Spotlight: Nine Ways to Use Up Your Beauty Stash

Is your bathroom overrun with makeup, hair products, lotions and potions? Do you have enough beauty samples and mini hotel toiletries to last a decade? Read on to learn some great strategies for using up what you’ve got, repurposing products and getting rid of the extra stash.

Heavy Rotation

Maybe you have tons of makeup, or a lot of different shades of blue, green or brown eye shadow. Why then, are you using the same shade everyday while the others slowly languish in the drawer?

  • Give each product a turn this week and more items will get used.
  • You can study makeup looks in magazines for inspiration, then go shopping in your own bathroom to recreate your favorite faces.
  • Sharpen your eye and lip pencils regularly; they will be easier to use properly, and you’ll get through your supply faster.
  • Don’t forget your nails, give yourself at least one weekly manicure to use up your treatments and polishes.

Repurpose It

Another great trick for getting through your stash is to use the products in new ways.

  • Apply not-quite-right facial products to your neck, chest, hands, or even your feet. You can also do this with all of those little samples you’ve been saving.
  • If you have a large stash of hair-care products — perhaps full-sized stuff that doesn’t work for your hair, or too many little travel bottles the shampoos can be used as a body wash, a hand wash or even to clean your makeup brushes. Also, the conditioners can be used for shaving your legs.

Reapply Often

Whether you’re overstocked on lip balm, cuticle cream or moisturizers, you need to make a conscious effort to use all of the extra products that are sitting around. Place them where they will be noticed and apply regularly.

  • Put those “too many bottles” of body lotion by the shower and be sure to use some every day before you get dressed.
  • Stash hand lotions and nail treatments everywhere you might use them, such as in your purse, by the computer, at each sink in the house and in a decorative basket in the living room so you can apply while watching TV.
  • If you have a ton of lip products, as all women do, carry a few with you all the time and reapply twice as often as you normally would (think what soft and pretty lips you’ll have).

Do a Slow Purge

If you want to do a serious clearing out, but facing your stash feels overwhelming, then start small.

  • Pull out a few items at a time that you’re not really using and put them aside in a shoebox or small basket. After a few weeks, if you haven’t really missed those items, give them to a friend.
  • However, if you find that you still want to keep what you set aside, then leave the basket out on your counter and use the products regularly. Keep at it until the goodies are all used up.

Don’t Stock Up

Many of us stock up on products when they go on sale. The problem is, as soon as you have built up your supplies, you’re likely to find something new or better to try.

  • So, even if an item is a favorite, too much time can pass before you get to your backlog and then it’s not as fresh as it could be (in fact, there will probably even be a new and improved version). Try to hold off on the urge to stockpile because the stores will almost always have what you need later on, when you’re actually going to be using it.

Trash It

Determine to be ruthless with your older beauty products. As you sort through your stuff, force yourself to immediately trash anything past its prime.

  • Mascara, sunscreens and self-tanners last only a season.
  • While you’re at it, throw away products that were not right for you or that you just don’t like. If sending your stuff to the garbage is hard to do, play a game with yourself, find one thing to toss out every day. It could be an old lip liner, a half used eye shadow, or an ancient nail polish. See how many days in a row you can get rid of something.

One in, Two Out

Tell yourself you can buy something new only when you first use up two things you already own.

  • If you want to buy that gorgeous new lip gloss, first you have to finish two glosses from your substantial personal assortment. This strategy makes you think twice before buying, and you’ll end up saving money.
  • Always put a dent in your current collection before buying more.

Give It Away

Share your unused, unopened items that you know you don’t want.

  • Donate them to a local women’s shelter.
  • For slightly used products, you can possibly give them to your mom, sister or friend, who will be thrilled to receive them (e.g., nail polish, shower gels or lotions). Round them up, pass them out and make someone’s day.

Everyday is Special

We all have some items we hang on to but never use because they’re expensive or “special.”

  • Allow yourself to use these them! You can be fabulous all the time.
  • This also goes for your fragrance collection. Go ahead and spray yourself everyday — perfume doesn’t last forever anyway.
  • Let yourself try the high end “whatever” that’s sitting in your cabinet, right now, today. Just proceed as though every day is special.

Good job, savvy gal. It’s so satisfying to gain control of your beauty stuff, and you’ll look great, too!


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