Happy 2020! The holiday break finally gave me the time to tackle two organizing projects that’s been on my list for a while: pantry and powder room storage. The pantry was easy — keep, toss, donate. But the bathroom was another story. Though towels, washcloths and essentials have their place in the linen closet, everything else in there was functionally “every man for himself.” Makeup, moisturizers, masks, cleansers, exfoliators, serums, hair care, samples-a-plenty (soooo many “maybe I’ll try this one day” samples), nail polish, hair tools…like feeding Gremlins after midnight, these things just seemed to multiply. While I’ve often cautioned in my magazine articles that organizational items like bins and baskets don’t solve the problem if your not really addressing “the stuff,” my closet space begged for one cohesive structure that could corral these items in a way that made sense.
I saw this 3-tier rolling cart online at The Container Store and got the same one for a better deal at our local Michael’s in Middletown (in rose gold). The cart gave me parameters for “The Great Product Purge” — the cary allow the only space I’d allow for these goods, so when it came to what to keep, Ihad to choose wisely.
First, I took everything out of the closet. I opened all the makeup bags I’ve accrued over the years (man, I had no idea I had so much Clinique Bonus Time swag — I don’t even buy Clinique!) and dumped it on the floor. Some things were easy to toss — but here’s the thing: if you’re anything like me, you’ve been swayed on a fun girls outing to hit the makeup department as Saks (maybe after a bottomless mimosa brunch in the city …just sayin’) and some beautifully coiffed, seemingly flawless beauty offers to give you a mini-make over and before you know it, your cheeks are dewy, your lips look luscious and your eyes pop with just a little well-placed liner punctuated by your incandescent brown bones. “I’ll take it all!” you declare, and one mortgage payment later, you’re strutting down Fifth Avenue with a tiny bag and big dreams.
It happens. For me, throwing makeup away I spent good money on was the hardest. The Versace compact with an eye shadow duo in shades of purple and vanilla (WTF…it must have made sense a decade ago)? It was used once but stayed in the black hole of makeup bags for a decade (although the actual compact was beautiful I admit). The $40 organic creamy foundation I bought online that never matched my skin tone? Bye bye. The Julie Hewitt cheek and lip sheer shine that I actually got a lot of use out of but had for years (and when you think about how many times you used your finger to apply it…ew, David)? Sayōnara. Three tubes of MAC Lip Glass (home, purse, travel…duh)? Bye Felicia. The irony of it all? I don’t wear much makeup.
Sara Ross, a beauty and skincare expert (read: queen) with more than 20 years experience best known locally for owning Archbeauty Skin Care Salon & Boutique in Middletown, knows how easy is can be to end up in this dark place. “All makeup, in my opinion, should be tossed seasonally,” she advises. “Your skin changes with the season and tone as well.” Working with clients to get the look they’ve been searching for is often a process Sara calls “swap and save” — swiping out makeup seasonally to save your skin.
Then there’s basic expiration dates. Expiration is often based on bacteria build up. Here’s some simple guidelines:
Mascara and eyeliner: 3 months if worn regularly (6 months with occasional use)
Eyeshadow: 6 – 12 months
Liquid foundation: About 12 months
Lipstick: 12 – 18 months
Blush: About 2 years
Oh, and I was this many years old when I learned most makeup packaging has icons showing how long the shelf life is for the product (see right). Who knew? (Don’t answer that.)