Beauty: How to Get Your Makeup Bag in Order

In keeping with my annual January quest for organisation, it seems only appropriate to dedicate the first Beauty Wednesday post of the year to sorting out your makeup bag and beauty routine. Whilst I’ll be following my own advice on a few of these points (I’m guilty of not wearing SPF all the time and buying an obscene amount of nailpolish and pink lipstick), all are, I hope, helpful pieces of advice that we can all benefit from being reminded of from time to time.

1. Declutter your beauty supplies. Go through your makeup bag, your vanity cupboard, your handbag and wherever else you stash all your beauty products. Gather everything up in one place and sort through the entire lot (this is quite the task for me!). Automatically bin anything that is expired, looks or smells funny, or is past it’s prime (as a general guideline, this is three months for mascara, 6 months for most other gel/liquid/cream cosmetic, 1 year for most hair/body/skincare products and 1-2 years for any dry/powder products). Also toss anything that is unflattering, that you never wear (and are realistically unlikely to), or that you don’t really like. Your skin is precious, so why bother putting something on it that is unflattering or unhygenic? With whatever is left over, make sure everything is clean (wash your makeup bag and counter surfaces, wipe lipsticks with alcohol wipes, remove buildup from product bottles, etc.) and organised so you know where to find it.

2. Get your tools in order. Once you’ve sorted through everything, what is missing? Everyone should have a great set of makeup brushes & tools (I love MAC for all of these – not cheap, but they will last you years and years if you look after them) and take care of them as the first step to flawless makeup. To ensure they last (and stay hygenic), wash them once a week with warm water and a brush cleanser or baby shampoo and store them upright in a glass where you can see them (rather than shoving them in a makeup bag where they will just breed bacteria).

3. Find what is missing. Do you have 20 lipglosses but still haven’t found a foundation that disappears into your skin and stays put? Then it’s time to fill in the gaps. Hunt down some good-quality basics where you need them (if you need help, go to your favourite makeup counter and have them suggest a few to try) so that you have a complete beauty kit you are happy with. And about those 20 lipglosses? Stop buying that which you have multiples of until you’ve used up what you already have (for me, this is pale pink nail polish and countless lipsticks in almost identical shades which I seem to stockpile irrationally).

4. Master your perfect look. Perfect one makeup look that looks gorgeous on you and which you can fall back on each day (if you’ve been doing the same one for years or still don’t have the hang of one that works, go to a makeup counter to get help finding a look that is perfect for you).

5. Experiment and have fun. Once you’ve mastered your basic look, one day every week shake your routine up by trying something completely fun and unexpected to avoid getting in a rut. Always a cat eye and nude lip girl? Wear a neon pink lipstick on Friday. Always wearing red lipstick? Try a soft pink lip and bright cheeks instead.

6. Overcome your beauty sins. These are the big things we know we shouldn’t do, but do anyway out of habit. Always cleanse and moisturise properly at night (because you should only fall into bed with your makeup on once in a blue moon), stop attacking spots (because squeezing a pimple adds a whole week to the time it takes to heal), ensure you’re wearing enough SPF coverage if you’re spending any time outside (because premature ageing and sun damage is not pretty).

7. Add one thing. Every year, your beauty and skincare routines should evolve with you. If you have the exact same skincare/beauty routine you did 5 years ago, it might be worth considering a tweak here and there. In your 20s? Use a good eye cream and an anti-oxidant serum. In your 30s? Add in a nourishing face oil. In short, let your beauty regime age gracefully with you.

Which beauty resolutions will you be making this year?

Love, Miss B xx

46 thoughts on “Beauty: How to Get Your Makeup Bag in Order

  1. This is exactly what I need right now. I have somehow managed to build a fairly massive makeup collection. And seem to have a makeup bag everywhere and end up not using half of my products. Which is silly as they are expensive and good! Will definitely take your tips on board :) mediamarmalade xx

  2. I just did this last weekend, I feel SO much better and it’s taking me far less time to get ready in the mornings!

    I also decided to get rid of multiple products – for example I’ve been using 3 different mascaras (all black but all slightly different) but I’ve put 2 away to bring out when the 1 I’m using now runs out (presuming they’re still ‘in date’ of course).

    Ahhh I love organisation!!

