The Weekend Post #28: Makeup Collection Downsizing Tips

I’ve spoken before about my old makeup hoarding ways; being borderline obsessive with tracking down MAC limited edition items, yearning for a nail polish collection that could be described as the complete colour spectrum and dreaming of a spare room full of makeup. But this year it all changed. I’m not sure what exactly happened, but something just clicked. My focus moved to skincare and suddenly I felt a little embarrassed of my ever-expanding makeup stocks so I decided to downsize. You can see what my current makeup stash looks like here - ok, ok so it’s by no means the smallest collection out there but for a beauty junkie like myself it’s not too horrendous and it does quite conveniently fit into one drawer. So after your amazing feedback on that video, I thought I would put together a few little tips and tricks for downsizing your makeup stash. The anti-hoarding starts now…

  • First you got to get into the mindset, this is where a little bit of inspiration helps. From browsing the web I think a lot of fashion bloggers have this minimal makeup thing down! Check out Mariannan and 5 Inch And Up for some minimal makeup inspiration. Also have a look at Pinterest and We Heart It for some pictures of pretty makeup (but remember to ignore the pics where there are shedloads of the stuff!).
  • When you sit down and really think about, we only have one face at the end of the day. And how much slap can you really shove on throughout the year – unless you’re rocking the TOWIE look 24 hours the answer to that question is not really that much. These days I tend to prefer to focus on skincare (notice how this post is on downsizing your makeup and not beauty products in general, my skincare drawer is heaving at the moment, but let’s not go there), if you have a good base everything that goes on top is just a bit of extra decoration.
  • As a general rule when I’m having a clear out I use the six month rule – if you haven’t used it in the last six months (a year if you’re feeling a little emotional), then it’s probably time to go. Also have a think about makeup expiry dates, that will gross you out and force to throw out some of your bits collecting dust away. Check out this post on Beautylovin for more about that.
  • Not all of it needs to be thrown away. Cheaper things or products that are heavily used go straight into the bin bag but for higher-end items or things that are nearly new, I tend to pass these on. Right, now I’m going to start with the emotional blackmail here – when you’re going through everything think of your friends and family, who would like what, what colours would they look good in. I usually make up bags for each of my mates which as you can imagine makes them very happy chappies. Or you could do your good deed for the day and send a box of goodies over to a great cause like Give and Makeup, I’m currently putting a box together for them now!
  • If you are really struggling with a few items, then create a little ‘Maybe, Maybe-Not Box’. Not the catchiest of titles, but in here I put things that I’m not too sure that I’m able to part with yet and leave it under my bed or in any hard to reach area for a few weeks. By the time I remember where I’ve hidden it I can see my own point that it’s not something I’m going to use so off it trots.
  • So the final tip is for once you’ve got your makeup stocks down to a size that you’re happy with. I tend to adopt the ‘One In, One Out’ policy to ensure things don’t get too crazy in there. Buy a blush, get rid of a blush – seems like a toughie but once you’re in your anti-hoarder ways it isn’t too difficult to do. If you manage to crack this one, then you’re officially invited into the anti-hoarders makeup club – congrats!

Wow, just a few tips to keep you going then. Let me know what you think and whether you manage to make it into the anti-hoarders makeup club! If you have anymore tips then do please pop them below. Happy downsizing!


  • beckysmakeup

    I get what you mean, there were times when I would watch makeup collection videos in awe and then be buying whatever took my fancy until my collection was not only unmanageable but unpractical too. I now stick to higher end brands and by selected products I know I will use that way instead of having 20 MUA blushers I will have one NARs blush for instance which I know I will use to death. It just makes my collection feel a tad more elite than having hundreds of products just gathering dust, germs and other what not! Thanks for the tips 🙂

    beckys makeup

  • Ellie

    I love this post, I am exactly the same, I used to fantasise about an actual ‘collection’ of makeup, but this year I downsized my stash and I’m still pretty cutthroat if I don’t like something, it’s not staying! I think it’s the best way to be though haha 🙂

  • hollyarabella

    When I go to downsize I think ‘be ruthless, be ruthless’ and it works, I’m now down to a tidy set with everything I need…perhaps two of everything in some departments, but a girl should always be prepared with spares! x

  • I’ve had to limit my make-up to one drawer, when it starts overflowing I have a good clear out! if you have too much make-up you just can’t use it all and stuff tends to get forgotten about, even really good products. This was an inspiring post, going to do some sorting this afternoon!

  • Farzana Islam

    I’ve always had this mindset! 

  • Mspurlemakeup

    For me it’s literally impossible! I think your entire make-up collection in that drawer is the same size as my blush collection only! I’m terrible and I keep on buying.

    Also, last year I started doing make-up on a freelance basis and I get paid for it (yey) so that’s my excuse. I actually had to buy face products to cater for super fair and super dark people. So even more excuses for the shopping fix.Joke aside, I think I tend to pass it on friends mainly. I might consider a blog sale at some stage. Great tips! :) 

  • Nadia Yousuf

    Something we can all relate to! This year I have finally realised I have way too much I don’t use…but my attachment to it all has caused me to make more use of it and stop buying instead of getting rid of it (i’m not ready to brave that step yet!) Great post!

