Moving Means Scaling Down My Beauty Products, AKA. It's Impossible, AKA Here's How I'm Doing It

It's not easy.
Publish date:
July 29, 2016
organization, moving out, giving up beauty products, packing light

I am smack-dab in the middle of that terrifying time everyone experiences a few times in their life.

I am about to move.

I’ve been thinking about writing this article for a while now, but I didn’t know what my angle would turn out to be. I could write about the year so far. It’s already the end of July, after all. I could write about the last 12 months in this apartment. I could talk about things going well, because they are. I could talk about change. Relationships. Fear. Excitement. Anxiety. Shame. All of which I’ve been grappling with lately. But you know what? Let’s just talk about makeup.

So, it’s not a big move, just a couple of blocks. But packing up your life into truckloads and taking it to another location is always the worst. Yeah, it would definitely be worse if I were moving across the country, but still. It’s really hot outside.

I moved into this oddly large studio apartment one year ago. I was all “AAAH, A FRESH START. A NEW HOME. BETTER REALLY MOVE IN. GET COMFORTABLE,” as I thought I’d be here for, I don’t know, a while. So I really made this place my own.

I put up a thousand shelves in the bathroom for all (some) of my products and fragrances. Recklessly nailed a bunch of shit into the walls. Damaged the wood floors in numerous places by spilling nail polish remover all over. (I shouldn’t be admitting that in writing, as I know my landlords read this shit. They saw my insane bathroom one day and Googled me, curious as to why one person would need 40 moisturizers and ~750 bottles of nail polish and started passing my articles around the office. Don’t ask how I know this.)

It feels like the second I really got comfortable and stopped feeling like this apartment was "my new place," I’m leaving it.

You guys keep badgering me to do a piece about how I store my products, which I have decided I will do, begrudgingly, but not until I get to my new place.

So I guess I want to talk about scaling down. Doing what I do, I have...a lot...of products, and I don’t need all of them. After all, I only have one face, despite what you’ve heard. What can I get rid of? What do I need to get rid of? How do you get rid of yours, and how do you decide?

The first thing I take into account is if the product has possibly expired. Let me state from the jump that I know this is not an exact science and that this is only how I, personally, decide when to throw things away. I’m not giving out advice right now. Spare me the bloodbath in the comments.

First of all, if I don’t remember buying it or receiving it, I throw it out.

Some rules of thumb are the less liquidy a product is, the longer its shelf life. Powders last the longest, as they are made without any liquids, whereas liquids have the shortest shelf life. Also, the type of container that the product is housed in is important. Products in pumps last longer than products in jars because they’re exposed to less oxygen and you’re not continually dipping your fingers into them and contaminating them with germs.

Here’s how I do it:

Mascaras: If it’s even a question, throw it out. Mascara is gross. I know it’s hard to part with a tube of your favorite Diorshow, but your eyes are nothing to fuck with.

Cleansers: Even through I rotate three to six at a time, I usually kill them all within a year, so I’m good on that.

Moisturizers: Ehhh… There are a few I use daily and speed right through and a few I save for the days when I want my skin to look real real good. I’d say no more than two years. Use your senses and go by feel (and look, and smell…).

Liquid foundations: Careful, they’re liquid. Start to look at them after a year, if they’re still chilling, use them up to another year.

Also, I am ALL about investing in products that you love, truly, but maybe consider not using products that you can’t replace easily enough. I only say this because you don’t want to squeeze the very last bit out of that really expensive moisturizer you splurged on even though it’s expired, just because you don’t want to purchase more quite yet. Find an alternative for less! And, yes, I know I get a lot of this shit for free. I also spend $50 on one ounce of luxury sunscreen, so I’m paying for beauty just like you.

Lipsticks are immortal.

So that’s the shit I’m getting rid of. It pains me to part with any beauty product, really, but the thought of putting anything that has gone sour on my face makes me quick with it.

So. Scaling down.

The thing about me and scaling down is I never know where to start, but once I get started, I can’t stop myself. I’m great at getting rid of clothes because, if you haven’t noticed, I only wear like, three things. Black skinny jeans. Black, white, or gray tees with big necks. And hoodies. I buy those in bulk. Anything else I haven’t worn since this time last season goes.

Beauty, on the other hand, is harder for me. There are things I use every day. Those stay, obviously. Then there’s my good shit. Moisturizers, eye creams, hair products that I use on, I don’t know, nights when I go out with my friends, or when I just want to look nice for god’s sake. I’m cool with holding onto those. They’re like a little black dress for my face: I don’t wear them every day, but I bring them out when I really want to impress.

Anything that doesn’t fall into that category, if I haven’t picked it up in three to six months, it goes. It has to, because if I haven’t used it lately, I’m not going to, and there are going to be three more products that serve the same purpose that will show up this month, so I’ve got to clean house.

Now, by “get rid of” I don’t mean “throw out.” I’m donating them to an organization that serves the LGBT community in my area. If I can’t get good use out of these products, someone needs to. They’re too good to let go to waste.

So, when do you decide to get rid of your products? How do you know when it's time? Which are hardest for you to part with? Tell me everything in the comments, and send me good vibes during this move!

Tynan is moving on Twitter @TynanBuck.