Declutter Your Makeup Stash With the Help of Professionals

makeup decluttering tips
POPSUGAR Photography | Matthew Kelly
POPSUGAR Photography | Matthew Kelly

Spring is rapidly approaching, and it's becoming increasingly clear that the assortment of beauty products you've been purchasing and hoarding over the past few months is out of control at this point. Your expanding makeup collection likely features a wide range of eyeshadow palettes, lipsticks, creams, lotions, and all sorts of potions and has started to look more like a small-scale beauty boutique than a personal collection.

Honestly, if you're anything like us, you have products in your possession that are well past their expiration date, but the packaging is just so art deco that you can't bear to part ways with them. You keep telling yourself that you'll use every single blush, bronzer, and contour stick you own, but we're here to tell you, friend, that day most likely will never come.

It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's about time we face the truth. Holding on to these expired and unused products is not only unhealthy but also restricts you from making space for new potential favorites. It's time to say goodbye to these old products, clear out the clutter, and free up that much-needed space in your beauty drawer.

Don't know where to start? No worries, as we've tapped a few industry experts to give top-tier insider secrets on decluttering your makeup. Keep reading for more.

Makeup Decluttering Tip 1: Process of Elimination

When you come across alluring headlines like "The Best Lipsticks of 2024," it becomes incredibly tempting to purchase and experiment with every shade just for the sheer fun it promises. Next, you realize you've accumulated 100 lipsticks in the same shade.

However, renowned celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes has a trick for this: "If you've got over 50 lipsticks but don't use them every day, do your full makeup but don't do your lips and apply each shade and take a picture of each," she tells PS. "This way, you can narrow down which lipsticks you need to give away and which ones you actually wear."

Makeup Decluttering Tip 2: Look at the Expiration Date

One thing you don't want to do is use expired makeup. (We're preaching to ourselves here, as this editor is still holding onto a Marc Jacobs Beauty travel-size mascara from 2017.) Makeup artist Kasey Spickard says we all need to check the expiration date from the time we crack the seal open.

"Check the packaging for the expiration date from opening," Spickard says. "They can range from three months to 36 months depending on the product. Get rid of any products that have passed their 'period after opening' window."

Makeup Decluttering Tip 3: Create a Love vs. Lust Pile,

When new makeup products come out, we are all instantly in lust with the promises of newness, but over time, our usage weeds out which products we're actually in love with versus those we just had a lust for. Longtime makeup artist Theo Turner suggests splitting your makeup into these two categories when deciding what to keep and what to toss out.

"The 'love' pile will contain all products you currently use and need to complete your daily makeup — your 'stranded on an island' picks, if you will," Turner says. "These are our keepers." Then, turn your attention to your second pile. "The 'lust' pile, on the other hand, are products you thought you would love, but after purchasing, they don't quite work for you. You may love the packaging or color, but you never reach for the product. Donate it."

Makeup Decluttering Tip 4: Group Like With Like

Before you decide to purchase a new product, you should take inventory of what you already have. Maybe you are running out of your favorite blush, but before you restock, you should try the other 10 you have on hand.

"My first pass is to take inventory of everything I have and group items by product category," Spickard says. "Moisturizers with moisturizers, foundations with foundations, and so on. This allows me to see where I may need to invest going forward."

Makeup Decluttering Tip 5: Invest in Multipurpose Products

In 2024, makeup products that can pull triple duty as a lip, cheek, and eyeshadow tint are all the rage; no more buying a separate product for each part of your face. It's not just about saving time and money — it's about decluttering that precious vanity space.

"The best solution is to invest in products that are multipurpose such as lipstick that doubles as blush or an eyeshadow palette with versatile shades," Atlanta-based makeup artist Marquis Glisson advises. "This helps minimize the number of products you need to keep while still allowing for creativity."

Stixx Mathews is a New York City-based freelance beauty writer with 11 years of experience who is passionate about telling stories that merge beauty and pop culture. He enjoys sharing his expert insights about the latest trends and must-have products, with a particular focus on lipstick and fragrance.