Tips for Curating a Makeup Collection You Love (and Actually Use!)
Do you look at your makeup collection and feel overwhelmed with how many beauty products you’ve accumulated?
Do you sigh at the thought of going through the makeup you don’t use and getting rid of them?
Or, do you find yourself making impulse beauty product purchases based on new releases and hyped up products only to be left with a massive makeup collection that you don’t even use?
If so, you’re in the right place!
With Spring in the air, I’m sure a lot of us are thinking about spring cleaning and decluttering things that we no longer use.
And with the recent current events, we may be spending more time at home, which is a perfect opportunity to get a head-start on spring cleaning!
It’s a little ironic for me to be writing this post because my makeup collection is massive. But, believe it or not, I regularly go through my makeup and get rid of products that are expired or that I no longer use.
If you find it difficult deciding what products to keep and what products to remove from your collect, this post is for you!
Today, we’re going to go through the steps you should take in decluttering your makeup collection, what questions you should ask yourself in the process, and what you should do with the products you decide to part ways with.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Affiliate links may be used in this post, which I may receive a commission from, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
How To Declutter Your Makeup Collection
Before you begin deciding what products to keep, gather all of your makeup in one place. I’m totally guilty of stashing products out of sight in drawers and completely forgetting about them!
If you do the same, be sure to gather every single product so they are right in front of you. This will make the decluttering process much easier.
And to also make the process easier, designate a “donate pile” before you start. This can be a box, container, etc. – just make sure it isn’t easily confused with your “keep pile”!
1. Throw Out Expired Products
This is the easiest step of the makeup decluttering process because there’s a clear line defining if you should keep a product or not.
Getting rid of expired makeup products is not only an easy way to cut down your makeup collection, it’s actually very important for your health!
Once a product’s expiry date has passed, not only does the product become less effective, it also becomes more prone to forming bacteria.
Considering how sensitive of an area our face (especially our eyes!) is, and amount of excess bacteria is totally unwelcome!
But, how do you know if your makeup is expired?
Every type of makeup product has a different expiation date, but generally liquid products and eye products have the shortest shelf life, while powder products have the longest.
See a detailed breakdown of each product’s expiration date in this guide: A Complete Guide to Makeup Expiration Dates
If you have products that are almost empty, many brands have recycling programs where you can exchange empties for a new product, so definitely do your research there!
I have been a long-time participant of MAC’s recycling program – 6 MAC empties for a free eyeshadow or lipstick!
2. Do You Use Your Free Samples?
If you regularly buy makeup, you probably have a stash of unopened beauty product samples that are just taking up space in your collection.
Be honest with yourself if you’re ever going to use these samples – ask yourself these questions:
- Is this a product I’ve been wanting to try?
If the answer is yes, keep this sample out where you can see it so you’ll be sure to try it out.
- How long have I had this sample?
- Will I ever use this sample?
- Can someone else make better use of this sample?
After asking yourself these questions, you’ll probably have a pile in front of you that you’re ready to get rid of!
Of the samples you’re ready to part ways with, separate the ones that you’ve had for a long time since these are probably expired and put the rest into your donate pile!
3. Categorize Your Makeup
After separating your expired products and the samples you don’t want to keep, categorize the rest of your makeup into these categories:
These are the products that you use regularly and there isn’t a doubt in your mind that you should keep them.
We all have a few makeup items that we keep for fun occasions, but don’t use on a regular basis. Examples of these products might be a super glittery lip gloss, a colorful makeup palette, a bright-colored lipstick, and so on.
Having products like these in your collection is totally okay, but it just isn’t practical to keep every single one.
For myself, a good rule-of-thumb is to keep 1-2 fun products of each makeup category to keep my makeup collection under control.
4. Get Rid of So-So Products You Haven’t Used in Over 6 Months
Of the rest of the makeup in your collection, think about whether you’ve used those products in the last 6 months.
If you haven’t, did you like the products when you last used them and will you ever use them again?
And be honest with yourself here! It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll use something again, when in reality, you probably won’t!
(Just like those old pair of jeans in your closet that you’re keeping because you swear you’re going to wear them again!)
We all have favorite products that we keep going back to, so why keep a product that we might use again?
5. Getting Rid of the Difficult Products
Of course, when going through your makeup collection, there are bound to be products that you find very difficult to part ways with.
These products may be sentimental, they may have been very expensive so you feel like it’s a waste, or they may be limited-edition products that you can no longer buy.
Here’s how you should deal with each one:
Think about the memory that the product is attached to. Do you really need the product to hold onto the memory or does the memory already live on within yourself?
If you really can’t make yourself part ways with this product, consider finding a special place for this product that is separate from the rest of your makeup collection.
This could be a display to honor it, or tucked away in a special box, but the last thing we’d want is for it to get lost and forgotten about within the rest of your makeup collection.
Do you have products that were expensive that just didn’t work out for you?
I have a problem with this, too! It’s hard getting rid of a product that you spent so much money on.
