A reader (hi S!) recently wrote me about my 25 item wardrobe resolution for 2014, and how that might extend to skincare/beauty.
This was a question that I struggled a bit to answer, because I actually already have a fairly pared down makeup collection. No, really! Everything fits in a small/medium Muji acrylic organizer on my counter, whereas I know people who couldn’t fit just their eyeliner collection in there (no judging! Eyeliner is important). Anyway, I had to think back a bit to how I arrived to this pared back state, and here it is…
Years ago I used to be a fairly frequent purchaser of beauty products, and had several acrylic boxes filled with all kinds of items. I can really understand why someone who loves makeup or does it for their job would have a ton, but neither of these were true in my case. A smokey eye at 8 PM, carefully applied with the help of awesome YouTube videos, always equalled raccoon eyes by 9 PM. I owned glittery blushes that only were appropriate for late night clubs, and I was going only clubbing, like, once a year. Upon which I’d forget to wear the blush anyway. Yet for years, I kept on buying more products. I eventually realized that I had to pare down my collection, and one day, I went through everything and threw out all the nail polishes, mascaras, and lip glosses that had expired, according to the rules. It was quite a lot.
Soon after, I realized that I was just wearing the same old things every day anyway – the same lip color, the same mascara, the same blush. And on top of that, I actually liked it. It was easy. I had the same routine to follow each morning. And it was fine to wear the same things on my face every day, unlike with clothes, where if I repeated the same outfit day in and day out it would surely be eventually reported to HR by coworkers.
I don’t want to sound like I took all the fun out of beauty – because I did, and still do, love a good product (lipstick, mascara, blush, whatever) now and then. Instead, a natural rule evolved after a while – where I only “allow” myself a certain number of lipsticks, mascaras, blushes, whatever at any given time. If I add more and I’m at my limit, I have to throw something out.
This has worked for me for years, and over time, led me to make better beauty choices too. The urge to hoard eventually faded, and I stopped adding glittery blushes and eye shadows to my beauty collection. I realized that even if I did miss out on a great new limited lipstick color, there was always something fabulous next year anyway.
So – if you are struggling with your beauty stash and want to pare it down – this would be my best advice. 1) Throw out everything that’s old, and then, 2) Determine the right number of beauty items in an ideal state. Be honest! Do you really need 6 different taupe eyeshadows? Who can really tell, anyway? Follow the allotment rule I outline above, and soon you’ll have a much more manageable collection. And then, when you really do find that perfect taupe shadow, it will be all the more satisfying.
Please share your own makeup philosophy (bulging drawer, medium, minimalist) and your own experiences in the comments!