How to Simplify Your Beauty Routine + Minimize Products

February 23, 2015

How to simplify your beauty routine: Only keep the products that serve you.

This past weekend, I inadvertently launched myself into a major body product purge. What started with tossing an expired product ended with a reorganized, super-streamlined bathroom cabinet. And as it turned out, this purge was really needed!

Over the past few years, I’ve collected quite the collection of beauty products from various sources, including free samples, my favorite beauty subscription box, gifts, and my own purchases (including beauty wins and products I wanted so badly to work for me but just didn’t).

Although I’d tried to keep my beauty goodies organized, I realized that some products were getting in the way of those I actually want to use. For example, I’d been using some fancy (but all natural) moisturizing cream, and I couldn’t remember when was the last time I’d just used plain old argan oil. On that note, where was my argan oil?!

It’s true that I do share a fairly small bathroom with my fiancé, and my facial cleanser butts up against his hair (not)gel, but I shouldn’t need a walk-in closet for my serums and BB creams. And I don’t think my skin wants that, either. My exposure to a slew of samples and products has taught me a few things:

1. The natural beauty world is extensive and magnificent.

2. My skin, however, isn’t so crazy about experiencing the breadth of natural beauty lines all at once. In other words, my complexion is calmer and clearer when I stick to a simple routine. That doesn’t mean that I don’t change my products or adjust my routine for the seasons—I do! I’m just learning, though, that these shifts should occur gradually and with less impatience on my part.

Getting rid of products can be difficult; I know. Even though I don’t have hoarding tendencies in other areas of my life, perhaps I am a bit a of beauty product hoarder. There is just something about the promises on a bottle that keep me hanging on to it for longer than I should—despite what the rational part of my mind knows. Also, products can be expensive. And come with pretty packaging. Or smell fantastic.

But deep down, I know that I can’t will a product to perform miracles, let alone agree with my skin. Hence, the necessary product purge.

If you’d like to simplify your beauty routine and reduce the number of products, here’s how to work some magic on your bathroom cabinet:

1. If a product is expired, toss it. Yes, sometimes manufactures may post an early expiration date to inspire you buy more products sooner, but this is something I don’t really mess around with. If you’re not sure if a product is past its prime (no listed expiry date, no off smells), follow this handy chart detailing the shelf life for various products. Expired products can do damage: expired water-based products may harbor bacteria while expired oil-based products may contain free-radical releasing rancid oils. Ugh.

2. If a product does not serve your beauty, toss it or give to a friend. Sometimes a perfectly good product just isn’t right for your skin. Perhaps it’s a high-end BB cream that’s a little too orange for your fair skin or a moisturizer that’s far too thick for your already oily-prone complexion. As long as you haven’t been dipping your fingers into these products (bacteria!), they may be perfect for a friend with different skin conditions. Host a beauty swap—you may find that your friends are looking to get rid of—but not waste—items that don’t quite work for them.

3. If a product does not serve your long-term health, consider its importance in your toilette. Some green beauty enthusiasts (including me), have a few long-beloved products that aren’t 100% natural. Perhaps you own the best pink lipstick with some ingredients you’re not crazy about. Or maybe it’s a tried-and-true anti-acne solution. Whatever it is, if you do keep it, make sure you do so consciously. I admit to keeping a few products that don’t align with my healthy beauty philosophy simply because they were free, which is kind of silly. But if you truly value a product, natural or not, there’s no need to toss it. The point is simply to make informed choices.

After sorting through my bathroom, I was reminded that when I’m not careful (which is more than I’d like to admit), my beauty obsession can be wasteful (both environmentally and financially). Aside from keeping my beauty routine simpler and healthier, my product purge will (hopefully) help me remember to acquire products more consciously.

What about you, peaceful dumplings? Do you have a gazillion mini lipsticks and half-finished eye shadow duos? (Guilty! Guilty!) Or is your vanity minimalist and Zen? 🙂 

Related: What’s the Real Shelf Life of Makeup? 

How to Make the Perfect DIY Nude Eyeshadow Palette

How to Nail “Less Makeup is More”


Photo: Bayan Al-Sadhan via Flickr

Peaceful Dumpling Beauty Editor and creator of Bisou du Jour, Mary Hood Luttrell lives with her husband in Corpus Christi, Texas. Mary is a freelance writer and writing and blogging consultant. A lover of whole foods, Mary delights in learning new ways to prepare vegan dishes. Mary also enjoys reading and writing poetry, art journaling, running, and practicing yoga and ballet. Follow Mary on her blog Bisou du Jour, Instagram and Pinterest.


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