7 Life-Changing Tips for Organizing ALL Your Beauty Products

Clear makeup organizerYou’ve lost your favorite lipstick (OK, multiple times) in the past few months, can never seem to find your go-to gloss and have absolutely NO idea what happened to that new moisturizer you just bought. Sound familiar? Keeping track of all of your beauty musts can be nearly impossible without a proper organizational system in place. Use these expert tips to help you streamline your beauty routine and declutter your cosmetics bag. 

1. Conduct a Seasonal Cleaning 

Every organizing project should start with a good purge, says professional organizer Alaia Williams. “Gather all of your items and get rid of anything that smells funny, looks funny or that you just haven’t used in the past six months.” You haven’t used it for a reason, she notes, and it’s likely you’ve already purchased a replacement or alternate item.

2. Slap a Label On It

We all throw away milk once it’s expired and our makeup shouldn’t be any different, points out certified professional organizer Bonnie Dewkett. “When you buy a product, write the date you purchased it directly on the packaging in a permanent marker. This way, you know exactly when you bought it AND when you need to replace it,” she adds. Here’s a good guideline for knowing when to throw out beauty products:

  • Mascara and liquid liners: Good for three months.
  • Eye Shadow: Can be kept for up to two years, but lose it if it breaks or becomes shiny.
  • Lipsticks and glosses: Can be kept for a year, but if you have a cold sore, toss it immediately.
  • Lip Pencils: Good for up to three years with sharpening.
  • Liquid Foundation: Can be kept for up to two years, but throw it away if it separates or changes color.
  • Moisturizer: Good for up to three years, but if you notice a funky smell or weird texture, ditch it.
  • Sunblock: Good for about a year and then its effectiveness will start to decrease.
  • Perfume: Can be kept for up to two years.

3. Simplify Your Stash

Take it from Skin Authority CEO Celeste Hilling, you don’t need a bazillion beauty products lying around to keep your skin looking fabulous. In fact, you only need a few. “Save time and money by simplifying your routine to no more than three to four steps in the morning AND at night,” she advises. “In the morning, use a mild gel cleanser, an anti-oxidant such as Vitamin C, and a sunscreen moisturizer. Before you go to bed, use resurfacing ingredients such as AHAs and retinols, in addition to restorative peptides.”

4. Categorize, Categorize, Categorize

“Group like items. Keep your daily essentials together and within close reach,” says Williams. Then separate all of your remaining cosmetics by category—lotions, lipsticks, deodorant, tools, brushes, etc. “This way, when you’re ready to replace something, you actually know where to go to find it. You can also separate items by the time of day you use them,” she notes, in other words, morning vs. night.

5. Store Your Stuff In Clear Containers

The saying really is true: out of sight, out of mind. So keep makeup in a place you can see it, advises Dewkett. Often women have a “set” they use all the time and then they forget about the rest. If you can’t see it, you’re definitely not going to use it. “My favorite organizer is a clear plastic counter top organizer,” she says. “Place it on a shelf in your closet with a small mirror next to it, or put it on your dresser for ease of use.”

6. Create Your Own Lipstick Palette

Chances are, if you’re like most women, you probably have a ton of lipsticks scattered around your house or abandoned in various purses and clutches (we know we do). Round them all up and get rid of anything that you don’t use or that’s out of date first. Then, cut off the top of each lipstick using a piece of floss, says beauty expert Erika Katz. “Put the color into a compartment of an empty palette and repeat with other colors, a gloss and some Vaseline for clear shine. To apply, use a lipstick brush or a lip liner that has a brush on one end.” This allows you to create your own customized shades with little to no effort, and gets rid of all the annoying clutter of tubes!

Makeup brush cup7. Show Your Makeup Brushes Some Love

Your makeup brushes are precious. Hey, why shouldn’t they be? You did shell out hard-earned money for them, right? So treat them with the respect they deserve and store them upright. NYC-based makeup artist Sharon Becker recommends taking a small plastic beverage cup from your last party (you can buy a cute one too if you’d like) and placing all of your brushes in there. “Tuck them away in a cabinet or put them neatly on your dresser for easy access.”

Whatever you do, though, don’t keep them in the bathroom, warns Dewkett, or any other makeup products for that matter. “The heat and humidity can encourage bacteria growth and destroy the pigments in your makeup.”