Photo of makeup products scattered on the floor
Beauty, Simplicity

Decluttering my makeup collection: an update

Back in august I wrote a post about how I wanted to downsize my makeup collection and how I would update you on the process after a few months. We then proceeded to buy an apartment and got caught up in all things moving related, and it is now 6 months later and I am slightly embarrassed by my lack of an update. But better late than never, right? Get ready for some #shittyminimalism!

First of all: I really regret not taking a photo of my entire makeup collection back in August, because the lack of before-photos makes it really difficult for you to compare my old collection to what I have now. Truthfully though, I didn’t forget to take those photos: I was too embarrassed to show you how much makeup I owned. Total makeup shame. I don’t even have numbers for you! I know, I know, I should have my blogging license revoked. Anyway, for those of you who don’t remember, here are the photos I took back in August before I started decluttering:

Open makeup case with makeup inside

Just the fact that I didn’t show you the actual contents of that vanity case is such a cop out, because you can’t really tell how much it actually holds. I can assure you though, I did get rid of a lot of makeup. When we moved into our new apartment I wanted to use the little IKEA 3-drawer chest as my bedside table, which meant I now had to fit all my makeup, hair care and skin care into one bathroom drawer. It isn’t a small drawer by any means, but it still meant I had to do some serious culling to fit it all in there. I did it little by little, as it turns out I am weirdly sentimental about makeup. I can usually remember what each item cost, and man, it is painful to realize how all that money was wasted. So much money.

6 months later, and this is what I’m left with.

Makeup case full of makeup, next to even more makeup placed in front of it

And now I’m really kicking myself for not taking those before photos, because you have no way of telling how much makeup I actually got rid of. I mean, that is still a lot of makeup by anyone’s standards, even though I got rid of so much. Oh well, at least I’m showing you the full picture this time around. Here are some better shots of the stuff that still hangs around in my vanity case and drawer:

Can you tell my weak spot is eyeshadows? I still haven’t met a warm brown I didn’t like, let me tell you that much. Some of these palettes are still on probation, like the two small palettes in the middle and the one with 12 shades on the top right, but I do use them all every once in a while. I probably got rid of 5 eyeshadow palettes and a handful of single shadows before ending up with these.

Ann assortment of skin makeup

These are my base products. I use the BB cream on its own in the warmer months, and mix it into the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation in the colder months. The Guerlain gold primer was an extravagant birthday present, and I would never buy a primer that expensive for myself, but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

Blushes, bronzers and highlighters. Still a bit excessive, but as you can probably tell they are all being used and loved and I even hit pan on some of them. The little Stila one (“Kitten”) is technically an eyeshadow, but I use it as a highlighter when I travel because the large highlighters are really prone to breaking.

An assortment of eye liners and mascaras

Eye and brow products. There are some samples and gift-with-purchase things here, but all in all everything is being used.

Lip products. This is where I did the most culling, as I probably had three times as many before I started. There are a few here that are a bit too similar, but I’m still working out which ones I prefer, so I’m letting them all stay for now.

A corrector makeup palette and an eyeshadow palette

And a few things I forgot to include in the proper photos: a concealer quad and a beautiful Becca Ombre Rouge eyeshadow palette.

And that was it for my 6 month makeup decluttering update. I’m not anywhere near the simple 10-15 product collections of your favorite internet minimalists, but then again I really really love makeup, and for me this is a pretty significant downsizing. I’m sure my collection will shrink organically over time, because I definitely wouldn’t repurchase all of these if they broke or ran out, but for now I will enjoy them while they’re here.


10 thoughts on “Decluttering my makeup collection: an update

  1. Suzanne says:

    Well done! It is so hard to cull items you love. I have the same problem with nail polishes. I’ve culled them and passed on to friends 30 odd bottles only to re-stock again. This time I have a total ban on purchasing nail polish until I have used them all up – like you I won’t be replacing every item. How many shades of red do I need. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you for the comment Suzanne, I can relate to your nail polish problem. I used to have a ton! My solution was to restrict myself to one small box of nail polish – if the box was full I couldn’t buy any new ones before one I already owned was used up or dried out.

  2. If I may–how do you get rid of still-decent, but unused makeup (if returning is no longer an option?)

    I have a Naked 1 palette I’m not using; it’s still very much intact/good/clean but it seems such a waste to throw. I don’t know any woman nearby that might want it (is that a thing? dry eyeshadow isn’t necessarily yucky to give away, right?)

    I could pop out the colors I like and Z-palette it like you did but that would be a waste of time / I might as well keep it in the Naked palette anyway.

    Did you mostly throw/donate/…repurpose somehow?

    • Thankfully I have a few friends who are just as obsessed with makeup as I am. They take whatever they want from the products I no longer use, and then I throw away what’s left. I feel so bad whenever I throw out perfectly fine makeup, but at least I try to remember that awful feeling whenever I want to buy something new.

  3. Nice downsizing job so far. You can always do another round in the near future. And if you really love makeup, you should be able to enjoy it. Due to my lack of makeup skills my makeup collection is fairly small except for red lipstick. Too bad that I’d rather spend 5 more minutes in bed in the morning than apply lipstick…

  4. You’ve got me thinking carefully about my make-up stash – especially since it’s kind of big for someone who pretty much only has one make-up look. :/ I think my issue in terms of how I manage to amass such a volume of products is that I keep endlessly searching for those Holy Grail products. Consequently, things that are good enough begin to feel like they should be better and closer to perfect. Then I end up reasoning that if I can just find all the necessary Holy Grail products, then I’ll be able to be a true minimalist because I’ll know what my perfect essentials are and I’ll never need to deviate from them, right?! I start to wonder if ~Holy Grail products~ are conveniently an effective marketing ploy, because you end up feeling like you shouldn’t settle for anything less than perfection. And from my personal experience, and from following various make-up blogs, I’d say people generally haven’t found many Holy Grails. Maybe they’ll have found the HG for, say, their concealer, but they’ll still be on the hunt for the HG for literally everything else.

    Also, a super interesting related point – I just came across this article about how companies play on messages about minimalism and consumeristic restraint being moral and virtuous, but those messages are just another way to marginalise certain groups and elevate those who already have privilege.

    • Ooh, I love that article. And the line “Patagonia’s fleeces are part-recycled? REI’s are made out of antimatter. You are not-shopping by shopping there” made me snort.

      You have an interesting point about those Holy Grail products, it’s a perfect way to keep us always searching for something better. Also, I find myself doing that most of all in the categories where I don’t really enjoy using the product category much at all. Maybe there IS no Holy Grail lipstick – maybe the reason why none of them are good enough for me is that I just don’t like wearing lipstick?

      Also, I literally saw a YouTube video titled “capsule wardrobe haul” the other day.

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