Beauty Detox | Downsizing My Makeup Stash

Beauty Detox | Downsizing My Makeup Stash (How I got rid of old and expired products)

I’ve always been more into skincare than I am into makeup, mostly because I like the minimal look which requires very few products to execute. I had an enormous stash of lotions and potions way before I started blogging, but after I launched Glamorable, my makeup collection grew exponentially. I also began following more and more bloggers, who always recommend the latest and greatest makeup products, which of course I had to have, too. Problem is, I would end up buying things that I enjoy for a week, maybe a month, and never go back to them again. I feel like the process of buying a new lipstick made me happier than actually using it.

Over time I became painfully aware that my opinion is far from popular, and that belief solidified when I started my subscription to Birchbox. One of the biggest complaints I would see on social media is that the boxes had “too much skincare” and not enough makeup. For me, the opposite was true. I would get unwearable [for me] eyeshadow and lipstick colors from Birchbox, Ipsy, and other beauty boxes, and wonder how come everyone else seems to be happy to get yet another highlighter and I am just not into it, at all. I eventually canceled all of my beauty subscriptions for that reason. However, feeling like a “broken” beauty blogger was weighing heavily on me, and I usually bought products just because everyone else did, to fit in. I thought that if I didn’t buy something from yet another stupid MAC LE collection or whatever is flavor of the month these days, I’d be the odd one out, and there went my hard-earned Benjamins.

My spending habits didn’t change when I started receiving PR samples. I would still buy as many products as I did before, and I would also receive a lot of makeup from brands and PR agencies on top of that. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for that! However, eventually my collection outgrew my bathroom drawer, both of my medicine cabinets, and the bedside table. I started complaining to my husband that we don’t have enough storage space, without realizing that I basically used up what little storage we did have, all for my makeup.

Finally, last year I fully recognized that my makeup collection is, in fact, a “collection”. IOne day I sat down and asked myself, “Why am I collecting all these things?” My apartment is not a museum, and I can’t possibly use up these products before they expire, so why do I keep buying more and more stuff? A couple months ago I got my third tall IKEA ALEX [a beauty blogger cliche, haha], that I immediately filled up to the top with stuff that was sitting in boxes on the floor. That was when my common sense finally said enough.

Beauty Detox | Downsizing My Makeup Stash (How I got rid of old and expired products)

2017 was the first year when I didn’t make it to VIB Rouge. I think I literally made one purchase at Sephora last year, only because I had the Christmas gift card and Ebates was having a double cashback event. At first, not shopping for makeup was tough. I know how stupid and consumerism-driven it probably sounds to some of you, but I almost had a withdrawal each time I received yet another email alerting me of Friends & Family sales or a new launch, thinking that all the other girls in my blogger circle must be shopping right now. I used to justify buying new launches because it would bring in more traffic to the blog [and it did!], but I decided to take a “traffic cut” instead. I guess blogging for me has never been about pageviews or money after all, considering how easily I gave up the opportunity to be indexed higher in Google search rankings.

Even though I stopped buying new makeup, my big purge didn’t happen until much later. Once I started, it was actually pretty easy to say goodbye to a lot of these products that no longer brought me any joy. I guess, Marie Kondo was right after all? 🙂

Most of the makeup I got rid of has been in the drawers for years, and I suspect that it either dried out, or got moldy. I tossed dozens of old mascaras, cracked/dry Colourpop eyeshadows and other cream shadows, nasty-smelling cream blushes, eyeliners, concealers, BB creams, foundations, and other products that could potentially give me an infection or a pink eye if I used them again after all these years. There were many favorites that I wish I had used while they were still good. This regret fueled the whole purging process, because it means that I will cherish each product that remains, and I will actually use and enjoy them before they expire. Gently used makeup will be offered to my friends and family, and brand new products will be either gifted or donated.

Beauty Detox | Downsizing My Makeup Stash (How I got rid of old and expired products)

In the end, I tossed about 70% of my makeup stash, which still left me with a lot of products. I couldn’t get rid of them all, and that was the whole point of this downsizing experience: keep everything you use and/or love, and toss the rest. Surprisingly, this made shopping my stash easier, too, because I can see my entire collection at a glance in front of me, rather than running from room to room, and checking the drawers all over the place.

My eyeshadow drawer in particular looks quite barren. That shows just how bad I was about buying or holding on to colors that didn’t work for me, or colors I simply didn’t want to wear. I tossed a lot of bright shades, glitters, very shimmery pigments, and most of those dried out Colourpop singles. I did love each one of those Colourpop shadows though, this brand offers such good value for the money!

So what’s next, you ask? Well, I am going to see which of these products I reach for more often than others, and then do the second wave of purging to get rid of everything I kept but didn’t use.

When was the last time you did a big makeup or skincare purge? Do you buy makeup because you need it, or are you more of an impulse buyer? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclosure: This post features PR samples and products purchased by Glamorable, and may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details about my product review policy, copyright, and information about affiliate links, please refer to Disclosures & Content Use page.

