Finding great beauty products is an endless search through countless products -- new and improved skin care as well as makeup staples that ignite lifelong loyalty. As any beauty junkie can attest, finding these great products is only half the battle. Storing them is the other half of the battle. Once purchased, it's human nature to keep even the products that don't become part of your beauty regimen.
We've all witnessed the "makeup drawer" -- either your own or a friend's -- that is a seemingly bottomless pit of the good, the bad, and the ugly products set aside for possible use "someday." I find that whether storing products at home or when traveling, it's best to think outside the box and get creative with your storage.
When I first started my makeup line, I ran all over Manhattan with a clear see-through backpack so that my products were clearly visible. Buyers often commented on it. The clear backpack made it easy to find everything and served as free advertising at the same time! Seriously, a clear bag does make it easy to find your products.
When I first became a makeup artist, I ran out and purchased a professional makeup case. I loved that it was an authentic makeup artist's case that had shelves. The problem with it was that it was heavy to carry so it was an impractical choice for traveling. I tried a Rolykit that unrolls to reveal compartments. It did the same job as my professional makeup case, but was decidedly lighter to carry. I also tried an actual tool box and then an aluminum Chinese lunch box. Basically anything that has compartments will function well. I would use one compartment for "complexion" products: skin care, concealer, foundation. Another compartment for eye products, the next for lip products and so on. I especially enjoyed the Chinese lunch box, because it came apart, and I wouldn't have to set up my makeup station, but rather just reach into each compartment for whichever product I needed.
When I travel, I love using ziplock bags. They take up little space in your luggage and you can separate your products into categories: hair, makeup, shaving, sunblock, brow tools, etc., which makes finding everything so much easier.
Storing your beauty products at home offers other challenges. In my experience, if the product isn't in my field of vision, I forget to use it. You want your products to be visible. Think shelf as opposed to drawer. Once it goes into the vortex that is the makeup drawer, it most likely won't be seen again until long after the product's expiration date.
In New York City, storage space is a luxury. I once sacrified a coat closet in my apartment by transforming it into a beauty closet. Each shelf housed a category: hair, face, teeth, body, etc. When you work in the beauty industry, you are often inundated with products. While I share with friends and family, the products still pile up. But, when they are organized, I find that I use them. It's easy to reach into the "beauty closet" for a new shampoo or eye cream. The key is to create a dedicated space for your products. Whether you use a spare dresser or a set of shelves, organize your products in whatever category suits you, creating a general lip product drawer, a shelf of all your red lipsticks, or a bowl of your favorite lip balms.
Now, some general rules:
Toss It or Keep It?
They say the rule of thumb for beauty products is if you don't use it for three months, you should toss it (or donate it). Most products have a shelf life. How to know what to keep and what to toss? If a product looks like the ingredients have separated, or if it smells rancid, toss it. Many products, like eye shadows, lipstick, foundation and blush, have a shelf life of three to five years. Creams like moisturizer and sunblock have a shelf life of about two years. The one product that must be tossed after three months: mascara. Even if you only used it once, bacteria will develop in the tube, which not only compromises the formula but also can cause irritation to your eyes.
To Chill or Not to Chill?
I'm often asked about whether or not refrigerating your products is a good idea. The answer is it depends on the product. Lipsticks and cream-formula eye shadow and blush will develop condensation when removed from the refrigerator. This will cause the product to lose its moisture. This type of formula is best kept at room temperature, out of direct sunlight (hello, makeup drawer!). Fragrance can be refrigerated, but once refrigerated, it must remain so or the scent can be affected. It's great to chill your favorite fragrance and enjoy the cool feeling during summer months. Aloe vera gel is another great candidate for chilling -- use it to de-puff eyes or sooth a sunburn. Skin-care products can be refigerated, but like fragrance, must remain so once you chill it or the formula can turn.
Whether at home or on the road, the key is to create an organized setup for your products so that they are easily accessible and visible. While it may hurt to part with the old products that are cluttering up your life, keep in mind that tossing the old makes room for that fabulous new beauty product!
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