How To Marie Kondo Your Makeup Collection In 6 Steps

Do you really need five bronzers?

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On January 1, 2019, a seemingly innocent Netflix show sparked a cultural phenomenon. No, we’re not talking about Stranger Things (as bingeworthy as it is), we’re talking about Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

The premise of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is this: streamlining your life and decluttering your home can put you in a more positive headspace. Seems simple enough. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Australians took this advice to heart; in western Sydney alone, St Vincent de Paul saw a 38 per cent increase in donations for the first quarter of 2019, compared to the previous year.

Now, over a year after the show’s debut, we’re jumping on the tidying up bandwagon and applying it to our makeup collection. What else are we going to do while we’re stuck inside over the long weekend? All we know is that our beauty cupboard is bursting at the seams and it’s about time we got organised.

Step 1: Does it spark joy?

Do you really need five bronzers? Or is one enough? (No judgement – maybe you do need more than one.) The first step is to go through your current makeup collection and take stock of what you actually use. In Marie Kondo land, this is where you pick up each item, look it in the eye and ask yourself if it sparks joy. Be honest.

Step 2: Check the label

Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Beauty products aren’t made to last forever; they have period after opening (PAO) guidelines.

The PAO symbol is usually found on the back label of any beauty product and is a simple graphic of an open jar with 12M, 24M, etc. “This symbol identifies the lifetime a cosmetic product can be used for after it has been opened for the first time,” says aesthetic practitioner Sarah Hudson of Skin By Sarah Hudson. “All cosmetic products have different expiry dates, depending on the formulation. [Makeup has] a shorter expiry date of three to six months opened and two years unopened. Skincare generally has an expiry date of 12 months opened and two years unopened.”

That M.A.C. Lipstick in Ruby Woo that you’ve had since 2016? It’s time to throw it out. “Using cosmetics that have reached their expiry date may result in skin irritation, dermatitis, allergic reactions and infection,” says Hudson. “Plus, the product will not be as effective.”

Step 3: Edit down your collection of brushes to five

With so many makeup brushes to choose from, it’s easy to acquire a collection of too many. On this occasion, makeup artist Jasmin Lo recommends quality over quantity. “It’s much better to invest in a select curation of good-quality brushes, rather having a lot of ‘just okay’ brushes,” Lo says. “Having a nice little edit of brushes means you can’t get carried away or confused about which to use and how to use it, which will keep your everyday makeup routine simple, glowing and fresh.”

Jasmin’s top five? A foundation brush, bronzer brush, blush brush, eyeshadow crease brush and precision concealer brush.

Read more on the only five makeup brushes you need here.

Step 4: Start Cleaning

So you’ve edited your brush collection down to five? Great work. According to Hudson, you should disinfect your brushes daily with a spray brush cleaner: “It will remove residual makeup, skin oils and bacteria. The cleaner your makeup brushes, the more flawless your makeup.”

From there, she also recommends doing a deep clean every month (or now, if you’re doing a big tidy up) with Sard Soap to help break down the skin oils and makeup that might be lingering.

While it may be tempting, do not skip this step; dirty brushes can cause a multitude of issues. Hudson has seen it all: “Acne breakouts caused by dirty foundation brushes and Beautyblenders; blackheads on cheekbones from contour brushes; eyelid dermatitis from dirty eye brushes, old eyeshadow or expired mascara.”

Step 5: Organise your makeup bag

If your makeup collection is clean and organised, you’re less likely to lose track of products and expiry dates or pull out a dirty old brush from the bottom of a drawer. It could be time to consider a case: The Daily Edited Makeup Brush Holder holds brushes on one side and makeup on the other. It can also be personalised, if you’re feeling extra.

Step 6: Shop for what you actually need  

Now for the fun part: shopping. Organising your makeup collection isn’t all doom, gloom and deprivation. After you’ve taken stock of what you already have, thrown out anything that doesn’t spark joy and checked the PAO symbols, it’s time to identify any gaps. Do you need a new sunscreen, cleanser, foundation brush or blush? Go forth and shop for the product(s) you actually need.

Have a decluttering tip that we don’t know about? Leave it in the comments below!

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