  • Allison @neversaydiebeauty

    Oh, you inspire me! I’ve been throwing out things here and there, and I gave a bunch of samples to my college roommate who was visiting. I wanted to give her more, but she didn’t want to check her bags on the flight. I’ve gotta get serious and toss more stuff. Those Le Metier makeups are still so gorgeous – hope they didn’t get the heave-ho 😉

    • That’s precisely my problem! I only have so many people who want to take the makeup and skincare off my hands, and then there’s only so much they want to take, so I’m still left with a lot. And unfortunately, most of my Metiers had to go 🙂 The pans hardened, so it’s impossible to use the colors anymore.

  • Kristi Vasquez

    I don’t think I have that much make up, compared to some beauty gals. I rarely wear it (only special occasions) since I work in a factory that has a clean room environment. I am totally an impulse buyer though.

    • I am a total impulse buyer when it comes to skincare, and less so when it’s makeup. Even then, I buy way more than I actually wear, mostly because of FOMO. Goals for 2017 – buy only what I really need!

  • marciaf

    I started purging in January because we’ve decided to move. I threw away an outrageous amount of used cosmetics and skincare. I’m slowly giving away lots of brand new purchases and I’m ready for my second purge because I’m going to have to pack soon. It’s so hard to give up on items like LeMetier that I paid so much for but it’s just taking up space.
    I realized too that this year I won’t make ROUGE on Sephora since I’m not purchasing like I did before and don’t plan to go back to it.

    • So proud of you for purging all that makeup! I totally agree, pricey items are the ones I was the most reluctant to toss as well, because, well, that’s my money I’m tossing. I have an easier time saying goodbye to PR samples for that reason, no matter how expensive those are. I threw away a big pile of luxury makeup the other day, including rock hard LMdB kaleidoscopes, separated glosses, and dried out eyeliners and pencils. I felt like I was committing a crime 🙂

  • BeautyJudy

    I have recently thrown out three stuffed plastic shopping bags full of shadow, lippies, eyeliners, mascaras etc. it felt so good. I also pared down my palettes, eliminating one of my containers that stored them.

    • Mascaras are always the easiest to throw away, I guess because there’s this mental note that we have to toss them after 3 months anyway, and well, let’s just say some of mine were WELL past that mark 🙂 It felt really good to cut off the dead weight.

  • I downsized a LOT this last year. I sent a large flat-rate box full to a friend…I still can’t purge my lipstick though.

    • Good for you for purging that much, I bet your friend was exstatic to get new pretties to play with! Lipstick is the hardest for me to purge too, probably because I tend to buy only the colors I actually like whereas I usually experiment with eyeshadows and not all of them work all that well for me.

  • Lisa Marie Heath

    I need to do a purge so badly and just haven’t yet! It’s such an intimidating task

    • It can be super intimidating, that’s why I’ve put it off for so long.

  • I trade my hair stylist services for makeup so I get rid of some of it that way. I send my niece stuff I won’t use or don’t use often as well as my daughter. I give some to my sister and my cousin. I also pack stuff every so often and let the girls at work pick what they like. I still have a lot but I purge often!

  • I’m planning on doing this literally this week– I NEED to purge!!!

    • I hope you do a post about it, Miranda! Purging is intimidating, but it feels amazing to see your pared down collection and loving every piece.

  • Mai

    I remember doing a big makeup purge when I moved, it made me realize what I considered important enough to take with me and what really wasn’t memorable enough that I wouldn’t miss if I didn’t have.

    • I almost wish we had to move soon so I would have to force myself to do a house-wide purge, and not just my makeup.

  • polarbelle

    I’m just beginning my purge and am starting with unused products. I’ve fallen to the “keeping up with the other girls” thing. I’d see so many in our blogging group working with all the same PR and I’d feel left out, so I’d buy the item of the week to soothe my shattered spirit. I had major FOMO….I will find myself picking up an item because it looks pretty and by the time I get to the register, I am actually realizing it was an impulse buy and I have 100 just like it at home. I’m getting a little better.

    • I know how you feel! I felt that way about MAC, L’occitane, and LUSH in particular, it seems like everyone is on their PR list but me, and bought things so I don’t feel left out. I am 100% over that now 🙂

    • I do this! I see a palette everyone is talking about and want to buy and sometimes I do buy…then I realize “Girl, this palette you already have and this palette that you have make the exact same looks! Not needed” it almost makes me angry because I feel like I have been lying to myself for so long! 🙁

  • Phyrra Nyx

    I’m purging at least once a month.

    • You are so organized! I wish I could find it in me to do a monthly purge.

  • I don’t spend much on makeup either – I’m much more of a skincare girl. I do a deep clean of my office/studio once a month and purge unneeded items then!

    • So jealous of your organization skills! I am lucky to clean out old products from my beauty office once a season, haha 🙂

  • I tossed so much this weekend, it’s crazy!