  • must must MUST pay attention to this! i do not need a tool box full of makeup

  • MissLauren x
  • Rebecca Penfold

    I really like the idea of a “capsule” make up collection. I can’t cope (or afford for that matter) a massive collection!
    Wonderful and very helpful post! x

  • I recently downsized my make-up collection and expanded the ol’ skincare cupboard too (: feels so refreshing to be able to know exactly which blush or lipstick to choose, rather than rummaging through lots! xx

  • Ying_Cheung

    I have noticed that i have quite a big make-up collection too from the past years gradually building it up. i have already thrown alot away, but there are some that i have hardly used and just cannot part with it. I think i am going to start doing project 10 pan soon to use up more of my make-up products that i have neglected. I hope my downsizing my make-up collection goes to plan. Thanks for sharing~X

  • Paige Brown

    I also downsized my collection earlier this year, I love that all the makeup I own is products I love and not an insane amount of useless ‘limited addition and cult favourite’ pieces that aren’t suited for my coloring. If only I could downsize my hair products, I have way too many volumising products!! This was a really good post!

  • Raz

    I purposely bought a cute little set of drawers that could only accommodate a couple of each product. So now I try not to hoard too much. Especially since once I find a good foundation/concealer etc I tend to stick to it – so what’s the point in keeping all the stuff that isn’t as good?!

    Even though they’re the product I wear least I still have a LOT of lip products – I think it’s because I vary them more.

  • I recently got into makeup and my collection has grown quite a bit. It’s very far from the size of yours – I mean, I still only own about five opened lip products – but it’s enough to last me a while before I need to get new stuff. I also have a box of unopened stuff that I bought on sales, will use once I’ve run out of my current stuff, etc. I find it really daunting to have a lot of products in use because they never really get too much attention!

  • Princessmcdermott

    i spent all my sat night clearing  out all my make-up your blogs been great for tips and i have just kept all my fav stuff ,,also loved your baskets for keeping skincare in i bought some at ikea sooo handy :))

  • Sarah S.

    Great tips, Anna!  Your pare-down really inspired me this year and I’ve been cutting way, way back.  Luckily, I was contacted by a great blogger (Aly of and she makes review posts literally all the time, so I sent her the majority of my things that just weren’t getting enough love and use from me.  It’s really fun to read her reviews of these things because I’ve tried them all ^.^ and I don’t feel bad about giving them away because she got really great use out of them!

  • kirsty_garry

    You have inspired me to chuck out all my old makeup! I have a whole box of ‘rarely used’ stuff I actually tidied out a few weeks back, but now I am coming to the realisation that some of it is make up I have had for over 6 years (yuck!) and never use any more.  My boyfriend will thank you for the extra storage space I’m sure!

  • My thoughts exactly, when I see people with SO much makeup it is kinda ridiculous..I love buying new things but it can’t get too excessive, and the scary thought I get is “wow I wonder how much all of my makeup costs put together?”

  • Phong Tang

    I completely agree. My current make up collection all fits (untidily)  into an Ikea plastic tub. Yes I have a beauty blog but I prefer to focus more on skincare instead.

  • Grace

    I have a lot of stuff which I could do with getting rid of, I’ll defiantly be sending it to give and make up, now I know about it 🙂 x

  • thea

    could you take a photo of what it looks like now… after you have downsized it?!xxx

  • This is exactly how ive spent my weekend.. its great to have a good clear out!

  • princesselfy

    I’ve massively downsized my collection mainly for financial reasons as I realised I’d spent so much money on things I was never using. I now have a collection of things I love, and try to be more sensible when making new purchases (a) do I need it? (b) will I actually use it?
    A smaller collection of much loved products is far better than an excessive never used hoarded collection.

  • jessicafrench

    I totally agree with you, I used the be the same. I wanted to own every single thing from MAC. Now I just keep to the things I use daily,and only purchase makeup if I have run out, or looking for a product that doesn’t offer what my current ones in my collection do! Great post Anna 🙂

  • I had a bit of  a clear out a few weeks ago.  Amazing the amount you seem to accumulate! Hate having too much and felt a bit cluttered, can’t stop buying tho 😉

    Some good tips x

  • My entire make-up collection fits in my make-up bag! 😉 & It’s not even that big of a bag, I’d say medium sized 😛
    I’d love to grow my collection a tiny bit more.. you know for variation… 🙂 my bank balance is thankful that I live in a teeny tiny town and not London!! 

  • what a good post!! I really need to put this into practise I cant stop buying new things and never seem to use anything to the end!! your makeup collection is so tidy! Love your blogs hope u had a lovely holiday, I go to Florida in sept will def be hitting sephora! 

    <3 Judith –

  • I actually recently did this! I went though all of my old makeup and couldn’t believe how much I had accumulated! I was ashamed. 

    This is quite odd, I too have switched gears from makeup hoarding into a skin care fanatic. I have no clue what prompted this change, but I’m glad. 