But, the reality is, that money is already gone. There’s no use in keeping a product that doesn’t work for you and you’ll never use because keeping that product won’t get your money back.
I know how it is with limited-edition products – since you won’t be able to buy it again, you allow yourself to only use it on special occasions.
But, guess what? They expire just like any other makeup product and you’ll be left with a product that you can’t even use anymore!
If you love the product, use it! Put it out where you see it every day and don’t feel bad about using it!
There are always new, pretty products that you can buy, so don’t make yourself feel guilty about using up a limited product.
And if you don’t love it, why are you keeping it? If it’s because the packaging is gorgeous, find a place to display it so at least it’s serving a purpose by making you happy!
It’ll do no good for you if it’s just sitting in your drawer being ignored!
What to Do With the Makeup You Don’t Want
1. Give it to Your Family and Friends
I keep an open box for this that I add to whenever a product doesn’t work for me. When family or friends come over, I tell them to take whatever they want from the box!
If it’s your family and close friends, they won’t mind if you’ve used the product a few times already (especially if it’s just a powder formula).
For certain types of product, sanitizing your makeup is always an option if hygiene is a concern.
2. Donate to Shelters
With everything, there is always someone that could make use of something that you’re not using.
Donating your unused makeup is a great way to give to those who may not be able to buy brand new makeup all the time.
You may want to research the donation guidelines for each one in your area, because they all have different rules about what they accept.
3. Sell on Ebay or Mercari
I personally have found great success selling unused and gently used makeup on Mercari at a very discounted price. (I haven’t tried Ebay.)
It does surprise me that people buy makeup that I’ve opened and used, but that’s a humble reminder of how fortunate I am to be able to purchase brand new makeup so regularly.
You can sign up for Mercari and get a $10 off coupon here!
How to Keep Your Makeup Collection Under Control in the Future
1. Create a Makeup Inventory Spreadsheet
If you’re really serious about keeping track of your makeup, I’d highly suggest tracking it in a spreadsheet.
That way, whenever you feel the desire to purchase a new makeup product, you can refer to your spreadsheet to see if you already have something similar.
Here are some things to record in your spreadsheet:
Brand + Shade Name
I have to admit I have purchased a product twice because I forgot I already had it!
We all know there are a million different shades of red lipsticks, so keeping track of undertone or any details that are helpful is important.
For example, light rid with warm undertone is totally different than dark red with cool undertone!
Type of Formula/Finish
Just like when keeping track of color, there are so many different types of formulas! Matte classic red is totally different than glossy classic red!
Also, keeping track on if the formula was drying/hydrating can help when deciding on future purchases and/or when you’re decluttering and you just can’t remember how the product performed for you.
You may want to also track how much you spend for budgeting purposes.
This is definitely helpful when figuring out when a product is expired.
Photos of swatches can definitely come in handy when deciding if you really need another nude lipstick!
2. Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Purchase Something New
Do I already have something similar?
Refer to your spreadsheet if you made one! If you already have something similar, do you need a new one? If yes, will you be getting rid of the old one?
Is this within my budget?
I personally track all of my spending and give myself a certain budget for makeup every month. This helps ensure I don’t spend beyond my means. If the purchase puts me over my budget, it’s an easy way to say “no” to a product.
How much will I use this product? Is it just a “fun” product?
If it’s a product that I can see myself using regularly, then that’ll justify the purchase. If it’s a product that I know I’ll only use once in a while, I’ll have to think harder if I really need the product.
Have I done my research on it?
Reading/watching reviews is a great way to decide if you want to purchase a new item. Also, get a sample if you can! If it’s a brand new product with little to no reviews available, think about how much you trust the brand to provide quality products that work for you.
Find a Way to Store Your Makeup that Works for You!
I’m the first to admit that once I put a product away in a drawer, I totally forget about it and rarely use it. The products that I keep out on my counter are definitely the ones I use the most.
We all have different preferences when it comes to organization, so it’s important to find a way to organize your makeup so that you can make use of every single product in your collection.
Amazon has some great affordable options, which you can learn about more in this post: Affordable Makeup Organization Options on Amazon
With these tips, I’m sure you’ll have your makeup collection decluttered and organized in no time!
I would also like to stress that I know it’s difficult to just get rid of makeup, there’s always those lingering thoughts that you may use it one day or you just don’t want to give up something you spent money on.
And all of those thoughts are totally okay! It’s okay to struggle with the process and some people will find it easier than others.
Your makeup collection should make you happy and if you can’t bring yourself to do a full declutter of your makeup collection, maybe getting rid of just one thing at a time is the way to go!
Makeup should be fun and enjoyable, not a reason to feel bad about yourself or guilty for your past purchases. Just remember that. 🙂
Thank you for reading and until next time! <3
Check out my masks on Etsy!
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- Best Luxury Makeup Products – All of 2019 Favorites
- The Ultimate List of Drugstore Dupes
- Best Drugstore Highlighters
- Best of Maybelline Makeup