How to Simplify Your Makeup

I remember when I turned 14-years-old and was officially allowed to wear makeup for the first time outside of a performance hall.

My mom took me to a friend of hers who was a Mary Kay consultant, where we did a makeover and, at the end of it all, I got to choose my first set of makeup complete with eye shadow, blush, and even lipstick. I'll admit, it was a pretty exciting day.



When it comes to decluttering your home, one of the places I see women struggle the most is with their makeup. They have drawers filled with different shades of lipstick, eye shadow, and eyeliner, prepared for any possible mood, outfit, or event life may throw their way. We have contours and highlights and lowlights and a hundred different products that, once combined, can literally make you look like a completely different person.

I was never one of those people and I can't think of a single time in my life when I had more than a few different shades of, well, any kind of makeup.

Even in all my excitement at getting makeup for the first time as a teenager, I've always leaned on the simple side of the makeup scene for two main reasons — time and money. Makeup is expensive, and even drugstore makeup can add up quickly, and I simply had no desire to spend more than 10 minutes or so doing my makeup every morning.

After 14 years of wearing makeup, I still have that same attitude and, in fact, my makeup routine most days is even simpler now than it was when I first started.

But if you aren't like me and do have drawers and drawers of makeup you know you hardly ever use, where do you even start in narrowing it down?


Just like we did with the bathroom as a whole a couple of weeks ago, the best place to start is by taking everything out and organizing it by product type. This gives you a quick visual on everything you own, which makes the whole rest of the process much easier.


Once you've organized by product type, set aside the items you use on a daily basis, and be honest with yourself here. Even if you have 12 different lipstick shades and 20 different eye shadows, if there's only one or two that you use on a near daily basis, set those aside with any other products you use on a regular basis like foundation and mascara.

Now compare the two piles. How much is in the daily and how much is in the occasional?

I'm willing to bet that most of the makeup you own fits in that slippery "just in case" category. Maybe you picked up a certain eye shadow color for a specific event and you've hung onto it "just in case" you need it again. Same could go for pretty much any other product type.

Now here's gonna be your first challenge — see if you can get your occasional makeup pile smaller than your daily makeup pile. In the same way that the number of formalwear items you have is way smaller than your daily clothing items, the amount of special occasion makeup should be less than your daily makeup products.


Now, when it comes to the makeup you use on a regular basis, I'm not going to tell you that you have to throw it away. Especially if you're a makeup person. So how do you simplify your makeup moving forward? By keeping versatility in mind.

Let's go back to the daily makeup vs. special occasion makeup. What's the difference between the two? Maybe instead of having certain eye shadows for daily use and certain eye shadows for special occasion use, you come up with a daily look that can be "glammed up" by switching out one or two products like eyeliner, a smoky shadow, or an amazing red lipstick.

You can also get foundations that double as moisturizer, cheek tints that double as a lipstick, and loose powers that can double as eyeliner and eyebrow filler.


In the same way that creating outfit formulas can help simplify your style and wardrobe, creating a formula for your makeup can help simplify the process each day.

The vast majority of the time, I wear the exact same makeup every day. In fact, for six or seven years, I had one eye shadow palette with three colors that I used every single day (obviously I replaced it more than once). It's only in the last year, as I've shifted to more natural beauty products, that I picked up an eye shadow palette with a few more options. But even with those extra options, I still have just a couple of looks I rotate through — the same formula, with different colors placed into it.

The only time I ever deviate from that formula is special occasions. It makes getting ready in the morning super simple and most days I can do my makeup in five minutes or less.

Simplicity has always been a key element to my makeup routine, so if that's not the case for you, it might take some time to figure out what works best. Like with everything else, don't be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect combination of simplicity and versatility for your own life.

Sarah Anne Hayes