5 things to learn from the makeup decluttering trend

5 things to learn from the makeup decluttering trend

You Kondo it

Text: Renée Batchelor

The newest trend to hit YouTube? Makeup decluttering videos that teach you to be brutal when it comes to getting rid of what you don't need

OHello, I'm a beauty editor, and I have way too much makeup (and skincare and haircare). I've been covering this beat for over 10 years and yes, on one hand it can be a dream come true having access to all the newest, bestest products and interviewing passionate brand founders. But on the other hand, it can also be a bit of a minimalist's nightmare. My desk at work is officially a war zone that fellow colleagues have tripped over on numerous occasions. And if you've ever been privy to the corner of my room where many of my beauty products lie untouched (gasp!) packed into dozens of paper bags, you'll understand why I do regular giveaways to teammates and even family members. My husband is no different. He is the recipient of tonnes of grooming goodies that he frankly doesn't always use — his time as a beauty editor's significant other has made him very picky, and rather partial to expensive Tom Ford fragrances and only the most deep cleansing of facial washes. 

For a better understanding of how a beauty writer or editor's desk truly looks like, check out the video below. Yes, it is far from glamorous. And sometimes things arrive at such an alarming rate, it can be difficult to get through everything, let alone pack and store them in a neat and meaningful order. But of course, there's a video for your woes. From bingeing videos of YouTube stars and beauty bloggers clearing their stash, I've learnt some useful things. I will never be accused of being a neat freak, but here's some handy tips to better your beauty life.

This applies not just to makeup but to skincare, fragrances and yes, even items in your wardrobe. If an item has not been opened at all and stored correctly (away from heat and direct sunlight) it might still be usable. Try passing it on to a friend or selling it on sites like Carousell at your own risk. If it has been opened, it's not hygenic to be passed on unless it is an airless pump packaging.

Go through all the items that you have. The first things to get rid off are items that have gone off, have been opened and unused for more than 12 months and have separated or changed in terms of the colour, smell and texture. FYI although products and fragrances may have an expiry date several years away from the date of production, most products must be used and discarded within 12 months of opening. That's what that little open container that says 6M (six months) or 12M (twelve months) means. Other things to toss? Fragrances that don't smell the same anymore, makeup brushes that seem kind of grotty, mascaras that are thick and goopy and anything else remotely suspect.

You know how makeup that starts out all shiny and new ends up looking grubby — think makeup smears, faded logos and even chips and cracks? For every item you've decided to keep, use baby wipes to clean the outer packaging and even the inside so that it looks more palatable – you're likely to use something that looks new or clean.

If you have lipstick or eyeliner pencils you love that are now blunt and unusable, re-sharpen them with a new pencil sharpener — it will help to get rid of some of the bacteria that might be sitting atop it. Have lipsticks that you still love, but are used nearly to the bottom? Use a clean spatula to scoop it out and place it in a new lipstick palette or pill box — you can always freeze it in the fridge for awhile if it's too soft or has melted. While you're at it, give all your makeup brushes a good cleanse with brush cleanser or regular shampoo and flat dry them.

Have old devices that don't work or you simply don't use anymore.? Toss them or give them to your local recycling guy (or karang guni). He or she may be able to reuse some of the electronic parts. Replace the brush head of old cleansing devices, electronic toothbrushes and even razors, because yes these also breed bacteria especially in damp conditions like your bathroom. Those spots on the bristles? It's not a good sign.

One thing that works: Clear storage that allows you to see what you're keeping. Head to storage specialists to get drawers, compartments or boxes that allow you to keep all your things neatly. If you're big on recycling, try reusing old candles, tins and boxes for certain items. Think out of the box: Spice racks and mini jewellery cases may work for some products. In general grouping them in categories helps you stay organised. Find a place that is away from windows and direct sunlight, and store them where you will see them. Unless you're super organised, you're bound to forget half of the products you own.

Do you need a skincare fridge? Perhaps it might be a worthwhile investment if you have a lot of expensive products so that they stay at their optimum condition. If you are still unable to store things neatly, you may need to carry out a second purge to get rid of items that are infrequently used. Things that are safe to pass on are single use products like sheet masks, nail polishes (unless you have a fungal infection) and fragrances. Also, stop yourself from buying anything new unless you really and truly need it. Like a bookshelf full of unread books, a cupboard or drawer of unused products is a real waste and should not be encouraged to accumulate.