Spring is all about resets. That means it’s the perfect time to simplify, streamline and de-stress your beauty routine by decluttering your beauty stash. You know we’re strong believers in the sacred concept of skinimalism, but that doesn’t mean you have to toss everything. It just means a little mindful organization might be in order.
Our step-by-step method will help you find things faster, save time while getting ready, make your space more relaxing and refine your aesthetic in less than a few hours. Open some windows for some fresh spring air, put on your favorite upbeat tunes, and get your spring decluttering on!
1. Round up your arsenal
It’s so easy to forget what you have when it’s spread between different bathrooms, handbags, dressers, drawers, and vanities. That’s why the first step is to gather everything. Yes, everything in one place. We recommend spreading a white bath towel onto the floor and putting it all out there. Any towel works, but white helps you see the color and consistency of each item. It might look like a jumbled mess. That’s okay. We’re going to tackle it one step at a time!
2. Sort & group like items
Divide everything into five categories. We suggest nails, body, skin care, hair care and makeup. If you love traveling, you might throw in a travel-size category as well. This helps you see exactly what you have, how much, and it will be helpful later when putting away and organizing. Every stash looks different, so feel free to assign sub-categories as needed. We see you, nail mavens and lipstick junkies.
3. Purge the old & unused
Now go grab a small trash can or a trash bag. One category at a time, you’re going to check each product for an expiration date. Expired? Toss it. No date? If you haven’t picked it up in two years, it’s probably time to pitch it. Be ruthless during this step. Expired, outdated or unused products have to go! Using makeup and skin care products past their prime can cause irritation leading to itching, burning, redness or breakouts. It’s not worth the risk.
Exact expiration dates depend on a number of things, like how each product is stored, whether it’s been opened, how it’s applied, and how often it’s used. Many products are stamped with a PAO (Period After Opening) symbol to indicate shelf life – or how long you have to use it between opening and discarding.
If a product is sealed and stored in a cool, dry place, most products are fine for two years, unless it’s a natural formulation with no preservatives. In that case, it’s particularly important to keep track of opening and expiration dates. The best way to track? A quick note on your Google calendar or downloading the Beauty Keeper app.
According to Healthline and TODAY, here’s a good guideline for when to discard and replace your beauty products:
- Liquid eyeliner: 3 months
- Mascara: 3 months
- Cream eyeshadow: 6 months
- Cream-based color (blush & bronzer): 12-18 months
- Powder-based color (blush, bronzer & shadow): 18-24 months
- Foundation: 12-18 months
- Concealer: 12-18 months
- Lipstick: 18-24 months
- Lip gloss: 12-18 months
- Pencil eyeliner & lipliner: 24 months
- Nail polish: 24 months
- Perfume: 36 months or longer
- Hair care: 12-24 months
- SPF: 12 months
- Skin care (depends largely on packaging, with pumps like our Flawless Radiant SKIN [2-Step] performing best): 6-24 months
4. Engage quality control
Many items tend to degrade in quality over time, even if they aren’t technically “expired”. This is true for many lip color formulas, nail polishes and fragrances. Check for any changes in texture or smell. Is it the same as when you bought it? If you’re noticing uncharacteristic dryness, separation or an unusual odor, it’s definitely time for a new one!
5. Avoid keeping duplicates
You know what you like and that’s a beautiful thing. Many of us gravitate towards the same shades every time we shop, especially when we lose track of what’s waiting at home. Even if you love nude glosses and barely-there nail colors, you probably don’t need five of them. Chances are, you have favorites based on scent, texture and finish. Those are your holy grail items – the others are just in the way.
6. Keep what you love
By this stage, you’re left only with what you love and use. Right?! We’re definitely moving in that direction. Look at everything you have left and ask yourself these questions. Is it still fresh and in good condition? Is each item a regular or semi-regular part of my routine? Is that color/scent/formula/style still working for me? You might even want to test the products in question. Swatch them on your hand or give them a quick trial run. Tastes and seasons change, so don’t feel bad about walking away from things that don’t make you look and feel your best. Love them or lose them.
7. Still not sure what to keep?
We’ve heard this hack for closet cleanouts, but it’s equally brilliant for beauty decluttering: The Box Method. It’s super simple. You take all the things you’re on the fence about and put them in a box or container. As you get ready every day for 30 or 60 days, you’ll pull things out as you need them. After the trial period is over, whatever is still sitting in that box can probably be tossed without regret.
8. Clean it all up
Now that you’re down to the must-haves, let’s spruce up the packaging. Take a disinfecting wipe or a damp cloth with a little dish soap and wipe down the containers. This will remove any dust or residue and keep them looking shiny and new. Also take this opportunity to wipe down the areas where you’ll be storing everything next.
9. Get seriously organized
Now comes the fun part. Putting everything away and luxuriating in your beautifully-curated beauty collection. Regardless of where you get ready for your day, we recommend keeping your favorite, most-used products front and center on a pretty shelf, vanity tray or trinket dish. This will save time, space and give you a mini mood boost when you see them. For everything else, clear acrylic is your best friend. Whether you go with stackable trays, drawers or divided organizers, this will allow you to see what you have and prevent things from getting lost in the shuffle.
Another alternative is to keep your go-to items on display and then create separate makeup bags or cases for your morning and evening routines. All of your less-used items like occasional masks or bolder colors can be stored out of the way to give you easy access to your daily essentials.
Recycle, recycle, recycle
Before you take that trash can or trash bag to the outdoor bin, think about what can be recycled. If the package is glass, or plastic and stamped with a 1-7, it can usually be recycled curbside, but check your local rules before cleaning and emptying each container.
Feeling spring fresh and ready to tackle the next organization project? We have another one on the way about cleaning your beauty tools, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, enjoy the spa-like serenity of your perfectly clutter-free beauty stash and set a reminder to do this seasonally, or at least twice a year.
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