Spring Cleaning: Makeup & Beauty Products

My resolution this month is to not buy beauty products, and I've spent the past couple of months trying to use up many of them. I thought I'd share my Spring Cleaning methods in the hopes it'll help you too! So before you toss your makeup, read on:

D A M A G E D or E X P I R E D
  • This is the obvious first thing to do--are the products damaged? Is it time to upgrade that hair tool? 
  • Or expired? I use this guide from Allure magazine to tossing makeup.

 R E T U R N or E X C H A N G E
  • Many recently used products can be returned to the store--be sure to have the receipt and check the store's policy (Sephora, drugstores, Ulta, allow returns, for example).
  • Can't return for a refund? Try seeing if the store will exchange.

S E L L or S W A P
  • This is another obvious idea, but trying selling gently used products online, perhaps via Ebay or your blog. 
  • I would advise against selling/swapping things that promote bacteria, like mascara or products you touch with your fingers, like facial cream in a jar. 
  • Be honest with the condition of the products. Sanitize brushes and cut off the tip of lipsticks.
  • Swap with friends, family, other bloggers your makeup or hair products.
  • Have a Product Swap Party!

  • Can you reuse the products in some way? Check out just a few ideas below:
  • For lipstick shades that don't look as great as hoped, try using concealer to lighten them or try mixing lipsticks. Use the lipstick as a blush instead.
  • Too many or broken chapsticks? Reuse them to make lip plumpers or solid perfume.
  • Take powder that's too dark and use as a bronzer.
  • Expired sunscreen or lotion can be used to tame flyaways or fight frizz in a pinch.
  • Use that last bit of lotion or conditioner as shaving cream.

G I V E  A W A Y or D O N A T E
  • While friends and family are natural choices to give products to, there are other options.
  • Donate products to charity--I've done this with old/outdated curling/flat irons, etc.
  • This next idea is my favorite: donate products to a women's shelter. I saw this on a news story a few years ago and it always stuck with me/
  • Google your city + women's shelter to find out if they take makeup/beauty donations. Almost all take clothing.
  • Many of these women are leaving abusive situations with just the clothes on their back. They need clothes, makeup, polish, hair products and tools, not just to make themselves feel beautiful, or to rebuild a life, but for job interviews too.
  • Again, follow the common sense/cleaniness rules. Clean and sanitize when possible. Don't donate if nearly empty.
How do you do Spring Cleaning for makeup & beauty products?


  1. I love the Back 2 Mac program when I'm cleaning out! 6 MAC products (they can be empty, expired, or just something you're not going to use) and they'll recycle the packaging and you get a new lipstick, lipglass, or eyeshadow. Win-win :)

  2. I definitely need to go through my makeup and toss the old stuff. I pared down quite a bit earlier this year, so I don't think there's a lot of excess, but I'm sure there are things I shouldn't be using.

  3. I like all these creative ideas, the product swop part does sound great! And all the re-use tips are very useful

  4. a while back, i did some spring cleaning of my own and tossed out a bunch of things and let me tell you it hurt me to see all that awesome makeup go to waste!!

    now, i have a bunch in a bag that i recently put up for a swap but i think i'm just going to give them to my friends since waiting for someone to show interest in a swap takes too long.

    i like the way you organized your makeup drawer!

  5. Very interesting and helpful article. I cl=inked on that link to see if my make-up was expired and realized that I am way overdo for some new mascara. I only buy one like once a year!!!

  6. I'm a huge fan of the Back 2 Mac program - such a great way to recycle use products...or ones I'm really getting much use out of.

    Courtney ~ http://sartorialsidelines.com

  7. That looks more like a weapons cache.

  8. This allure guide is super helpful! Thanks!

  9. Great ideas! I need to see if I can pare down my make-up a bit.

  10. Those are great suggestions - I don't have enough beauty products to really need to clean but I should definitely throw out some of the oldies. From high school prom - if you can believe that!

  11. Great tips! I always feel so much better after a beauty clean/purge. :)


  12. Fabulous tips! A swap party is such a fun idea!

  13. great tips and congrats to the winners

  14. I have been trying to limit the number of makeup products that I buy, too. I have a hoarding problem when it comes to makeup!

    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  15. I did my cleaning after my new years resolution of using only natural/organic products - or products without the bad chemicals. I sorted it all out and gave it to Goodwill. The person was super happy with it. It was a huge Sephora bag full of stuff at least half full or barely used.

  16. I need to clean out my beauty products too--I have a few things I've had for who knows how long! Thanks for the great ways to repurpose products!

  17. hooray, thank you!!!

    donating to women's shelters is a great idea...


  18. Great tips, Elle:) For powder-based products, I definitely recommend the swap!

  19. Great tips, Elle:) For powder-based products, I definitely recommend the swap!

  20. What great advice–I have to remember to clean and replace more often!

  21. Great tips!! I'm not much of a make up hoarder mainly b/c I'm awful at putting it on. Now hair products, that's a different story... LOL

  22. So many ideas on what to do with stuff. With this list, I don't ever feel like I should just throw something away.

  23. I need to go through my makeup and toss the old stuff. Good luck with not buying anything new!

  24. Great tips! I try so hard to use and not keep buying new all the time. I use the conditioner for shaving trick a lot. I'm doing it right now with a less than stellar conditioner that didn't do a thing for my hair.

  25. This is a great post dear!

    You are making me think about cleaning up my closet and my drawers! Boy, there's gotta be a lot to swap or return in there!


    Twenty York Street
    Follow me in Twitter: @20YS

  26. Spring cleaning is always a great idea. I have is a skewed sense of what's good/valuable but everything you've said is spot on! Hope you had an amazing Memorial Day weekend! xoxo

  27. i am always throwing away products and it makes me sad as it's clearly money down the drain! i love the idea of swapping but i would probably only do it with my sister as it wouldn't gross me out. but with other people it probably would. in the meantime, just trying to be much more careful with what i buy. love your idea for the chapsticks.

  28. i was just weeding out when i read this!

  29. You have so many and you keep them so neat, that is just awesome. I have only a small box but I'm proud of it :).

  30. Loving this post! I've been an organizing fiend lately!

  31. Great post! I need to become more organized and you have inspired me.


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