The Big, Bad Beauty Purge

Today, I decided that it was time to take on a beauty purge.  Makeup, lotions, brushes, sunscreen, toothpaste, deodorant, the whole shebang.  Full disclosure, I have already tried this once before and it didn’t go very well.  The ‘before’ photo in this post  actually of the items I decided to KEEP during my last purge, which is a little scary.

With that being said, today is a new day and I knew I could do better.  I started in Marie Kondo fashion by dumping everything into a pile on my living room floor (pictured at the top of the page).  I emptied out my medicine cabinet and the vanity.  I also went through the rest of my apartment and found any other items in this category.  In the end, it was a big, glorious pile of stuff.  I couldn’t help but wonder how much money I had spent on it all.

For this purge, my method was to pick up each item and asked one simple question:  How often do I use this?   This seemed like the most practical approach to assign value to the items in this category.  It allowed me to part with items I hadn’t been using no matter how much I loved them in theory.  Goodbye, amazing neon purple eye shadow.  I had a lot of fun thinking about wearing you, but I never did.

Sorting through each item and asking this question led me to create three new piles:


  1.  Items that I use at least once a week.    These are the items that I use regularly and want to keep them around.  For now, anyway.  This pile included my remaining makeup, hair care, dental care, skin care and one bottle of fragrance.



2.  Items that I use occasionally.   These are the items that I use every so often, but not consistently enough to clutter up my space with them. This pile included my sunscreen, medicine, travel items, razor blades, band-aids and a two new bottles of my lotion and foundation for when the current bottles run out.  I’ll be storing this on a high shelf in the bathroom for easy access, but out of eyesight.



3. Items that I do not use.  These are the items that I managed to part with.  Although most of these things truly hadn’t been used in a while, some were occasional-use items that I decided to take out of rotation.  The makeup in particular was challenging because most if it was practically new.  Also, that little canvas bag contains a brand new set of gorgeous makeup brushes!  If I’m being honest, they’ve been brand new for about three years; I’ve just never used them.  Time to find a new home.

Sometimes, I think we buy beauty products for the person we want to be, but not the person we actually are.  Perfect example: liquid eyeliner.  I have never successfully worn liquid eyeliner outside the walls of this apartment, and yet I always have a bottle just in case I ever learn to do that cute cat-eye thing.  That could be my new style!  Well, it isn’t.  I finally trashed it today.   I was not, am not, and will never be a liquid eyeliner person.

In the future, I hope to be much more intentional with new beauty purchases.  I’d  like to have a more natural collection of products and steer clear of anything that is tested on animals.  It’s tempting to go out and buy a bunch of new stuff that meets these standards, but that isn’t necessary.  I have decided to use what I have.  As items run out and need to be replaced, I can take that opportunity to be more thoughtful with my next purchase.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my progress today.  There is still some work to be done in this area, but I do feel like a lot of clutter has been eliminated and it is hugely satisfying.  Here’s a shot of the medicine cabinet after the purge:

cabinet - 1


12 thoughts on “The Big, Bad Beauty Purge

  1. Great! I got rid of about 8 bottles of nail polish after I noticed I had polished my nails twice in two years. I kept 4 subtle colors. Good enough. You are correct, we buy the make up for who we hope to be/look like, instead of who we really are.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In January, I read a book written by a nutritionalist. It inspired me to clear out a lot of my beauty products. Most of what I was using wasn’t healthy.

    About a month ago, I watched a movie on Netflix that inspired me to do another clean out (plus I moved into a smaller space, and don’t have the room any more).

    I felt guilty throwing out mostly full bottles, so I gave most of the stuff away on free sites. Most people use these products on a regular basis, and aren’t really concerned about their impact on their bodies.

    I’m slowly working towards using more natural products. I’m not really using much makeup… Since going vegan in January, I haven’t really had too many days that I feel like I need to put foundation on. I work night and day shifts, so I never wear makeup on night shift.

    I tried natural lotions bought on Etsy, so I get to support a small local(ish) business. When I finished up my soap, deodorant, and shampoo, I bought less chemical products, and didn’t have to spend a ton of money on them. I’m using less products, so I am probably saving money by buying better quality.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It took me two years to finally purge my cosmetics and maintain it. Once I pared down my wardrobe to what I really love to wear I looked at it and realized I preferred a classic makeup style in more natural tones to compliment my clothes and complexion. I purged all the funky colors and products I rarely ended up using, (I totally get the whole liquid eyeliner thing, in reality it looks harsh on me), and kept only the basics. I was able to ditch my huge Sephora train case for a much smaller bin that holds everything and doesn’t allow for extras I might be tempted to buy. I have also found that as I get older I am more comfortable with my face as is and use less makeup anyway, often going without on weekends.

    As for the rest, shampoo, lotion, etc…, I stick with what I already know works well for me and avoid getting sucked into trying the newest, latest, greatest version. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Being the sensitive type, the fun of trying new products was quickly replaced by the puffy eyes, sniffles, itchy skin etc. and drawers with stuff I wanted to use but couldn’t. Researching what is in products and a brush with a wee bit of skin cancer has led me to completely non-toxic products in my home and for my skin care.

    Great resources to minimize the toxins in your home and life:

    What ever we want to call it – minimalism, simplicity, yogic life-style, environmentalist, etc. etc. its all about critical thought, paying attention to need versus want; and my favourite question: how much is enough?

    Liked by 1 person

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