5 Tried + True Tips For Cleaning Out Your Beauty Closet

by Dale Arden Chong


5 Tried + True Tips For Cleaning Out Your Beauty Closet

Should your old mascara stay or should it go? (It should go).

I am what I like to call a beauty collector. Anything I test at the beauty store or read from another beauty editor’s suggestions is practically begging for a space in my beauty collection. Combine that with the nature of my job — which requires testing out various products from brands — and I’ve found myself with a heaping pile of products that, unfortunately, line the walls of my bedroom and the shelves of my hallway.

There’s something so refreshing about paring your collection of beauty products down to the bare necessities — or at the very least, the products you simply can’t let go of (right now). And if you’re like me, you’ve been spending more time at home with an unexpectedly open schedule and you’re feeling a little restless. If you ask me, there’s nothing better than channeling some of that pent-up energy into cleaning — an activity that can be therapeutic and productive.

If there’s one thing I love more than growing a pile of great beauty products, it’s organizing it. And after purging my beauty closet a handful of times, there are some tricks I’ve developed to keep it stress-free and efficient — and now, I’m sharing them with you.

Pull every product out of its place and into the open.

Just like cleaning out your closet, one of the best ways to go through everything — and I mean everything — is by taking everything and laying it out before you. Empty those shelves, drawers, and containers and spread their contents out in a way you can see them. It may be overwhelming at first, but it’ll keep you from missing anything that’s been hiding in the corner.

Ditch anything that’s expired or dried-up.

Full transparency: I hang onto beauty products for way longer than I probably should. But now and then, I’m reminded that makeup and skincare — like food — have an expiration date. I won’t go into detail about the effects of using expired products, but trust me, it’s good to avoid if possible. Here’s a general guide to how long you can keep a product:

Foundation + concealer: 2 years
Lipstick: 1 year
Blush + bronzer: 2 years
Eyeshadow: 2 years
Mascara and liquid eyeliner: 3 months
Lip + eye pencils: 1 year

Any obviously dried-up or empty products should go straight into the bin. If you’re also whittling down your collection to clean beauty products, I suggest using the Think Dirty app to figure out what stays and what goes.

“There’s nothing better than channeling some of that pent-up energy into cleaning.”

Group your products by categories and multiples.

More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve ended with a handful of the same eyeliner or multiple natural deodorants at once, whether it was because I thought I ran out,  I was hunting for the perfect product, or I was working on a story (hello, mascaras). You also might have an overwhelming amount of one type of product. Grouping your products by categories and setting multiples together will help you visualize what’s missing from your beauty stash — and what’s definitely not.

Sort out your daily routine vs. your “special occasion” products.

Whether you usually go for a no-makeup makeup or you opt for a full face, odds are you have a go-to beauty routine locked in. As you organize your products, make sure to identify the products you use regularly (and be honest with yourself on this one). These are the products to keep within arm’s reach on your vanity or beauty counter. As you move down the tiers of frequency, you can start putting products away based on how often you use them.

Sell or donate anything you can.

It’s tempting to toss unused or barely used products straight into the trash, but there’s no reason these quality products should go to waste. Give them to your friends who have been wanting to test them out, or resell them online. If you’d rather donate, you can learn about which organizations are open to receiving items and their criteria. What’s better than spreading the love through a little more beauty? 

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