle can still find joy in mixing up their style with a different lipstick or a new shade of eyeshadow, so here are my tips for downsizing your beauty collection without sacrificing on variety.

First, start by taking every makeup item out of your bag, drawers, handbags, wherever you store in and put it in one pile so you can get everything together. Then you want to group things by category so you can see more easily what you have. Put all lipsticks together, eyeshadows, blushers, bronzers, eyeliners etc until you have grouped things into as many or few categories as you feel is necessary for the size of collection you have.

Now, you want to begin by evaluating the age of your products. Unfortunately makeup does expire. Over time bacteria will grow in your products and this can lead to infection and other skin problems which is the last thing you want when you are trying to look your best. Liquid and cream products tend to go out of date faster due to them providing an ideal breeding ground for bacteria while powder products will generally last longer. Most makeup products will have a symbol on the back which looks like a small makeup pot and will indicate the shelf life in months e.g. 6M for 6 months. If your product has no expiration date indicated on it then a general rule of thumb to follow is this :

  • 3-6 Months for mascara
  • 6 Months – 1 Year for liquid foundation or concealer
  • 6 Months for cream eyeshadow
  • 2 Years for powder eyeshadow
  • 6 Months for liquid eyeliner
  • 2 Years for pencil eyeliner
  • 1 Year for lip gloss
  • 1-2 Years for lipstick
  • 2 Years for face powder
  • 2 Years for powder blusher and bronzer

To ensure your makeup lasts longer store it in a cool, dark place away from moisture. Keeping it in a bathroom where it will be subjected to changes in heat and humidity can encourage the growth of bacteria and will make it go off faster. Perfume should also be stored in cool, dark environments to prevent any changes in smell. Speaking of smell, if any of your products have changed in smell or texture this also indicates that the levels of bacteria have risen and it should be disposed of.

Once you have narrowed your products down to those that are in date consider what you actually use. If you love a red lip on someone else but you never reach for that red lipstick yourself, why are you holding onto it? If you have never actually used that smoky eye palette maybe it is time to let it go. Makeup that you never use has no place in your simplified beauty bag. Get rid of it.

Next, consider the ‘rule of one’ and by this I mean NO MULTIPLES. Sure, if you love lipstick then it’s fine to have a variety of different shades but do you really need 5 pink lipsticks that are nearly identical? Try and narrow your products down to one of each type. One foundation that you really love, one powder, one blush, one bronzer, one highlighter, one black eyeliner, one mascara… you get the idea. Keep the basics to one of each and when it comes to variety within lip and eye colours choose wisely. Don’t have multiples of the same shade and try to have only 1 or 2 eye palettes that you love and can create a lot of different looks with. Having a smaller number of products will mean they get used up faster and make them less likely to expire before you can get through them.

Finally, consider the amount of space you want your makeup to consume. I have one makeup bag with two sides, one side I use for my ‘base’ products (primer, foundation, concealer, blush etc) and the other I use for everything else except my brushes which are stored separately. So long as everything can fit into this one bag I’m quite happy with my collection. Now obviously if I were to buy a large eyeshadow palette it would not fit into my bag but that is the one exception I would be willing to make. If I want to buy another lipstick it has to fit in there. Another blusher, same story. So, this keeps me thinking about whether I need more makeup and also keeps me thinking about whether anything in there might be expired and in need of replacing too.

If you follow these tips you should have a smaller, more easy to manage beauty collection full of only the items you use and love.

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