10 January 2017

How to: Downsize Your Makeup Collection

Being a beauty enthusiast and a blogger, I’ve accumulated quite the collection over the years.  It came to the point last year, where I was quite overwhelmed and even put me off blogging as I couldn’t face going through my collection.  There was a strange mixture of guilt, overwhelm and sadness.  I had too much stuff and it took the joy away from one of the things I enjoyed so much!  I didn’t know what to do or where to start.  I started to get rid of things so many times, but never got past the feeling of ‘oh but I love this and I spent so much money on it!’ or ‘I’m going to put that in my makeup bag and then I’ll definitely use it more!’ – do you know what?  It never happened.

How to: Downsize Your Makeup Collection - Aspiring Londoner

After I came across The Minimalists last year, suddenly the penny dropped.  You know when you’ve heard the same things so many times, yet it never changed anything; but then someone says it a little differently and suddenly you get it?  I don’t know what it was, but their message of simple living really resonated with me and I realised my makeup collection no longer made me happy, but made me feel overwhelmed and anxious.  The amount of time I spent lusting after new makeup and just going through my collection find one highlighter, was nothing but wasted time.  I started thinking what if I only had 4 highlighters instead of 20 (I’m not joking with that number)?  The four that I adored and loved?  I realised this ‘wasted time’ could be spent on something like reading a good book, that I don’t seem to have time for anymore or going out to do something new.  Time is the only valuable resource.  This may sound like I’m high, but I’m trying to explain the why behind my decluttering and minimalism rather than only the how.

Upon all of these realisations, I could no longer wait to live my new life of purpose.  I will walk you through the steps I took, it may (or may not) be helpful if you’re thinking of doing something similar.

How to: Downsize Your Makeup Collection - Aspiring Londoner

What do you actually own?

For effect, I went with the Kon-Mari method of getting all my makeup together. Wow….just no words on how much I was hoarding!  I had about 18 foundations, 10 concealers, and 8 powders and that’s just base products?! 

It was shocking; the whole reason behind the method, and it spurred me on to get rid of things faster.  It took me a couple of days as I had to take a break after a couple of hours, you forget how many small little makeup bits each drawer can hold!

Are they any good?


The first thing I did is look through for anything that was expired or broken.  Here’s a table that may help with the most common makeup items!

Makeup Item

Expiry Signs
Throw away after
Foundation/Concealer
Oil separation, rancid smell, inconsistent texture

12 months
Face powder, Powder eyeshadows, Blusher, Bronzer etc.

Hardened layer, rancid smell
18 months
Mascara/Liquid eyeliners
Smell – but I wouldn’t risk it, just toss after 3 months

3 months
Pencil eyeliners
Hardened/white layer that can’t be sharpened off

2 years
Cream eyeshadow
Discolouration, waxy texture, strange smell

6 months
Lipstick/Lipgloss
Beading of moisture, strange smell, chalky texture

12-18 months


Skincare Item

Signs of Expiry
Throw away after
Micellar water
Water contaminates quickly and breeds bacterial growth – pretty cheap to replace, so just toss after 6 months!

6 months
Cleanser


1 year
Toner

If it changes colour or smell.
6 months
Moisturiser
If all natural ingredients, shelf life will be shorter.  Go by smell and texture of the product.  Is it different to when you first started using it?

1 year


Remember this is a guide, please check your own product labelling for correct PAO (period after opening) symbol. 

How to: Downsize Your Makeup Collection - Aspiring Londoner

What do you need?


I was a little drastic with this – what if I was dying tomorrow, what would matter?  Quickly realised, this was a tad too drastic and depressing…so re-grouped and started thinking again, if I was going on a date with Liam Hemsworth (oh mama!), which products would I use and why?  Bingo!  I would use Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation because it’s the bestest of what I own – KEEP! theBalm Mary Lou-Manizer – KEEP!  You get the idea – on the plus side, in the name of ‘research’ I googled some pictures of Liam Hemsworth (insert heart-eyed emoji)!

Why ask such a random question?  I wanted to keep what makes me look the best all the time (because these products obviously work!).  Why keep things that I wouldn’t use when I want to look a solid 10?  As shallow, as that sounds, what I’m trying to get at is, I wanted to keep products that work at the top of the sprectum and I’d shell out for again and again. 

The ‘maybes’


Even with this mindset, unsurprisingly I found it really hard to narrow things down.  Obviously because I love makeup and it’s hard to choose between your children makeup.  So I had a Keep, Goodbye, and the dreaded Maybe pile.  The ‘Maybe’ pile was rather large, so I put them in a bag and went through them a few days later.  This time getting rid of a few more – to the point where I have only a medium drawer of stuff (I started with a full chest of drawers with 3 large and 2 medium drawers…).

How to: Downsize Your Makeup Collection - Aspiring Londoner

The Aftermath


I let my friends loose on the ‘Goodbye’ pile first and then listed some on my depop (@declutter2015) and eBay.  It’s tempting to just want to throw it all away, but try to remember to reduce waste as much as possible.  Filling a landfill with all my unwanted stuff wasn’t going to be a good start to my intentional life! 

Although this post reads a little like a story, with a problem, a breakthrough and ends with a solution; it actually isn’t.  The thing with living minimally is that it’s an ongoing process.  Every few weeks, I revisit my collection to see if there’s anything else I can get rid of; anything else that I’m just not getting any use out of.

Just because I’ve downsized my collection, do I now run and buy the latest MAC limited edition lipstick?  Whenever I feel the urge to impulsively buy something, I only need to ask myself, how will this add value to my life?  If it does in a true way, bring out the plastic!  If not, I close that browser or exit instagram and do something that will.

I hope this has been helpful, if not let me know.  If you have any questions, please either tweet me or leave a comment below.  If you’ve written a similar post sharing your journey, please leave me a link – I’d love to read!


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1 comment

  1. Loved this and I like the expiry guide! Looked at all my makeup stuff last night and I think im just on the boarder of decluttering. Love what you said about always wanting to look your best so why keep things that don't make you otherwise :) really enjoyed this.

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