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Organizing your cosmetics drawer

If you have a drawer full of makeup you don’t use everyday, there are some simple rules of thumb to help you pare it all down:

Assorted cosmetics laying on white table

Throw away what’s expired

  • Concealer should be considered expired after 12 months.
  • Eyeshadow: 3 years
  • Water-based liquid foundation – 1 year, Oil-based, 18 months
  • Lip liner – 3 years
  • Lipstick – 4 years, but if it smells at all funny, toss it. You don’t want something that’s gone off near your mouth
  • Mascara – 3 months
  • Powder – 2 years
  • Nail polish – about a year, depending on the brand

Can’t recall how old something is? Try to remember an event you bought it for or wore it to. If you’re not sure but it seems like it was a while back, just toss it.

Now look at all the colorful stuff. Be honest. If it doesn’t go with your complexion, your wardrobe, or anything people have worn in the past 25 years, toss it out. The foundations and powder – if you haven’t worn it in the past year, then there is no season where it works on you. Toss it. Actually, this one-year rule is pretty good for everything else, too.

Keep your favorites – the stuff you can wear every day no matter how you dress or what a hurry you’re in – near the front of the drawer or in a handy case. Buy a drawer divider to store the rest. Or buy a cheap makeup caddy if you want to get fancy about it or don’t have drawer space. A simple box will do, too, but instead of dumping everything, take the time to organize. Put the lipsticks together, the foundations together, etc. Use old newspaper wadded up to keep things separated and not falling over on each other.

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