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  • Writer's pictureKate Markovitz

Your Ideal Makeup Bag: Decluttering Tips + Expiration Guidelines

Which set-up makes you want to do your makeup? Left or Right?

Do you have a TON of makeup products? I've seen those bathroom organizers stuffed to the brim! More is just more, not better. This applies to every area of life.

(As a reminder, I did a "Simplified September" challenge that could still apply here!)

Space, simple, streamline, intention, value, purpose.

Trust me when I say it feels so good to put on makeup when it is decluttered, simple, and products you love.

A couple of notes here:

  1. I'm a product junkie. I love options and trying new products, BUT keeping a simple pouch or basket of the daily products I use was a sweet exhale. Instead of sifting and sorting and organizing daily trying to find the products I wanted to use, I could actually enjoy the makeup routine. Make space.

  2. I am a believer in quality over quantity... and budgets! It doesn't matter what your budget is, you can still have a streamlined makeup routine (and quite frankly, may even allow you to invest in more quality items because you'll only need one blush color vs four).

  3. When you have more, you will use less within an expiration period... thus becoming wasteful! USE the makeup you are spending hard-earned money on by having products you love.

Declutter Your Makeup + Brushes

Your ideal makeup bag: decluttering tips and expiration guidelines for makeup

Let's jump into creating a more simple makeup bag, Marie Kondo style. I want you to round-up ALL of your makeup to one spot. How does that feel?

Now it's time to be ruthless. This is going to make you feel SO GOOD at the end and every time you grab your makeup!

Out with...

  • Anything you’ve had for two years or longer... that's right! 24 months is the longest expiration of a product.

  • Any product with shades that aren't what they used to be - they are “off” or don’t look “right” anymore.

  • Makeup with liquid formulas that are separating or with textures that have changed in any way.

  • Anything with broken packaging... time to replace!

  • Brushes, puffs, or sponges that are dirty or falling apart. Try to clean and if not salvageable, out it goes!

  • Anything you do not wear. When was the last time you used that eyeshadow palette or blush color? As you add products to your kit, you may find you have new favorites (and it's probably true that the old is now expired).

Take a look at what you have left... is every single product something you enjoy using or look forward to wearing? GOOD (if not, goodBYE!)

Do you have everything you need?

That's a hard one to answer since everyone's "essentials" are different. Create a list of products you'll need to add/replace based on your decluttering journey. Do you need a new blush? Make some brushes?

I'm often asked about brushes... I could get away with a beauty blender, angled brush, and 2 differently shaped eyeshadow brushes as a minimum, but I enjoy having more (I also like that I don't have to clean them as often since I have many ;)

Quality makeup brushes are truly a worthwhile investment if you take care of them. I've bought cheap sets on Amazon that fell apart within a couple months but my nicer brushes are as great as day one. I have a wide range in my kit, but I love Beautycounter, Makeup Geek, Mikasa, and even some Elf brushes found at Target.

Now to the next step...

Makeup Expiration Dates

It's a little heartbreaking that makeup expires, especially if it's something that lasts longer than the date, but no one wants to be wiping on bacteria or less-than-optimal formulas.

expiration symbols and dates for makeup

On almost every product (either the actual product or the packaging it came in), there’s an open container symbol that looks like a jar with a number and the letter M next to it. This tells you how long that product will last from the time you open it. For example, 3M means three months, 12M means a year, and so on.

PRO TIP: Use a sharpie to write the date you are opening the product on the container. Don't rely on your memory - you won't remember!

I'm a clean beauty junkie, but that also means that some products may not have as many preservatives... it's important to pay attention to these guidelines.

Here are some general rules (but check your products):

  • Foundation: one year for water-based (slightly longer for oil-based formulas)

  • Sunscreen: one year (really important - it will start to separate and not protect you from the sun as well!)

  • Lipstick: one to two years

  • Lip gloss/liquid lipstick: six months to one year

  • Mascara: three to six months (less if it starts to change in texture or smell)

  • Powder makeup: two years

  • Cream/liquid makeup: six months to one year

  • Liquid eyeliner: three to six months (same rules apply as mascara)

  • Pencil/gel eyeliner: one year (sharpen every couple of uses to shave off any bacteria-covered pieces)

Think about the way you apply the product and what style it resembles in this list.

For example, Beautycounter Jellies are a squeeze tube... I would equate this to a lipstick (you aren't actually pulling out an applicator and putting it back in), whereas Beautycounter's concealer is similar to a lip gloss application which is about six months to one year.

I'll do a blog post about cleaning your makeup products soon... that's a natural next step right ;)

Let me know if this was helpful!

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Apr 16, 2021

Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’t wait to read more posts.


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