Streamline Your Skincare: Five Steps To The Ultimate Clear-Out

Like, properly this time…


I pride myself on being brutal when it comes to clearing things out. You lot know me. Give me a full wardrobe and I’ll somehow magic up two bags for the charity shop. My organisation freak levels are at the point where I’ll go round a mate’s house and tidy theirs for them too (to be fair she’d just had a baby and it was my good deed for the day). However, when it comes to skincare I get weirdly attached. I switch out into ‘Maybe I’ll need it someday!‘ mode, which I guess is kind of justified because skin is a tempremental thing isn’t it? So a couple of weekends ago I sat down and somehow managed to strip it back to the bare bones through these five steps…



For some reason my skincare collection seems to find its way into most rooms of the flat. It’s scattered across suitcases that I leave pre-packed skincare routines in ready to go, my nightstand, my office (where I keep items that aren’t in my current rotation and back-ups), my desk, handbag and the bathroom. It’s everywhere (much to Mark’s delight). So the first step I did was to get it all in one place so it was easy to see what I actually had, which of course like any skincare lover – was much more than I expected. Call yourself a minimalist, eh? 


I have to say I was pretty surprised at this step once I started looking at the expiration labels on all my products. Skincare goes off fast peeps. As a general rule anything that goes around the eye area like creams and makeup removers last six months, cleansers and sprays around 12 months and then everything else goes off at the 12 or 18 month mark, with some masks and moisturisers (depending on the packaging) up to 24 months. There’s no rigid rules here though, so it’s best to check items individually and also work off your own senses; giving things a sniff and looking for changes in colour and texture.



Once you’ve got rid of the stinkers, it’s time to slimline one step further. The best way of doing this I’ve found is to firstly categorise your products into piles; makeup removers, cleansers, sprays, serums, moisturisers, SPFs and masks – that should do ya. This makes it abundantly clear if you have a genre that’s overflowing and makes it easier to see what bumf can be cut out. I for one had a tonne of masks, most of which I used occasionally – say, once every three or four months – which just doesn’t warrant a spot in the line-up, especially once you start to consider expiration dates. I also tend to get a little hoardy on the cleanser front, however they’re something that I use everyday so I don’t mind stockpiling (sensibly).


I’m a complete sucker for being enabled. Basically if Caroline Hirons praises a product, I need it. Even if she says it’s for oily skin, I’m there with my dry ol’ face buying it. The same often goes with makeup and when I see people hype up a mask or an oil, sometimes I give it a go and it’s fab and other times it just doesn’t do that much for me. Skin is a delicate and personal thing, more so than any other beauty recommendation, and so the final step of my clear-out was to finally give in to the fact that some products just don’t really work for me and that’s cool. Kypris is a great example of this. I used it for months, perhaps even a year not realising that there was something in it that just did not agree with my skin and was causing month-long breakouts on my chin. It’s not you, it’s me…



Who remembers ‘Project 10 Pan‘? A movement, I think started by Laura, many moons ago in the blogger world to use every last drop of 10 products till the bitter end? It’s still something that I try to do all these years later and when it comes to skincare, due to the short shelf life that many products have, it’s even more pressing. So I’m vowing to use stuff up; when one cleanser ends it’s time to move onto another until I’ve worked through my stocks and then it’s time to repurchase. Back-ups are good to have, but I now know my skin pretty well and have kept items that I know agree with my complexion, so if I need to swap items in things shouldn’t get too hairy. BRB, this could take me a while… 

Photos by Lauren Shipley



  • Ray

    Quite an embarrassing confession for me but I never really cared much for expiration dates just because I couldn’t locate them on the products. Apparently the expiration date is that little number placed inside an open jar, that little icon. Once I figured that out, l had lots of product to throw out. Whew!

  • I love everything related to Kiehl’s 🙂

    Miki xx

  • This is exactly what I needed! My skincare closet needs a huge clear out! Ha!

    i hope you have a great Friday Anna,

  • I need to pay more attention to expiration dates, and I definitely need to do the project 10 pan, I feel like I am very rarely finishing a skincare product, except for my serums (I’m constantly repurchasing the ANR)! Even though I personally prefer to have a choice and lots of different options, my current skincare collection needs a good clear out, so thank you for your tips!

  • I need to look at expiration dates more..not kidding I have skincare products that have been in my cupboard for years- awful I know!!

  • I have all my skincare written down in an excel sheet to keep track of the categories, when I bought it and when I opened it, all that stuff. Seems I have too many masks and too little serums that are non-aha.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Over-complicated skincare regimes and stockpiling tons of skincare products are two things I just don’t understand. All you really need is one cleanser, one makeup remover, and one moisturizer. When I see beauty bloggers with loads and loads of skincare products in their stash, I roll my eyes. And my comment is not solely directed at you, it’s everyone. No hate here, I promise. I just don’t get it. The more and more products you put on your face, the more skin problems you’ll (most likely) have. I mean, just keep it simple for heaven’s sake.

  • This is so helpful and I am sooo envious of your Glossier collection right now!


  • Yes! I need to clean out my skin care collection!

  • I tend to have very limited skincare collections, because whenever a product has been in my stash for too long I get scared of using it and would rather throw it away it case it’s not good for use anymore. Empty projects are great when it comes to skincare though, because you can get through your products a lot quicker than you would with makeup!

    Julia x
    Last Post: Discovering California |

  • I cleaned out my skincare products like a month ago and DEAR GOD, I had so many empties along with things I have had for YEARS.

    Laila from Townhouse Palette

  • I just love Kiehls!

  • HarrisonBeach

    Oskia will forever be my favourite, but I’m enjoying trying the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser recently!

  • I love Kiehls, their products always seem to clam my skin down after eczema and other allergic reactions x

  • totally agree with you.. I can always justify keeping skin care products even though I love clearing out my clothes and home!

  • Aah I loved reading / watching any Project xx pan post / video, good times…

  • Zara

    I definitely need to start Project Pan!! I am actually really good at keeping my skincare products down to a minimum, I have never really built up a collection so can just buy as I need. Makeup on the other hand…

  • Flo

    What happened to the routine and products suggested by the dermatologist that you and Lily both did ?

  • I’ve been clearing out my skincare and makeup stuff over the last 6 months and I’m pretty glad on what I have left right now! x

    Angeline x

  • omg, probably need to check the expiration of all my skincare and makeup the soonest possible time! thanks to you xx

    mutzii •

  • I never even thought about expiry dates! oops! Going to check all my products now! Thanks Anna.
    Imogen, Brighton Girl,

  • It’s so satisfying watching your clearouts. Good tips, too!
    x Ronja