My makeup bag is in dire straits. A rogue eyeliner has been roaming around inside it for months, uncapped and unchecked, and it’s left graffiti on everything. The bag is also so full of random stuff that I can’t even zip it closed. The mess and the clutter drove me to create a separate smaller bag for my favorite makeup, and I’ve been using it (and only it) for months instead of my nicer, larger makeup bag.
Sigh. Basically, it’s like I’m living in my RV because I don’t want to clean my house.
I don’t have a lot of makeup (at least not compared to the people I see on Instagram and YouTube–wowza), but I have more than I want, need, or use. After all the inspiration from Marie Kondo and Light by Coco, I’m in the mood to purge things and my makeup stash seems like a great project–a low investment of time, energy, and emotion but with a big reward!
Considering that I’ve gone without the items in my big makeup bag for so long, I suppose a stronger (saner?) person could have just trashed all the contents without looking through it…but I need to look through it. So here’s my plan to get all my face paint in order. I’ve included (unglamorous but enthusiastic) photos of my actual process down below, too!
1. Make a list. Before sitting down to sort your makeup, make a written list of your favorite items. If you can’t remember an item without seeing it, how important is it, really?
2. Gather all makeup. Check the bathroom, bedroom, purses, pockets, etc.
3. Toss the obvious trash. The wadded tissues and bits of packaging are no-brainers. Immediately trash all opened mascaras over 3 months old, too.
4. Rescue the good stuff. Stick to the premeditated list here.
5. Evaluate the remaining stuff. Ask yourself the following questions for each item:
How old is this? Most makeup packaging indicates the number of months (like 6, 12, or 24) to keep a product after opening it. Personally, I toss wet items like cream blushes after a year or so, but I keep dry items like pencils, powders, etc. a little longer than recommended.
Does this inspire me, bore me, or disappoint me? Think about the product’s quality, performance, and ingredients, and the company’s animal testing policies. Be honest and toss whatever doesn’t measure up to your standards.
Is this a duplicate? Keep your best and beloved items and let the inferior versions go.
Is makeup my career? A major hobby? Do I have a costume party coming up in the next four weeks? For me, the answers to these questions are no, no, and no. I have a bad habit of keeping special or costume makeup “just in case,” but I rarely (or never) use it. Also, limitations inspire creativity. I could probably conjure all kinds of special looks with just the basics I have with a little time and imagination.
6. Clean your stuff. Wash your makeup bag and wipe down the keepers. (You get bonus points if you wash your brushes. I didn’t.)
7. Enjoy your clean, streamlined makeup bag! And maybe go tackle your nail polishes!
I love easy projects like this. Plus, ever since I cleaned out my bag I’ve been using using my “new” (i.e., resdiscovered) products again and trying new things!
P.S. A couple of tips: Use cold, not warm, water to clean away makeup gunk. Warm water melts all the makeup waxes and makes a bigger mess. Even better, use makeup remover. I finally had to use Goo Gone on the stubborn eyeliner stains inside my bag, then I tossed the bag in the washing machine with some towels.