4 Steps I took to Simplify my Beauty Rituals
"Beauty is power; a smile is its sword." John Ray
Hello and welcome for this first post on beauty! I have always loved beauty products and this has led me in the past to become a huge, huge, I mean HUUUUGE beauty products junkie. It is especially true regarding skincare and haircare. I always wanted to have this radiant skin and that amazing hair-who doesn't?
I used to believe that the more steps I have in my routine, the more products I use, the more expensive those products were, the best results I would get. I never counted the amount of beauty products I ever owned , but it was probably not far for from several thousands and a few hundred at any given time, if you count all the eye serums, day creams, boosters, shampoos, conditioners, cleansing conditioner, hair masks, deep treatments, oils, hair curlers, sheet masks, clay masks, self-heating eye mask, foot spa salt, foot scrub, massage oils, hand creams, lips balm, body buttes, shower gels, body scrubs, bath salt, anti-cellulite cream, anti-stretch mark cream, antioxidants (yes I had several!), brow brush, makeup remover oil, nails polishes in all shades of the rainbow, lipsticks, lip liners, body brushes, make up brushes, eyeliners, eye shadows, blushes, volume mascara, false lash effect mascara, colored mascaras etc. etc. I ever owned. Just writing that list makes my head spinning!
Today, I own a lot less beauty toiletries, use far less products that I ever did and my skin has never been so clear, my hair has never that healthy; and my makeup very simple, yet perfect. I also love the extra space I have in my home and the time I can allocate to more meaningful things such as eating healthy, exercising, praying, resting and spend time with loved ones that make me happier and as a results, more beautiful. Did I mention my wallet thanks me as well?!
To unclutter my toiletries (and life!), I proceeded by elimination, in 4 steps. Before you get started gather all- I insist ALL- beauty products you own (from your cupboards, vanity dressing, makeup pouch, handbag, car etc). You might get quite overwhelmed by the sheer amount of products you own- I certainly was. But take a deep breath and divide them in four categories and tackle one category at a time: unused items, overly specialized items, duplicates and items that have passed their expiration date.
Everything that falls into those 4 categories needs to be discarded; the rest belongs to your keep pile. Please have an extremely hard look at what you are keeping , edit, edit, edit and ask yourself if this is something you really use often enough, that is versatile, not a duplicate of something else you are keeping and that it has not yet passed its expiration date. Needless to say, everything you keep should be something you absolutely love.
First, I took care of the obvious category. Those are the things that I owned but never used, and knew will never do: shampoos as I stopped all together using shampoos several years ago, hair combs and brushes as I finger detangle my hair, lipsticks and foundation I never wore as I found my perfect matches etc. So ask yourself, which toiletries are you still keeping while you don't use it and know that you will never do so?
2/ Overly Specialized Items
Second, I started by taking out of my bathroom, vanity dressing, vanity case and makeup pouch everything that was too specific and not versatile enough and as a result little used: foot scrub was one example. Did I really need a super specific scrub for my foot that I use at most twice a month? Certainly not! Don't get me wrong- I love my foot and I am very grateful for all the hard work they do daily to support me and my lifestyle. I also loved that amazing foot scrub I owned that did a terrific job in smoothing my foot. But they can perfectly live being scrubbed by the same product as my the rest of my body or better yet a simple homemade version that is good enough to eat, with brown cane sugar and lemon-organic please! The only exception is you have an overly specialized item that you need and use, for example a very specific cream to care for a skin condition.
Third, I got rid of everything I used but had in one than more pieces. Does a woman really need more than one mascara?
Fourth, anything passed their expiration date should go straight to the trash. You have to pay attention here to 3 things: the production date (or manufacture date of when the batch was produced), the expiration date and the period after opening. The two first dates can be in the package or omitted. When the shelf life of cosmetics is more than 30 months, the expiration date is usually not printed in most places including the US and EU countries. But this does not imply that you can use the products for the whole 3 years or more. This is where the period after opening comes into the picture.
The Period after opening (PAO) in my opinion is really important. If you are unsure of what this is, look for the "open jar" sign, followed by the letter "M" in capital. "M" indicates how many months can be used safely after opening. For instance, "12M" indicates that you can use a product up to year upon first opening.
By the time I was done, I had very few products left, all were products that I used and I love. I now spend a lot less time of my beauty rituals and my skin and hair are not any worse off. I also love that my makeup pouch is compact enough to serve at home, both on my vanity dressing in my room, in my bathroom but also when I am traveling.
Disposing of Your Unwanted Beauty Products
I could not just throw away in the trash the overwhelming amount of cosmetics that I was left with, many of them unexpired and in brand new condition. I gave the products I did not need to people I know will use them; by asking them if there is anything they actually need and were going to get anyway. For example, a good friend mentioned during a conversation a shampoo she would love to try and was planning to get anyway. I happened to have exactly what she was looking for, so I gave it to her. My sister was looking for some body lotion and I had in stock one I knew she would love- and she did!
You could also pamper yourself with your own products. For example, you have that expensive skincare cream that is say too rich for your skin; why not treat yourself with a decadent foot massage with it instead of discarding it?
I also put some of the unopened products in my donation bags to the Red Cross and when I went to drop them off to my local office, the ladies were incredibly happy. Check with your local charities, especially the women shelthers. Many would be grateful to receive your unused or gently used beauty products. If you live in the US, try Beauty Bus Foundation that put together goodies bag for the sick.
You will see how incredibly good it will make you feel to know that your little loved sparkling nail polish or that lipstick you never wore is brightening another woman (or man)'s day!
Of course, I tossed away some products that were expired. I also tossed those that were unsanitary to share such as mascara and skincare in a jar.
Looking After What you Keep
I would like to finish this post by saying how important it is to look after the toiletries you have decided to keep. Have a dedicated place where you put them: all my makeup fits into my makeup pouch, and I store everything else in my bathroom cupboard, as I have an "horizontal surface neat" rule in my home. When I am traveling by plane for more than a day, I have a vanity bag where I can fit all my daily toiletries and as I never check in luggage (except when I am moving houses), it is transparent and was designed to go hassle-free through airport security.
Please also store your products away from direct sunlight and make sure to not use them past their expiration date. And of course, this being a journey, you will certainly find new ways to simplify your toiletries. Just this week, I donated a couple of nail polishes I have no idea why I was clinging to as I prefer to keep my nails au naturel. I am learning the hard way that you have to be vigilant to not slip back into hoarding toiletries again, but simply not letting them into your house and your life at the first place.
And you, what do you think about simplifying your beauty rituals by downsizing your toiletries for a richer life? Did you also downsize your toiletries? Which steps did you take? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
PS: psst! Next week, I will be posting my first article of an extensive series on curating a simple wardrobe that will beautify your life- stay tuned! ;) If you have not yet done so, please do not forget to subscribe to be the first to receive tips on living your life simply, richly and more beautifully.