Where to start when decluttering your makeup?
Follow these steps to declutter your makeup and toiletries easily:
- Clear a surface to put your makeup and beauty products on. If it isn’t a surface which can easily be wiped clean, protect it by putting a cover on it e.g. a dustbin bag, to avoid any annoying spillages!
- Gather together all makeup your own e.g. in your car, make up bag, bathroom, drawers, and handbags and put it on this surface.
- Categorise your makeup and group like items with like e.g. put all lipsticks together, foundations all together etc. This helps you see at a glance where you have too many products.
- Put to one side everything that has expired (read this to find out the truth about when beauty products expire).
- Once all your expired products have been put to one side, consider these questions to about every item to decide whether you want to keep what is left (try to forget how much something cost you and really focus on whether the produce deserves a space in your life):
a) When was the last time you used it? If you’ve not used it in the last 6 months, you probably won’t miss it.
b) Does it fit my current style? Styles change in makeup as well as clothes. Do you still love it?
c) Do I have duplicates? Often we forget that we have a product already and buy it again – keep the newest and let go of the rest unless you it is a product you use all the time.
d) Would I buy this today? If you would not spend money on it today then it’s definitely time to go!
Make sure you regularly sanitize your products and clean your brushes to prevent spreading bacteria.
Once you declutter your makeup, you should give the products you have decided to keep a good clean:
- Run a baby wipe or face wipe over grubby packaging to make it look like new again.
- Put your makeup bag in the washing machine (if you can) or hand-wash it.
- Clean the inside of your makeup drawer.
- Your makeup brushes will be the most likely to need a clean (most experts agree that you should do this at least once a month):
- Run the TIPS of your makeup brushes in lukewarm water rinsing out all the residual makeup (just get the tips wet and not the base of the bristles as the fine hairs of high quality makeup brushes get damaged by over-soaking in water);
- Then put a squirt of shampoo onto your palm and gently swirl the brush in this to create a lather;
- Rinse the brush tip under warm running water again;
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the water runs clean;
- Squeeze excess water from the brush or blot it with a clean towel and leave to air-dry overnight or you can use a hairdryer to dry the bristles gently to speed this up!
Bonus tip: If you’d like to keep bacteria and germs out of your makeup bag, clean your brushes every few weeks. The Sigma Spa Brush Cleaning Glove makes it easier to do that which you can buy here:
Once you have cleaned all your beauty products, you can now store them. You should store makeup at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Often people leave an emergency makeup bag in their car so just remember that skincare products including sun-cream are vulnerable to heat as high temperatures can deactivate ingredients, preservatives and fragrances in them.
If you normally store your makeup in the bathroom, keep it in a cabinet or a drawer away from humidity. Store nail varnish in a cool, dry place. The best place for nail varnish is your fridge – seriously! Here are some easy and simple storage solutions that work wonders for storage once you declutter your makeup:
Getting Rid Of Makeup
Now you have cleaned everything you are keeping and put it away, it’s time to get rid of what’s left.
Please don’t just throw everything in the bin! Here are some tips as to how you can dispose of it in a more environmentally friendly way:
1. Donate it
Check to see if you have any products that friends or family might want. Avoid donating any used products in jars which you have dipped your fingers in. Also used mascaras, eye products, sponges, brushes and lip gloss may harbour germs which you could pass on.
There are a couple of great charities that you can donate makeup to:
+ GIVE AND MAKEUP: is a non-profit initiative whose aim is to get everyday essentials into the hands of women and children in the UK who need them the most. Box up your used and new products (e.g. in a shoe box) and post them to PO BOX 855, LONDON, W4 4AW and pay for postage. But do not send really old makeup, or lipsticks that are pretty much used up. Please don’t send it if you would be embarrassed to give it to a friend. To find out more click here.
+ BEAUTY BANKS: Sali Hughes and Jo Jones set up this scheme to help try to end hygiene poverty. They send out toiletries to distributors e.g. churches and food banks in the UK to help those most in need. Box up your new and unopened items e.g. hotel toiletries (e.g. in a shoe box). Then write “Beauty Banks” on every side of it and post your box (and pay for postage). The address for postage is: BEAUTY BANKS c/o JO JONES, THE COMMUNICATIONS STORE, 2 KENSINGTON SQUARE, LONDON W8 5EP. To find out more click here.
You can easily recycle most plastic or glass containers that beauty products come in. First you will need to pour out any remaining product into an old bowl or food packaging and wash out with hot water and fairy liquid.
Do not pour it down the sink or flush it down the toilet! The packaging may be so nice that you can even reuse it for something else in your home.
Once you have emptied the packaging put it in your recycling bin or return it to the brand. A few brands accept empty packaging. For example, LUSH (look for the label which tells you what can be returned for a fresh face mask!), Kiehl’s (bring any empty full size or travel size products from Kiehl’s back to their store and you will get a stamp, for every 10 stamps you get a free travel size product), MAC Cosmetics (return 6 MAC primary packaging containers to a MAC store and you’ll receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice).
If you buy recyclable beauty products in the first place, you won’t feel guilty when it’s time to get rid of them. Brands like LUSH and Burt’s Bees use metal tins to store their products.
3. Bin it
Unfortunately, the only solution right now seems to be putting the rest in landfill. If you have nail polish to get rid of which is not dried up, it’s technically hazardous waste. This means you shouldn’t just throw it in your household bin. Contact your local council for advice on how to safely dispose of it.
I hope this guide has been helpful and happy decluttering!