In this article, How To Organize Makeup: Organizing 101 Makeup Edition, I will share with you how to declutter and organize your precious makeup collection and how to keep your collection at a minimum. This will help you to save your money and to save your precious space.
However, before that, I will give a little bit of my personal background. I studied makeup in 2013 at Makeup Design Academy in the Philippines before I migrated to the U.S. I always enjoyed learning how to apply makeup because makeup, if used correctly can enhance anyone’s beauty. This was the reason why I had a fairly large makeup collection. While in makeup school I learned about the lifespan of each product and how important it is to keep makeup products and other makeup accessories sanitized at all times.
I thought I was ready to become a professional makeup artist because I thought I did a pretty good job when I was studying. I did a few makeup jobs and I quickly realized that I studied makeup not because I want to be a professional makeup artist, but I just want to learn for personal application. However, I still liked to buy new makeup because I wanted to grow my makeup collection.
It is very common for makeup lovers like myself or even for those who barely use makeup to hold on to old products while continuing to add more products to the collection. Let’s face it, it’s always fascinating to see the enormous collection of makeup that other people have (as can be seen in social media) and how beautifully organized their makeup vanity is using beautiful makeup organizers, right? Because of that, it may become your goal to have the same collection. That is why you are always on the look out for what’s trending in the makeup industry and you make sure that these new items will be added to your collection!
There is actually no problem having a huge collection of makeup, if you have money and space to store all of these items in your home. It will only become a problem if your your credit card debt is growing, you have no space in your home and worst of all, your makeup collection turning into a big mess.
If your collection becomes chaos, just like the picture above, then it is time for you reduce your collection and only keep items that you actually use. You also need to keep in mind that by only buying and keeping items that you need you will only not save space in your home but definitely save a lot of money.
9 Easy Steps To Organize Your Makeup
I. Organize Your Makeup Education 101: Makeup Shelf Life
Before we dig in into the process of organizing your makeup collection, lets take a look first at the shelf life of your beauty products. It is always a good thing to remind yourself that just like everything in this world, your makeup collection has a lifespan. You cannot keep them forever and definitely you cannot use them for as long as you want. Below are the basic lifespans of makeup products:
It is very obvious that different types of makeup have different lifespans. Dry products like powder blushes can last for almost 2 years if stored correctly while liquid products such as liquid eyeliner and mascara have the shortest shelf life because bacteria breeds quickly from the constant transfer from your eye to the applicator. Makeup brushes can last longer but you need to constantly wash them at least every two months or every time you use them for other people to remove makeup build-up and of course bacteria.
Other Ways To Know When Your Makeup Has Expired
- Use your sense of smell – Makeup products have a unique smell and if the product has a strange odor, it is a good indication that your makeup has expired. To avoid using an expired product with a peculiar smell be sure to smell it before application.
- Check The Label – Beauty products come with a small jar usually a label with a number and the letter M next to it. This is to indicate how long the product will last after you open it. For example, “6M” means 6 months which represent that time frame in which the products work best after being opened. After this time frame, the product’s quality will decline and can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Changed of Texture – This method is very obvious for liquid products such as your liquid foundation. The texture may have thickened, got clumpy or dried out.
- The Color Is Off – Just like any other type of products, your makeup goes through an oxidation process when exposed to air which directly affects the color of your makeup. The longer your makeup sits in your makeup organizer, the more they are prone to oxidize. For example, when you apply your foundation and you notice that the color takes on an orange hue, it most likely has oxidized and you should stop using it right away.
You should familiarize yourself with the different lifespans of different makeup products and how important it is for your health to get rid of those expired items. This will make it easier for you to part ways with it during the sorting process.
2. Identify Your Makeup Style
There is definitely an endless supply of makeup that you can choose from and if you do not know what kind of makeup fits you best, you will always end up buying more makeup than you need. So in order to avoid that, you need to identify your makeup style by looking at your previous photos. Yes, you heard me right! You need to gather pictures from a few years back up to the present or from the year that you started wearing makeup until the present time. If it happens that you notice that you have a different look over the years, choose one to two makeup styles that you think suit you the best. In this way, you would know what makeup items that you need to have and therefore you would know what makeup items you should not keep. See the example below:
In the video show above is the compilation of my photos taken from 2014 to 2021. It is so obvious in my pictures the makeup style that I like the best is the No Makeup Makeup Look. From this makeup style, I definitely know what makeup items I need and they are as follows:
- sunscreen as my primer
- bronzer as my eyes shadow
- natural lipstick color
- dark brown eyebrow pencil
- dark brown liquid eyeliner
- black liquid eyeliner
- black mascara
- setting powder
Now that you have identified your makeup style, you can now also identify what makeup items you need to have. In this way, it will help you to buy what you need and it will also help to identify what items you need to keep when you organize your makeup collection.
3. Take Everything Out
The best way to organize your makeup is to take everything out! After you have identified your makeup style, the color of eye shadow that you like to wear, the type of foundation and brand, color of lipsticks and so on, it’s time for you to gather all your makeup collection and place it one area. In this way, you will able to realize the amount of makeup you have actually accumulated over time, how much money you have spent and how many of these items you have not used.