  • Stacie Wacie

    I’m definitely an impulse buyer, and I completely relate to wanting and buying makeup being more fun than actually having it. Makeup used to be my shopping obsession, then it became nail polish, and now it’s skincare. At least skincare is an investment, haha. I’ve never done a proper purge, I’ve only just thrown out things that were moldy or from high school.

    • I almost never feel bad about buying skincare, I feel like i use it up faster than it can go bad. With makeup, I either get bored of the colors, of the products sit in my stash so long, they go bad. Purging is always so hard, especially for products that you bought yourself vs PR samples! 🙁

  • Eeeeekkk this is totally on my radar to do this month. I need to de-stash SO incredibly bad. I have wayyyyyy too much stuff. Let the purging begin!

    • Girl, it feels soooo much better to be rid of all that stuff 🙂 There were a ton of products that I loved, but once they went bad, there was no using them again.

  • It’s so much better to just follow your heart! If you enjoy skincare more than makeup, stick with your skincare! You’ve given me some great advice about products to try already and I really appreciate that 🙂

    • Skincare is where my heart is at <3 It makes me happier than any new palette or a lipstick ever would! And you know, I am always happy to chat about skincare if you ever have any questions regarding the stuff I use 😉

  • This is exactly where I am. What did you do with the things that you no longer wanted? Garbage seems aggressive, but I also aggressively want them gone! I loved makeup when my skin was terrible, I covered up (very beautifully!) everything that I did not like about myself. As I have gotten older and my life is more centered around a healthy lifestyle, my skin has gotten so much better! It made me want to wear less, which now is making me want to own less. I sometimes struggle with the “what if I want to wear neon blue eyeliner!” issue, but the reality is…I have a look, I know my look, I know my glam version of my look, everything else needs to go! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    • You have no idea how happy it makes me feel to know that my rant resonated with so many people! I thought that for sure these are just my own issues and everyone just instinctively knows how to have it all together. I did end up tossing a lot of the products, mostly because I let them all expire, when I could have re-homed them had I done this purge sooner. I am talking about things like dried out eyeliners, old mascara, separated lip gloss, stinky foundations, rock hard eyeshadows, blushes, and other powder products. I am slowly giving away gently used products, since they are perfectly fine, to friends and family. Hehe, I’m with about about the “what if” thing 🙂 I know I will pretty much never use anything but my trusted neutrals, and yet I kept hesitating to part with colors I am unlikely to wear often.

      • I am literally going to go home and just put that bag of “maybe I can give it to someone!” in the trash..its pointless to keep. You def got a new follower today 🙂 bc putting things like this out in the atmosphere are so important. Matter of fact, its the youtubers that keep using the same thing over and over and “i may need to replace this palette because I have hit pan on most of the colors” that i find myself watching over and over…because really loving something is so awesome! thank you so much for sharing! I am not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination…but learning to love and be thankful for what I have…and using it before i love and am thankful for something else is a really important skill that more people need to talk about. thank you!

        • “Learning to love and be thankful for what I have” are words to live by! Thank you for that little nugget! I love your perspective and I would love it more if we could connect to talk about it in more detail. I am researching Black women like you for my dissertation. Would you be open to talking? If so, please contact me at [email protected]. Thank you!

          • sure, shootig you an email now!

          • Jacqy

            Seriously, I wasn’t. I was just wondering why her hair isn’t growing and typed it. I hope I didn’t offend her, because that was not my intent.

  • Ehmkay Nails

    Well your stash is like me with nail polish. I actually stopped buying the past 2 years. Like maybe 20 a year vs. 20 a month! Yup! I still have a ton but I would rather fully wear something I love than use it once and forget about it. Happy destashing journey. I have more to go!

    • I bet your collection is enormous! I have some nail blogger friends whose polish collection is in the thousands. It just sounds like such a crazy number to me! And thank you, I am hoping to destash some more soon when I figure out what I’m not using much.

  • YES, I went through this same feeling when I was buying every single Urban Decay palette that came out. I have all three Naked palettes and have NEVER USED 2 or 3! I also had a ridiculous amount of NYX powders that I finally gifted to a local preteen and I have no regrets on it. I need to get rid of lipsticks next. And nail polish… well I went from buying EVERYTHING to buying from two brands only. I love nail polish but I can’t wear it all and blogging takes up SO MUCH OF MY TIME. But it’s also relaxing and I love wearing different things so who knows.

    • Yes!! I bought so many things that I just didn’t use much, if at all, after the initial excitement from a new purchase died down. What two brands are you buying from these days? I do have a nail polish subscription, but they don’t send complex colors you could find from indie brands.

  • I do a huge makeup purge once it gets to me. I have done 2 in the last 2 years, so it really helps. I’m probably due for one soon… 😀

    • You are so good about this! I wish I could be so diligent 🙂

  • FairyTales Nails

    I need to do this to my nail polish collection, great post hun x

    • I am always amazed about nail bloggers’ polish stashes! You guys are way more organized than makeup hoarders, haha 🙂

      • Sunnykm

        How do nail polish bloggers keep the nail polish from spoiling?