How to clear out your beauty collection, according to a decluttering expert

Written by Hanna Ibraheem

It’s easy for your beauty collection to build up. But if you often find yourself overwhelmed by an endless sea of lipsticks, foundations, perfumes and hairsprays; here’s some advice for you to follow.

’Busy’; it’s a word we used to throw about often. Between work, social commitments, lengthy daily commutes and family, it was easy to let even the most basic of personal errands fall to the wayside. However, that all changed when we started spending more time at home and now as we continue to do so, it’s the perfect time to tackle those tasks head-on.

For me, the one task I constantly put off is sorting through my beauty products. And, considering a 2018 study by online retailer Fragrance Director found that women in the UK spend £482.51 every month, I’m sure my collection isn’t the only one piling up.  But what better time to do it than the beginning of a new year?

“It’s important to clear out beauty items you don’t use or need,” says professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn. “It’s easy for your collection to build up without you realising as there’s always a new trend, new product or new colourway. It’s very tempting to keep buying things. But realistically, for most of us on a day-to-day basis, we reach for the same beauty items as part of our routines.”

If that sounds like you, Silverthorn shared her top decluttering tips to help you freshen up your beauty collection…

Consider how long you’ve had the product

“For any product that goes directly onto hands, face or body, think about how long you’ve had it,” says Silverthorn. “Give the product a sniff to check if it smells a bit different or look at the consistency. As horrible as it sounds, bacteria grows in and on these items, so you have to about personal hygiene and looking after your skin.”

Silverthorn recommends two websites that can give you a better indication of how old a products: and Using the manufacture date of the product or a batch code, these websites provide information about its shelf life.

“All cosmetics have a number on the back of the packaging,” she says, “Type that number in and the website will give you all the information on that specific product.” Numbers may also be stuck on the bottom of the product, too.

Forget the “when I last used it” rule

When it comes to having a clear out, there’s a general rule often bandied about: consider the last time you used it and if it’s been a few months, chuck it out. We’ve all done it, but Silverthorn advises going against that.

“When decluttering anything, I don’t go by when I’ve last used it,” she says, “You’re decluttering because things are a bit of a mess so you may not have even seen that item for a year and most likely forgot you owned it, which could the main reason behind why you haven’t used it. So I throw that rule out the window. By doing this, you’ll be able to break out of the cycle of constantly piling up products.”

…instead, take some responsibility and it’ll be easier to throw away

“Say you bought a product and haven’t used it, it’s important to be honest with yourself about whether you ever will use it,” she explains. “If not, give it to a friend and share the love. Otherwise you’ll throw it away in two years anyway.

“It’s important to face the fact that you bought it in error. Yes, you wasted a bit of money. Let yourself feel a bit guilty about that and then you’re less likely to do it again,” she advises. “That’s how you learn with adjusting your spending habits. By acknowledging that, it gives you a bit more awareness for next time you go out shopping.”

Donate items that you won’t use

“Search for your local women’s refuge, they often take makeup and toiletries that are unopened,” says Silverthorn. “In turn, this makes you more aware if you’re about to open something but not sure if you’re ever going to use it.” You can find out more about donating beauty and hygiene products here.

*At the moment, many shelters and charities have halted accepting donations in light of coronavirus. Please contact your selected organisation first to see if they’re happy to accept your donation.

Take steps to prevent it from building up again

Next time you’re out shopping, be mindful of what you already have at home. “It’s fine to have a spare but try and only buy when you need to,” says Silverthorn. “When you’re running out of a product, it’s a much nicer feeling to shop because there’s no guilty revolving around repurchasing when you need to replenish.”

For Silverthorn, her solution has come in the form of Beauty Pie, a beauty members service. “On here, you can see previous orders, what you’ve used before and you can monitor what you’re buying,” she explains.

Main image: Unsplash

Vicky Silverthorn offers video and phone consultations to help you get organised. Visit for more information.

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