Updated: Feb 13
Nothing like approaching my 40th birthday for me to take a look at my skincare and makeup products, but that is exactly what happened. I had scheduled one of my first visits to a dermatologist (yes, I should have gone sooner, I know) trying to find the best products to get rid of my ever growing fine lines and wrinkles, however what I received was something different - a fresh perspective.
First, my dermatologist had an alternative focus in mind - he wanted to biopsy some moles he found that he said might be precancerous. Yikes! That certainly wasn't why I had booked the appointment, but life does have a way of reorienting us all. So after we discussed the importance of healthy skin and inevitable aging, I was also educated about a few things regarding my skincare - that moisture is critical, expensive doesn't mean the best, exfoliation is key and never leave home without wearing sunscreen.
It was after that visit that I chose to simplify and take a "less is more approach" with my skincare routine and makeup products. In this blog I share with you what my takeaways have been and how it spurred me into action to simplify how I was caring for my skin.
expiration dates - products don't last as long as you might think
It is easy to be enticed with beauty products as they promise us smooth, wrinkle-free and glowing skin. The downside to having a robust skincare and makeup arsenal is that the products don't last very long. Time is literally ticking on that expensive jar of cream the moment you open it up and expose it to the air.
Beauty products, especially cosmetics, trap bacteria, which means replacing them regularly is necessary to avoid skin irritations, breakouts and eye infections. For many products, you can find the expiration date on the small symbol on the jar, tube or bottle with a number/letter on the inside, ex. 12M. This means, that a product has a 12-month shelf life once you open it. If your inventory of beauty products is quite large, it is likely that you will not be able to use up a majority of them before their expiration date.
simplify A.M. and P.M. skin care routines
The first thing I did following that dermatology appointment was to simplify my A.M. and P.M. skin care routines. In the morning, I focus on moisture and sunscreen. In the evening, I focus on cleansing, exfoliating and special treatments.
My morning includes wiping my face with a wet washcloth. That's it. I then put on a facial oil because I love the way it makes my skin feel, followed by a moisturizer and a sunscreen. Sometimes I put on an eye cream on the extreme cold days of winter.
In the evening, I wet down my face and take off my eye makeup mostly with water and a washcloth. If I wore heavier makeup that day, I might grab some coconut oil to wipe it off, but that's the exception. Then I wash my face and every other day I use a facial scrub. With a freshly washed face, I apply a night oil, moisturizer (same one from the morning) and eye cream.
I do have a couple of specialty items - a mask and a spot treater that I use from time-to-time, but not on a daily use basis. You can find my favorite skin care products here.
once-a-year reset approach
Two things happened that drove me to significantly simplify my makeup - one was paying attention to expiration dates and the second was seeing how many items in my makeup inventory that I was convinced I needed (primer, foundation, concealer, powder, blush, eye shadow, eye liner, highlighter), but hardly ever used and certainly wouldn't use up before its expiration date.
The first step in simplifying was to pull out what I rarely or never used. Then, with core products left, I started looking for products that work double-duty. For example, my sunscreen has a tint, so that is now my "foundation" and "sunscreen". My blush is a cream stick, so I can use it as "blush", "lipstick" and "eyeshadow" in a pinch. I tossed out the many different individual eyeshadows and switched to one makeup palette. I said goodbye to countless lipsticks that were all very similar in color and I kept a handful in different hues that I love.
I also changed my buying habits for makeup. Since lipsticks and eyeshadow palettes expire in that 12M range, I use Christmas as the time when I say goodbye to those items and hello to new ones. For mascara, since I only have one and wear it everyday, it only lasts me 3-4 months anyway which is right on schedule for its expiration.
try something new when you run out as a strategy
For years I used the same skin care items and would watch for sales to "stock up". Then, if I wanted to try something new, I'd feel a little guilty since I already had all of this back stock.
Today, my approach is completely different and it offers me guilt free opportunity to occasionally splurge on something I have had my eye on. For most of the products I use, I follow a try something new when you run out strategy. Since I do have sensitive skin, I tend to like to stick with particular brands and ingredients I am careful with my skin, but by streamlining my inventory it offers me permission to branch out.
Once you have narrowed your skincare and makeup collection down to the products you use and love, purchase some organizational tools to categorize and store them. How you organize your makeup, skincare and beauty products will depend on the amount and type of space you have, as well as how much inventory you have. There are many organizational solutions you can utilize depending on your design aesthetic, including baskets, bins, trays, and drawer dividers. Here are a few of our Neat Little Nest favorites.
Beauty, skincare and makeup products have an alluring quality that tempt us into accumulating more than we ever intended to. Figuring out what your essentials are and determining which products you can’t live without is the key to simplifying. Then keep a couple of special occasion must-haves. Store them beautifully (and where you can see and access them readily).
Less cosmetic clutter just feels good.
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Photos by Jes Lahay Photography