I remember buying my very first clear mascara when I was 12 years old and was instantly hooked. Since then, I’ve had a huge love (and appreciation) of makeup. I’ve gone through thousands of products, tried out all the ridiculous makeup trends – e.g. stick on diamantes ­– and am now a proud owner of a good collection of makeup and beauty products. I’ll start by saying that I definitely haven’t got as much makeup as some but I don’t have as little as some either; I’d say my collection is a happy middle ground.  

I will however admit that I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to makeup. I mean, do I seriously need fourteen nude lipsticks and how often am I going to wear that light blue shimery eyeshadow stick? Wait, what if I decide to go as Elsa from Frozen to an upcoming fancy dress party? See, this is very much my problem – firstly, I sadly haven’t been to a fancy dress party for a few years and secondly, as if I’d go as Elsa (sorry if I offend anyone!)

Despite semi-regular purges, it’s very apparent that there’s a lot of makeup stored away in my drawer that I haven’t touched for a very long time and that I have absolutely no intention of using. I try and get rid of old and unused makeup fairly regularly but I watch a lot of enabling Youtubers which means my collection ends up increasing fairly rapidly again.

Spring has arrived and I’ve decided to get ruthless. There are three rules I’ve decided to live by going forward:


This is probably the most important one to note and shamefully the realisation that makeup does indeed go out of date stupidly came as a bit of a surprise to me. Since that revelation, I've kept a very close eye on the expiry dates on products. 

Unlike food, though, cosmetics aren't required to have an expiration date on their packaging. Instead, you'll have to keep track of when you opened them. Most products have a jar symbol marked with a number that signifies the number of months you have to use up the product once it's been opened. Since expired cosmetics can cause skin irritation and eye infections, it's important to replace them or get rid beforehand.

Use your common sense; if your gloss is gloopy, your nail polish is separating, or any of your products have started smelling funny - it's time to say goodbye. Here's a rough guideline of when products tend to go off: —

Mascara - approx. 4 months

Foundation - approx. 1 year

Concealer - approx 12-18 months

Powder - approx. 18 months

Blush / bronzer - approx. 18 months

Eye shadow - approx. 18 months

Eyeliner - approx. 18 months

Liquid eyeliner - approx. 6 months

Eyeliner - approx. 18 months

Lipstick/lip gloss - approx. 18 months

Nail polish - approx. 1 year


I used to be a lot more adventurous and daring with my makeup, regularly rocking a bold lip and colourful eyeshadows but as I’m getting older, I tend to play it a bit safer with my makeup and tend to reach for more neutral colours. As much as I don’t want to admit that I haven’t used 80% of my lipsticks over the past year, some of them will definitely have to go. So, the excess lipsticks, bright eyeshadow palettes and sparkles which I've been saving for that festival which I'll never attend have gotta go!


I’m the worst for this. I head into Boots or Superdrug and leave with the exact same shade of lipstick that I already own from another brand. Yes, the consistency or end result may look VERY slightly different when applied but there’s only so many of the similar thing I need. Told ya, ruthless. 


Okay so now we're all on the same page, it's time to actually tackle the collection. 


To start, get everything out and visible so you know exactly what you've got. Make sure to root through all your handbags etc for stray lipsticks etc!


Sort through it all and group things by its kind. This is usually the shocking part where I realise how many lipsticks I own! Also it'll make it much more apparent when you see that you have five black eyeliners in your collection but only one of which you use regularly - when it's there in front of you, there's no shying away from it.  


Throw out anything that’s expired, broken or just not being used. For the latter, maybe keep a few pieces in a separate pile that you think friends and family may use and enjoy. 


Clean and wipe down all of the products you're keeping. Makeup gets grubby so quickly so a quick wipe with a makeup wipe will do it the world of good!


Clean your makeup storage! It's easy to ignore how gross your makeup storage is when there's stuff inside but when they're empty, there's no hiding the excess powder, lipstick smears and eyeliner shavings. There's no point putting clean makeup back into unclean storage.


Put everything back in and admire your collection!