Let’s face it ladies, most of us probably spend a small fortune on makeup annually. Is there anything more satisfying than purchasing a new lipstick in just the right shade of nude blush? But then you get home an hour later and find that the reason it was so attractive is that you already have it in your collection. In fact, you have another five almost identical but ever so subtly different from it, sitting in the top drawer of your dresser, on the side of the bathroom counter and on your desk at work.
Drawn to lipsticks in the same color palette?
You just seem to be drawn to this shade of lipstick, eternally on the quest to find just that perfect pantone shade that will give you that barely there look you are looking to achieve! You keep seeing it on the cover of the magazines and it just looks so glamorous.
Don’t worry, you are most certainly not alone. Most of us probably have developed our signature makeup look over the years of experimenting that we’ve done. For you, that might have started out in your teens with heavy black eyeliner and transformed into your twenties perfecting a dramatic smoky eyed look. As your years have advanced you may well have pared down and refined that look into something altogether more soft and subtle, matching your maturity but also your understanding of what suits your own skin tone and features rather than what is merely on trend.
You probably have quite a collection by now!
Chances are though, that you have amassed quite a lot of makeup over the years and perhaps even lots of very similar products and shades. Most probably that’s because you’re just not organized enough back at home to even realize the extent of what you already do have, so when you do go on that girls shopping trip and end up in your favorite high end store, you gravitate yet again towards that peachy cream blusher; you may be forgetting that you already have one in your emergency makeup kit that you’ve not even taken out of its original packaging. Step away from the blushers ladies. Do you really need another one?
So where are we going with this?
Well, it’s time to do a makeup review and get organized.
Just cast your mind back again to that favorite department store or even to your local drugstore and recall how organized everything is, all pristinely lined up and categorized into product types, brands, colors, and trends. Do they have their collections scattered across the floor? Shoe horned into aisle 3 alongside the socks? Makeup brushes mixed up with paint brushes? No they most certainly do not!
They have everything expertly organized and arranged in such a way that you are perpetually drawn towards the same products and colors time after time because they have been purposely presented in a way that makes your decision to purchase easier. You know exactly what you are getting because you can find it so easily and inevitably you do end up coming back home again with something that you already possess! I know what you are thinking right now, too! A girl can never have too many lipsticks, right? Well, yes, that is of course true but you need to at least be able to find them when you get home so that you can actually get around to wearing them.
How to organize makeup
You might find this a very therapeutic exercise or indeed you might find that you have to check yourself immediately into Lipsticks Anonymous when you begin the task of cataloguing, curating, and organizing your collection. You pull it all together from the various places it’s been squirrelled away and stored out of sight for months, to starkly realize that you are indeed the very proud owner of an impressive collection of 30 lipsticks! There you were wondering why you had no spare cash again this month. Just think of it as an investment, in yourself!
Let’s get to some organizational tips
There are lots of ways that you can organize your makeup so what works for one of you might not resonate with another. Some of us are by nature tidier and more organized than others, and you might prefer the random surprise of stumbling upon a favorite eye palette you’d completely forgotten you owned when you rummage through the bottom of the handbag you’ve not used since last spring! For the rest of us though, bringing a sense of organization to our collection will help us get the most out of it and better appreciate where there might be some product gaps or colors that we can legitimately replace next time we are on that shopping trip!
Before you even start organizing your makeup, review what you do have and cull it!
Not only does makeup have expiration dates, but also from a hygiene perspective you need to be routinely going through your makeup and discarding what you don’t use. So let’s get started with a little bit of an amnesty! Pull open all of your drawers, empty out those makeup bags, dump it all somewhere centrally then take a step back, breathe deeply and see for yourself where all the hard earned cash has been going over the years. Yes, you have quite a stash there!
Find a central place for your products and try to keep them there
It makes sense to have everything collected centrally. You probably put your makeup on in the same place daily, so find your spot and get yourself all setup. That’s most likely going to be your bedroom dressing table, your bathroom, or if you are very lucky, your walk in vanity closet! Go gather now all the makeup that you have scattered around the house, in your hand bags, on the dashboard of your car, your desk, etc., so that you can begin the task of organizing it.
