Does your makeup look like a toddler gathered up every lipstick, palette and makeup brush in your home and dumped it out with unmistakable glee? If so, you’re not alone: organizing your makeup isn’t easy!
Now that I’m a mom, I’ve had way too many incidents of my toddler knocking over my favorite eyeshadow palette because I left something out. Seeing the sad powdered glitter littering my bathroom floor (I swear I still find glitter in the crevices to this day) I vowed to start organizing makeup the next day.
Now, if you’ve never properly organized your makeup before, then you may find the concept of organizing makeup to be a bit difficult. Don’t worry: I’ve created a handy guide that will take you on the surprisingly satisfying journey of learning how to organize makeup once and for all.
Getting Started: Sort, Save–and Toss Out!
The first step in organizing makeup is to sort through your collection. Yes, you might need to throw some things out. Newsflash, friends: makeup does expire!
While sorting through your makeup, create two piles: keep and toss out.
What to Keep
You should keep makeup that is:
- Something you use every day (as long as it’s not expired)
- Something you really love (even if you only use it for special occasions)
It’s not like I do a full glam smokey eye on the daily, but I do keep those deliciously dark palettes around for special occasions. So that would definitely fall into the “keep” pile.
What to Toss
You should throw out makeup that is:
- Definitely expired
- Old and probably expired
You really don’t want to take chances with old makeup, since this can increase the risk that there will be unwanted bacteria lurking in it. Skin infections are not worth the risk.
Besides, if you haven’t used it in that long, you probably won’t!
When is Makeup Expired, Anyway?
Do you throw out old makeup? If you don’t already, you should start now. Old makeup is not just a bit grungy–it’s potentially dangerous.
Old, expired makeup can harbor bacteria which can give you skin infections or even blood poisoning.
If your makeup is old, don’t even think twice about tossing it. Besides, this gives you an excuse to buy something new!
RELATED: The Best Beauty Buys on Amazon
Makeup Expiration Dates
Here’s a quick rundown of the “shelf life” of common makeup items.
- Eyeliner: 3 months (liquid or stick)
- Eyeshadow: 1 year
- Mascara: 3 months
- Foundation: 1 year
- Concealer: 1 year
- Lipstick: 2 years
- Lip gloss: 1 year
- Powdered blush or highlighter: 2 years
- Cream blush or highlighter: 1 year
As a general rule of thumb, anything that goes close to your eyeline (such as eyeliner and mascara) should be replaced every few months. Don’t take risks when it comes to your eyes!
Organizing Your Makeup (Now that You Know What You’re Keeping!)
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s time to start actually organizing your makeup. First, you’ll have to decide on how exactly you’ll be storing it.
You may want:
- Countertop makeup storage
- Drawer organizers for makeup
Or, perhaps a combination of the two!
You should definitely stop to consider how you personally use your collection, as this can have a major impact on how you ultimately organize things.
Of course, the size of your bathroom and vanity will also have a big impact here.
If you’re limited on countertop space, keep your dailies front and center.
Your favorite lipstick, for example, shouldn’t be shoved into the back of a makeup drawer that requires you to pull something out to reach it.
How I Organize My Makeup Collection (In Case You Want to Adopt My Method!)
For my makeup, I use a mix of acrylic drawers and acrylic lipstick organizers similar to these.
My eyeshadow palettes and blushes are stacked in acrylic drawer organizers and I have lipstick organizers that sit on top of the drawers.
I customized mine myself, but you can get some that look just like my setup here.
If you have larger items like perfumes and skincare you want to store along with your makeup, a beautiful large cosmetic organizer like this may be just what you need.
The lipstick organizers hold lipstick but also other wider essentials like my favorite foundation, eye shadow sticks, mascara, etc.
And for my makeup brushes, I actually ended up finding this really cool pencil organizer Lazy Susan. I grabbed one at my local T.J. Maxx and it ended up being perfect for this. It looks just like this one.
I could write a whole entire new blog post on organizing makeup brushes, but just wanted to give you an idea of what works for me!
Countertop Makeup Storage Ideas
If you’ve decided on the counter, I personally love and recommend the acrylic drawers.
They can be pricey, but it’s nice to be able to see exactly what’s inside each drawer and have easy access to your makeup.