4. Sorting Your Makeup Items Into 3 Categories
- To Keep/Essential Makeup – Makeup items that you need to achieve your makeup style. These are the items that you identified when you were looking at your previous photos (STEP NO.2). These are the items that will definitely deserve a space in your makeup vanity.
- Do Not Keep – Makeup items that are already expired, that you ended up not liking it and makeup products that do not fit your style.
- Unknown/Limited Edition Makeup – Unopened beauty product samples, fun products, expensive products and limited-edition products that you can no longer buy.
5. Define a HOLDING PERIOD for items under Unknown Category:
- Unopened beauty product samples – If you really like to shop makeup you probably have a ton of free unopened product samples that are taking up space in your makeup vanity.
- Fun Products – These are makeup items that you bought because of their cuteness or for specific occasions and definitely not items that you will use on a regular basis such as a bright-colored lipstick, colorful makeup palettes and so on.
- Expensive Makeup – These are products that did not fit in to your style and no matter how much you want to keep them (because you spent a lot of money), you always end up not liking them.
- Limited-Edition Products – These are the products that you won’t be able to buy again. There could be 2 possible reasons why you have accumulated these limited-edition products and they are as follows:
- Limited-Edition Products That You Did Not Like – Items that you ended up not liking but you decided to keep the item because it is a limited-edition product.
- Limited-Edition Products That You Do Like – Items that you like very much which is why you do not want to use them that often or you just want to look at them.
Basically these are the items that you are having a hard time to let go. You do not need to make a quick decision on whether you need to keep them or you need to get rid of them. All you need to do is to put each group in a box and set a holding period. For example, one box designated for all you beauty product samples, one box for fun products, one box for all your expensive products and one box for your limited-edition products and hold them for a week or two. Then, place them beside your vanity.
During the holding period, take-out the items that you have thought of using or have actually used and place those particular items together with your essentials makeup items. At the end of your holding period, all the items that remained inside the boxes are items that you really do not need. Then you will know that it is time for you to let these go.
You can donate or give to your friends and family any unused makeup items or even used products if they would not mind. If you have some space in your vanity, keep 2 to 5 items that you really like just for the sake of keeping them. For the remaining items, you just need to put them inside a garbage bag and throw them away immediately, so there will be no temptation to keep!
Below is the Photo of My Makeup Collection After I threw everything out that I did not need:
Since the number of items in my makeup collection was reduced by more than half, I used a caddy tote to organize my makeup. A Caddy tote is perfect organizer for me because I have a small makeup collection and very limited space under my bathroom sink.
6. Clean and Organize Your Makeup By Finding A Spot For Each Kind
Take this opportunity to clean all of your makeup essentials. Go through all of them and find a perfect spot for each item in your makeup vanity whether it’s as simple as an organizer caddy tote, cosmetic box, makeup rotating organizer, container cube with drawers or a fancy vanity table set with lighted mirror. After you are done cleaning them, group your makeup items according to function and kind such as the following:
- Place all your makeup brushes in a container or toothbrush container.
- Place inside a tray all the makeup tools such as eye lush curler, mixing tray, tweezers and others.
- Place inside a tray all your lipstick and glosses.
- Place inside a container all your makeup pencils.
- Designate a place for your powders.
- Designate a place for you eye shadow palettes and loose eye shadows and blushes.
- Designate a place for your primers, foundation and concealer
- Designate a place for your everyday makeup
Invest in an organizing product that works for your space. There area a lot of makeup organizers that you can choose from but the most important thing to look for in an organizer is look for a product that will fit your space limitations. You need to identify the amount of space that you use when you do your makeup. Whether the area is in your bedroom or bathroom, determine how much space you can allocate for your beauty products. From there, you will identify what kind of organizing products that you need to buy. Below are some makeup organizers that will help you to organize your makeup essentials based on your available space.
Makeup Organizers If You Have A Counter Space To Display A Container
Do you have a good number items in your makeup collection? These 3 Piece Acrylic Cosmetic Storage Drawers are a great match for your space. You can designate a specific spot for your all makeup essentials because it can hold at least 15 brushes, 10 lipsticks/glosses, 8 eyeliners, and 3 large eye shadows palettes. It has 2 large drawers, 2 small drawers and 2 middle drawers.
If you keep your makeup, then this Cosmetic Display Case Organizer is suited for you when you keep collection at a minimum and you would also like to store your skin care products at the same time. It has 3 layers of large capacity storage and comes with a brush and lipstick organizer. What is so good about this organizer is that it looks elegant because of its golden handle with non-slip feet. Plus, you can carry it any time because it has a portable handle.
360 Degree Rotating Cosmetic Storage Organizer with 7 layer Adjustable Makeup Display Case which allows you to easily get your makeup products from all sides. You can also easily adjust the height according to your needs which makes it perfect storage for your different cosmetics sizes.
Organize Your Makeup By Utilizing Your Drawer
Use a drawer organizer to utilize your drawer space and to organize your makeup by allocating a spot for each kind. Different sized trays allow you to store different cosmetic products based on your needs. It will also allow you to stack them which makes this product perfect for organizing.
