I love free samples. I also love the mini products Sephora rewards you with for overspending on their merchandise. I’m also easily convinced that every new balm and powder is a miracle worker and worth trying — and buying.
Needless to say, my makeup basket is full of eyeshadows I haven’t opened since 2010 and my medicine cabinet is overflowing with packets of creams, serums and hair products that will never see the light of day. While I love to think that I’ll use them, and I faithfully pack them in my wash bag every time I travel, I always end up using my go-tos. And my samples remain untouched.
The obsession with Marie Kondo-ing every aspect of one’s life made me take a second look the last time I reached for my makeup. On a given day, I use four items — undereye concealer, cheek tint, eyebrow gel and mascara. When getting ready for a big night out, I maybe use seven. After all, I’m the same girl who wrote The Lazy Girl’s Guide to (Nearly) Effortless Beauty. You’d never guess that my makeup basket is home to nearly 50 different products.
Inspired by the New Year and the minimalist movement sweeping the globe, I decided to make some changes:
Apply the same rules to beauty products as you do your closet. A good friend once told me to get rid of every clothing item I hadn’t worn in a year. It was a great suggestion, and great way to say goodbye to numerous terry cloth Juicy hoodies, a favorite of my college years. Do the same to your beauty products, but be ever harsher. Is there a mask you’ve only used once? Toss it. An eyeshadow you’re saving for the perfect moment? Buh-bye. Only hold on to the things you love dearly and use regularly. And the next time you get tempted by samples, say no thanks unless it’s a brand you buy regularly and an item you’re actually looking to try (and buy).
Keep your skin routine simple and consistent. It’s easy to go overboard slathering a variety of products on your face. As fun as that may seem, it actually causes breakouts and doesn’t allow your skin to adjust to a new regime, which takes at least a week of consistency. Pick staples and stick to them. A nice face wash, toner, eye cream, face cream with sunscreen and nighttime serum or cream are more than enough for daily use. Pick two masks, one clarifying (like a charcoal mask) and one moisturizing and brightening (like a rose mask), to use once a week. If you do want to change your routine, do it slowly, experimenting with one new product at a time. And if you can, stick to all-natural products, which are less likely to cause irritation.
Stop buying things you’ll never use. I love getting lost in the endless supply of colored liners, jewel-toned shimmer eyeshadows, ultra-dark matte lipsticks and basically any beauty trend to hit the market. But I also love looking natural. The last-time I actually wore a non-neutral eyeshadow was over five years ago, and it was Halloween. This year, I’m going to enjoy the beauty trends on magazine pages and leave them there. It isn’t worth the wasted product and expense. If I am tempted to splurge, this is the perfect time to appreciate a sample size. You can try and toss without remorse.
It may not seem life-changing, but it’s already made my morning routine quicker and my skin happier. And my bathroom looks a heck of a lot nicer, too.