What I Discovered When I Started Clearing Out My Makeup Drawers

What I Discovered When I Started Clearing Out My Makeup Drawers

Many of us are makeup hoarders and let’s face it, it’s really hard to let go of makeup products even though we know we’re never going to use them again. I know that I get carried away sometimes and I end up buying multiple makeup palettes and foundations (sometimes in the wrong shade) even though I know that I already have something similar. When some of these products we impulsively buy don’t work for us, we often decide to still keep them anyway as if one day they’re miraculously going to work. The other day, I took some time out of my busy schedule and started de-cluttering my makeup drawers.



There’s so much stuff I don’t use


When I first opened my drawer, I was stunned by how much unused products I had in there. I was surprised to find that I had plenty of items in there that I had forgotten about. Makeup items are small and so even lip pencils and eyeliners which I bought from a year or so ago were still in their original packaging unused. They were buried underneath all the makeup powders and palettes I had in storage. I also found some lipsticks that were only swatched once and some were even brand new and still sealed.


I spent so much money

Whether you buy drugstore or high-end makeup products, if those products end up being unused, that’s money down the drain. Bottom line is, when you spend money on makeup you don’t use, that’s money you will never get back. In my opinion, makeup should never be re-sold especially when they have been opened and used (light swatching included).

I’m not a snob when it comes to makeup products. I buy a mixture of premium and drugstore beauty items. I’ve realised that I tend to overspend when it comes to drugstore products and that’s one thing I try my best to avoid.

As an example, if there’s a drugstore eyeshadow palette I love, I tend to buy multiple ones in different colour combinations to try them all out (knowing that I’m more likely to never use those products again after testing them) and I justify this bad habit with the whole ‘Well, they’re only drugstore and they’re cheap’. 

The point is, no matter how cheap those price points are, the costs start to build up the more you keep buying ‘because they’re only cheap’. Avoid the same mistake I made and see if you can use testers in the shop before buying anything (make sure you use antibacterial sprays and wipes before using testers).

When I threw away my unused lipsticks, eyeliners, blushers and palettes, I realised that I spent around £280 on unused products and because they were expired, I couldn’t even donate them so they all ended up in the bin.


I only got to use 30% of my collection


We all end up having favourite go-to products and If you’re like me and you tend to have the same look every single day, then we slowly realise as we accumulate more and more makeup that we don’t necessarily need to have multiple eyeshadow palettes or foundations in the wrong shade. We have our certain must-haves that we keep re-purchasing so I think that sometimes, it’s best to stick to repurchasing those. If there’s something you desperately want to try, then go ahead and do so but really be mindful of whether or not you can do without buying it.

One thing I do is I watch makeup videos of people using the products I’m tempted to purchase. If their reviews are really good then I take the plunge and buy the products.


I was holding on to expired products

This is definitely one of the saddest realisations I had when I cleared out my makeup drawer. There were expired products in there. I’m sure that they were expired because even though I didn’t mark them with dates of when I opened them, I know that they’ve been in my makeup drawer for more than a year. Beauty products have expiry date labels on them. You can usually find them on the back of the packaging and they usually say ’12m’ or ’24m’ depending on the type of product. Powders usually last longer than fluid based products.

Stick to these expiry dates and don’t use products which are older than the expiry dates printed on the packaging. I’ve actually made a vow to be so strict when it comes to expiry dates and I’ve made my own rules when it comes to discarding makeup. As you know, makeup products are ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and you don’t want bacteria seeping through your skin because they are harmful and can cause blemishes and pimples. My personal rules are these:

Mascara and Eyeliner-2 months

Pencils: 3 months

Lip products- 3 months

Powders- 12-18 months

Foundation and Concealers- 9 months


I had too much of the same or similar items



I really don’t know why I over purchase very similar items. I think deep down it’s the fear of the products getting discontinued that makes us hoard and store products. The ‘3 for 2’ offers at Boots are to blame too I think. Whatever our reasons are, it’s so tempting to buy in bulk even though we don’t really need to.

A year ago, I bought two bronzers which are very similar in shade but one is more expensive than the other. I thought that maybe the more expensive one will be better but actually, they’re pretty much the same. So it was so clear to see that it was pointless to buy this £30 bronzer because the £7.99 one did the job anyway.

Now, if I still have some eyeliner or bronzer left, I just wait until I’m done with them before I purchase a different one to try.



I hope that the things I’ve discovered when I decluttered my makeup drawer has inspired you to do a makeup clearout yourself. Honestly, it will make you feel less guilty and have less clutter which means more time and more money.


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