Good quality acrylic makeup organizers should last you many years anyway!
If you’re looking for something stylish and chic, this glass makeup organizer would look gorgeous on any vanity or bathroom counter.
There are a ton of countertop makeup storage ideas that could also work inside a linen cabinet, too.
These makeup drawers, for example, have deeper storage and are super cute.
Storage Caddies and Rotating Organizers for Your Makeup
Storage caddies make convenient holders for tall items. And caddies that rotate like this one are especially handy.
This Lazy Susan is also handy since it rotates and accommodates taller items.
Storage caddies are perfect for brushes, mascara tubes, lip glosses, and other items that are tall or which can be safely stored upright.
The Best Lipstick Organizers
If you own a ton of lipsticks, then you might need a dedicated lipstick organizer!
This lipstick tower rotates and can fit a whopping 64 lipsticks!
Here’s the other thing about lipstick organizers—a lot can fit so much more than just lipstick!
Yes, they happen to be the perfect size for your lips favorites, but they do quite well for other items, too.
I think lipstick organizers are perfect for storing smaller items you use every day, like a favorite mascara or eyeliner.
Save Space with Stackable Makeup Storage
To maximize on space, look for cases that are stackable like this drawer set. This also allows you to really customize your configuration for what you need.
You can use stackable makeup storage on your countertop or deep drawers. I have some in my linen closet and under the sink as well that I use to store other essentials like razors, cotton balls, Q-tips, etc.
Be Travel-Ready with Cosmetic Cases
Are you always on-the-go or looking to organize your makeup for travel? Cosmetic cases are an easy makeup storage idea.
This train case with removable dividers is my favorite for travel. It’s easy to customize and has room for your makeup brushes, too.
I keep this one pre-packed with some of my travel makeup essentials to make getting ready for vacation a total breeze.
Of course, you could always go old school with cases like caboodles or large train cases! If you have a large makeup collection, this could be a great way to store makeup that doesn’t need to be out on display at all times.
Hide the Clutter with Drawer Organizers for Makeup
Need to store your makeup in a drawer? Get some drawer organizers.
This is a great way to separate your makeup and organize it into like-sizes or products.
What’s great about these is that they’re entirely customizable so you can use the little cubes to organize your makeup in the best way you see fit.
The first drawer in my bathroom is organized with cubes like this; in it I store things like toothpaste, my contact lens case and some skincare items that I want within reach but stored away.
Makeup Palette Organizers
Got a lot of makeup palettes? You may want to try a makeup palette organizer!
These are a great solution for corralling a few palettes and keeping them on display within easy reach. They can also be stacked on other trays and makeup drawers.
You can get even more specific like with this compact organizer palette, which is perfect for holding all of those blushes.
If you prefer to stash your palettes vertically, rather than stuffed inside of a drawer, then a makeup palette organizer may be for you.
Rolling Carts for Makeup Organization
My makeup collection isn’t big enough to justify such a thing, but I know a lot of beauty YouTubers and enthusiasts may just have the space (and need) for a rolling cart!
This cute white one has 7 drawers and will seamlessly blend into your decor.
For an affordable pick, try a craft cart! You could also use this to store your hair tools, too. This one is under $30 and comes in a ton of colors to match your home decor.
Why Your Current Makeup Organization Method Isn’t Working
If you’ve tried all the things and keep feeling frustrated with the way your makeup is organized or changing it up, there may be a few reasons why.
First, when it comes to organization in general, it does take a bit of trial and error to see what works for you. And, that can change!
I used to do my makeup on the floor, and now I do it on my vanity. A change like this meant a change in the way I organized some of my daily makeup.
Here are a few reasons why it hasn’t worked out for you in the past so hopefully you can keep your cosmetics organized once and for all!
- Your makeup isn’t close to where you use it (in another room or a drawer)
- You can’t find what you’re looking for (not in a clear container or hidden under other things)
- Half of it is in your purse (it’s ok to buy duplicates so you have some for on-the-go!)
One more important thing to remember about organizing makeup: you can always change it if it doesn’t work for you! So don’t worry too hard if it’s not perfect the first time around.
Got a tip about organizing makeup that I left out? Leave a comment below telling me your favorite makeup organization tip below!