Acrylic Compact Organizer – A good fit if you have compact blushes, eye shadow, highlighters products organizer.
Clear Cosmetic Organizer – Good organizer to store compact makeup palettes.
8 Spaces Cosmetic Holder – For eye shadow palettes, lipsticks, glosses and highlighters.
Only Space You Have Is Space Under Your Bathroom Sink
Makeup Organizer Caddy Tote – This is really a good organizer to have if you only have space under your bathroom sink. It’s a portable storage organizer which makes it easy to carry around and easily access your makeup every time you need. Unfortunately, you really need to make your collection small in order to make this organizer work for you.
Organizer Plastic with Drawer – The size is just right to store full size products and the compartment separation is ideal for sorting your makeup essentials.
If You Have Ample Space In Your Bedroom For A Vanity Table Set
Makeup Vanity Set with Flip Top Mirror – It comes with a removable organizer which makes your makeup beauty products accessible. Each organizer comes with a removal divider which will not only help you to organize your makeup by keeping your makeup and other accessories separated but it will allow you to adjust the size of the compartment according to your needs. Once you are done with your makeup application you can turn this vanity table into a writing table or laptop desk in a split second by putting the lid down.
7. Sanitize Your Makeup Essentials
Part of being organized is to keep your space clean most especially your makeup products and accessories. In my article, Why Cleaning Keeps Your Home Organized, cleaning will help you to pick up things that do not belong and put them into their designated location and the same thing applies to your makeup beauty products. Cleaning your makeup essentials will help you to spot items that are already expired and items that you need to replace. It is also a good time to put items where they belong and will reveal to you items which you forget about. In this way, you will avoid using expired products, identify products that you should not buy and products that you need to replenish. Therefore, your makeup collection will always be under your control.
Remember your makeup can be a breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria can clog your pores and make your skin dull. Therefore , the more you clean your makeup products the less acne causing bacteria you are going to transfer to your skin.
Below are some cleaning products that will help you to sanitize:
Makeup Cleaner for Brushes and Sponge
Makeup Sanitizing Spray for Powder-based Makeup Palettes & Pressed Cream Foundations, Bronzers, Concealers, Blushes, Eyeshadows
Cosmetic Sanitizer Wipes – Antibacterial, Disinfecting Wipes for Makeup, Lipstick, Eye Pencil, Foundation, Makeup Palette & Pressed Compacts
8. Organize Your Makeup by Putting a Label on Each Designated Spot
Labels will help you to locate the makeup items that you need quickly and will help you to keep your makeup essential organized at all times. Why? Because labels will also remind you to put items where they belong and will help you to spot the makeup essential you need to replenish. You can also include on the label (aside from the content identification) the expiration date.
Bold All Caps Bathroom Labels, Beauty & Makeup Labels
9. Maintain Your Makeup Essentials Organization At All Times
Once you have accomplished step 1 to 8, now do not let your hard work go to waste! You need to maintain the organization that you have accomplished by consistently putting everything into practice. Keep throwing away items that already expired, give away items that you do not like, clean your makeup on a regular basis to keep the bacteria away and always put items where they belong. In this way, you will always keep your makeup collection at a minimum!
Use the Makeup Expiration Guide For What Items You Should Splurge On
Makeup is expensive! Beauty products like makeup from well known brands have their benefits and you can really tell the difference when it come to quality. However, there are some brands of makeup that are ridiculously expensive and if you are not being watchful on your spending, you will end up with a very expensive makeup collection that will definitely hurt your wallet. Since you are now aware of the lifespan of the different makeup essentials, I think it is only smart to splurge on makeup products that have a longer shelf life. This will also you to enjoy the products longer and will make it well worth the money. Below are some of the recommendations that will save you a lot of money:
- Mascara – Save your money, avoid buying expensive mascara since it only last for 3 months. I discovered that I prefer the drugstore mascara Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious to be specific over a well known brand.
- Lip Gloss/Lip Balm – This is one of the items that you like to keep it in your purse. You use it more often than any other type of makeup so it also smart to buy an affordable lip gloss or lip balm.
- Anything Trendy – Save your money, it’s ok to try items that are trending in the makeup world like super glittery lipstick, bright colored eye shadow, neon liner and so on. However, do not buy those trendy items from the expensive brands.
- Liquid Eyeliner – Splurge on! I am a fan of Clinique Pretty easy Liquid Eyelining Pen Eyeliner but this eyeliner is quite expensive compared with the other brands. So one day, I decided to try a cheaper brand but I had a hard time applying the liner and I ended up throwing it away.
- Lipstick – Splurge On! If you are the type that cannot go without lipstick on, it is better to buy a lipstick with a formulation that you can trust.
- Foundation – Splurge On! If you only need to choose one item to splurge on, spend the most on your foundation. Having skin that looks polished is all that really matters! Flawless skin is the perfect base to make the rest of your makeup items work perfectly together.
- Powder Blush, Bronzers and Powders – Splurge On! These 3 items have the longest shelf life plus the are makeup items that you will use frequently.