  3. Oh I am guilty of so many sins on your list. The obsessive need to buy every nail polish I put on, not cleaning my brushes weekly… I suppose the new year is the time to try and kick bad habits. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. great advice. i especially liked reading that my beauty regimen should age gracefully, along with me. I am in my twenties, and am looking for some new serums to use at night, and lightweight SPF+moisturizers for the day. to my makeup counter I will go!

  5. I learnt the lesson of using up what I had the hard way, after a period of unexpected financial hardship this past year. Gone were the days of taking up any 3 for 2/bogof offers every time I stepped foot into Boots, I only bought what I NEEDED!!!! Hmph.

    Obviously this cold turkey approach was difficult to endure, but actually has massively reduced the clutter in my beauty supply, I don’t ‘forget’ about items, I use up things within their useby dates (minimising waste) and I tend to take a more thoughtful and considered approach to future purchases, i.e. researching everything obsessively! But it’s kind of brought back that feeling that every purchase is special and makes me appreciate every new product I buy and treasure it appropriately. So win/win really!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you had such hardship. But you are so right – sometimes it is these ‘down’ moments that force us to change our habits for the better and actually appreciate what we have (I’ve learned some things the same way, and so grateful for it in hindsight).

      B xx

  6. You always have the funnest (not a word but should be), girliest posts, and I just love them.

    I honestly find it overwhelming and confusing to have too much makeup (or clothing, for that matter). I recently went through my old cosmetics and nail polishes, and must’ve ditched about a kilo. It just makes me cringe to think of the money that I’ve spent/wasted on things I had a crush on but didn’t actually love!

    Anyhoodle, fun post. I’m off to polish my fingernails. (Chanel Rose Cache, on uber-short nails. Looks so clean and neat.)

  7. Great post. I identified I buy way too much potted lipbalm and barely use. (hate dipping my finger in!) Stick balms from now on is my beauty resolution.

    Also any unwanted yet un-expired make-up can go to – a really good cause instead of throwing away. Samples are also great to donate too, I seem to collect yet never use!

    The doll on fashion

  8. Miss B, can I put in a request for a Beauty Wednesday about buying makeup?

    After being inspired by this post to clear out my make up kit and purchase some much needed quality basics, I was slightly horrified at the staff at one beauty counter at Selfridges who insisted on testing foundation samples ON MY HANDS! Which are a completely different colour to my FACE!!!! With much prompting from myself, they eventually did put it on my face. So I then dashed over to Debenhams to seek additional assistance and received a look of horror when I explained what had just happened, and was suitably sorted out with no problems.

    • Oh gosh, it is completely pointless to test foundation on your hands because the skin is completely different there (both colour and texture). But glad you finally got good service elsewhere! And would be happy to do a post on this – what sort of things would you like to see from it?

      B xx

      • Things some people (me!) find tricky like;
        – buying the correct foundation/ base for your skintone (i.e. no testing on your hands, check it in daylight, etc) and skin type (oily/dry etc), SPF in foundation
        – buying concealer (tones to match your foundation, light reflecting vs non)
        – buying primers for your face under foundation or for your eyes (I would be lost without UD eye primer potion as my eye makeup always slides off)
        – powder vs cream vs liquid blush?
        – using bronzers/highlighters/contour powders and what tones you need, where to put them?
        – and perhaps any tips on make up hero products you’ve come across addressing the above/ help prevent make up disasters?

        Just a few ideas! x

  9. As I told you on Twitter, my New Year’s resolution for beauty is to go to sleep earlier than midnight, and truly it has done wonders for my skin! My complexion is much more radiant and I haven’t seen a breakout in weeks. I don’t even need to exfoliate anymore.

  10. Just popped over here from GlitterGuide – love your blog and this post! I commented over there about recycling old cosmetics/beauty products at Origins stores instead of throwing them away (although I love the idea of donating unused products even more, as one reader mentioned above – that would definitely be option #1 if the products are unused!). But if anyone has products that are used or empty then I highly recommend recycling them – plus you get free samples when you drop your stash off to be recycled. Thanks again for your post!

    • Just occurred to me that there may not be Origins storefronts in England… but I suppose this suggestion can be for the American/Canadian readers. There is probably a different program like this one in London and Cambridge, but I’m not familiar with it!

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