Cleaning Out Your Beauty Collection

Monday, November 20, 2017

I, Francesca, have a problem. Many problems, actually, but we won't discuss any of the boyband related issues today nor ever because that's just a whole other story. I digress. Before I put myself on a beauty buying ban–aside from repurchasing the essentials like foundation, concealer, and translucent setting powder–I had an issue with over-stuffing my makeup drawers with unnecessary junk. When I filled the drawers and had a separate bag of "out of season lipsticks" (y'all know I have a lipstick problem, right?), I moved onto skincare because I stored it in a different section and therefore had more space to fill.

In short, I buy a lot of makeup and beauty products. Or rather, I bought. But now I'm living in the post-makeup-buying-binge era and I have to deal with the consequences of my spending. Do I need five nude palettes? Not particularly. Do I have five nude palettes? 

Not anymore! Thanks to...no particular product, just my mind and decision making skills.


I just recently did a makeup purge and let me tell you, it felt great. Was it a weight lifted off of my shoulders? Kind of! I mean, it wasn't something that was plaguing me, like the state of my wardrobe before I moved home from Cleveland (I can sum it up in: I have literally been selling and donating clothes at a constant rate since May), but every time I'd go to get ready, I'd be a little annoyed at the number of untouched products I had sitting around. To me, it wasn't a nuisance so much as just a waste. 

I gave a lot (read: all of it) to my younger cousin who just started playing around with makeup and it was nice to pass it along to someone who'd not only get good use out of it but could also have it to practice with as well. I never thought to make a post about it until I started flicking through some of the bits I have in my drawers now and wondered if it was "time" for some of these products too?

Every once in a while, it's nice to go through what you have an excess of and do a mini-purge, even if it's only a few items. If you have trouble sorting through your beauty products, you might just have to sit back and think about a few things before you commit to keeping or tossing them.

Assess the situation AKA your collection

It's hard to know what to get rid of if you don't have a handle on what you have. Check out your drawers, bags, whatever you store your makeup in and take an inventory–whether in your head or on a physical list–to gauge your collection at that point in time. If you have multiple nude palettes with similar colors, make note of it. Same thing with something like, say, red lipsticks, even if I know there are different shades, finishes, and undertones and not all red lipsticks are the same. 

Look, I get it, sometimes letting go of makeup, especially high-end makeup, is hard. It feels like money down the drain, but isn't it still technically the same thing if it's sitting in your drawer unused for months and months on end, only to be used when you feel guilty that you haven't used it for whatever reason you have against it. Maybe it's not good for your coloring or maybe it just doesn't cooperate with your skin type. No matter how much research you do on a product, it still might not work out for you and that's okay.


Think about what you need for a day to day basis

If you don't need a dozen smokey eye palettes for your day to day basis, purge a few of those. Try not to incorporate special events products, unless you happen to go to a lot of special events and therefore would need them as more of a week to week kind of product. Take into account your everyday makeup routine and make sure those products stay. If you wouldn't reach for it on a day to day basis, maybe it's not getting enough love from you and needs to go away.

In my recent makeup purge, I figured I'd share a few things that I can remember that I got rid of because they didn't fit my day to day needs:
  • Becca Ombre eyeshadow palette: I bought this impulsively, which was probably my first mistake. Last year, I'd gone on quite a few Sephora binges during the friends and family sale and the regular VIB sale and ended up grabbing this last minute before I checked out. I used it twice because the colors were just not suited for my skin tone at all. It was expensive (for me, at least) and I was hesitant to get rid of it, but it just wasn't getting worn and I'd just move it out of the way every day I'd grab for another palette in the same drawer. 
  • MAC Rubenesque Paintpot: This was a product I bought because of all of the hype it had on YouTube and it just never worked for me. Ever. I love my Painterly Paintpot to death, but this one just did not do it for me.
  • Tarte Amazonian clay blushes: I gave away a few of these, a couple of minis and a full-sized because I just never used them. I mean, they still had the signature pattern stamped in and basically untouched. I just had way too many blushes that I preferred, so it made no sense to have the clutter in my drawer.
  • Drugstore lipsticks: This isn't a hit on drugstore lipsticks. I actually really like a lot of drugstore formulas. The drugstore is where I buy myself colors that I might not necessarily want to buy at full price until I try them out. So, I did that with a few colors, didn't like them, and then just let them sit in my drawer.
  • Liquid and cream highlighters: I had a few deluxe samples of Benefit highlighting products that surprisingly took up a lot of space in my drawer and were just not getting the love from me that they deserved. I only use powder highlighters, so it seemed silly to have cream and liquid products that I was never going to use based on preference.

Create "yes," "no," and "maybe" piles to organize your choices

It may seem tedious, but if you're really getting into the process and can't just pick things out in your drawers and decide that they can go, the yes, no, and maybe process is always a good idea. I feel like this is a no-brainer, but yes would be products that you definitively know you use every day, maybe would be the products that you use occasionally but sometimes because you force yourself to, and no is...well...just no. 

When dealing with maybes, ask yourself these questions: 
  1. How often do I wear this? 
  2. Is this a seasonal product?
  3. When was the last time I wore this?
  4. How long have I had this? Why isn't it finished yet?
  5. Do I know someone who might want this and use it more than I do?
This will usually help you filter out those maybe products. Typically, the third and fourth questions really get me. I don't hit pan on many products in general, but it's easy to tell which products are barely touched compared to your well-loved favorites. And then when you gather up all of your definitive no's and then the maybes that turned into no's, there are a few things you can do. First, you can give them to your family or friends if you know someone who would want them. And with gently used (likey, actually gently used, don't be gross) or new products, you can absolutely donate them to women's shelters. Teen Vogue had an article about this last year with seven donation options, giving you lots of options if that's the route you choose to go.

* * * * * * * * * *
There's something almost therapeutic after getting rid of things, even if it's only a few items. I like to cycle through my makeup collection at least once a year, though I should probably aim for twice if I ever start buying new makeup again besides replacement foundations and concealers. So far, so good on that front, but if I ever have a disposable income again...watch out, bank account.

All jokes aside, what's one product that you know you could live without in your collection but you still hold onto? I have a couple of Urban Decay palettes that I use one or two shades in but am too cheap to buy them in the singles, so I have them sitting in my drawer, pretty much unused because I hate the hassle of using them just for one shade even if that one shade is the only reason I still keep them around...those might need to go in the next purge, huh? 

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