Cleaning out your beauty closet
Now that you can see everything that you do own, start to work through it systematically as you need to know what you are working with, before you get to grips with organizing it. We suggest creating the following piles initially:
- Expired or unused items – go through and check what’s out of date and get real about what you are ever likely to really use again. That metallic green glitter eyeshadow you bought for the 70’s Glam Rock themed party. Are you really going to use it ever again? Thought not! So now you have a pile that can be binned.
- Special occasion items – you have permission to keep these. You might well not wear them on a regular basis but they are reassuringly expensive and always make you feel like a million dollars! Put these together as you might not want to access them every day but you do want to know they are safe, just in case you have a special occasion coming up that really does warrant that perfect liquid black eye liner.
- Your everyday items – your do or dies! Can’t live without them. Actually can’t leave the house without them! You need to get these all together. They form the back bone of your daily look, and you need to be able to grab these on demand.
- Duplicates – we’ve already mentioned these and it’s not your fault so don’t beat yourself up too much! We all have our weaknesses and yours just happens to be eye shadow palettes in 50 shades of grey. Again, you don’t really need all five! Maybe just keep the two – everyone needs a backup right?
- Rediscovered gems – this is a beauty! That feeling of utter joy when you rediscover that Chanel blusher in just the perfect pinky peach. You’d be wondering where it had gone and now, thanks to your decluttering activity you’ve be reunited and yes, it’s a keeper!
Ok, so now you have everything that you think you need, want, and the “better keep anyway just as backup” products. Now you need to organize it all together in a way that makes sense to you. The “you” is important. All the best organizational systems in the world are no good if they just don’t fit in with your lifestyle or your habits and way of living. Of course though, we’re here to give you some tips and guidance to help get your makeup and you more organized so let’s delve in a little deeper.
Categorize your products
This is a great place to start now that you have edited your collection. Next try pulling it together by product types. You’ll most likely have eye shadow and lipstick palettes, powders, blushers, primers, foundations, loose eyeshadows, blushers, lipsticks, lip glosses, mascaras, eye liners, and let’s not forget your essential tools of the trade like your brushes, eye lash curlers, and tweezers.
One easy way of organizing your makeup is to put all of these similar types of products together, separated into drawers if you have them or perhaps plastic Tupperware boxes, mini coded makeup bags, etc. More on all the storage systems later. The point is here you will get a good sense of what you already have and start creating a system for yourself so that you can more readily put your hands on it. There’s nothing worse than getting ready for a big night out where you know you want to pull out all the stops and realizing that you have no idea where you last left your false eye lashes.
So get organized, go through your product collection and get it separated into genres. Get it all out into the open as a starting point, and you can get yourself organized from there. See, it’s already therapeutic, isn’t it? You’ve just discovered that favorite lipstick that you thought you’d lost a few months back on a night out. Bet you can’t wait to try that on again later?
What about going one step further and organizing via color palettes or seasonal trends?
Now that you do have all of your products out in front of you, perhaps another way of organizing everything would be to code it into color schemes. After all, you probably regularly create and pull together “looks” so it might be a good idea for you to store your items together that way.
So you might have your more subtle daytime look products all separated to your left and your more dramatic and bolder statement evening looks to the right. This is a great way of being able to visualize what you have and how you might pull together a finished overall look. It will help speed up the preparation and application time on a night out if you already have your full arsenal of smoky eyed products neatly organized together and ready to go!
Think about all the ways that you can display and store your makeup, too.
What about ideas for organizing your makeup brushes?
Here’s a novel one: how about putting your slimmer makeup brushes into one of your un-used sunglasses cases? This way you’re less likely to lose any of them and this is a great way to transport them if you are going on holiday. You probably don’t want to take your whole kit and caboodle for a weekend away with the girls, but you do want your favorite blusher, contouring, and eye smudge brushes.
Collect some interesting holders for your makeup brushes. Channel your inner designer and get creative with how you display things. A beautiful glass candle holder, cleaned out and filled with something interesting like coffee beans, glass beads, or dried rose petals for example can be a really pretty way of storing all your brushes handily together. Or even pretty vases, too. Again, these will look really lovely and give some interest and organization to your dressing table.
