How to Streamline & Declutter Your Makeup

With a New Year brings so many feels on getting rid of what’s been hanging around and creating clutter. During my Christmas break, I took the time to sit down and go through my heaping collection of makeup. This year, I’m trying to embrace my inner Marie Kondo and keep things that only inspire joy in me—which can be harder than you think!

I always get asked: “How long does makeup last?” and “How do you know what to toss and what to keep?”

I’ve put together a quick guide to help you keep focus when deciding what is essential and what you can throw in the trash.

First off, make sure to lay out all of the makeup you own. Whether it’s a counter or on a clean floor, you need to see what you have in front of you. This also includes the many tubes of lipstick hiding in your purse. I suggest keeping products in order on how you would use them on the face.

Normally, most women start with primer, than foundation, concealer, ect, you get the idea.

Once you see everything, it’s time to determine what you actually need to have in your top drawer.

I call these top drawer items because they’re your “must-haves”. These products are Holy Grail status and you have bought them time and time again; no matter what they cost.

A general rule of thumb is that if the product (no matter what it is) smells or looks discolored in any way—you need to toss immediately. Most of the time, liquids tend to be the hardest to keep from going off. Think of liquid foundations, liquid eyeliners, concealers and don’t forget nail polish!

Liquid products become the most contaminated (because we use them the most) after application and need to be tossed between 6-12 months after opening.

The next steps are determining what products you have actually used in the last 6 months. For most of us, we have so much of the same products and it’s amazing to see the similarities once you have everything all laid out. If you haven’t touched or used that lipstick, eye shadow (including palettes) or cream face product; pass it along to a family member or friend.

The same guidelines apply to your blushes, bronzers and highlighters. Powder products are generally good for up to 2 years, depending on the sanitary care, sometimes even longer.

Anything you use around the eyes like eyeliners, pencils and mascara are good for up to 3-6 months. I feel this is much more of a personal choice on how long you want these to hang out in your makeup bag. I personally feel after 2 months, my mascara has dried out and needs to be replaced. Since eye pencils are not my everyday staple, I can get away with these lasting a lot longer in my collection. If you’re like me and haven’t touched your pencils in a while, give them a quick sharpen before applying. This will ensure that you have taken off the outer layer that holds the majority of bacteria.

If you follow me on Instagram, it’s easy to see that lip products are my go-to for instant glam. I can say that the majority of my makeup collection is lipstick based, whether it being a liquid or a classic texture from the bullet. My rule I have always stuck with, is keep the formulations you actually wear and love. I have so many great tones and colours in my collection but if I don’t like the formula, it’s a waste of precious space in my makeup bag.

Quick tips:

Think about your overall storage. If you’ve been checking out Pinterest for as long as I have, you know all about the IKEA Alex drawers. I have one and it has not failed me yet. The drawers are perfect size and fit most standard individual acrylic compartments.

Find a great makeup bag. With the right size bag to fit all your goodies, you can make your life so much easier. Find one that fits your brushes without creasing them. If you already have a bag you love, pop it in the wash to properly clean the interior lining. That gets hella gross after a while.

Clean your brushes. I cannot stress this enough. The amount of bacteria that lives on brushes is beyond gross and can cause breakouts. Pick a day during the week (I like Sunday nights) and deep clean your brushes with whatever cleanser you prefer. I love basic good ol’ Dawn to get the job done and on the cheap.

Clean the actual brush handle. Just like the above tip, I use Lysol wipes to clean up the handles of all my brushes. Trust me; you’ll be amazed at what you take off.

Happy organizing!

Rachelle xx

Contributor: Rachelle Gill
Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

Rachelle Gill has been working in the professional beauty industry for almost 15 years. Her passions of personal style and all things beauty, have inspired her to share her expertise on a digital level. Her Blog, The Grey Rose,  focuses on individual style, current beauty and modern lifestyle.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

You May Also Like


Each month, we are excited to share our beauty favourites – from skincare, makeup, and self-care products — that have captured our hearts and...


Each month, we are excited to share our beauty favourites – from skincare, makeup, and self-care products — that have captured our hearts and...


Spring skin goods are here to refresh and revitalize your complexion! Embrace the season with lightweight moisturizers, brightening serums, and gentle exfoliators. Say goodbye...


This month on our #TrendingIn Series, we’re off to British Columbia! No matter what the weather outside, neutral tones are always in (in our...