Two years ago I owned over $2000 worth of makeup. I couldn’t close my overflowing makeup draw and I had boxes of makeup around my room. I had every colour and type of product available but that didn’t stop my weekly purchases of new makeup. I was a junkie – constantly looking for my next hit.
One day I read an article about minimalism. The thought of parting with my beloved makeup collection horrified me but the idea that stuff doesn’t make us happy stuck with me. Next time I went to buy makeup I made my self think about the purchase and I realised I already had very similar products at home. Putting the product back on the shelf and saving that money felt so good that I kept doing it. Before I knew it, it had been over a month since I purchased any beauty products and I felt fine. If anything my happiness increased because I had all this extra money that I usually blew on products.
Around this time I also realised that I hate clutter. I went through my whole house and donated, recycled or threw away unwanted things. I slowly worked my way through every room and left my makeup collection for last. It took several rounds of elimination. My criteria was simple – only keep products that I actually used. This left me with my current collection which I love. I have my pro’s and con’s of keeping a small collection here.
If you are interested in minimalism, downsizing or just buying less beauty products in general here are some tips I have learnt.
Buy Samples or Swatch Makeup Instore
Samples aren’t always good value for money but (for example) I would rather spend $12 on a Paula’s Choice 2 Week Sample Kit and find out it doesn’t work for me than fork out $49 on all the full size set to work that out. Whenever possible, try a sample first or you may be left with full size products that wont be used. You could give them to a friend but you would still be out of pocket.
Buying makeup online is popular and it’s convenient but it’s not always a good idea. It’s difficult to judge if the product will be the right colour, shade or type for your skin. Swatches on websites are often super misleading and I personally don’t think it’s worth the risk. An example of where I messed up with this was when I trusted reviews of the Nars Sheer Glow foundation. While it may be another person’s holy grail – it completely dries out my skin. I can’t use it. That’s $70 I could have spent on something I could enjoy. If I would have tested it instore I would have seen that after ten or so minutes my face starts cracking and I wouldnt have bought it.
Know what works for you
If you have dry skin then that trendy new matte foundation is going to age you and dry you out further – no matter how on point the packaging is. The same goes for shades. If you have a warm skin tone, a cool-toned pink lipstick is not going to make you feel your best even if it looks good on your favourite blogger. Knowing what works for you before even stepping foot in a store will help you avoid purchasing products you will never use. If you are not sure about your skin tone I have a post about it here.
Use what you have
While this one is pretty obvious, it’s easy to switch between products so much that you never use anything up. Look for products that you have used the most (they probably work for you) and use them exclusively until you finish them. The high of actually finishing a product is worth it, trust me.
Watch Expiration Dates
This sounds really ignorant but I never knew makeup expired. I used to keep things that were years and years and years old and I had no idea that the preservatives in them could break down and that they were basically bacteria traps.
The guidelines for how long products stay safe for are as follows:
- Powders (blush, bronzer, eyeshadow) – 24 months
- Cream Shadows and Blushes – 12 months
- Oil free foundation – 12 months
- Cream compact foundation – 18 months
- Concealer – 12 – 18 months
- Lipstick, Lipgloss and Lipliner – 12 – 18 months
- Pencil eyeliner – 24 months (sharpen before each use)
- Liquid or Gel eyeliner – 3 months
- Mascara – 3 months
Once products get too far out of these dates their preservatives may have broken down and they can harbour bacteria. Having had an eye infection from an ‘organic’ mascara (seriously, never use a mascara without proper preservatives, if it is labelled natural or organic – steer clear as there are no effective broad spectrum ‘natural’ preservatives) I now only own and use one mascara at a time so I can use it up within three months. Although extremely unlikely, you could potentially lose your eye sight so it’s best not to take any risks.
If a product smells funny or has had a consistency change – toss it.
Buy Quality Over Quantity
This is my little mantra that I think of when I feel tempted to start buying things I don’t need. When I decided I would spend my money on good quality products instead of lots of products, I imagined I would buy lots of luxury makeup but I found the quality of my high end products is actually the lowest in my collection. For example – my Nars Orgasm Blush cost around $45 and lasts for about ten minutes before it fades but my Australis Blush has great pigmentation, cost $12 and lasts for hours. So quality doesn’t always mean expensive. Makeup is just pigment after all, whether its $1 or $100 the ingredients are much the same.
When my makeup collection is full of good quality products that work for me, I don’t really need to keep looking for the ‘new’ thing. I am content with what I have because I bought quality.
So those are a few of my tips and ideas on keeping a smaller makeup collection. With minimalism there are no ‘rules’ and if there are – I certainly don’t listen to them. Minimalism to me is letting go of the excess and the things that aren’t serving you so you have the time to enjoy the things that make you happy.
Are you thinking about downsizing your collection? Leave me a comment below.
Thanks for reading,