Magnetize your products
This is a really neat trick and works especially well with seasonal trends! You could effectively create vision boards from your makeup collection! Get yourself a large metal board and pin it to a wall somewhere you can easily access, preferably by your usual makeup station or dressing table for example. Now get a bunch of magnets and adhere these to the back of your favorite products. This could work really well for that every day versus night look.
All your most regularly used products to complete your overall daytime routine look could be magnetized and stuck to a handy metal board. That way you’re not only saving on space, you’re also creating something very interesting visually on a spare wall and you have all the items you need in one place which is easily accessible. What a fabulous idea! You could go one step further an even consider creating something akin to an art installation out of your products. I know, a bit left field, right?
Get yourself a really interesting and quirky statement frame and using the same technique as above, pull all your favorite and most cherished items together and proudly display them on a wall.
Get creative with some old boxes and decoupage or decorate them
Channel your inner “crafter” and get creative with some old boxes. Try decorating them or doing some decoupage and create a series of different sized and themed boxes that you can store your various items in. You could even create your own card board drawer system that sits on top of your dressing table so that you can easily access and pull out your makeup items.
Hang up products in little pots or baskets
This is a cute idea and can look really lovely hanging off of a bathroom shelf. It frees up some space and looks really unusual and novel. You could take something like little planters and instead of putting plants inside them, use them to store your brushes, mascaras, and nail polishes.
Divide and conquer with clear plastic storage systems
This is a pretty obvious one. Putting your items into a system that already has clearly defined sections is a great way of getting your makeup better organized. One thing that might work well, especially if you are keeping your items inside a drawer so that they are neatly put away and not out on display, is something like a kitchen utensil drawer or even an internal desk tidy. These will generally have four or five molded sections that will be ideal for storing items, and they will be cost effective options, too, in case you need to buy a few of them to accommodate your extensive collection.
If you literally have tons of makeup, get yourself a set of clear acrylic boxes. These aren’t expensive but they do look really contemporary and chic, and you can organize all your items by product genre in their own tray or drawer.
The clear acrylic also helps you better identify what you have stored and where. You could do the same thing with glass lidded boxes, too, which look particularly elegant on top of a dressing table but might cost you more to purchase, especially if your collection is extensive.
Avoid a glitter explosion with freezer bags
This is a great idea for those of you who love an occasional bit of glitter but don’t want to have to deal with an explosion and all the mess it ultimately leaves behind. It’s like clearing up after Christmas, you come to do your regular Spring Clean, and you are still hoovering up glitter and random pine needles from your decorations. Why not pour your glitters instead into sealable plastic bags? Chances are you’re only an occasional glitter user anyway, unless your alter ego is a Mermaid, so these can be packed away for special times only.
Buy a hanging organizer
A clear plastic or even a fabric style hanging organizer is a really functional and easy way to store your essentials. You could get a hanging shoe tidy for example which will have nice deep pockets that you can easily segment and store your items in. You can even hang that discreetly on the inside of your wardrobe door so that it’s not taking up any essential space on your dressing table. Save your dressing table for your prettier items, and store away all the bigger and bulkier products and tools that you probably don’t need to access on a regular basis in a hanging style system.
Curate your larger palettes like you would magazines and store them in a rack
This is a genius idea and can look really funky too. Those larger palettes that you have will look great lined up in a magazine rack so that you can thumb through and pick out your favorite like you would that latest edition of your fashion magazine. It’s a unique idea that will give your space a bit of a contemporary twist. Another similar idea might be to get all your larger hair tools together and place these inside a nice decorative magazine folder. You know the kind, like you see on executive desks. All these ways of curating and presenting your makeup don’t just mean that it’s more organized; they can look great in your bedroom, too.
All kinds of boxes make great tools for storing your makeup items. What about taking some old pencil cases and filling these with your longer items like mascaras, eye liners, and lip liners? I bet your never considered using ice tray slots did you! Well what about taking all of those single shade small eye shadow pots you have lying around and lining those up in something like an ice tray. Could work nicely, right?
