Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


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minimalism and makeup make a great pair

I've already got a post on embracing minimalism with skincare (read that here), so why not take a look into makeup?

If you're new to the idea of minimalism, minimalism has several benefits, including creating more time, less stress, and extra money. In terms of makeup, minimalism can save you time in the morning, reduce your makeup budget, and save your face from an onslaught of too many face products.

Just a reminder: minimalism for me means owning products that are efficient, effective and bring meaning to my life on a consistent basis. I don't count what I own. Instead, I rely on how they enrich my life.

This may mean that you have a bigger makeup collection than most, but it's important to make sure each of your items is something that you love and put to use on a continuous basis.

Looking to do a makeup clean-out or cultivate your own minimalist makeup collection? Here's a few tips to get started.

By the way, any products I mention in this post are cruelty-free!


1. create your makeup essentials

When creating a list of makeup to purchase or makeup to give up from your current collection, think about what you use on a day-to-day basis.

What are your favorite makeup looks? What do you tend to use the most? Set these items aside and mark them as your essentials.

Now it's time to reevaluate these essentials.

products to get rid of immediately

Let's start with duplicates in your essentials (because you probably have them). Do you have multiple of one kind of item, such as very similar shades of lipstick? Consider picking the one you reach for the most.

Now let's consider the age of each product. Are any of your makeup products expired? Nearly gone? Old and crusty? Get rid of 'em.

Let's move onto the quality of each product. Are you totally in love with all of your essentials? Is there anything you've been lacking?

For example, perhaps you've been using a mascara that has worked for you, but you haven't been in love with. Now's the time to do your research and experiment to find the best replacement.

see if some items can be combined

If you're running out of some of your essentials or looking to replace them, see if perhaps some of your items can be combined.

For example, if you have a tinted moisturizer and an SPF, consider opting for a tinted moisturizer with SPF. Now you've paired down your makeup collection and have gotten more bang for your buck.

consider ingredients

I'm much more lax on ingredients in makeup than I am in skincare, but I'm still diligent about avoiding ingredients such as harsh alcohols, and I try to stay away from artificial fragrance (although this gets tough with makeup). 

If you're looking to improve your skin's overall health, consider keeping or opting for makeup items that are more beneficial for your skin.

what about brushes and other accessories?

I think this step is pretty easy: once you have your essentials, you'll know which accessories to keep. I like to create very creative eyeshadow looks, so I have a plethora of eyeshadow brushes.

On the other hand, I hardly have any face brushes. I tend to rely on two complexion sponges, one blush brush, and occasionally one powder brush.

an example of a makeup essentials list

I can't give you a list of what you should have in your essentials, because everyone has a different makeup routine.

I can give you an example of mine. Here's my makeup essentials:

 Photo by  Joanna Kosinska  on  Unsplash


2. pick your additional speciality items (if any)

Now that you have your base collection, it's time to add those specialty items that you may not use on a daily basis, but you still love and use all the same.

I would suggest keeping these to a minimum. These can include makeup items such as additional eyeshadow palettes, lipstick shades, eyeliner colors, etc.

For example, three of my favorite specialty items are:

tarte glitter pot

Tarte has a glitter pot eyeshadow that's just gorgeous. I don't use glitter all the time, which is why I invested in only one color, but I do tend to pull out this look every other week to create a lovely shimmer effect on my eyelid.

My pot is in the shade Yacht Party. It's got a gorgeous sparkle, but it's not too strong that it overtakes my entire face. I love pairing it with a wing liner. 

becca highlighter powder

Becca's pressed highlighter powders are amazing. Mine is in the shade Pearl.

My Cover FX Customer Enhancer Drops do a marvelous job of giving me a beautiful highlight along my cheekbones, but sometimes I like a little more pop. This is when I take a bit of Becca's powder and pat it along my cheekbones and on the arch of my eyebrow.

tarte gel liner

My liquid liner is my go-to. Sometimes, though, when I'm creating a cat eye, a liquid liner can be difficult to work with.

In comes Tarte's Clay Pot Waterproof Liner in Black. It's creamy with a strong black pigment and glides on so smooth.

I don't use these three products all the time, so they wouldn't be a part of my essentials collection.

I do, however, use them often enough to compliment my makeup looks that they belong in my makeup collection.

When you're going through your current makeup collection or researching new products, keep the above in mind. What will you actually use or what have you used in the past? If you could only pick an additional five items, what would they be, and why?

Here's a photo of my full makeup collection:




3. experiment with what works

You may find yourself uncertain about giving away or purchasing products. I'm a fan of the maybe pile. Take the products that you love but perhaps don't use on a consistent basis and place them somewhere out of sight. See how often, if at all, you take the time to find that product during the next few weeks.

If you didn't think of it at all, it's not that important. If you find you did reach for it more often than not, then I'd say it's a keeper.

You can also keep products if you're still working with them, but aren't sure whether or not they'll work out in the end. It's perfectly fine to take a month or two to figure it out. Don't feel pressured to have everything set at once. 

For example, right now I'm keeping Fenty Beauty's Blotting Powder around. I'm not sure if I love it yet, but that's okay. I'll keep working with it.


4. buying new products

Before you buy new products, keep the following in mind:

will you actually use it?

Come up with five makeup looks or ways to enhance your current collection.

Is it something you just got rid of?

Don't purchase a product that is similar to something you just gave up. You won't use it, and you'll end up wasting your money.

Are you just being emotional?

I am so guilty of this. Ask yourself: do you want to the product because of the idea of it, or it is actually useful? Does it go with your current style?

think about the environment

Most cosmetics stores such as Ulta and Sephora have great return policies, so if a new product doesn't work for you, you can always bring it back.

I'd ask that you're careful with this. Even gently used product cannot be resold. While some companies do have a recycling system, many returned products may still end up in the landfill, where it's incinerated and pumps greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

It's okay to return, but avoid going on a shopping haul and returning multiple products. Make sure a product is absolutely what you need before purchasing.


What about you? Do you practice minimalist makeup?


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