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“New year, new me.” A phrase we’re all familiar with when December and January come around. We may have prepared a whole list of new year’s resolutions and goals, but what better way to start your new year than to have a decluttered stash of makeup and a fresh, clean vanity space?

General Makeup 2 1

The thought of throwing away the fruit of your hard-earned money like that might leave some of us in a state of faint and mild panic. Think about it, though: how many times have you rifled through the dozens of tubes of mascara only to pick up the same one you use every day? Or feeling a surge of inspiration to use that other foundation, and then after a few minutes of contemplation, put it down and go back to your usual one because you know that shade suits you the best? If this sounds all too familiar, now’s the time to show no mercy and purge, purge, purge!

The Purge

First things first, get rid of all the things you don’t need. Go through each category (foundations, lipsticks, mascaras) one by one to sift out the unused and unloved. Most of them are sitting at the bottom or pushed to the sides, or sitting at the back collecting dust. The key is to be heartless when sentiments creep in. How could you throw away that gorgeous purple metallic liquid lippie? It was your star of the show for that Halloween party last year. Well, once you get rid of it, you won’t even remember it tomorrow, trust us.

Foundation Swatch 1

1. Throw out expired makeup: The foremost thing you should start with is expired makeup. Beauty products do go bad, and bacteria will accumulate on that two-year-old foundation, which can inflame skin or cause nasty rashes. Every product should have a little container symbol with a number on it. That is the number of months the product can be used after it’s first opened. Another sign that the makeup has gone bad is a musty or sour smell, which can be very apparent on mascara.

DV Tip: Indicate the date you opened the product on its surface for easier tracking of expiry date.

2. If you haven’t used it in the last 12 months, you’re very probably not going to. Ever.: Yes, we’re looking at that green lipstick you bought when you saw how great it looked on Rihanna. The one that you swiped it on but cleaned off before stepping out of your house and never wore it again. Not all products have to go into the bin, however. We have 20 reusing hacks for your beauty products that you can consider.

3. Give away or sell the ones you can’t bear to throw away: That limited edition YSL eyeshadow palette your aunt gifted you for Christmas with colours that you know you can’t rock? It is very, very tempting to just keep it in your stash there because it looks gorgeous, and simply because it’s expensive. But keep in mind it would go bad, and end up powdery, chalky (sometimes, mouldy!) mess.

Why not sell it? If it’s brand new, put it up for sale on websites or apps that allow you to. Otherwise, if you’re feeling generous, give it to someone that you know will enjoy it more than you.

The Clean-up

Once you’ve cut your makeup stash by at least a quarter (or a fifth, maybe?), it’s time to clean and organise. Here are the steps to get your started:

1. Empty out everything: This refers to your trays, baskets, or whatever you’ve been using to hold your makeup. Set the makeup aside and work on the storage first.

2. Wipe them down: Using a damp cloth, clean up all your storage containers, along with your drawers and tabletop. The dust and pollutants collected over the months can contaminate makeup and be harmful to your eyes and skin.

3. Sterilise them: Soak your cloth with anti-bacterial solution (make your own with one part an anti-bacterial product like Dettol and three parts water) or invest in anti-bacterial wipes to clean each and every makeup tube and compact. Remember to get into the ridges of all your tubes and screw-on lids. Bacteria can accumulate in these crevices. Also, makeup that’s caked around the edges can prevent you from closing the lid on properly, which allows air to get into your product and make it go bad faster.

4. Put them back: Now, put these products back to their clean, dust-free homes!

Storage Tips


Here are additional tips you can use to organise your vanity area better.

1. Use candle holders to store your makeup brushes: Don’t throw away candle holders just yet. Fill them up with coffee beans, glass marbles or coloured sand for a decorative piece that is pretty and functional!

organisation brush holder

Source: So Sasha

2. Use transparent storage: Clear drawers and containers allow you to see what are inside so you can immediately locate what you need, and be on your way. This means less time wasted in mornings! You can find these storage from Muji. The Muji 3-Row Acrylic Case is available at SGD33.


3. Store lipsticks upside down: Many lipsticks come in opaque packaging that give no clue of their colours. Lipsticks like the ones from MAC are even more notorious for their uniform black tubes. Store them upside down so you can see their colour labels easily. This way, you won’t need to open up five lipsticks just to find the one you were looking for. Extra tip: Categorise them according to the colour families they are in: pinks, reds, nudes… you get the idea.


Source: Pinterest

MAC lipsticks are notorious for their uniform black tubes, so store them upside down such that their colour labels are visible and you won’t have to pick up and put down five lipsticks before finding the one you were looking for. You can also store them according to colour categories such as pinks, reds, nudes, you get the idea.

4. Depot single eyeshadows into larger palettes: Singles can take up a lot of space, especially if their pots are bulky. Transferring them into a larger palette would save a lot of space. And you can even customise the palettes according to your preferences. Blushes, bronzers and even highlighters can be depotted as well. If you’re new to the art of depotting, watch a tutorial here:

5. Keep everyday products within reach: While the rest of your makeup is snug in their own little spaces, keep the products you reach for everyday on the top so you won’t be frantically busting open different drawers. Store these products in a nice, spacious pouch on your counter or tabletop. What makes this even better is that when you’re done, transfer products you need for touch-ups into a smaller pouch for on-the-go. If you’re looking for new makeup bags, you can find them here.

Featured image from Expat Makeup Addict.