Pill boxes are pretty cool ways of organizing and displaying your lipsticks too. You could cut the ends off all your lipsticks to really save on space and put sections of them into the individual trays of a pill box. You might need to squash them down a little but this is a great idea for all you lipstick hoarders. If you routinely apply your lipstick with a lip brush anyway, no problem. For those of you who love the packaging as much as you do the shade of your lipsticks, this idea won’t work but it is a great space saving idea.
What about glass cookie jars? You could get a couple of these and maybe use one for all of your lipsticks and another for all of your nail polishes. If you opt for a clear jar, this is going to add a real pop of color to any counter top where you display them and will looking really cool and interesting. We love this idea, and it’s so much healthier, putting your hand inside a cookie jar and pulling out a chocolate colored nail polish instead of a chocolate chip cookie!
Get creative and think outside the box with how you display things
If you have an impressive collection of perfume bottles for example, proudly display those where you can see them and they can be admired and easily accessed. Rather than just plonking these on top of your bedside drawer, how about getting an interesting spice rack or even a pretty cake stand and really given them some attention. This can make a really attractive feature in your bedroom, too.
We mentioned spice racks above and something like a rotating rack with a couple of shelves can be a really neat and interesting way to display all your everyday essential items and clear up some space in your bathroom. You could have all your lotions and potions organized this way, for example. So serums, bases, and moisturizers on your bottom shelf with primers, foundations, and concealers on your top one! Hey presto, you’re already starting to get more inventive and organized, and your bathroom is quickly looking like a high end beauty store.
What about wine racks?
Hear us out! A nice wine rack could make the perfect organizational station for those larger bottles. Not necessarily your makeup, but perhaps things like your hair sprays, facial spritzers, and setting sprays for example. There are so many creative and ingenious ways that you can store items without having to push the boat out and invest in a full on makeup system.
Head to your nearest stationery store!
Pencil cases actually make really neat storage systems for all kinds of makeup and display it all in such a way that it’s easy to see exactly what you have. You could buy a couple of standard black zipped style pencil cases and have separate ones for your lip liners, brow pencils, eye liners, and mascaras. These can then be very neatly stored away in a drawer, cupboard, or a caddy. After all, applying makeup can be a little bit like coloring by numbers so why not go old school and put your face crayons in a pencil case!
Invest in specific makeup caddies and systems
Finally, if you are serious about your makeup collection and value it as much as say, your children, then you might want to invest in a makeup specific system or caddie that comes with all the compartments, drawers, and sections to house your most precious collection! There are some really fantastic systems out there and they needn’t cost the earth either. These provide an elegant and practical way to house your collections and save you from endlessly rummaging around trying to put your hands on that favorite lipstick when you are rushing to get out of the door.
Go for something that is multi-tiered and expands, ideally in a durable transparent acrylic so that you can always access your essential every day makeup. If you opt for something with a carry handle too, it will be easy to transport and take with you when you’re visiting friends and family.
A round up of the essentials for organizing your makeup
You need to first of all get yourself organized and categorize everything that you already own. Go through and remove expired items, duplicates, or those products that you bought on a fanciful whim and know that you really never will wear again. Be honest about what does and doesn’t work for you so that you can have a core set of products.
Next put your essential curated collection into product types.
Our suggestion is to categorize your makeup as follows for ease of reference:
- Lipsticks and Glosses – color code them. Like the rainbow, starting at the nude end of the spectrum and finishing with that gothic deep purple!
- Eyes shadows – get together all your individual pots and single shadows
- Palettes – put these all together like you would your essential reference books
- Eye products – we’re talking liners, mascaras, crayons, and crèmes
- Face – primer, foundation, concealer, and pressed powder
Now we recommend pulling together a much smaller daily collection of your essential items: the ones that you routinely use and couldn’t live without. Regardless of your overall chosen organizational scheme, you really do need to have these items at hand, ready at your fingertips each morning to save time rummaging around and remembering how your own system even works! Set these aside and put them into their own drawer, bag, or box. You are going to want to access these quickly and regularly so it makes sense to have these set aside.
Finally, have fun reacquainting yourself with your fabulous makeup collection. Now that you have it all organized and have found a place for everything, you are going to have so much fun experimenting with new looks and giving yourself regular home makeovers! Enjoy.