    <3 Rubiiee

  • Sophia

    This is such a great post! I need to reorganise all my makeup a bit better. I currently have it just stuck in a big make up bag with little make up bags inside it so loads of stuff aren’t even being looked at! xxx

  • My collection is about the same size as yours and I really like it. This way I actually use everything. Great post!

  • Jenny

    Love this post. I’m definitely a makeup hoarder and I have the bags to prove it! I think it helps if you make sure all of your makeup is visible. If you don’t see it (like if it’s stuffed away in some bag), you won’t use it!


  • margaret

    such a useful post! I reallly needed that! xx

  • For the last six months I have gone crazy and bought much more makeup than I needed. I am now using the one in, one out policy to try and keep it under control. I have found that doing “empties” posts is really encouraging me to finish products too. Thanks for the tips!


  • Lorna Patrick

    may have to look back at this post after i’ve been blogging for a bit longer!! 

  • Itsalondonthing Imz

    Im doing the one in one out with lippies at the moment as they are my vice! 

  • Joyce

    Great post! Before moving back to the UK, I realized that I wear nudes and skin tone appropriate colors more. I prefer a classic make up style with abit of a twist. So I gave away all my bright colors and make up i’d never worn to my friends. My collection is so much smaller and I’m happy about it.

  • Becky F

    This is a really good post! Thank you 🙂

  • kitty michel

    really useful post! i definitely going to be checking my makeup expiration dates! :) 

  • katherine.parkes

    so weird, I sorted my stuff out today! I also looked at which colours were really similar and decided there was no point in having say 5 coral blushes! xx

    • I did too! And then I came across this post. Happy to know I’m not alone with the downsize! It was tough letting go of so many of my old products!

  • This is a really good post- I must admit I’m a bit of a hoarder in general and make up is no exception. Finding recently that I’ve needed to downsize my collection a lot!
    Daniella x

  • Gmhmeredith

    I have so much stuff in my collection, I seriously need to downsize my collection, but collecting makeup is just so fun!

  • Skinscrubs

    I also think it helps to downsize one type of thing at a time – kind of like paying off your smallest debts first so it looks like you’ve made progress. 

    I had over 30 shower gels about 6 months ago but my collection is getting used and I’m going to limit myself to five in future. Then I’ll move onto face masks. 

    I have one plastic box full of makeup and it’s not allowed to go over this which keeps me in check! 

    Great post! 

  • WillWorkForMakeup

    Great post, Anna! Everything you’ve said is so true. I think I just need to make the effort and finally commit to downsizing already! x

  • Rebecca

    Great post – I’m about to start a wardrobe downsize and am scared but excited at the same time! Thanks for the tips!

  • h_e_green

    I did some makeup down sizing last year. I’d stopped using all my Nars products as Mac had fallen into favour. I threw out four blushes and three eye shadow duos and still regret it. Sometimes its ok to hoard things. Better that than regret throwing out lovely things x
    Ps. I might have a cry about it now. Sob.

  • ee

    I have one more tip to add, if you don’t mind! 🙂 Pick out the drawer/box, where ever you would store your make up (not too big, though!) and try to fill it with all the make up that you need. Without it being untidy or multi layered. 😀 And all the things that don’t fit you’ll throw away or donate to friends and family :) 

  • Margarita Castro Quintero

     I am starting to swith to Organics non Chemical product and cruelty free, everything new must meet these requeriments. i am not allowing myself to get any eyeshadows, blush, highligther because i have so many unused. 

    • Me too!!! Moving forward, only organic/natural. And no more product purchases until I enjoy what I have. 

  • caityd14

    I would love to see a review on your tarte blush you got! I’m debating between that and the laura mercier lush nectarine and i’m wondering your opinion on the differences! Also have you tried any Murad skin products and what do you think of them! Thanks in advance 🙂 xx

    • I love the Tarte blush! I’ve repurchased Tipsy 3 times. It is the best!

  • For the first time this morning I downsized my makeup collection. I’ve spent entirely too much money I products I will never use at Sephora. My collection was inundated with things that I purchased, tried once and disregarded. It felt SO refreshing to downsize. I’m so excited to have found this post!

  • Divingwithdolphins

    Wow! How much do you think you spend (roughly) on skincare/makeup per month? I’m on a student budget so find it really hard to build up a collection of products as I feel bad buying more than one of any product type as I’m using a student loan for purchases!

  • really enjoyed this, i need to keep an eye to make sure i dont hoard so this post is handy xxx

  • Mg

    I feel the same way about my makeup collection. I don’t have a lot of products because a couple of years ago I gave the ones that I didn’t use to my sisters and mother. However, for a makeup lover, it’s hard to keep on the right track, so I try to use the makeup I own and to take the most of it. I’ve been pretty successful… up to this summer. I bought a lot of things: the Bobbi Brown Desert Twilight palette and a gloss from the same collection, the Naked2 palette, several eyeshadows from Kiko, a foundation and a lipstick from La Roche-Posay, a nail polish and a luminizer from Sephora, a lipstick and an eyeshadow from L’oreal, a Dior Extase mascara and a nailpolish from O Boticário. After being a “bad girl”, I decided not to purchased any makeup item till december. I know I can do it. 
    Mg xx