Yes, that is a trash bag filled with makeup. That bag contains everything from NYX cream blushes (which I loved back in the day) to NARS Artists Palettes. Yes, you read correctly: NARS Artists Palettes — Discontinued ones that have not been available in years and years.
Why would I commit such an atrocity? Because it was time. Sadly, all good things come to an end and for a lot of the makeup now residing in that trash bag, their end actually came and went a while ago yet I was still holding on.
I get new makeup quite often. It is the blessing of being a working artist. However, I recently had to confront the reality of the truth; I had way too much old makeup taking up too much space. So much so that my new makeup was living in my dining room. I would show you a picture of how that was, but it’s embarrassing so, no.
Why do we hold onto makeup in the first place?
My theory is that memory is a powerful thing. And memory leads to nostalgia and nostalgia leads to holding onto items well past their due date. As I was doing my purge I realized that EVERY single piece of makeup I own is attached to a memory of my life and career. Be it a career milestone or a personal treat of some kind, every piece of makeup I picked up sent me back in time to some recollection of yesteryear. Thus, it made it very difficult to purge the old makeup, but purge I did and purge you must. There comes a time when you have to let go of sentiment and face reality head-on.
3 things to consider when deciding what to keep and what to toss
1. Is it still in good condition? This is a no-brainer. It is dangerous to use makeup that has expired be it on yourself or on others. If it has a funky smell or the colors have started to change, that’s an automatic trip to the trash.
2. Do I still use it? Does it serve any purpose? I am not in the same place in my career that I was five years ago. Certain products — while I may really like them — just never get used anymore. They’ve either been replaced by new fabulosity, or I have found my Holy Grail Staple of that item type. If it is not being used, it is taking up valuable real estate and it needs to go.
3. Can someone else use it, or is it just DONE? Just because I can’t/don’t use it does not mean someone else cannot. Whenever possible I prefer to recycle makeup either to friends or what-have-you (women’s shelters and other charities can only accept new and unused product).
When you should throw away makeup
Generally speaking there are broad guidelines that can be followed to know when to toss a given cosmetics. To paraphrase Morpheus, some rules can be bent, some can be broken. There are some rules, however, that MUST be followed strictly (mascara!) in order to maintain makeup health. These are broad (i.e. not absolute) guidelines for once a cosmetic is opened and in use.
Powders: 2 – 4 years
Powder eyeshadows, powder blushes, pressed powder, loose setting powder, etc. Powder FOUNDATIONS are a little different due to the pigmentation and other ingredients that may be added. I would keep powder foundations the same length of time as cream/liquid foundations.
Creams: 12 – 18 months
Cream blushes, cream eyeshadows, foundations, concealers, etc. Liquid foundations last about a year.
Lipsticks: 12 months
Pencil liners: 2 years
With good care, pencil liners can (CAN) last up to two years. Regular sharpening removes the used layer of product and keeps the product clean/sanitized so that it lasts longer. (Only if you sharpen after each use and keep your sharpening tools clean, however.)
Gel and liquid liners: 2 months
Mascara: 3 – 6 months
Please do not try to play games with gel and liquid liners and mascaras. Not only are these products creams/liquids which transfer bacteria more readily than powders do, but these items are used in one of the most sensitive and infection prone areas of your body.
Look and see what your makeup is telling you
Nowadays, most cosmetics products feature this icon of an open cosmetics jar with a number next to it. That symbol is telling you once this product has been opened, you have X number of months to use it. So in the case of this compact, once I open it up it should be good for about 12 months.
What to do with make-up to be tossed
The reason I threw these items away was because they were not in condition to be given away. Hence they were not in condition to be used, hence they were just taking up space. Most of the time, however, I do give my overflow makeup away either to homeless/domestic abuse shelters (which is my first choice), or to students as prizes, or to my friends etc.
The point of the story is this…
One way or another you’ve got to know when to let it go. The benefits since my purge has been faster kit organization and packing for the jobs I’ve had since the purge and just an overall sense of calm whenever I walk into that room. And getting my dining room back!