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The Bare Necessities

By Makeda

It may seem like a small thing, but organizing your make-up is one of the best things you can do for your beauty regimen. Knowing what you have and how to access it will make your make-up process much faster and easier. When you've streamlined your products and your process, you can give yourself sophisticated, polished make-up in only five or ten minutes. You should go through your make-up and organize it at least twice a year - taking time to throw out old make-up and any other products that you barely use.

In order to get started, you need to lay every product out in one place and look at it all. First of all, get rid of everything that's broken. If you still want the product, feel free to put it in a new container. Lots of products can be repackaged, but powder products like blushes and eyeshadows should be tossed because the loose pieces will forever flake and get all over the inside of your make-up bag or case.

After you've looked at all your products and gotten rid of or repackaged all broken things, figure out what you haven't used in two years or more and get rid of it. If you've barely used it in more than a year, you don't need it - it's just taking up space that could be occupied by make-up you'll truly love and use regularly.

Now, look at the basics - start with foundations. You don't need five or six different shades of foundation. At the most, you need two - a lighter one for the non-tan time of the year and a darker one for the summer time, when you're a little darker. It's also good for women of color to have two different shades of foundation, since many Black women tend to have different shades on their faces. Any foundations that are too old - whose consistency or smell has changed - get rid of it. After you've gotten rid of old ones, try any remaining ones on and only keep those which disappear perfectly into your skin. Be sure to check it in natural light!

After paring down your foundations, move on to lipsticks. We all know that, if we look in our make-up bags, we probably have more lipsticks/lip glosses than anything else. Get rid of any you haven't worn in two years or more. Press any broken ones into palettes. Only keep those that you know look beautiful with your skin color and you will wear regularly. Repeat this process with eyeshadows and blushes, just keeping in mind that you should get rid of any that are broken and flaking.

Now that you've pared down your make-up supply, you can do some clean up work. Use alcohol to clean up your make-up bags and cases and toss old applicators. Be sure to get rid of any old mascara, which really should be rotated regularly, due to the chances of infection.

If you need a timeline to go on, here's the average expiration dates for make-up products:

Foundation: 12 to 18 months

Concealer: 1 year

Powder: 2 years

Mascara: 3 to 6 months

Lipstick: 12 to 18 months

Lip and eye pencils: 1 year

Eyeshadow: 1 year

Powder blush: 2 years

Cream blush: 6 months to 1 year

Moisturizer: 12 to 18 months

Eye cream: 1 year

Sunscreen: 1 year

When you clean and organize your make-up kit, I promise your "beauty life" will be much better!

Perfume-scented hugs and lipstick kisses,